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Opinion Oct 17, 2019 10:44 AM EST

Will Canada survive this federal election?

Canada appears headed for a train wreck due to the widening chasm on energy, climate and finance policy between Alberta and Ottawa.

Will Canada survive this federal election?
Patrick Moore Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

The Post Millennial published the following column after an editor from a mainstream newspaper said it was “too inflammatory at the moment” and other newspapers rejected Moore’s submission.

Canada appears headed for a train wreck due to the widening chasm on energy, climate and finance policy between Alberta and Ottawa. It is possible that no combination of voting outcomes in the October 21 federal election can prevent the breakup of the federation.

Canada has been described as “a road from Ottawa to Montreal and back again”, a blunt reference to the fact that when Ontario and Quebec agree on something, the rest of us are chopped liver. This has given rise over the years to the angst known as western alienation. It has presently reached a boiling point like no other time in our history.

Premier Jason Kenny’s first move upon winning the Alberta vote was to call an inquiry into foreign (U.S.) funding of the anti-oilsands campaign. This will expose the dirty tactics of the Rockefeller Brothers-led initiative, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into “grass-roots” environmental and First Nations front groups with the aim of landlocking Canadian oil and killing the project. Meanwhile 14 pipelines are under construction in Texas while zero are even approved in Canada.

All Canadians should imagine what it feels like for Albertans when both Ottawa and B.C. treat them like a hostile foreign power. B.C. pretends it doesn’t absolutely depend on Alberta for its transport and aviation fuel while blocking the Trans Mountain Pipeline that would bring Alberta oil to tidewater for export. And Eastern Canada prefers oil brought in tankers from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela rather than Canadian oil from Alberta via the stalled Energy East Pipeline. Meanwhile Ottawa bans tankers on the Pacific coast.

Whether it’s the Conservatives or the Liberals that are able to form a government in October, both are committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change. This applies in spades to both the Greens and the NDP. Only the People’s Party of Canada has pledged to quit Paris and to unabashedly support the oilsands and the pipelines that are needed to deliver it to Eastern Canada and to tidewater in B.C.  So long as our federal government supports this anti-fossil fuel fraud there will be no further investment in Alberta’s and Canada’s most important energy sector. Meanwhile, some signatories to the Paris Agreement, such as China and India, are free to increase their emissions with no restriction.

Alberta’s first move after the election will likely be to hold a referendum calling for a renegotiation of the equalization payments formula. Under the present formula, Alberta is required to make large payments despite their now very difficult economic situation. An inevitably successful referendum result would force Ottawa and the other provinces to the table, but it is likely the talks will fail, increasing resentment in the province. Then Premier Kenny will have the ammunition he needs to call for a referendum on the separation of Alberta from Canada. This may pass with a comfortable majority.

Saskatchewan would almost certainly join Alberta,and Manitoba would definitely consider it. What British Columbia will do is anybody’s guess, but if they decide to stay with Ottawa they will be decidedly isolated. Although a bit far-fetched, the real wild card is Ontario. This would be an opportunity to realize what has been called “Ontario and West”as the new Canada. The fact that Ontario has needed Quebec’s agreement all these years has led to a certain resentment of the fact, often accompanied by what might be called extortion on Quebec’s part. Quebec separatists may get what they bargained for without having to win a referendum of their own! Lord knows how the Maritime Provinces would react to any of this.

I realize that many Canadians, particularly those in the eastern half of the country, don’t believe any of this could ever happen. They should take a vacation in Alberta to smarten themselves up. It’s not very nice to be treated like a leper when you are one of the main economic providers for people who call your oil “dirty” and “filthy” while they import the same product from despots, dictators and corrupt regimes in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela.

Dr. Patrick Moore is a native British Columbian, a co-founder of Greenpeace and an ecologist with wide international experience in energy and climate policy. He is presently the Chairman of the CO2 Coalition in Washington DC.

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