Wednesday, March 04, 2020

The absurdity of the Buffalo Declaration

A bunch of four Alberta Conservative MPs have issued a document they are calling, a little over-dramatically, the Buffalo Declaration. It was actually published a couple of weeks ago, I just didn't get around to commenting on it.
The MPs, most of whom you will probably never have heard of, are Michelle Rempel Garner (the one whom you might have heard of, given that she was a cabinet member under Stephen Harper), Blake Richards, Glen Motz and Arnold Viersen. Most other Conservative MPs, even those from Alberta, have conspicuously managed to avoid publicly commenting on it.
The Buffalo Declaration is the latest, and perhaps most egregious, in the series of Alberta politicians whingeing and whining (see this article of mine for another such). It is not so much a declaration as a list of complaints about how badly treated Alberta has been by the central (read "Liberal") government, from the National Energy Program of the 1980s (for which an official apology is demanded), through the provincial equalization system to the carbon tax and, the final insult, the lack of oil pipelines. It even sees the current Indigenous blockades over the BC gas pipeline project as an example of government mistreatment of Alberta!
It claims that Alberta has always been treated as an inferior member of confederation, that the province has contributed a disproportionate amount of wealth to Ottawa, that its resource industry has been deliberately starved and held back, and that it is under-represented in Parliament, in the civil service, and even in the media. If all this were not enough, the prospect of Alberta seceding from Canada is mooted, and finally, the coup de grĂ¢ce, a claim that Alberta be recognized as "culturally distinct", just like its nemesis, Quebec.
There is no mention of that old climate change thing, and the fact that low global oil prices are nothing to do with federal government policies. And there is definitely no mention of the fact that, if Alberta had a sales tax like everywhere else, the province would have a surplus not a deficit. All in all, it's a laughable document, were it not for the sobering thought that, crikey! a plurality of Albertan voters actually supported and voted for this mob. That is perhaps the scariest thought of all.

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