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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Comment" on "the Calgary School"

The journal I help edit, Comment, from the Work Research Foundation, published a piece by Redeemer University Professor of Political Science David Koyzis on "the Calgary School," here.  Koyzis gives what seems to be a pretty accurate account of the major figures of the school, their philosophical roots, and the general directions the School has taken.  He also devotes some space to its influence on the Reform, Alliance, and Conservative Parties.


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A very quick perusal, hence a brief comment, rather than a thorough exegesis.

Professor Koyzis writes:

"A healthy society is more than self-interested individuals facing a potentially interfering state apparatus. It comprises several social formations, some of which have a basic institutional character and many of which are voluntary in nature. Within this pluriform society the state has a crucial, positive role to play in justly interrelating these communities, protecting their legitimate spaces, as well as protecting the proper space of the individual as individual."

Isn't this addressed, at least in part, by the abhhorance of judicial activism Professor Koyzis identifies as a primary theme of the "Calgary School"? In other words, since Lieberal-appointed, Charter-armed judges are arguably most responsible for the erosion of "social formations, some of which have a basic institutional character and many of which are voluntary in nature" like (to cite the obvious) "marriage", isn't the emphasis of the "Calgary School" on reigning them an answer to Professory Koyzis' criticism?

Surely recognition of the value of "social formations" by the "Calgary School" is a given - it is the social engineers of the Lieberals and the "court party" that puts those formations at risk.

Posted by: Great Walls of Fire | 2005-10-04 3:20:38 PM

Koyzis is wrong on so many points it's hard to know where to begin to deconstruct this travesty obviously written from a point of eastern bias.

From Koyzis' chapter 6:
"The precipitating event was the enactment in 1980 by Pierre Trudeau's government of the National Energy Program, AN EFFORT TO PROMOTE ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENCY perceived by westerners to be detrimental to their interests."(Speller's emphasis)

"Perceived by westerners to be detrimental to their interests."(Koyzis ch6)

Only a matter of perception, eh, Koyzis?

Marc Lalonde, the chief political architect of the NEP and Trudeau's 1980 Minister of Energy, Mines, and Resources stated, "The major factor behind the NEP wasn't Canadianization or getting more from the industry or even self-sufficiency," said Lalonde, quoted in David Kilgour's book, Uneasy Patriots.
"The determinant factor was the fiscal imbalance between the provinces and the federal government. ... Our proposal was to increase Ottawa's share appreciably, so that the share of the producing provinces would decline significantly and the industry's share would decline somewhat."

Koyzis' theme point "1) A revisionist reading of the aboriginal issue."
Revisionist? I have in front of me Alexander Morris' book 'The Treaties of Canada with the Indians' Prospero Books 2000. Morris was the Crown's representative negotiator who made the treaties with the Indians. Not with 'First Nations', not with aboriginals, which any first year anthropologist can tell you didn't originate here, but with the Indians.

Land claims? Every single Treaty uses the term EXTINGUISHED to describe the land claims. Observe that the real revisionists are the ones who are trying to REVISE the terms of the Treaties. It seems that ALL the Treaties West of the Ontario border are up for renegotiation(emphasis on the renege)but not the Treaties in Ontario or Quebec, which also use the same terminology, EXTINGUISHED.

Koyzis' theme point "2)A general hostility to group rights."
Koyzis is, in a way, correct on this point, but only because of his own perception of 'group rights'.
There is no such thing as group rights. A right can only be exercised by individuals, not groups, and to the extent that some may perceive a group having rights, in actuallity it is an individual who enjoys or is denied a particular right.

Koyzis continues...'2)"At the same time, given their western orientation, they are far from averse to constitutional mechanisms, such as a reformed upper chamber, that might empower the country's periphery over against central Canada, that is, Ontario and Québec."..."Thus, their distrust of group rights obviously does not extend to territorially defined groups, provided they are treated equally;"

Now considering Koyzis' #2 theme topic is 'group rights' and the Calgary School wants a EEE Senate for the ENTIRE country, coupled with the fact that Provinces are legal INDIVIDUAL representatives of the Crown, this is just sophistry pretending that Provinces should be understood as 'territorially defined groups' or that this has anything to do with 'group rights' at all. This is an attempt to cast the Calgary School as opportunistic hypocrits from one Ontarian's viewpoint.

