Alberta Separation Is A Great Idea
Tristin Hopper writes for the National Post and recently published an article called, "Why Alberta Separatism is the Dumbest Movement in Canada Today". I’ve written a couple of pieces at Poletical regarding Alberta leaving Canada. One was titled, "Should Alberta Join Montana?". Another was "Ten Reasons Trump Should Open Borders With Canada".
There is a short video on the subject produced by Poletical as well.
So that’s where our two organizations stand on the issue. Tristin makes a variety of tired arguments detailing why Alberta separation is an impossibility. I’ll summarize his article and destroy his arguments one-by-one.
The first thing he writes about is how Alberta would be dependent on foreign countries for exports, imports and tourism. He mentions that we’d need permission to pass through Canadian airspace.
This would hardly be a problem. Alberta would grant open airspace to Canadians flying to British Columbia as well. Just because we are free of Canada’s shackles doesn’t mean we can’t have reciprocal air space cooperation. Unless Canada wants British Columbia cut off from the rest of Canada, I would suggest we keep international relations friendly.
He goes on to suggest that Alberta would be a landlocked nation and that’s somehow a bad thing. We’d be at the mercy of a foreign Canada.
We would cut our own unilateral deals with either the United States (preferably) or Canada. What’s the big deal here? Alberta is already subject to the political whims of Canada. We are at the mercy of Justin Trudeau and John Horgan on pipelines now. Ottawa is our slave master. If we had only ourselves to lead new deals it would give us more flexibility, empowered decision making and better US access.
He says we’d lose international membership to things like the WTO and NATO and the UN and whatnot...
What part of this screed is supposed to be the bad part? NATO is a Cold War relic. The UN is ridiculous. Also, let’s not pretend that, if we wanted to, we wouldn’t basically join whatever international organization was out there without missing a heart beat anyway.
Tristin suggests that “baseline tariff rates” would suddenly be applied to Alberta by everyone around the world, because our free trade agreements via Canada would be expired.
We couldn’t replicate the same deals during an independence transition process? What’s the web of “baseline tariff rates” anyway? This is the 21st century. People like to trade with those willing to buy. It wouldn’t be a big problem.
If Canada is divisible then so is Alberta. Federally owned stuff like the Cold Lake air force base and national parks would have to go.
We’d lose about 10% of Alberta land due to this stuff. Wood Buffalo National Park would constitute most of it. Ever been to Wood Buffalo National Park? Me neither. No big deal.
First Nations bands might prefer to stay with Canada.
So we meet with the Chief’s of the 45 First Nations and offer them the chance to join Alberta. If they want to remain a part of Canada then so be it. They can exist as little Canadian islands surrounded by the mighty nation of Alberta!
He suggests that Edmonton wouldn’t want to leave Canada for some reason.
We get to separate from Canada AND lose Edmonton in the process? I fail to see the problem here.
Tristin then suggests a civil war could arrive as a result and cites America in 1865.
The U.S. Civil War was fought by brave and ambitious men during a time when men were brave and ambitious. Nobody is going to forfeit their lives over border negotiations in Canada in Current Year.
He goes on to suggest that workers from Canada might not be able to work in Alberta anymore.
Anyone with a Canadian passport can work in the mighty nation of Alberta! That was an easy solution.
Tristin cites something about Michelle Rempel being the immigration critic and how Canada won’t listen to her anymore.
Is Canada listening to her now? Also, what good does listening do? You have power or you don’t.
He suggests Alberta would have to pay $71 billion in order to pick up our share of the national debt!
Alberta has paid more into Canada than it has gotten back in federal expenditures to the tune of almost $221.4 billion between 2007 to 2015. Canada can pay us the difference upon our exit and we can just forget about all the other money leading up to 2007. Fair?
Apparently our debt servicing costs would rise because we couldn’t strike as a good a deal as we can when we’re part of Canada. He wisely recognizes that Albertans could just tell Canada to buzz off.
Yes. That sounds good.
Then he said this isn’t feasible because Canada isn’t some weak and distant colonial power.
Then he cites the trains and highways and whatnot needed to connect Alberta to the outside world.
Of course, those same trains and highways connect BC to Canada, so be careful how this hand is played.
Then he says sanctions will be slapped on Alberta by Canada until our debt bill is paid.
We’ll just buy from the states then.
He suggests forging those ties with the United States would be impossible because the US would side with Canada against us.
