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FreeAlberta

This father/son blog is dedicated to the furtherance of the independence movement in Alberta. It has been made abundantly clear that Alberta is the victim of tyranny by the majority. There is no indication that this will ever change. It is time to leave, to go our separate ways. In this blog I will focus on issues relating to Alberta Independence such as why it is necessary, what an independent Alberta might look like and how we can go about forging our independence.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's a sad day when Ralph Goodale makes sense

We libertarian types with separatist leanings are not exactly doing cartwheels as a result of the election of a minority centrist government. However, like many of my separatist compatriots, I was holding a modicum of hope for Stephen Harper and the gang. I anticipated the announcement of the new cabinet with great interest. Would our man Monte be the finance minister? What key roles would Diane Ablonzcy and Jason Kenney play? Okay, maybe my hope that Myron Thompson would be the Minister of Agriculture was going a little too far! Against that back-drop how was I to react when the first news I heard was that a Liberal – yes, a Liberal would be in the Conservative cabinet. Am I in a Chinese Western? Is there blood spurting out of my head?
But this government will be different. This government will have integrity. This government will lead by principles not politics.
My hope now holds by a mere thread.
As if that wasn’t enough for one day, this evening I received a nearly equally shock to add insult to injury. By some inexplicable sequence of events, I found myself listening to CBC radio while driving. Ralph Goodale was being interviewed. Consider my apoplexy when I found myself agreeing with him. He suggested that it was hypocritical for Stephen Harper’s to elevate to a cabinet position an MP who crossed the floor given his reaction to Belinda Stronach’s defection. Ralph Goodale was making sense. I was beginning to panic. What if I couldn’t keep my vehicle on the road? Fortunately Goodale continued to talk. To think that he would say two sensible things in the same conversation (or in the same decade for that matter) is unthinkable. It would stretch even the most pliable imagination beyond its elastic limit. True to form Goodale began to fume about how unfortunate it is for Canada that the Conservatives will have some cabinet ministers who are interested in making government smaller, less powerful and “less meaningful” to Canadians. Maybe things aren’t as surreal as I thought. I was able to regain composure and stay between the ditches.
Seriously, these Conservatives better start governing with the integrity that they said they would bring to Ottawa or that tiny thread of hope will snap.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

If It's From Calgary It Must Be Illegitimate

Few things are more entertaining that watching Toronto react to the election of a government they didn't get to pick. Today's National Post has an article entitled "Harper May Not Need Big Cities" It concludes with a wonderful quote from a professor Barry Kay from Wilfred Laurier University. Speaking about the Harper government he says "There's a legitimacy issue. He should be thinking about the voters of Toronto rather than the voters of Calgary." That's right boys and girls, voters from Toronto are clearly much more important than those from Calgary. Apparently, a government cannot be legitmate unless it's endorsed by the centre of the universe. Votes from the 'hicks in the sticks' can't be taken seriously.
It's amazing how quickly the rhetoric changes once the tables are turned. The Toronto Liberals never tired of telling Albertans that if we really wanted in, if we wanted to be represented, all we had to do was vote Liberal. If we continued to vote for the Conservative (or Reformers) we wouldn't be allowed to play. Now that Alberta has gotten 'in' suddenly it's time to reach out. It's time to be inclusive.
Evidently Toronto still doesn't get it. I'm betting they never will.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Now What? Part II

