Alberta has better reasons to Albexit than Britain did for Brexit - Financial Post
Whatever negatives Alberta would face are easily swamped by the positives that would come with separation
"The possibility of leaving Alberta oil wealth in the ground, while world demand — already at 100 million barrels per day — keeps growing at a robust 1.5 per cent each year, is an existential threat to the province. Despite endless promises from so many self-appointed prophets of a renewable future, demand for oil continues to rise since it is needed for petrochemicals (such as all those plastics in all our tech gadgets) as well as air, sea, rail and short- and long-haul road transport. Even with rising production of electric vehicles, all the credible energy agencies project that demand for oil in 2050 will be as high as or higher than demand today.
Yet, Alberta is looking at being forced to sit it out, thanks to political decisions being made by Canadians outside the province. Because of the lack of pipeline capacity promoted by environmentalists who push for Canada to be a “climate leader,” and the politicians who play along, Albertans are losing high-paying jobs, wealth, government revenues and foreign investment in the oilpatch. The lack of support from other provinces — especially British Columbia and Quebec — is raising questions about Alberta’s place in Confederation. Quebec’s premier, François Legault, recently called Alberta’s oil “dirty energy” and said he doesn’t want it piped through his province, even as Quebec imports substantial volumes of that supposedly undesirable Alberta oil through Enbridge Line 9. Albertans can’t help but wonder why they should stand for being slapped in the face after the federal government, Quebec and the rest of Canada have been happy to take the hundreds of billions of dollars that Albertans and their “dirty” oil have provided them over the decades. ...
Whatever negatives Alberta would face are easily swamped by the positives that would come with separation. Alberta can choose its own environmentally responsible oil and gas development policies without federal interference, which typically reflects the interests of Central Canada and not the West. Alberta can choose how it wishes to tax itself and organize its health and pension system. It could develop its own trading relationship with the United States and the rest of Canada as it see fits. If Saskatchewan wished to join Alberta in separation, it would bring to fruition a proposal made before 1905 that would have led to a single, more powerful province (called Buffalo), but was kiboshed by then Liberal prime minister Wilfrid Laurier.
Alberta will also be able to keep for itself the annual $20 billion more it sends each year to Ottawa in taxes than it gets back in federal spending (that $20 billion is roughly six per cent of the province’s GDP). Hard borders and potential trade barriers with the rest of Canada would be a cost, but these would be subject to negotiation — and would they really be drastically worse than current internal barriers to trade (including pipeline obstacles) that already exist between provinces? The national debt assumed by Alberta would be contentious, since Alberta would seek a credit for the $220 billion in net transfers its made to the rest of Canada over the past decade. ...
The British shocked the world by opting for the freedom of Brexit based on reasons that weren’t nearly as existential. An Albexit could be the next big shock."