Koyzis is portraying the Calgary School here with being AGAINST special rights for identity groups,essentially making individuals in those groups citizens plus, and IN FAVOUR of rights for all Provinces, some of which rights already exist in the constitution but are being trampled by Ottawa, as inconsistent opportunism.

Koyzis' theme point "4) Free trade, especially with Canada's closest neighbour, the United States."
"their orientation is definitely in a north-south rather than east-west direction. That Flanagan and Morton are AMERICAN-BORN is perhaps of some significance for understanding this orientation,"

Koyzis has this totally wrong. The North-South orientation in trade is all about Ontario's GREEDY policy of Mercantilism when trading with other provinces, treated like colonies, of which the infamous Crow Rate is an prime example.

Get over your envy and obsession with the US, Ontario, you, Ontario, are the reason that Alberta prefers to trade with the United States.

That's it for now, I could critique Koyzis 'research' piece more, later, but if I say anything more, it will probably be expounding on the above.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-04 3:35:32 PM

Well said, Speller. They are envious of us, and we are lucky to have the US as an alternative to them. Someday, Alberta will have to make that relationship permanent.

What in the hell is Redeemer University? I know it's in Ontario, which surprises me because from personal experience I know that Ontarians do not worship God, only money and themselves.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-04 5:40:43 PM

Redeemer University is an amazing university in which young people serve God in every sphere of life. There are people in Ontario who worship God. It's not really fair to lump all of us into one category.

Posted by: a student | 2005-10-04 9:03:48 PM

From that Walrus article:

"Not only are Flanagan and Morton U.S.-born, but Cooper is a member of the Bohemian Club, a fraternity of Republican movers and shakers who fork out a $10,000 initiation fee to gather every year in the redwoods outside San Francisco for a policy version of summer camp. In a crowd that has included Henry Kissinger and Vice-President Dick Cheney, Cooper gives a regular talk on Canadian politics – one reason the Calgary School's views may hold more sway in Washington than Ottawa."

What's the Bohemian Club all about?

Posted by: Kaliph | 2005-10-04 9:26:49 PM

'a student', fair has nothing to do with it. Perhaps when Ontario is no longer an immanent threat to our way of life, as it is and has been, we can make nice.

The children of God should be the salt of the earth, you have lost your savour. What tiny remanent of you exist, if you have faith, should stop grieving the Spirit and come out from among them.
II Cor 6:14-15
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

When a man says one thing, but does another, it is wise to pay attention to what he does, not what he says.

Ontario is utterly corrupt.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-04 10:28:04 PM

Flannigan and Morton are US born?! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! How could they? I mean, we all make choices right? Yet they chose to be born in the US! BASTARDS!

Posted by: Raging Ranter | 2005-10-04 10:53:08 PM

Speller: actually, throwing in the towel and "coming out from among" Ontarians who have lost the way is not what I consider being salt of the earth. I wouldn't suggest that central Canadian Christians are proving wholly successful in reforming a broken, materialist, consumerist culture, but better, in my view, to be here -- trying and waiting for Help -- than to flee in horror for safer ground.

This kind of cultural engagement happens to underpin the journal from which this debate has sprung.

Posted by: Dan | 2005-10-04 11:10:50 PM

Dan, if you think Ontarians can't go to the nearest bookstore or library and get a bible to read then just say so. There are even CDs for the blind and illiterate.

It isn't a christians job to 'reform' anybody but themselves.

Why did Christ die on the cross? So Dan could run around 'reforming' other people?

Who do you think you are God? Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: not of WORKS, lest any man should boast.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-05 12:05:17 AM

There are Ontarians who worship God? Are they old people from the days when Toronto was called "The Methodist Rome"?

Ontario is the new Gamorrah, where sin is in. Anything goes, there will be no punishment because you people think you've reach the pinnacle of human achievement. Any visit to downtown Toronto will reveal lots of drugs, crime, prostitution, strip clubs, and all kinds of temptation - even the beggars are rich compared to many.