Sullivan over at Rants From the Moderate Separatist has posted the very thoughts of many an Alberta Secessionist - myself included. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months. I'd personally like to see the Tories ally with the BQ in a rock-solid coalition whose undivided purpose is the devolution of federal power. I submit that this is Canada's only hope in surviving as a single nation. When you've got such a wide range of world views and opinions such as we have here in Canada, a centralised, one-size-fits-all law-making machine just does not work. A system like that creates the incredibly divisive, rabid and almost violent social atmosphere as everyone is fighting to have their particular view of the world imposed on everyone. The election was a pretty clear indication of how ugly this gets - and I'm betting that you ain't seen nothin' yet!
If we can dismantle this machine and let its powers be put back in the hands of the provinces, I think you'll see that Canadians can work together in a much more civilised fashion. Each province can enact the laws/policies that most suit the people of that province. That means the people of BC can enjoy the ec0-paradise they dream of and Alberta can be pro-Business and control our oil, and the Prairies can protect their towns and farms and Ontario can continue to feel they are better than us all without actually forcing their culture of entitlement on the colonies... er... other provinces... and Quebec can wave their fleur-de-lis and enact the pseudo-communist state they seem to think will be good for them (how they'll pay for it I have no idea), and Atlantic Canada can decide what to do with their natural resources all by themselves... and we'll all be a big happy family...
I believe that if Canada becomes a loose Confederation of provinces with a severly limited central government that ensures freedom of movement and trade between the provinces, we might have a chance to survive as a single nation. The Tories and the BQ could probably pull it off (if they even want to do anything like this) - but I wouldn't recommend holding your breath.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Now What?

So it has finally happened. Alberta's man is in just like we always wanted... well, almost like we always wanted. Sure, we might have dreamed of a majority government, we might also have fantasized about a party of principle from the West. In spite of not achieving anything close to this, there are two wonderfully exciting things that we can look forward to in this next government.

1. Anne McLellan will not be screeching in our ears anymore! Alberta's shameful blight of red has finally drowned in the Deep Blue Sea!

2. Toronto is now on the outside looking in! (what could be sweeter?)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

PMPM Promises to Discuss Human Rights with Chinese Leaders

I'm very pleased to see that our Prime Minister is planning to address the issue of human rights with the President of China. However, I thought that he might have found a more suitable candidate from whom to receive mentoring. Of course, China does have a wide area of ethnicities and languages, so perhaps Mr. Martin thinks President Hu will provide some good ideas on how to deal with Canada’s variety of cultural distinctiveness.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lessons Learned In Canada

As Alberta moves towards independence and liberty, I think that it is important that we carefully consider the lessons learned from our Colonial Era within Canada so that we don't repeat them in our new nation.

  1. The Democratic Majority is nothing but a giant Thug.
    For some reason people seem to think that if the majority voted for it, it must be right. I don't understand why, but that's the way it is - maybe it is humanity's herd mentality or maybe it is just our depravity, I don't know. I think people do feel guilty for stealing from a minority, but they assuage their guilt by saying that it is 'sharing' or it is for the 'public good' - whatever that is. The point is that Ontario and Quebec have no problem plundering us if they feel it would help them. Also, the Liberals need to plunder us to buy the votes they need in various parts of the country.
    Don't think Alberta would be immune to this sort of activity either. Who knows what situations may arise, but I can imagine this could very easily happen even within Alberta. For instance, I could see a political party figuring that Ft. McMurray has far more money than they need, and they could promise to share that wealth with Edmonton, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat in order to win the next election. We can't be so arrogant as to think that wouldn't tear us apart as well!
    We need to set up a government that cannot plunder its people like this. I'm not completely sure how this could best be accomplished, but it is absolutely imperative that we create a limited government that cannot abuse one group to benefit another.

