With a separation vote potentially looming, we have 2 yrs to fix Alberta's future - Calgary Herald

Alberta MLA Drew Barnes dropped a bomb ... when he said he wants to see a referendum on separation timed with the provincial election in 2023.

First, there are two ways it can get on the ballot. The premier can decide to put it there, though as an avowed federalist I doubt he will. But the province is coming forward with citizen-initiated referendum legislation this spring (Note: the referendum legislation has been passed and is law). That means, depending on the rules, if enough Albertans sign a petition saying they want to vote on the question of whether Alberta remains in Canada, then the people will have the power to force the question. From the regular feedback I get, there is enough anger to get the required number of signatures for a vote.

Second, for those who dismiss the seriousness of the sovereignty movement, I’ll address the prime objection. The premier has noted we would be just as landlocked after voting to leave as we are now, so there is nothing to be gained. He ... is wrong.

Take a look at Switzerland. It’s landlocked and it’s seen no reason to join the European Union. Why is that? One reason is an international treaty called the Right of Access of Landlocked Nations to and From the Sea. It states that an independent nation can’t be barred from getting goods to market. So, ironically, Alberta may have more leverage to build a pipeline to the West Coast or the Gulf Coast as a separate country than we do as a province within Canada. Being landlocked is not the barrier that some may think.

But would Albertans vote to leave?

As disappointing as U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision on Keystone XL was, the bigger disappointment was the collective shrug from the rest of the country over its rejection.

When the softwood lumber dispute impacted British Columbia, I thought Canada should try to resolve it. When steel and aluminum tariffs hit plants in Quebec, it was entirely appropriate for it to be a priority for Canada. When Unifor’s Jerry Dias finally got a deal to repurpose an auto manufacturing plant to produce electric cars and save jobs in Ontario, I thought that’s a guy we need on our side fighting for pipelines.

But when Keystone XL was scuttled, Angus Reid polled Canadians on what they wanted the federal government to do. Our dear friends in B.C. (59 per cent), Ontario (62 per cent) and Quebec (74 per cent) felt we should just suck it up and move on. Less than a week after the cancellation, the majority of folks were saying the prime minister should “accept Biden’s decision on Keystone XL and focus on other Canada-U.S. priorities.” In other words, their priorities. As if it were impossible to do both. ...

To read Smith's full article click Here

Note: Red text is not in the original article and is ASNA interjection.