Boy it's going to be fun to see you people fall. Don't expect us to throw you a life preserver.

My fellow Albertans, we must see Ontario as the example of what not to do with our society. They're spending money like it was limitless. While we do have a strong and wealthy economy, we cannot forget that it could all be over tomorrow. Will Rogers said: "Save a third, spend a third and use a third to live". If we follow that, we'll live quite comfortably for generations.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-05 7:50:51 AM

Speller, you wrote:

"It isn't a christians job to 'reform' anybody but themselves."

You've also quoted the New Testament twice, so I wonder how you might reconcile your above comment with our commission, from Matthew 28:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

While demonizing Ontario may be expedient to justify pulling up political and missional stakes and letting the whole place burn, it doesn't exactly parallel Christ's call to witness.

Posted by: Dan | 2005-10-05 8:18:06 AM

So let's see...you're storing a third of your oil, burning another third, and taking baths in the last. Ontario is "spending money like it was limitless"? Have you happened to notice the fiscal direction of your premier? Alberta's spending on those wicked social services is going up by nearly 10%. But who cares? Klein lives in Alberta, so he must be a pure believer along with the rest of you. Yeesh. Those who talk about scary Albertans are right -- you're not just provincial, you're some kind of weird cult.

Actually, there are many Albertans I like and have respect for. But you and Speller are not among them. You're too busy being separate. Have fun with that, or...whatever it is you do. Maybe go kill something.

P.S. This is not a play for your oil. Keep it, please. It's not black gold -- it's crazy juice.

Posted by: James | 2005-10-05 8:23:40 AM

Thanks, James. Adding insult to injury is just what Albertans need to read.

Keep it up. Keep voting Liberal Ontario.

I don't care if you think we're scary or not, James.

Your disposition is irrelevant. Time is on our side.

One other thing, the Alberta Progressives are acting just like the BC NDP did in the end. Albertans see that clearly.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-05 8:47:48 AM

Dan, good to see you have a bible. Christ did in fact commission the eleven to go forth, preach the gospell, and keep His commandments, and they did. So? Where do you get the 'OUR COMMISION' part from?

I ask again, is there anybody in Ontario that can say that they have never heard of a bible of can't get hold of one?

Maybe if you search a little, if you know what a concordance is, you'll find that these eleven delivered the gospell to the whole world in their lifetime and fullfilled that command.

Colossians 1:5-6 for instance. I have an interlinear bible, as well as other sources, and in the original Greek is really does say it was accomplished nearly two millenia ago.

If you really do think the commission is a command to all christians to preach the gospell, why don't you go to some of the rare places on earth where it isn't known anymore after being expunged? Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, etc. places like that?

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-05 10:36:48 AM

Dan, maybe you should go to that rare and precious place, Alberta. Take a dictionary. Speller already has a concordance for you and his name belies his abilities.

Posted by: James | 2005-10-05 10:56:21 AM

Poor old you Dan - you must be pea green with envy. Why don't you go to one of your liebral 'councilors' they will help you blame the West or The President of Unuited States for all of your apparent failings as a man. Speller is too informed for the likes of you, go debate with 'conservative' Greg Weston, Joe Clark , the Scottie little softie, or the mother of all eastern conservatives; BS, herself. You would feel a lot better about yourself to stay with your own ilk.

Posted by: jema54 | 2005-10-05 12:03:14 PM

Who said anything about debating? Debating is rooted in argument which, as any Monty Python aficionado would know, is a "connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition." So...let's see: "Ontarians do not worship God, only money and themselves" (Scott); "Ontario is utterly corrupt" (Speller); "Ontario is the new Gamorrah" (Scott).

If we were *actually* debating, I could remind you that Ontario is that other province with a massive inbalance between what it sends to Ottawa and what it receives (or, does not receive) in equalization payments, and recall that Big Government dragged your oil industry by the shirt collar until it was strong enough to stand on its own, AND that before it was strong enough, you were collecting equalization payments for seven years -- equalization payments that came from oh-so-corrupt Ontario.

