Why Albertans are pondering the nuclear option of separation – by Jack Mintz (Financial Post – January 21, 2020)


Alberta is a boiling cauldron about to blow its lid off

Last weekend I participated in the “The Value of Alberta” conference in Calgary. While most of the focus was on options for Alberta’s autonomy, what was most striking were the off-session comments of the 700 attendees. Albertans are running out of patience after five bad economic years.

Many told me about hardships: a friend recently losing a job, farmers unable to get credit, or a relative about to lose a house. They are upset with federal parties and media willing to play up a GM factory closing down or job losses at Bombardier or a corrupt SNC-Lavalin while ignoring the plight of tens of thousands of unemployed Albertans.

Many are angry at unsupportive and obstructionist federal regulatory policies that have dried up investment. They sense the lack of support from other parts of Canada despite Alberta’s huge $650-billion financial contribution over 60 years while other parts of Canada are pandered to buy votes in an election.

They expressed anger at unrealistic “climate emergency” environmentalists who want to stop any new oil and gas development or pipelines, strangling the province, out of sync with the rest of the world. And they are disappointed that the industry’s strong environmental record in reducing GHG emissions by 30 per cent per barrel (now equal to the typical barrel consumed in North America) gets no recognition.

They are mad at a prime minister who has been unwilling to push federal jurisdiction over inter-provincial transportation and was willing to use the “oil card” as a prop to gain votes in Quebec.

For the rest of this column: https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/jack-mintz-why-albertans-are-pondering-the-nuclear-option-of-separation