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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.

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!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Medicare Rage

As if we needed yet another reason for leaving Canada.

Why have Canadians allowed themselves to be duped into believing that it is better that everyone has access to free, poor quality, public medical care, with long waiting time than to see anyone have access to private medical care? Why do so many believe that competition and free enterprise are bad when it come to health care? How can we believe that only the government has enough compassion to deliver health care? Face it folks the system is broken – it doesn’t work. Despite the fact that the Feds and the Province are throwing more and more money at a system it is clearly not improving significantly. Without accountability the system can never work well. Don’t lecture me on the ‘horrors’ of private health care. I’m too busy enjoying the horrors of public health. It may be free but waiting a year to see a specialist only to be told to wait another year wait for an operation is neither compassionate nor efficient.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm already gone...

For a couple of days now I've been meaning to post something about our new G-G. But when it comes right down to actually writing my opinion about her, I find that I am completely unable to. It just feels as if it doesn't matter anymore. Sure her appointment is a slap in the face of Western Canada, sure she'll probably work tirelessly against Albertan values, sure we'll likely see all new records of wealth being destroyed by Rideau Hall... but I just can't get all that worked up about it. I'm already checked-out. As far as I'm concerned, all the clowns in Ottawa are as distant as any group of thugs running a Banana Republic somewhere. I'm an Albertan. I want to fight for a strong and free Alberta, not quibble about some new five-year-plan from the East that I can't change anyway! I don't care about whatever current deal-with-the-devil our PM is making to desperately hang onto his power. I don't even want to know what central values our opposition party is 'compromising' on in order to make Ontario think they are the Liberals. I just want out.

It's as if I'm already gone. (Who's with me?)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Dog-Days of Summer

I think the recent heat may be too much for some folks. My suspicions were heightened when I read a blog written by a Political Science/History student from the University of Calgary last Sunday. It was published in the Calgary Herald on Sunday, July 31st. I was intrigued by the concept of time travel but I found the story to be completely unbelievable. Following is my version of the same trip from what I believe to be a more realistic point of view. Please read Mr John Leung Chung-Yin's blog first so that what follows may make sense.