Moreover, I could remind you that, even now, Ontario as a province is NOT taking money from you -- Ottawa is (that's where our federal government resides), and that Ontario's own fiscal imbalance is $23 billion, according to the Chamber of Commerce. However, don't let *that* keep you from biting your nose off to spite your face.

But this isn't a debate. It was a couple of Albertans, as I recall, who decided to start crapping all over Ontario as godless and corrupt. And why would we want to vote for a party that's only going to take it's hand out of one wallet -- the West's -- leaving Ontario holding the bag for the whole country, like it always has? It all goes back to keeping your friends near and your enemies nearer; or, better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

As for "apparent failings as a man", well, all I can say is, "Come here and say that."

Posted by: James | 2005-10-05 1:24:06 PM

James and Dan: No real Man would vote for a criminal gang of thugs, a billionare gang that steals from ALL TAXPAYERS - even their cow towing idolizers in Ontario. A grown up man (or woman) has developed a sense of honor that goes beyond teen-age crushes or billionare 'big boy' worship (eg. the desire to gain personal status by being associated and/or supporting the money and the entities that CONTOL the money). You believe that defending these 'big shots' makes you one of them!) The challange I was giving your manhood, Dan, was moral and intellectual; not physical; I wasn't looking to get punched in the eye by a person probably bigger and stonger than myself. Your responses to Speller and Scott further prove the huge moral devide that separates the east from the west in this nation. I am sure you would be happy to see the last of the likes of us - we go with our land and resources.

Posted by: jema54 | 2005-10-05 1:53:46 PM

I fail to see how excerpts lifted from one of the greatest classic fictional docu-dramas are directly relevent to the discussion of the relationship between Alberta & TRoC. It seems to me that a more reasonable argument goes like the one presented by David Jones, political minister counsellor at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa from 1992-96, in The Hill Times, on 2003-04-28:

"From a U.S. perspective, one puzzles over the durability of Canadian unity in the West, and more specifically its attraction for Alberta. A Canadian political maxim has emphasized the patriotic commitment of Western Canadians to Canada, but it appears to be more based in residual sentiment of history than in 21st century logic. Just what is in it for Alberta? What does "Canada" supply that Alberta does not already have or could not supply for itself?

"Federalist Albertans insist that they need to better communicate the needs and more importantly the wishes of the West. They seek a Canada with political, economic, and cultural equality for all through effective representation and communication. For them the reasons for remaining in the Canadian Confederation are the same reasons that were presented for joining Confederation: transportation infrastructure; a larger polity; defence; and social programs -- the everyday goings on that we so often forget.

"But to be specific, Albertan taxpayers deliver far more to Ottawa than they receive: their funds go as support payments for many other Canadian provinces. In contrast to Ontario, their visibility in the federal government and among the governing Liberals is minimal. The issues with the most resonance in Alberta: ratification of the Kyoto Accord; the gun registry expenses; increased private health care; are ignored or decided against Albertan preferences. For example, west of Manitoba cementing the "French fact" does not get one per cent of the attention that it receives in Ottawa.

"And this is the way it will always be. As long as the Canadian political structure provides only for "rep by pop," the West would have to have population levels equivalent to Ontario and Quebec to modify the current socio-economic agenda. If, as some Liberals have tongue-in-cheek suggested, Alberta should elect more Liberals, it would still be meaningless. Alberta's delegation could be 100 per cent Liberals -- and still its interests would take a back seat to those of Ontario and Quebec.

"In contrast to Quebec, Alberta is debt free. Its economy is booming and unemployment is minimal. Alberta is flush with natural resources and has a guaranteed market for them. It has a well-educated electorate and sophisticated political leadership. With no coast line, it has even less need for an independent defence capability than does the rest of Canada (stand on guard against Montana, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories?).

