Tuesday, December 12, 2006

If Dion Wins, We March

In his Sunday Column, The Calgary Sun's Ted Byfield contemplates the result of a possible Stephane Dion victory. He see's Dion attempting to "loot" Alberta, say by levying some kind of carbon tax, and Ted Morton leading the province out of Confederation:

...Dion may not realize one central factor has significantly changed since the last Ottawa pillage under the National Energy Program.

Those in Alberta who dissent from the Canadian status quo now have a leader who has just demonstrated he has 30% of the Tory party behind him.

In that circumstance, the eyes of the province will increasingly turn to Ted Morton and that 30% will grow.

That could be a problem for Stelmach, but a far worse one for Dion and for Canada.

It would be interesting to see how far a full-blown Western Seperatist party, led by a splinter group of Alberta Tories under Ted Morton, would actually get. Because Alberta is itself a divided province. Thus there was a great deal of fear and loathing in Edmonton this Fall when right-wing councilor Mike Nickel endorsed Morton for Conservative Leader, for Morton is seen as representing Alberta's rural, "rebel South".

Furthermore, Morton floated several strange ideas during the leadership campaign, such as partitioning the Province:

"The future of Alberta in the coming decades is northern Alberta and Edmonton is the capital of northern Alberta," Morton told reporters yesterday at his Kingsway Avenue campaign office.

In fact, in the last several months there has been plenty talk of raising further fire-walls within the greater Alberta firewall. One around Edmonton to keep out the Calgarians, one around the South to keep Edmontonians at bay. Since the Stelmach victory, the papers have been rife with talk of an "anti-Calgary bias", and perhaps the biggest political winner to come out of the whole process is the Alberta Alliance, a far right spin-off group that threatens to siphon off Tory votes in the next general election.

A Morton-led State of Alberta would therefore almost certainly consist of a mere fragment of the current land mass, centered around Calgary.

Byfield and Morton should both realize that if Canada is divisible, so too is Alberta. Perhaps moreso.


Herb said...

Perhaps the Alberta-firewall types should look up "Balkanization" on Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

If Celine comes up with a carbon tax on energy consumption rather than energy production Alberta will have no problem. A carbon tax on consumption would hit the latte land, SUV loving Ontario electorate, which is why Cretin, Martin, Dion avoided it. European gas prices was judged not to be a vote getter by the Libs. But another NEP and Alberta will be outahere.

bigcitylib said...

But, anon, according to my theory, Edmonton will stay behind.

Anonymous said...

BSL, haven't you read the UN report, it's cow farts that are the problem not carbon!

Anonymous said...

Aren't there a lot of cows in Alberta?

Anonymous said...

Al Gore has pledged to personally sniff the butt of every cow on W's ranch to check for Kyoto compliance. "It's an inconvenient truth" sez Al "but someone's got to do it."

Herb said...

Anonymous, you also think the earth is flat, right? Don't disappoint us.

Anonymous said...

The separist movement in Alberta has been brought back to life since the liberal sponsorship scandal (as was the same in Quebec).

It all depends on whether Dion proposes AND enforces a mandatory cap rather than an intensity-based target (the latter being the current approach).

Under a mandatory cap, AB's oil industry in Fort Mac would take a severe hit. Be it ED or Calgary, this type of unilateral action (in the sense of taxing predominantly one province) will only further fuel a separist (at least a firewallist) type of attitude in AB.

Your theory on ED is dead wrong. During the NEP, ED was hit just has hard as Calgary. They also voted for a redefined federalism under Harper.

Anonymous said...

Ol' Bypod and Norton are only a piece of the Alberta voting pond. There are millions who consider themselves environmentalists to one level or other, and they won't be buying any of this partition crap. Put it this way, Harpor has never spared the rod when it comes to using regional dissent for his own political purposes. First ol' chum Ezra is given the chance to toss the first handgrenade. When it didn't cause more than a dent, Byfield was given the next step in the plan. Create fear and loathing but painting some fictious picture, bringing back the old 'nep' boogeyman. What a bunch of crap -- Dion has not been a factor in any talk about separation in Alberta except in a few deluded minds. However, some big talkers would stop at referencing anything to help neo-con movement.