  2. We Need To Remember Our Place in the World.
    Ottawa always seems to forget where our growth and protection come from. Even worse, they seem to forget who our friends and enemies are. Canadians are often jealous and petty with regards to America, snubbing them and mistreating them whenever the opportunity arises. And then we call them a bully for slapping tariffs on our goods!
    Alberta cannot make the same mistake. We will be a small country. We are going to be prosperous and we are going to experience great economic growth, but we are still going to be a small country on the global scene. Right now we do business either locally or with the US, with only a small percentage of inter-provincial trade (I can’t remember the actual numbers, but it is significantly slanted towards US trade). I expect this to become even further North-South based when we become independent. As a result, we need to be friends with America. We also need to be friends with Canada, UK, Japan, China, Germany, Italy, Australia, Mexico, India and others. In short, our continued growth and prosperity is going to be closely tied to the strength of our international relationships. I believe that we should follow Switzerland’s example and stay out of international conflict while working to build strong economic ties with everyone. Let’s take Thomas Jefferson’s advice: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” Others may prefer to follow along with America’s global excursions. I would personally find this to be less preferable, but the key point is that we remember our place in the world.
  1. Politicians are Corrupt.
    Power tends to corrupt. Absolutely power corrupts absolutely. Everyone’s heard this age old quote from Lord Acton many times because it rings so true. We all know the Librano$ are as crooked as an Italian tower in mud, but what makes us think our true and pure Albertan politicians would ever be any better? People generally believe that humans are too amoral, unwise and depraved to have complete freedom. For this reason we implement a government to protect us from ourselves and then somehow think that those same humans, when running a government, are going to all of a sudden be virtuous, wise and selfless in their lawmaking. This is of course an inherent paradox that we will never be able to overcome. But let us consider this carefully when we form our new nation. We should look into ideas such as term limits, recall, accountability and checks and balances to minimize this. It seems to me that this was practically ignored in the founding of Canada. The American Founding Fathers worked hard to ensure that the corruption of men and women in power would be as limited as possible, and even so, corruption is only slowed in the United States. My opinion is that our best hope for minimizing the corrupt use of power by politicians is to limit what powers they have as much as possible.

  2. Government Grows Bigger and Bigger and Bigger - Always.
    Time to call on Jefferson again: “The natural process of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” This does indeed seem to be the natural process of things. It is clearly the case in Canada where I cannot remember a time when government was small and didn’t interfere with our everyday lives. Then again, I’m the younge whippersnapper. Maybe my olde gaffer can remember such a time, but I doubt it – and not because his memory is failing (sorry Dad, couldn’t help it), but because it has been growing since it began. There are several ways government tends to get bigger, even if people want it to stay small:
    1. It provides us only with things that we are already providing ourselves with, but which we don’t really like paying for. You can win votes as a politician for offering some service or other for free. Politicians don’t offer services that no one wants to buy, only those that nearly everyone does, and wishes they had for free. Healthcare, education, welfare and pensions are perfect examples. We’re now seeing childcare fit this description. Who knows what will be next?
    2. The politicians and activists who support small government – except for their pet issue. Imagine the unbelievable situation where all our MPs want a small government, except one issue. Each MP has a different pet issue. The only way for them to get any of their special programs implemented is to promise to vote for other MP’s special subsidy. As a result, ALL the special programs, regulations, subsidies, handouts, aid, relief, care, etc. gets passed. Now consider the real situation we have where most MPs want big government and have many pet issues and you get Canada!
    3. Rational Ignorance. This is the concept that people are too busy trying to survive, feed their families and pay their taxes to keep on top of everything the government is doing that might hurt them. As a result of this, it is impossible for citizens to stop the laws that make government bigger and bigger.
    4. Special Interests. Imagine if you were one of a small group of producers of a certain product – say corn for instance. If you can get a tariff slapped on American corn, you can jack your prices up a bit and it will greatly benefit you. Meanwhile, the tariff costs the average Canadian only a few dollars a year – no big deal, nothing to get too worked up about. You would be willing to spend a lot of time and money to ensure that such a tariff gets introduced while probably no one would spend anything to stop you.
    5. The False Choice. Even if people generally want smaller government, there is nowhere on your ballot to check off “Small Government.” You get to choose from a mishmash of various parties that each have a few policies you agree with and a few more that you don’t. Your only option is to choose the one with the most policies you favour or the one with the fewest you abhor. The parties tend to implement their policies and then when they get overthrown, the next party adds their policies to the mix, and you get both!
    6. Convoluted Bookkeeping. Since the politicians want to keep their power, they hide their massive spending in crazy complicated budgets no one can understand or question.
    7. Hidden Taxes. People don’t see most of the taxes they pay, so they don’t fight them as much as they would if a CCRA guy came to your door at the end of the year and demanded them all at once.
    8. Ministries make their own laws and regulations. The vast majority of regulations and laws that are enforced on us are created not by Parliament, but by the various programs they’ve set up and given authority to make their own rules relating to their field of influence.