"In Ralph Klein, Ottawa has the most Canada-centric premier Alberta is ever likely to elect. And Ottawa treats him as if he is some inebriated oaf with oil stained jeans. If he suggests that there are concerns among some Albertans about their status in Canada, he gets a snotty lecture from Intergovernmental Minister Stéphane Dion -- so condescending in tone that even Premier Klein responded that he wasn't going to be hectored by a junior minister in Ottawa who henceforth should communicate with his provincial equivalent. And, if Premier Klein writes a letter to U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci to express sympathy with and support for the coalition effort in Iraq, he gets a slap down lecture from Deputy Prime Minister John Manley over federal primacy in foreign relations (and leaves one wondering why Ottawa had nothing to say about Premier Landry's vigorous rejection of Canadian participation in Iraq). And commentators appear surprised that the "firewall" concept for Alberta is getting a second look?

"Western Canadians have spent a political generation saying, "The West wants in." It is no closer to being "in" than the Glacial Ice Fields are to being a tropical resort. For those who thought that April 14 meant that Canada was out of the separatist woods, it may just have entered a grassy glade in the midst of the forest."

Do we have a debate yet, James?

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-05 2:25:25 PM

Indeed. That is, if the reasonableness of Mr. Jones's view is reflected in your own. And if you don't ask silly questions like, "Are you a man? Or are you morally and intellectually weak? Pick one." About half of Canada's population would quite rightly take offense at that.

The truth is, all the issues raised by Mr. Jones are legitimate concerns. Alberta *does* have a democratic imbalance compared to the East that matches or exceeds its fiscal imbalance. Alberta is also justifiably concerned about recent proposals to create some idiotic scheme that is not the NEP yet somehow does the same thing. It is no wonder that Albertans are glancing not-so-shyly south.

And yet, judging by the Albertans I know, rather than the Albertans I read about, Albertans are NOT Montanans -- at least, not more so than Ontarians are New Yorkers. Despite increasing privatization (some of which is a fantastic idea, like the Liquor Board, and some of which is just owning up to reality, like certain health services), Albertans enjoy the benefits of Canadian-style social services. They also benefit from provincial regulation of the energy industry that brings in enough money to support such services.

Now, the question is whether Alberta has enough commitment to the Canadian way of doing things to help poorer provinces enjoy at least *some* of those same advantages (and we're talking the Maritimes here, not Ontario), without skinflinty grumbling. Ontario has done this for many, many years. Naturally, that commitment *must* be rewarded with a stronger political voice. And I'm sorry I'm not in a position to help you with that (incidentally, I did NOT vote for the Liberals). At the same time, I would appreciate it if certain individuals on this board would stop spreading manure on my house -- because I will give as good as I get.

Posted by: James | 2005-10-05 3:04:24 PM

Alberta's net contribution to the poorer provinces, James, currently runs about $12 billion annually, or about $16,000 a year for a family of four. Over a working life of 40 years, an average tax payer can expect to spend $320,000 on helping the poorer provinces.

Over the 36 years ending 2004, during which time Canada has had Quebecers as prime ministers for all but 18 months, Albertans have suffered a net loss to the Canadian treasury of $167 billion dollars, and Quebec has extorted a net gain of $201 billion dollars.

But why is Quebec a poor province, given its industrial base, it's hydro-power resources, its great cities, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes, and its proximity to the largest US markets? Is it lazy, or greedy, or something else and I'm just missing it?

Albertans are right to be at a minimum thoroughly pissed off and at a maximum ready to leave. Do Albertans have "enough" commitment, James? I dunno, how much is that? Just how much does the gi'me gi'me crowd want from us, and why exactly are they yelling at us instead of saying "please" and "thank you"? That's just common grace, after all.

In the National Post, on 2002-09-30, Premier Klein said: "If you ask Albertans now if they want to leave, they would say no. But don't push us too hard." It's already three years later, and things are getting worse. Time is running out, James.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-05 3:37:24 PM

Jayms wrote:

"Albertans enjoy the benefits of Canadian-style social services."

Tsk, where to begin? What,pray, are these "Canadian-style" social services whose benefits weigh against the negatives you yourself acknowledge Alberta experiences in confederation? Federal services in french? The CBC? Enlightment, please, it's been awhile since I've enjoyed a good Canadian-style social service.