“Hi Donald? Alberta here. Want to trade with us? Relationship with Canada? Don’t worry about it. We’ll be your poodle just like they are. Sound good? Awesome!”
He then suggests Alberta being in charge of federal services is somehow an impossibility. He starts with the police force. RCMP or municipal run police forces?
Both? Neither? Who cares about these details.
Who will inspect the food?
Who will care for the veterans?
Mostly themselves. Just like in Canada.
Who will collect the taxes?
Alberta Revenue Service? (Tristin must have a really bad imagination)
Who will run the airport security?
The same people as now. Different patch on the shoulder?
He says Canada has 200 federal agencies and we can’t abolish as many of them as we think.
I’d be willing to put it to the test.
He cites Alberta’s currently expensive public sector as a detriment to expanding the powers of government within Alberta in order to replace the federal sector.
Pay cuts for everybody! Isn’t Jason Kenney planning this anyway? Alberta’s bloated public sector has been a problem for decades. Didn’t I vote Wildrose multiple times in order to correct this?
He then pulls out the old union-led argument about how public sector workers need to be enticed to work for the government, because otherwise they’d just easily walk into an oil and gas company and sign up for their six figure job that is always there waiting for them.
Yeah, because it’s totally just that easy. Especially right now. Every day I hear about how oil and gas companies are desperate to hand out six-figure jobs to random government bureaucrats.
He suggests people are mostly just angry that pipelines can’t get built.
He then strangely makes the case that Canada is severely broken. I think his point is that even when Alberta is at the table we have trouble with pipelines and separation wouldn’t make the situation any better. So...
Yes, I agree. Canada is severely broken.
He says Canada/Alberta relationships would become even frostier if we left.
That’s not a bug, that’s a feature.
He then takes to task the idea that we could get pipelines built due to U.N. rights legislation guaranteeing access to the ocean. Apparently Canada will punish us by making this not happen.
“Hi Donald? Alberta here. Let’s make a deal! A unilateral deal! Sound good? Awesome!”
He asks, “why not become the 51st state?”
I can’t think of a single reason.
“The United States has ocean access, a ready-made federal government, a strong currency and the largest market for oil on the entire planet — not to mention cheap cheese, White Castle and the second amendment.”
Now you’re talking! Cheesecake Factory, Superbowl commercials, affordable cell phone plans... the list is endless!
He suggests that Alberta would pay more into the United States then it gets back in services...just like the situation in Canada.
Yeah, but those dollars are disappearing into a worthy country. Even if we got fleeced by the United States in the same way we get fleeced by Canada, at least we’d be a part of something that offered so much more value. For our generosity to the US, we’d have access to things like a nuclear umbrella, NASA, a functional Navy and the ability to move to Florida forever without a work visa or green card.
What does Canada offer us for all our exported dollars? Reruns of Schitt’s Creek on CBC? Some rocks and trees national park that I’ll never go to? Body Break commercials with Hal Johnson and Joanne Mcleod? The Voice of Fire?
Tristin then lists a bunch of reasons Alberta would no longer be a big fish in a small pond. We’d be a small U.S. state with less influence.
Alberta has virtually no influence now. Better to be a small, free fish in a glorious lake, then a captive and exploited fish wallowing in a stagnant aquarium.
He then thinks that the Republican Congress wouldn’t like allowing a province that just accidently elected the NDP to join the U.S. and have a leftist influence as a result.
I wouldn’t blame them, but that mistake will be corrected in 10 months and we can start trying to win Republican trust back starting then. Also... remember, no Edmonton. So that would help filter out leftists?
Lastly, Tristin writes a long piece about currency. He suggests it would be hard and volatile to launch our own currency. Using the Canadian or American dollar would defeat the purpose of indepence.
This possibly offers us a solution. Maybe Alberta should START with the announcement of a new currency. One backed by gold. Within months the United States would find a pretense to invade and conquer us as a result and we’d gain statehood that way. Good idea Tristin!
Ultimately Tristin isn’t wrong, but he’s drawing the wrong conclusions. Alberta would face many obstacles and hardships on the path to independence (or even statehood). That isn’t the problem, it’s simply part of the journey.
As for the American thing... it would literally be easier for those that want to become the 51st state to do whatever they could to just move to the US as an individual. I’ve done it and it is possible. The price paid is high, and the worst part is not being able to live here and freeze your ass off for nine months of the year and continually bitch and complain that things aren’t the way you want them to be. Who wants to give that up?!
Vive le Alberta libre!