Alberta Bound? Here’s Your Hat, The Door Is On The Right
"Though I've done the best I could
My old luck ain't been so good and
tomorrow night I'll be Alberta bound”— Gordon Lightfoot
I must confess that I find Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick endlessly amusing. When I’m feeling a little down a quick hit from the hyperbolic Ms. Mallick perks me right up. She’s Torontos equivalent of Titania McGrath, the parody social media creation who describes herself as a "radical intersectionalist poet committed to feminism, social justice and armed peaceful protest”.
Mallick is forever invoking the twee sensibilities of her five square hectares of liberal urban Toronto. For instance, here’s Heather’s sniffing dismissal of Alberta which he sees as “Canada’s problem child”. Petulant Alberta “cherishes the notion that the rest of Canada look downs on Alberta, which it does not. Give them big money, a pipeline for tar-sand goop in an outdated industry, visit the Calgary Stampede, it doesn’t matter. Albertans will never be happy…”
From the curious math of “give them big money” (directed at Canada’s resident soft touch on equalization) to her drive-by of the Stampede to tar-sand goop, it’s comedy gold. You can almost see Jeremy Corbyn moving her hands across her keyboard as she merrily bangs out this tripe.
My only Mallick reservation has been that some of the Star’s liberal angst puppets might not see the humour as readily as I do. You know… take her seriously. Alas, I fear that the threat to darling Justin’s grip on power might be blurring their better judgement.
A recent trip to the T-Dot has confirmed what I’ve been seeing on social media. A goodly chunk of the Six has decided that, after years of acquiescing to every whim of Québec, they’ve decided to draw the line with Alberta’s notion that Confederation has become a sucker play for those in the West. Like Heather they’re fed up with the belly aching.
Banning religious symbols in Quebec? Hey, it’s your call. Request access to tidewater for Alberta bitumen? Who do these people think they are?
Perhaps it was the recent warning from former Reform Party leader Preston Manning— now seen as an Albertan you can reason with after the Harper/ Hitler experience— that irked the East. Said Preston, “the problems with the energy sector and the inability to get resources to tidewater and world markets are all fuelling Western alienation.”
IOW, green politicians blocking pipeline projects for environmental concerns even as they pour untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence has become a sticking point from the part of the country that kept the lights on during the 2008 recession. Manning’s foreboding that a Trudeau second term— or a coalition with Greens— will result in cancellation of further energy projects has galvanized the 403. The who ignore— or inflame— this sentiment should do so knowing that a constitutional crisis will follow.
Yet, a common theme during my visit— which coincided with the Ferris Bueller Climate Day of Indolence in Toronto— can be summed up in Mallick’s rhetorical meme, echoed by CBC’s Rosemary Barton. “Is oil and gas a dying industry?” Longtime friends I met took up this concept that grasping Albertans are clinging to our bitumen in the delusion fossil fuels might still be a thing in a decade. “Don’t you get it?”
Oil production will eventually be reduced. But one thing is certain. Short of a wholesale change of opinion on nuclear, the clever people do not— outside Quebec’s hydro grid— have an alternative to cheap oil, natural gas and coal to charge their Teslas. (Or bring billions out of poverty worldwide) In the thrall of Catherine McKenna’s “If you us wish hard enough alternatives will appear” strategy the Malicks seem to be missing what Germany discovered at great cost and loss of sovereignty.
Namely you can’t power a modern economy based on bird-munching wind turbines and cloud-challenged solar panels. The United States went from importing oil to energy independence in the past decade. But virtuous Canada has allowed its energy industry to be stigmatized worldwide, its product bottled up and priced below market value. It has cost tens of billions to the Canadian economy. We have the absurdity of Canada still importing foreign oil from malign regimes that could easily be provided by its own producers.
Crickets. “Somebody’s got to set a good example on climate” is the plaint that gets much traction in downtown Toronto and Montreal to explain why Canada fails where America succeeds in energy. Albertans and other westerners have no interest in earning Boy Scout climate badges— even as China and India ramp up coal-fire energy and expand their industrial output.
(Adding to Alberta’s ire, in an effort to placate eastern voters, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer forces his MPs to support the UN’s climate emissions standards.)
In response the Mallicks cite studies that suggest Albertans exhibit weak minds and excessive greed in the face of Climatepalooza. And they haul out the Obama chestnut about 97 percent of scientists agreeing with the most dire climate warming, a concept debunked more often than proportional representation.
When I suggested that the West will consider its options if Trudeau, Elizabeth May and McKenna are running climate policy after October, a long-time friend said, “Here’s your hat, and the door is on the right”.
This election is likely to tell Westerners a lot about their place in the nation. We may learn that while Mr. Trudeau has been preaching diversity in Canada’s population he’s missed the fact that another kind of diversity is pulling apart the country he’s entrusted to lead. We’ll see. Whatever the outcome Heather Mallick will no doubt tell Albertans they’re captives of “tar-sand goop in an outdated industry”. And there’s nothing funny about that.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the publisher of http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com . He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also a best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps Are Killing Pro Sports And Why The Free Market Could Save Them is now available on brucedowbigginbooks.ca.