"They also benefit from provincial regulation of the energy industry that brings in enough money to support such services."

What's your point, James, that because the constitution grants power over natural resources to the provinces, we should exnay on the firewalls thing and be happy little Canadians? Perhaps you should be more thankful natural resources vest in the provinces, since were it the alternative, Alberta would have kissed this diseased dominion goodbye around the time oil was $10/barrel.

"Now, the question is whether Alberta has enough commitment to the Canadian way of doing things to help poorer provinces enjoy at least *some* of those same advantages (and we're talking the Maritimes here, not Ontario), without skinflinty grumbling."

If, by "commitment to the Canadian way of doing things" you mean continuing to forward tens of billions to Ottawa in "transfer payments" OVER AND ABOVE the hundreds of billions Alberta personal (with record levels of employment) and corporate (with record levels of profits) taxpayers already pay in federal income and sales taxes and EI/CPP benefits OVER AND ABOVE the chunk the feds take in the form of excise and other levies from our provincially-owned natural resources OVER AND ABOVE the other sundry billions spent by flush Albertans on things like CSBs and federal t-bills only to see the Lieberals piss it away with great glee on things that resonate with Albertans like federal sponsorship programs, national gun registries, "Kyoto" programs that exempt the smoke-belching Ontario auto industry or doled out for months as EI to Maritimers after they've put in a few weeks painting the walls of their closed fish plants, the answer is "no".

Posted by: Great Walls of Fire | 2005-10-05 3:44:52 PM

Albertan's know that in the beginning their energy resources where developed with American capital, primarily Standard Oil of New Jersey and British American Oil Company, not Canadian. What Canadian capital there was came from local farmers.

Albertan's know that an estimated $127 Billion, with a (B) was taken from their province's NON-renewable resources during the NEP of the 1980s.

Alberta did receive federal transfer payments for seven years, from 1957-1964. The total transfer was $92 Million dollars with an (M).

Yes folks, a paltry $92 Million dollars, or .072% over seven years of what was taken during the NEP which lasted four years. This doesn't include the $200 Billion Alberta has payed in transfer payments since the NEP was shut down.

Why, with Alberta's apparent prosperity from 1905-1957 did Alberta need transfer payments for seven years? Hmmm. What occured during this period that caused Alberta to need money from Ottawa over these seven years?

Section 109 of the Constituion Act 1867 gave complete control of resources to the provinces, yet from 1905-1930, 25 years or 1/4 of Alberta existence, Ottawa, really Ontario, illegally took the lions share without any compensation. This was the semi-colonial period.

From 1941, invasion of Soviet Union by Germany, the Canadian government formed the Canadian Wheat Pool, and practically gave away the wheat of the western provinces until the USSR's dissolution. The CWP continues to this day to sell western grain at below market prices jailing any western wheat farmer who dares to sell outside the government regulations.

In the 1950s to early 1960s the Seven Sisters, Dutch/Shell, British Petroleum, Imperial/Exon, Texaco, Gulf, Standard Oil of California, and Mobil were the primary developers of Alberta energy resources.

Alberta's energy sector saw a relative period of stability during this time with Ottawa taking less than 20% of gross production revenue in addition to the Crown royalties regime.

1980s, the incursion of the Trudeau governments NEP. Exact figures are difficult to come by here. They are concealed by the Freedom of Information Act. The true figures must be horrifying to cause what comes next. Trudeau struck a deal with Lougheed for 30% Alberta government production revenues/ 25.5% Federal government revenues and a garanteed price of oil and gas at 75% of world market for eastern Canada.(not counting Crown royalties)the basic structure of this deal exists to this day.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-05 4:31:40 PM

Absolutely. The PMO's office has been occupied by a Quebec representative for so long (and we all know how much power that office wields relative to the House) that I'm surprised *Ontario* is not more upset about the situation.

I'm not really in a position to comment on your numbers, as I'm not sure what they're based on (I'm not saying they're wrong -- just that the *total* equalization program is worth about $11 billion, so you must be including additional revenue streams. Perhaps it is comparable to the OCC's claimed "$23 billion shortfall," which means Albertans contribute MORE per capita than Ontarians do...).