We need create a country that keeps the politicians from growing our government and taking over our lives. My personal favourite idea in this respect is to require that no politician vote for a bill they haven’t read in entirety. Imagine our politicians sitting in parliament listening to the reading of one of those 1000 page acts they pass every day! We could require every law that is passed to expire in five years, and force the new politicians to read those before they re-enact them. We could only allow parliament to sit for one or two months per year, limiting what they can impose on us. Whatever we do, we need to guard our freedom, and not let the same thing happen to Alberta as happened in Canada.

Remember, we aren't becoming independent just because we are angry with Ottawa (although that is clearly part of it), but because of the serious problems (which always seem to harm us and help Ontario) this country has that we cannot fix no matter how hard we try. So let's make sure we actually solve these in our new nation, rather than perpetuate them in our own way.

Free Alberta!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Keep the wolf out of the fold. NEP II?

Now that the Alberta fiscal surplus is hitting the front pages again (National Post August 27th, 2005) it’s time we Albertans rolled up our sleeves and sorted out what to do with it. Firstly, the obvious; when a government has too much cash it’s because it has collected too much tax. We can talk about constraint but remember this government spends more per capita than most, if not all, other provinces. Commodity prices are very hot and so a resource-based province is bound to do well. However, this is not all about luck or Hubbert’s Peak. A lot of people have worked very hard and taken great risk to get this economy blasting along as it is.
The Feds already get a considerable slice of the energy pie through their gasoline taxes. They too benefit from the ‘windfall’ of high energy prices with this tax - tax which is collected for the express purpose of building and maintaining transportation infrastructure. (Have you driven through Calgary lately on that embarrassment called the Trans-Canada Highway - a.k.a 16th Avenue?). Evidently that is not enough. According to Thomas Courchene, Alberta’s fiscal strength is a grave threat to Canada. He says that “Alberta will have to relinquish some of its windfall billions in oil revenue or risk the destruction of the federation.” (Emphasis added)
Cool! Apparently, we can destroy Canada by keeping part of what we earn. By managing our revenue just like every other province we can destroy the country!!!
Before Ottawa steals our surplus they should at least lead by example. Here’s a novel thought – how about using the gas tax for, I don’t know, maybe roads and public transportation. Here’s another crazy idea. Maybe they should stop the illegal activity of taxing taxes by charging GST on federal gas tax. Even crazier - how about telling the truth about their surplus and giving it back to us in the form of reduced taxes?
Let’s generate some ideas on how to manage Alberta’s surplus as well as finding ways to ensure that we can keep it out of Paul Martin’s hands. I was one of the many unemployed as a result of the NEP and I don’t want to go through that again.
I say we put a major thrust into infrastructure. Let’s put about 30 major inter-changes in Calgary. Let’s extend the LRT to all corners of the city. Let’s get the Queen Elizabeth Highway up to 3 lanes from Calgary to Edmonton. Let’s give Fort Mac a fighting chance to meet the needs of the new families and employees in that area. Let’s do a one-time major up-grade that will launch us into the 21st Century and prepare the province to be a North American leader in commerce and energy supply. The oil sands are the future of energy in North America. We need to be able to develop them and get the product to market. Once we have infrastructure up to ‘snuff’, we eliminate the province income tax and shortly thereafter, we drop the provincial corporate tax. Let’s hear you ideas.
Bottomline: This money is ours. We earned it. Let’s get caught up on roads and infrastructure. Ralph, quit taking so much. Finally and most emphatically – OTTAWA KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF!!!