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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nuke the Rednecks and take their oil

[originally posted to Daimnation!]

The federal Liberals have done really well for themselves these past few years, playing off Alberta against the rest of the country.  So there must have been high-fives all around the PMO this weekend if anyone noticed the latest Corner Brook Western Star column (not available online) by Newfoundland talk-radio host Bill Rowe - who normally bewails the mismanagement of this province's resources by the federal government - stopping just short of demanding Ottawa seize Alberta's oil fields:

Alberta has impeccable credentials to become [Newfoundland's] mentor.  By pure dumb luck, Alberta possesses the oil resources of a Saudi Arabia.  It's as if they won a gigantic lottery without even having to buy a ticket.  And they carry on now as if they invented the oil themselves rather than merely stumbling upon it already there.  [That's why the streets are paved with gold in oil-rich Nigeria and Venezuela. - Ed.]  Plus, they chastise the rest of us for not being intelligent and hard-working enough to have their wealth and low income tax rate and no sales tax.  You've got to love their chutzpah.

And will they share any of their windfall surpluses with the rest of us benighted idiots across Canada?  Yeah right.  Freeze in the dark, eastern bastards.

Moreover, Alberta's oil industry spews out many times more atmospheric pollutants than any other province, for which the rest of Canada has to bear the financial brunt internationally.

But no sir, no sharing of their fluky oil revenues.  Indeed, many Albertans would still like to dig up Trudeau and put a stake through his heart for daring to make them share during the 1970s energy crisis.

Never mind that as oil revenues increase and the Alberta economy booms, Albertans will pay millions more into federal equalization programs.  Never mind that no one ever complains about Quebec refusing to share its massive revenues from hydroelectric power with the rest of Canada.  Never mind that no one ever snarks about Ontario being "just lucky" in being right next door to the massive American market, making it a prime location for American (and Japanese) branch plants.  Never mind that Alberta and Newfoundland, which is trying to build its own resource-based economy free of Ottawa's meddling, are natural allies.  And never mind that the Albertan oil boom has provided high-paying jobs to thousands of Newfoundlanders - some cities, like Fort McMurray, are practically Newfoundland colonies - who would otherwise be stuck scrounging for enough weeks of work to collect Employment Insurance.  Never mind all that.  Alberta has oil, oil is expensive right now, and they should share the wealth.  But they better not get uppity and think they should have any real say in how this country is run!

I have no more respect for "Alberta separatists" than I do for their Quebec counterparts.  But at times like this, I have to admit, I can sort of see where they're coming from.

Posted by Damian Penny on October 23, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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In his remarks, Harper also acknowledged the cowboy getup, but said: "Calgarians have seen worse. The first time Jean Chretien went to the Calgary Stampede he wore a fox hat. I was told this is how it came about ... his scheduler asked him if he wanted to go to the Calgary Stampede. 'They want me to go to Calgary? Where the fock's that?'"

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-10-23 9:40:13 AM

My memory isn't what it used to be but wasn't there something earlier this year about a federal non-confidence vote? Didn't Adscam Martin buy support from the east coast with something called the Atlantic Accord or some such thing? What was that, again? Without the aid of google and with just what's left of my failing memory, it seems to me that it was an agreement that allows Newfoundland to retain their offshore oil revenue without it affecting their equalization payments. If this is as I remember it, it sounds a lot like "we want Alberta to continue to send us money from THEIR oil industry while we're raking in cash from OUR oil industry becaue Alberta is just lucky to have an oil industry."

Take a look at a map showing where the oil industry is, in the west. Isn't it odd how the producing wells come to such an abrubt stop at the border of our socialist eastern neighbour? Could it be that there is more than luck involved in having a thriving oil industry?

Posted by: Rob R | 2005-10-23 9:41:49 AM

I think the keyword is here is 'sharing'. How each side interprets how much Alberta's sharing quite differently. Alberta contributes a lot, $9b more than it receives. Ontario contributes $23b more than it receives back. These are substantial sums, about 1/6th the entire federal budget. If it isn't enough, then I think the problem is in Ottawa, not Alberta or Ontario.

Perhaps Ottawa is overspending just a tad, wasting not only Alberta and Ontario's money but the tax money they collect for themselves. They say that they are running surpluses, but it doesn't seem to be helping. It seems that it is easier to waste someone else's money than your own.

