Editorial Comment

“This Land is My Land” J. Trudeau


You really have to hand it to Justin Trudeau.  The citizens of Canada, particularly we Albertans, owe the man a huge debt of gratitude. Rarely has a would-be Liberal leader been able to articulate his genuine feelings of Quebec’s political superiority over us colonials. Usually, the west-hating buffoons wait until they are in office before they reveal their true feelings toward us. How refreshing!
For those of you who missed it (did anybody?) Justin Trudeau was shown to have made some rather jaw-dropping comments in a French language interview on a Quebec radio station.  Here are some of his comments, “Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.” When the interviewer queried him as to whether Canada would be better off with more Quebec politicians than Alberta politicians, he responded, “I’m a Liberal so of course I believe that.” He added, “certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec. … This country — Canada — it belongs to us.” He even used the word “conquer” to describe the intentions Quebec has toward the rest of Canada.  He went on to boast about the “cultural pride” apparently only available in Quebec. 
These comments would be outrage-inducing enough had it not fallen just two days after Liberal Resource Critic... Sorry, suddenly EX-Liberal Resource Critic, David McGuinty betrayed his own colossal arrogance towards his Alberta MP colleagues. He accused them of pandering to the oil companies and protecting the interests of their constituents instead of the interests of the country as a whole. He was publically admonished by Bob Rae, who must be tearing his pure white hair out as his party is fighting a close by-election in Calgary. For Albertans, it was really no surprise. It was just more of what we have come to expect from the LPC.
Among the ivory-tower set in Ottawa, particularly in Liberal offices, there has been a long-time, ongoing “which came first, the chicken or the egg” sort of discussion as to whether Albertans began loathing the federal Liberals causing the Libs to write us off politically, or if the Red Horde wrote us off originally, causing us to universally turn on them. The fact is that there is no question as to when “western alienation” began, what party caused it and who was at the helm of the ship of state at the time. The answer is that Albertans have been unfairly treated by governing Liberals since the day they became a province in 1905. At that point the Prime Minister of the day, Sir Wilfred Laurier, enacted the “Alberta Act” which gave the federal government ownership of the natural resources within our province, unlike all the other provinces of the dominion, except for Saskatchewan. Laurier had an equally egregious “Saskatchewan Act”, stealing the resources from that province, as well. 
This revenue grab from the get go wasn’t changed for another twenty-five years until the inequity was finally corrected, but only after it had forced Alberta into bankruptcy in the early 1930’s. Only then were the natural resources “given back” to the people who rightly owned them to begin with. Who can blame us for being a little suspicious of future Liberal dynasties? Each one served to remind us of their blatant disregard for our province. The NEP was a most effective refresher course, but hardly the only one. Even now, Alberta sends Ottawa $8 billion more than it receives in transfer payments, coincidentally, and ironically, the almost exact amount Quebec takes from the pot annually. 
That original, arbitrary, heavy-handed approach that Laurier used was the beginning of a pattern of abuse Western Canadians as a whole and Albertans specifically suffered at the hands of the Liberals. The Grits feel the same disdain for Albertans that the US Republican Party feels towards “ethnic voters” and yet, the GOP brain-trust can’t understand why they can’t gain their vote, when they pretend to care about them during elections. The fact is, the reek of the federal Liberals’ superiority complex is as pungent as ammonia but, like drunks at a garlic fest, they have no idea how obvious the stench is. Every time they open their mouths, they appear to add to the odor.
Unfortunately, using Alberta’s wealth to buy votes in Central Canada is hardly the exclusive domain of the federal Liberals. The attitudes of Ontario quasi-premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair would fit quite comfortably with the federal Liberals. Mulcair’s attack on the oil sands, claiming that its success is hurting Ontario’s manufacturing sector (his baseless “Dutch Disease” argument) is just another attempt for a federal leader to knee-cap our province to gain votes elsewhere. Mulcair conveniently forgets the billions of dollars worth of business generated in Ontario and Quebec that is directly attributable Alberta’s energy sector, the availability of well-paid Alberta jobs for any Canadian wishing to relocate and the trickle-down effects of all the wealth generated from the oil patch that finds its way into every corner of the economy.
All of this antipathy toward Alberta as a whole and Albertans as individuals has stirred up some separatist sentiments in wild rose country (I hesitate to use the expression now that it has been hi-jacked for political purposes) but they will fail. Despite the horrible treatment of our province by successive federal governments, particularly Liberal ones, the sense I get is that most Albertans tolerate it because they actually do feel they are Canadians first. This is becoming truer every year, too, as Canadians from across the nation are making Alberta home. It is interesting to note eventually most new Albertans eventually come to distrust anything out of a federal Liberal’s lips.

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