Albertans In Their Own Words- Thoughts on Wexit, Canada, and Western Alienation

Last week I asked friends, family, and the public on Facebook if they wanted to share their thoughts and feelings about Alberta’s place in Canada after the federal election. I thought Canadians might prefer to hear from regular Albertans rather than the usual voices on mainstream media.

It is a very brave thing for people to allow their words to go out in a public blog. I’m very grateful people have shared these words with me.

 

“I love being an Albertan, being part of a beautiful, generous, friendly and hardworking province. I am sad about our current situation, the struggles we face and the feelings of abandonment by leaders and others in this country. But I also love my country and feel very fortunate to be able to call this country home. I don’t believe that separation from the rest of Canada is the answer. We already live in times of “we against them” in terms of race, culture, politics etc. I don’t know all of the answers but believe that separation is not it.”

Heather


“I am a Canadian first, but also a current Albertan, and I would prefer if problems can be resolved together instead of under potential threat of western separation. I understand the sentiment out west of a depressed economy here. The job losses lead to health issues due to stress, marriages ending and suicides.

People want to feel they are being heard and want resource development to happen, if done responsibly with newer technology to reduce emissions. It seems Alberta is not being heard. Corporations head to the USA (Encana) and no comment from Ottawa over past and future potential jobs lost. Truck convoys travel to Parliament Hill and no meeting with the PM. What will change now? Will minority government be enough to see Federal government start to show interest now?

I am disappointed that there is talk of separation, but I understand why sentiment is growing. I am also confused because separation will not make getting Alberta oil and gas to tidewaters west or east any easier. Unless new lines are put in with deals with the territories and Alaska north, or south to the USA, it will be even harder to move resources west or east.”

This feels like it is an effort to try to get the Federal Liberals attention, to threaten the stoppage of or modification of equalization payments from Alberta to some other provinces if separation becomes reality some day.

I do not believe separation will happen but more listening on all sides and cooperation is needed to do what is best for all of Canada.”

Joseph


The truth here is that the energy industry is by its nature a cyclical industry and Albertans understand this. However, the woes that plague the industry in Canada are self inflicted.

Over the past 40 years we have had 4 significant downturns in the oil and gas industry of western Canada:

1. Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program decimates the energy sector in Alberta

2. Low oil prices in the late 80s and all the 90s keep the oil & gas industry at bay despite the NEP ending in 1985.

3. Oil price crash of 2015/2016 causes worldwide curtailing of Oil and gas investment

4. 2018 – present: oil prices stabilize at reasonable prices and worldwide (particularly US) investment in oil and gas resumes. However Canadian government ineptitude’s and hostility towards oil and gas scare capital away to countries with less stringent or no environmental policies in place.

The need for energy, even fossil fuels is continuing to grow across the world and most projections show this to continue in the next 15-30 years.

The other inconvenient truth that most people brush off here is that the overall majority of GHG get produced at the point of hydrocarbon consumption rather than at the point of hydrocarbon production. With that fact, which projects out of these three gets an overall climate impact assessment in Trudeau’s Canada:

1) A new auto plant in Ontario
2) A major cement plant in Quebec
3) A pipeline that will transport oil instead of rail

This is something that almost every Albertan knows all too well. Most eastern Canadians are shrugging off our difficulties, but in reality different generations have sabotaged Alberta with ideology and ignorance.

Now Albertans are saying enough is enough.

Derek

From my end, I’m a Canadian, and am extremely saddened by talk of our province leaving the country or even its oldest institutions, like the CPP.

As I moved around from region to region, I witnessed other Canadians facing hard times. The cod fishery had just collapsed when I left the Maritimes in 1991. Southwestern Ontario, where I moved to work in the gas industry, had its workforce decimated by the turndown in the auto industry. And many of my classmates got pink slips shortly after they moved to Alberta for oil patch jobs.

I am, therefore, eternally grateful for the job security I and my family have enjoyed over the years here in Alberta. But I’m still worried for my community and the future. Poverty peaks its head up in both boom and bust times. A recent article says that our local food bank is serving almost a quarter of our city’s resident.

If our leaders could lower their bluster and look for creative solutions to these issues, it would sure put my mind at ease.

Alisa Caswell is an engineer and a writer who lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Read her other articles at “Confessions of a Dandelion Anarchist” or follow her on Facebook,  Twitter,  or LinkedIn.

Sources:

[1] Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

[2] Food Bank article: https://www.mix1037fm.com/2019/10/16/79156/