Finally, it is easy to see this as simple politicking. Alberta bashing is a sport down East, where we are treated with complete contempt. Instead of being appreciated, they demand more and more. Yet the largest untapped source of wealth on the planet exists around them: Ontario's investments. They have more money invested in the US and around the world than anyone else - in the hundreds of billions. But neither the Feds nor Ontario's governments will allow a dime of it to be touched, unless it cost them an election. Both their financial shortcomings and political fortunes could be preserved by taking it from Alberta. What a country!

This is why we have to resist to the bitter end, even to the point of secession. These people have it far too easy and need to be taught a lesson. They will never learn responsibility if they keep on like this. Giving them money is like giving free drugs to an addict - they'll just demand more and more. Or like giving a teenager a credit card - they'll use it until they max it out, then demand that the parents pay it off. No. It has to stop. Alberta's energy wealth is a priceless resource that must be carefully governed. It already makes a substantial contribution to your country, but you people seem to be abusing it. The problem isn't our reluctance - it's your greed and irresponsibility.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-23 10:11:46 AM

The feds want Alberta's oil, after all Ralph is the next strongest opposition to Martin next to Harper and the Tories.


Posted by: Jonathan Strong | 2005-10-23 10:39:17 AM

Bill who?

Posted by: Meursault | 2005-10-23 10:54:32 AM

I don't think we should let opinions like this get us too excited. We share, and share plenty. Its no coincidence that Ottawa is also running surpluses. Those rich oil-workers are paying taxes. Hey, even Saskatchewan is a have province now, meaning that cash going to Regina can now be diverted to St. John's.

But now we are told we should be sharing more more MORE, and if we question it... well we're just a a bunch of greedy bastards who won the lottery. Yes I suppose it is like winning the lottery, but don't forget in this game the oil industry can bust just as quickly as it boomed and those fine people out east will quickly forget that we were the ones who cushioned them through the nasty price shocks.

As far as pollution goes, there would be no pollution if there was no demand for the oil. It's like blaming grain farmers for those fat-creating carbohydrates. If you object to pollution, stop burning fuel, and stop crying about high gas prices.

Ultimately, Alberta should be managing its current windfall to ensure it lives up to its motto: Strong and Free.

Posted by: Norman Lorrain | 2005-10-23 11:07:22 AM

Dear 'Small Dead' ,

Damian Penny who posted Bill Rowe's drivel in order to demonstrate its absurdity is a Newfoundlander who can speak for himself as to the pejorative 'Newfie'. But this Newfoundlander, despite 20 years in Toronto, detests the term. Its use in this case is gratuitous, unnecessary and distracts from the rank stupidity of Rowe's hack job.

He is a former leader of the provincial Liberal party among other things.

Posted by: Barry Stagg | 2005-10-23 11:17:19 AM

Speaking of Librano$$$$$$$$$
Dingwall's wifey hits the wall? Or, Who hits the road? >>>>

Dingwall gets a rubbing

OTTAWA - David Dingwall didn’t bill taxpayers $63 for a massage in Bangkok, as a Tory MP suggested Friday, but he did take more than that - about $260 Cdn - in a cash advance from the hotel where he was staying, records show. (Halifax Chronicle Herald)

Anyone taking bets on what he used the extra cash for? I wonder what questions Mrs. Dingwall is asking this morning. - Leo


Posted by: maz2 | 2005-10-23 11:30:43 AM

Newfie logic? ELB logic? What's the difference? Typical of the ELB's [eastern liberal bastards/bitches]. They are not worth a response. As we all know easterner's culture is very different from our's and more akin to bacteria. If it is indeed a higher form is it above that of curb worms and leaches? I can't imagine going through life as most of you do, working for the Government, living off of grants or welfare, or waking up every morning knowing you meant nothing to achievement or accomplishment.
Born sucking on a teat, your whole working life sucking on a teat, retire sucking the same teat, it must be horrible when you look in the mirror when your life is about to end and think, I really was just an ant in the hill. There is one thing I would really like to know, is it true that in your contract with life and the liberal government, you are only to be buried a foot deep?

Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-10-23 11:31:53 AM

There's hardly a region in Canada that couldn't thrive economically by introducing property rights and similtaneously removing the dead hand of statist bureaucracy.

Alberta is no shining example of minimal government but only one that is more business-friendly than its neighbours.

Canada (Trudeauopia) is cursed with regional parasitism on top of a quagmire of over-regulation, statist intervention and commercial involvement, rent seekers and about 600 barriers to free inter-provincial trade.

