Alberta’s oil woes have fuelled lamentable rhetoric across Canada and within the province – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – December 15, 2018)

If one didn’t know better, you’d swear Whistler was trolling the good people of Alberta by demanding the oil and gas industry there ship them money to pay for the impacts of climate change.

As publicity stunts go, it certainly received the attention it was designed to create. As word spread that the municipality had sent a letter to Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. requesting that it pay its “fair share” of the town’s costs associated with fighting the impacts of climate change, you could almost see the steam rising from the other side of the Rockies. Albertans were not amused.

We wouldn’t give the ploy much attention normally, considering the sheer ridiculousness and hypocrisy that surrounds it. Whistler survives on tourism. And those tourists use oil-related products not only to get to the resort community, but to enjoy themselves while there. Also, it’s not like one energy company in Calgary is responsible for all that ails the planet.

But we mention it because of its incendiary effect. You don’t kick a person when they’re down and you don’t send letters that effectively taunt someone you know is already angry. And the anger in Alberta right now is real – something I don’t think the rest of the country fully comprehends.

The recent drop in the price of oil and the continued failure to build a new pipeline has produced a fresh wave of alienation in Wild Rose country. There are people talking in earnest about separation. One hopes that conversations broaching that subject die down soon, because most know that leaving Canada would come at a terrible economic and social cost to Alberta.

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