Worrying signs about the state of Confederation

One of the interesting things about the United States is that despite all its talk about ‘freedom’, there is still a federal law on the books that allows for the death penalty for treason – or for trying to take a state out of the union.

In Canada, these days, it seems that if we had that law there would be executions daily. I just read in the Edmonton Journal a commentary calling for Alberta to consider separation. The Western Standard is aggressively advocating that Alberta leave Canada. We all know that Newfoundland, at the other end of the country and the spectrum also feels disenfranchised but I didn’t know the feelings ran that deep – until this new survey.

I stated one time before that 97% of Americans when asked thier ‘identity’ will say American while only just over 50% of Canadians will say ‘Canadian’. The other 50% say Quebecker, Albertan Cape Bretoner, whatever.

But a new poll out yesterday found that only 21.4% of Newfoundlanders consider they are Canadian first and 59.5% consider themselves to be Newfoundlanders first (the remainder are equal).

So we have Alberta resenting the fact that Canada wants to get its paws on all their oil money and Newfoundland resenting and blaming Confederation for its economic woes.

Sounds like a recipe for a classic Western Showdown.

Just like the tagline for the recent Alien versus Predator movie – “whoever wins, we all lose”.

It’s time for a national government that unites, not divides. It’s time for a national government that takes regional economic development seriously and comes to the realization that putting Atlantic Canada on welfare doesn’t satisify either this region or the rest of Canada – it’s seems to be the preferred solution but it is desired by no one. If Alberta greedily holds on to its oil money, so be it. The irony is that in most countries that have vast oil supplies the tax revenues generated are distributed across the country – Norway, Scotland, and yes, even Iraq. The former fascist state has built into their new constitution an even sharing across the country from oil revenues.

But not Canada. Not Canada.

After all. We’re Albertans and Acadians and Newfoundlanders – the name ‘Canadian’ is an afterthought for most of us.

We don’t need Alberta’s oil revenue. We just need to get the global foreign direct investment lense focused squarely on Atlantic Canada the way it was on Ireland during the 1990s and India in 2000 and on.

If we could achieve that, Alberta could sit on that oil and rot.