Alberta's separation may be the answer but only if they reform these problems rather than firewall them.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2005-10-23 11:46:07 AM

If we take a look at history of countries disputing natural riches, maybe we could find some solutions.

I would tend to suggest a huge reform of our federal system. Why not look into the US system for examples? They had a war about slavery. Could it be considered some natural riches the Confederates wanted to keep? Or free workforce they needed? The ensuing war was won by the Yankees. It was a painful war.

There is a question. Is it possible that a split between West and East could bring a war? I am not too sure about that. There is a deeper problem than riches. The moral values in the East are disintegrating.

What I would suggest is a federal government of
states, not provinces. So each state would be independent except for some domains like army, navy etc. There could not be any transfer of money. Transfering riches looks like the old imperialistic powers who were transfering riches from third world countries to their own countries. Think of the Spanish gallions carrying gold to Spain.

Right now, if people complain of riches in Alberta, let them move to Alberta so they can enjoy the life there.

A poet was saying: if you want to drive a man crazy, give him money while he doesn't have to work for it.

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2005-10-23 12:17:00 PM

Remi: what exactly would the Easterners fight for?

1) Alberta's oil wealth, which their own leaders would spend recklessly.

2) To prove that it's either their way or the highway?

3) To cover up the fact that they've been abusing their privileges for a very long time?

or maybe just because they just like killing. It explains the daily death in Toronto. They couldn't give a damn about Albertans. But Albertans do, which is why if Ontario invades, we'll give them all the war that they want. They'll send their soldiers to Iraq to recuperate.

But let's be serious, that will never happen. The US would make sure of a peaceful transition.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-23 2:00:33 PM

As one of these Alberta Separatists, may I also question why Rowe never got too worked up about Newfoundland winning the lottery through the mid 20th century by just happening to be nestled in one of the world's most productive fishing grounds?

Posted by: Lars Ormberg | 2005-10-23 2:43:35 PM

I liked the part about digging up Trudeau and putting a stake through his heart. We should look into doing that.

Posted by: underemployed buddha | 2005-10-23 3:15:24 PM

buddha: He never had a heart.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-23 3:39:53 PM

Perhaps Mr. Rowe is upset because so many young Newfoundlanders are moving to Alberta to make a living, but he doesn't feel he can say so directly? I certainly wouldn't put Newfoundlanders down too much, though, based on the ones I've met here, who are all very hardworking; however, perhaps that's the problem: All of the young, capable people are leaving Newfoundland (and Saskatchewan) and this is a way to lash out. Though, of course, the brain drain isn't anything new, is it? Hmmm. Shoulda joined my home country, we might have fished you out, too, but we wouldn't have done it so *quickly*, and you'd have two Senate seats with real power . . . too late for that though . . .

Posted by: Meg Q | 2005-10-23 4:09:58 PM

underemployed buddha, you can probably apply for a government grant for that...

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-10-23 4:11:05 PM

underemployed buddha, you can probably apply for a government grant for that...

Posted by: MarkAlta | 2005-10-23 4:12:06 PM

Ignore Bill Rowe. We think he's an idiot here in Newfoundland, I can only imagine what you must think of him down in Alberta. I nearly vomited when I read that column in "The Telegram" today. Bill Rowe does NOT speak for Newfoundlanders. He's a loudmouth and says things just to get attention.

Rest Assured, Alberta: Newfoundland loves you and supports you in all you do. After all, we have the same problem: the federal government.

Posted by: Dante | 2005-10-23 5:00:03 PM

Albertan insiders know the most profitable thing about separation is to use it as a powerful crow-bar on Ottawa.

Quebecers have long since learned that actual separation would just leave them out in the cold with serious CIA and border crossings problems. I'll explain CIA later.

So Albertans in the know will wait until the appropriate time and rattle the sabre of sepratism just when they need some big concession from Ottawa.

That's what North Korea does every time it wants to bump up it's foreign aid cheques.

Iran was heading that way, but the supressed yuppie population is getting brazen with their stick in the mud Iatolla leaders, and it may not be long before they rebel, much as quebecers did against the spooky black robed Prests and nuns.

Albertans will feel much more at home eventually when Harper and the CPC get back in. 73s TG

Posted by: TonyGuitar | 2005-10-23 5:50:23 PM

Albertan insiders know the most profitable thing about separation is to use it as a powerful crow-bar on Ottawa.