Thank you, John Leung Chung-Yin. I took your challenge to re-think separation from Canada. Like you, I took an imaginary journey 100 years into the future of an Alberta that remained in Canada. Come with me as we re-trace those steps that you took recently.
As we drive gingerly along the pot-hole infested Trans-Canada Highway westbound from Saskatchewan, we stop first at the frontier town of Medicine Hat, which is a rather desolate place. The town, once a booming metropolis, lies in ruins like the rest of the province decimated by the Kyoto carbon tax. Now, it seems nobody is here. We decide to stop at a greasy spoon before hitting the road. We see a senior citizen hooked up to an IV machine, with a tag “Health Canada, the world’s only single tier medical care system” attached to it. His clothes are ragged, as he gets up.
The waitress hands him the bill for his breakfast: a simple cup of coffee and a slice of toast. The old man's eyes bulge at the bill with its Equalization Tax and 25%GST. He begins to groan about how his grandparents could afford food with their pensions and savings before the federal government confiscated all their money to form the “Canada First pension system” which ensures that everyone gets an identical amount. The old man continues to whine that now, even though a doctor's visit is free the waiting time is months or years and the service is abysmal. He still needs a kidney, which he will receive free in three years, if he is still alive when he reaches the front of the list. The technology is 20 years old and the success rate is about ½ that of current European and American procedures. “Too bad I’m not a politician I could get a state-of-the-art operation in New York paid for by the government,” laments the old man.
Feeling bad, we turn a blind eye to the seniors, and continue to drive down Highway 1, which has been dubbed the Paul Martin Expressway running from Redcliff to the entry gates to Banff National Park which is now restricted to those approved by Environment Canada. The countryside along the road is filled with rustling grass occupying some of the space where oil and gas wells once stood. The wells are long defunct after the imposition of the 200% Kyoto tax. Solar and wind energy, while costing twice the price of hydrocarbon before the tax was applied, are constantly in short supply and always unreliable. Alberta was unable to take advantage of the Heritage Trust fund and other oil and gas revenue because of the confiscation of all natural resources and provincial savings as a result of the National Security and Equitable Sharing Bill.
The world’s second largest reserve of oil remains locked in the oil sands near Fort McMurray, but it’s now illegal to mine any new leases and the tax rate on the existing facilities has rendered them uneconomic. Little oil has been sent to Alberta’s two primary customers, the rest of Canada and the U.S. following the implementation of the Kyoto bill. It's now almost impossible to see any evidence of the oil and gas industry. Their world-leading environmental standards enabled them to mitigate any impact on the environment and all leases and pipeline right-of-ways have been returned to pre-development quality.
Finally, we arrive in Calgary...once compared to Toronto with the statistics to boot in terms of corporate headquarters and such. Actually, it wasn't such a long drive after all: the city had expanded in the last hundred years. At its boom, it reached all the way out to Chestermere in the east, Cochrane in the west, De Winton in the south, and Carstairs in the north, and boasted a population of well over 1.5 million, before Ottawa nationalized all natural resource and taxed the oil and gas industry out of business.
We drive through downtown...ah, good old downtown. Parking is plentiful now, even on a weekday. Office space is dirt cheap here, since many of the buildings are empty. Now, only dust and abandoned furniture occupy these places. There was no choice. Those with entrepreneurial spirits moved to the Caribbean or the United States. Others applied for employment insurance or other forms of government assistance but were refused because Alberta has been permanently classified as a ‘have province.’ A Constitutional amendment was passed requiring 50% of all revenue to be sent to Ottawa without any transfer payments being returned, is still intact. A further Constitutional change that would declare all provinces equal continues to be blocked by Ontario.
The province is landlocked. Nominal amounts of oil and gas are shipped out. All of Canada’s wheat is purchased from Ukraine and Argentina because huge government subsidies in those countries make it much cheaper than Alberta wheat. Alberta beef is banned in Canada because of an incident of Mad Cow disease 52 years ago. Transport costs both in and out of the province are borne by the province as a result of the “If Alberta Wants To Deal With Ontario They Have To Pay Both Ways Bill” passed in 2044.
With a well educated, technical work-force, tremendous natural resources and a population the size of New Zealand, Switzerland or Singapore, Alberta provided a great attraction for foreign investment before foreign investment was banned and natural resources nationalized.
Alberta’s level of education continues to fall as mandatory social engineering and political correctness classes replace science, economics and history classes. The universities have had their science and engineering programs cut back so much that both the University of Alberta and University of Calgary had to convert their laboratories and research centres into daycares, government sponsored art studios and centres for researching ways to replace social conservatism with the political thinking of the liberal elite.
Returning on our way in our solar powered, government subsidized car, we enter the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. The condition of the highway is deplorable. Despite the fact that over 90% of the cost of fuel is road tax, no transfer payments for infrastructure have been received by Alberta from Ottawa this century. The farms along the sides of the road are lush and overgrown. Marketing of farm products except by government marketing boards is illegal. Quotas are determined in Ottawa and are based on a blend of factors including support for the governing party. Alberta receives approximately 15% of the national average. The fallacy of human-caused global warming has long been realized by nations around the world. The Kyoto Accord is now a mere footnote in history books. Temperature variation is almost universally understood and accepted to be the result of naturally occurring cycles. The government in Ottawa however continues to hold to the position that Canada can single-handedly stop global warming through the management of natural resources over which they maintain full control. The central and northern part of the province has an over-abundance of water which cannot be used because of federal constraints on its use.
We are unable to get to Edmonton because the highway has been declared unsafe until repairs have been made.
So what have we learned from this journey? Perhaps what I have just written is overly optimistic, but it could happen if we irresponsibly decide to continue in our current relationship with Canada. Being happy with the federal government is one thing, but to say that we ought to stay is, to steal a catchy phrase from John Leung Chung-Yin, “simply stupid”. Alberta is very able to stand alone now, and it will only get better once we get out from under the hob-nailed boots of Ottawa. If we don’t it could get as grim as the Alberta I have just pictured.