Rex Murphy: This is not a standard downturn. And Albertans are not whining - National Post
There has never been so concentrated and focused an attack on any industry that equals the relentless propagandist denigration of the Alberta oilsands
"There’s been a curious turn in some of the press commentary on what we may call the Alberta situation — references to “whining” and “complaining,” reminders that other regions have had “downturns,” too, claims that Albertans themselves have been careless in the management of their main industry. Some have actually expressed satisfaction that the province may be forced by its current dilemma to seek alternate sources for its economy, along the vaporous trail of the New Green Economy — whatever that strange beast is supposed to be.
Some of this is baiting, some of it is ignorance, and all of it, in the light of tensions that now exist out West, is perilous. This is not a time to wind up people who are already fully wound up. ...
Then of course there is the other great difference in the woes of Alberta. And that is the conscious and methodical obstruction of the current federal government to getting Alberta’s product to world markets.
The key element of Alberta’s distress lives in the No. 1, frantically trumpeted, and ever-so-virtuously exhaled policy priority of the Trudeau environmentalist government. Climate change is its very favourite, top-of-mind, most to be bragged about, highest virtue-signalling issue. That leads to a contradiction between its national leadership and its international pretensions. Which one will it fight to win a medal for: climate change or Alberta oil?
Let us be plain: this is a government that doesn’t like oil and gas. This is a government that cancels, impedes and regulates into submission every effort to allow the principal industry of a province — and arguably the nation — to continue, thrive or expand.
Let’s point the needle to true North. The Trudeau government’s obsession with its fantasy of being a global warming champion is and has been in direct and impassable conflict with the Alberta economy. You can pose as the Galahad of climate change, waltz in Paris and Rio, but only at the cost of damning the Alberta oil and gas industry. The mandarins of central Canada, and the parliamentary caucus of the Liberal government, at best, see Alberta oil and gas as an impediment to, a blotch on, their passionate desire to be the toast of the eco saints.
So no. This is not a standard downturn. And Albertans are not whining. They are, after an exhausting decade of downturn, outside attack, a fire in Fort Mac and an obstructionist and hostile Ottawa, finally weary — even to anger — that they remain unthanked for their contributions to Canada, sick of seeing their industry maligned and targeted, and reluctantly asking questions that go to the centre of their being in the Confederation.
One point should be made: should there be a separatist movement in Alberta, and one is in its infancy, it differs fundamentally from separatism in Quebec. Quebec’s is a willing, a desired separation, for those who espouse the cause. Those in Alberta who are thinking separatist thoughts, and who have separatist feelings, are doing so only because they have been driven, reluctantly and in sorrow, to the thought that separation might be the only way to achieve fair dealing from a careless national government and a blithe indifference from centrist mentalities."