Quebecers have long since learned that actual separation would just leave them out in the cold with serious CIA and border crossings problems. I'll explain CIA later.

So Albertans in the know will wait until the appropriate time and rattle the sabre of sepratism just when they need some big concession from Ottawa.

That's what North Korea does every time it wants to bump up it's foreign aid cheques.

Iran was heading that way, but the supressed yuppie population is getting brazen with their stick in the mud Iatolla leaders, and it may not be long before they rebel, much as quebecers did against the spooky black robed Prests and nuns.

Albertans will feel much more at home eventually when Harper and the CPC get back in. 73s TG

Posted by: TonyGuitar | 2005-10-23 5:59:42 PM

The sabre rattling comment is too cynical. There are people in Quebec that are serious about separation. It is their politicians that have acquired the cynicism of using separatism as a crowbar.

I believe in separatism for real. I think that there is room in the world for a true nation of freedom and enterprise. My country excludes Ontario and Quebec, other than as free trade partners.

Posted by: Bob Sonntag | 2005-10-23 6:11:58 PM

TonyGuitar....the separation issue is real here in Alberta........and Penny, get used to it as the sentiments to leave this useless confederation are only going to grow...

And one more Liberal majority which is probably likely considering the stupidity of the Eastern voters, then you can finally say goodbye to the meal ticket known as Alberta!!

Republic of Alberta....

Has such a nice ring too it eh folks!!

Posted by: Albertanator | 2005-10-23 6:27:27 PM

Dante's right. Here in NL we have the exact same problem that albertan's have: The federal Government. I've never understood this east-west animosity thing. If anything, we should be fighting together because we're both held down by the FederaL Government. The list of the Federal (LIBERAL) Government's abuse of Newfoundland, it's resources, and it's people is far too long too bring up here.

As for Row, please ignore his histrionics. He's just a loudmouth and most people down here don't take him seriously. He, by no means, speaks for Newfoundland.

Personally, I think that you should all lay off bashing the atlantic accord. What was happening before was that the feds would give us equalization payments, and for every oil dollar we made (which is a pittance as compared to what THEY rake in from OUR oil...they have a license to print money from our oil) from the oil, they'd claw one dollar back. Essentially, it kept us in economic stagnation - No way to get ahead. Now, i don't want my province to be on equalization anymore than the rest of canada does, but, by allowing us to top up our cash, pay down our debt, and invest this cash (which is rightfully ours) in infrastructure and economic development of our resources, we are, setting ourselves on the road to economic prosperity. Newfoundland is literally poised to become a have province, which means no more equalization (Imagine!). I think that this is something both Albertans and Newfoundlanders want. Then, when there is no more economic dependence on the Feds, this whole liberal culture of handouts dies an agonizing and quick death.

Boom! Newfoundland opens up to the conservatives in it's rural areas.

I apologize for the poor quality of this post, but i'm in a hurry to be somewhere.

Posted by: shawna | 2005-10-23 6:31:47 PM

Robert M.

It's a damn good thing for you that you are an Eastern bastard, because we Western boys would take you out behind the woodshed and show you where the bearshit in the buckwheat is!!!!

Then, we will separate from that communist Eastern Bloc you call home, and watch you freeze in the dark!

Then we'll never have to hear your endless WHINGING again!!

Posted by: Needlemeyer | 2005-10-23 9:25:58 PM

...The magnetic attraction of the capital city is merely increased by the introduction of new technology for spreading the word about the comfortable life that awaits the rancid lot who master the art of careers on the government tab. After all, a big-haired, capped-tooth shill for government-funded business is as useful in Newfoundland as in Toronto. There is plenty of demand in the bowels of state capitalism for those who, through either stupidity or self-interest, are content to hold their tongues and noses as money goes to waste in the service of useless and insulting substitutes for the real work of the industries eliminated by government folly and malice....

From something I wrote a few years ago:


Posted by: Barry Stagg | 2005-10-23 9:50:41 PM

It's a mellow night in Calgary. Indian summer, before the hard frost settles in. Just about 20c where I live, today. Easy breeze.

Posted by: Speller | 2005-10-23 11:09:13 PM

Your right Speller.......it really was/is a beautiful night here in Calgary....very very mild indeed......

Posted by: Albertanator | 2005-10-24 12:08:13 AM

Speller: it sounds like Global Warming, and only handing over all your money, your home, and losing your job can stop it from happening again. Even though Ontario is just as affected, they don't have to do the same things.