How much is enough? The Constitution's clause on equalization payments is probably a good start: enough "to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation."

As for Quebec, it is interesting to me that I don't hear more analysis from both Alberta and Ontario as to *why* certain provinces are underperforming. It would make sense that those provinces who are net losers on equalization (being net winners economically) would have an interest in the economic governance of those poorer provinces. That's not to say that they might all have the capacity to be financial powerhouses; some may be receiving equalization until the sun's last setting on Canada. At the same time, we should hear some accounting for the management of the resources they do have.

Finally, you have my full agreement on the attitude of those provinces who are receiving handouts. I recently got a dirty look from a panhandler when I informed him I did not have any change (he also asked me while I was on the phone) and barely managed to keep myself from giving the guy a piece of my mind for his rudeness. Same goes for our national panhandlers. They don't need to keep their heads down but simply recognize that their fellow Canadians have worked hard to be in a position to share their prosperity.

Posted by: James | 2005-10-05 5:01:07 PM

The thing is, James, I am more than surprised that Ontario is not more upset about the situation -- I'm suspicious. Something's rotten on Hans Island ;-) I think that's what's got Scott and Speller's knickers in a twist too.

I'm not generally in favour of the equalization concept; Alberta is starving for employees, but instead of Canadians moving here to help pull the weight and concomitantly benefit thereto, the Liberals take Albertans' money and pay other Canadians to stay where they are. Everybody is served poorly.

Everybody, of course, except those with their hooves in the trough. Even if we agree with concept in the constitutional clause, ensuring that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation stops making sense when we see the implementation mechanism, suffused with corruption, funding Bubbles Galore instead of our relationship with our great neighbour and trivially most important trading partner. If Ontario repeatedly ignores that, or worse, supports it, then (at least as an abstract collective) it is complicit.

That's when the fact that Alberta can't do anything about it (because of the imbalance of power in Canada) forces our hand, and we have to consider our options. We have a responsibility to ourselves too, not just Quebec, or even Canada.

As I said, we're pissed off (as an abstract collective). Like the Mining Planet in the original Star Trek, we toil away at bringing the Earth's bounty to all its citizens, far from the warmth of the Toronto Symphony or Montreal's bistros, and for that our tax dollars are used to pay a coven on sycophants on the CBC to drool and spray spittle while they lecture us on how stupid we are.

Well, I've got news for the CBC and the TRoC: we do not just go out in the back forty with a squirrel rifle, miss the varmint we're aimin' at, and up from the ground comes a bubblin' crude. (Call for Jed Clampett, Black Gold courtesy telephone please.) Alberta has many of the most highly talented petroleum energy infrastructure engineers in the world. If we weren't smart, we would have run out of easy fuels long ago, and by now you would be, as Lougheed said, freezing in the dark.

Somebody in Old Canada better start paying attention, or as Russel's dad says, somebody's gonna' get a hurt.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-05 5:34:41 PM

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Posted by: maz2 | 2005-10-05 6:55:50 PM

Oh this is just great. Now the Liberals say they're going to convert their over-extortions from those who are productive (sorry, surpluses) into vote buying (sorry, welfare cheques) for, you guessed it, the whole electorate (also known as Quebec & Ontario).

What the hell, exactly, are you people trying to do? Explicitly drive Alberta into the welcoming arms of Dick Cheny? Be careful what you wish for, it's not like we're not already tempted.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-05 7:15:36 PM

Heh. I hear you, Tony. I've been to the oil sands in Fort Mac and seen the scale and complexity of the petroleum infrastructure -- it's very impressive.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to continue this conversation but it has been very interesting. Thank you.

Posted by: James | 2005-10-06 10:24:29 AM

Thank you too, James. Your very presence has shown that at least some people who are nominally Ontarians are perfectly reasonable. Perhaps that will help some people who ostensibly claim to be on Alberta's side from always shooting us in the foot.

Posted by: Tony | 2005-10-06 1:11:24 PM

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