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.