And people wonder why Albertans are unhappy!

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-24 12:09:09 AM

Sorry about the double post. One got hung up and after a time I thought it was lost. So then it comes in after killing time on some server and makes me look like a double double. Oh well there never was any guarantee that life would ever be routine. TG

Posted by: TonyGuitar | 2005-10-24 12:22:02 AM

I am applying for a grant to research whether Chairman Trudeau had a heart or not. Thanks for the advice!

Posted by: underemployed buddha | 2005-10-24 2:06:18 AM

How about the "Commonwealth of Alberta"? After all, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee are "Commonwealths" not states, and all of Australia is one big Commonwealth.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-24 9:10:12 AM

Oops: Commonwealth of Kentucky.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-24 9:40:57 AM

It is most interesting that when someone in Ottawa wants to try beating on the USA, they always want to use Alberta and Alberta's oil as the tool.

If you really want to get the attention of the Americans how about:
1. restricting car parts from Ontario
2. export tax on Quebec's hydro power exports

It would get their attention far more quickly than oil exports. Can you imagine if the lights of NYC went out for 24 hrs or even a week or Michigan assembly lines ground to a halt ?

Of course there isn't anyone in Ontario or Quebec that would let this happen - it would hurt their economy & hit them in their paychecks.

So why do they think it is any different in Alberta with their oil??

Posted by: Fred | 2005-10-24 10:52:59 AM

Because they're not American-loving, Western, scary, knuckle-dragging rednecks. And they don't vote Conservative because they are far too condescending, sophisticated, diverse and post-national like John Ibbitson of the Globe. Who hates Alberta. And then there's Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe who just thinks Alberta is "goofy".


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-24 11:28:21 AM

Fred: the reason is they would lose votes in Ontario and Quebec if they followed your idea. But they lose nothing if they do it to Alberta, because they are universally unpopular here.

to be blunt, none of these tools have the slightest chance of working. This is the strongest country on Earth, with more than just military muscle. Suppose in retaliation, they stop the flow of goods across the border for 2 weeks. They can stand it a lot longer than Canada could. My personal solution would be to cut the supply of US dollars from the US Federal Reserve Bank to the Bank of Canada, meaning they would have to ration what they have to financial institutions. I think the mere threat of this would bring quick compliance.

As an Albertan, I was raised to ignore the feeble minded rantings of the rich Ontarians and their Liberal lackeys. What Martin and others are doing is grandstanding, pure and simple. They know full well that they are in a weak position and cannot get on top. Their bureaucrats work every day to make sure the bilateral relationship works well. They must roll their eyes whenever they hear the politicians talk tough. In Alberta's case, we have to be on guard because they have attacked us before, with disasterous results. For our children's sake, it will never happen again, even if it means tearing down Old Greedy and putting up Old Glory! To hell with Canada! Free Alberta!

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-24 5:26:10 PM

Scott: The Free Commonwealth of Alberta.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-24 6:46:14 PM

Mark: I like! I like! It's a step up from being a lowly province of Ontario.

*Sigh* If Alberta were the next state in the Union. Then we'd be free.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-24 7:29:21 PM

Scott: Or the next "Commonwealth"--remember Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky.

But independence like the Commonwealth of Australia would also seem a good choice.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-25 7:17:24 AM

Wrong Tony. Alberta is past the stage of wanting (or requirering) Ottawa's and the eastern establishment's respect. This is now demanded seeing how we pay the bills we demand a place at the national policy table. If we are denied, why pay the bills? Because we are all good little milk cows for obnoxious eastern arrogance and greed? pfffffft Alberta doesn't make idle threats. These are warning shots. The next step is independence, and I'm not so sure this shouldn't be Alberta's primary political focus anyway.

Posted by: bob | 2005-10-25 7:31:45 AM

What The West needs is it's own nuclear deterrant to protect us from the greedy, grasping hands of the east. Maybe if we had a couple of dozen medium range ballistic missiles armed with 100 kiloton nuclear warheards aimed at places like Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal & Quebec City you dirty fuckers would back the fuck off and quit trying to rob us to protect your manufacturing base and a corrupt group of francophones who insist on foisting their guttoral gibber on the rest of us. I say cut the pipeline and let you eastern bastards freeze in the dark. You're the scum of the earth.

Posted by: Daryn Moerike | 2006-08-29 9:28:08 PM

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