Put away the flowers – Alberta’s not dead yet!
As we head into the final stretch of the federal election campaign, certain truths about Alberta’s place in Confederation have become more apparent.
The sole English debate of the campaign clearly demonstrated just how minor of an issue the plight of Alberta’s economy is on the national stage with Alberta’s economic challenges barely rating a mention.
Even the pre-approved audience question from Calgary managed to avoid challenging the leaders on their views on the oil and gas industry, on equalization, on job losses, or every other hot topic in the West.
Instead we got a bland question about government co-operation from, you guessed it, a government employee.
In all the incredible confusion that has defined this election campaign so far, we have seen a perfect demonstration of how this country operates; taking from the hand in the West to feed the mouth in the East, all while writhing and twisting, strangling one another in anger, agony and greed.
The centre of power in Canada has always resided in Quebec and Ontario, a reality that we have had to face ever since becoming a province in 1905.
Politicians are once again denigrating and damaging Alberta’s industries while planning to use the wealth generated by those industries to pay for lavish campaign promises across the country.
That could describe almost every election campaign, and in the past has led to occasional bouts of Western alienation.
This time, though, it feels different.
What were once jokes and throwaway lines about the East have become more real.
Many in Alberta seem to be genuinely questioning our provinces’ place in Canada — wanting in their hearts to stay in, but worrying in their heads that we might be forced out.
The rest of Canada, by taking Alberta for granted, has stoked tremendous anger in this great and hibernating province and Albertans are looking for an outlet, one that vindicates a natural emotional response to injustice.
As Jason Kenney has stated repeatedly, Alberta is a nation-builder, one of the major architects of what Canada has become today.
As such, we deserve better treatment from the rest of the country.
As per usual, this years’ election battleground is outside of Alberta.
Yet, this time more than just an election at stake.
Alberta’s place in Confederation is at risk.
No matter who wins when the final bell tolls on Oct. 21, the problems that have faced Alberta for generations will remain and will need confronting.
Albertans will ponder the ramifications of the election result and the policies coming out of Ottawa in the coming weeks and months, and if they don’t like the response, they may wake up from their hibernation and decide they’ve had enough.
To make Confederation work, we need a new vision of what Canada can be.
To keep Alberta in, we need a new deal for Confederation.
To get a new deal, we need a new movement that will fight for that vision.
Put away the flowers, Alberta is not dead yet!
It’s time to fight for a new deal for Alberta within the Confederation of Canada.