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A university prof says Canada is ruined, Alberta should save itself Print E-mail
Written by Link Byfield   
Monday, 11 July 2005

A University of Alberta professor I know sent me a lengthy article he's trying to get published, entitled "Let's get while the getting's good."

In it Leon Craig, professor emeritus of political science, lays out a case for Alberta to declare unilateral independence. And he lays it out well.

Craig makes no bones about it. Alberta, he says, should go it alone.

Almost overnight, we would become one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

But--and this is his key point--the main reason to secede is not because Albertans would have more money. Not that there's anything wrong with money.

More importantly, we would create a country that reflects our own political and social beliefs, values and traditions, and our understanding of the common good.

Canada, says Craig, has been so badly governed since the Trudeau era it has doomed itself to a Third World, banana republic fate.

The only promising place left in Canada, he concludes, is Alberta. And Alberta owes it to itself, to its future citizens, and to like-minded people in the rest of the country to save itself.

As a sovereign and independent nation, he suggests, our population--viable to begin with--would double in ten years, even allowing for a welcome exodus of Albertans who would be happier back in Canada.

Far more good people move to take advantage of opportunity than flee from it.

Our social policies--marriage and family matters, medicare, civil and religious freedoms, etc.--would no longer be imposed by the Supreme Court and a handful of Ottawa mandarins.

We could establish our own laws to deal with crime and punishment, and our own separate relationship with the Americans.

If we don't do these things now, he says, we'll sink with the Canadian ship.

The professor dismisses the idea of "refederating" Canada along its original lines of strong provinces and a small central government. He thinks the rest of the country is too far gone to change back to what it was.

He even gives short shrift to the "West." Any attempt to create a new federalism, even in the West, he believes will fail. If other western provinces, or parts of provinces, want to join Alberta, by becoming part of it, they should be welcomed.

All that binds Albertans to Canada, he concludes, is sentiment--an attachment to Canada's once-illustrious military and pioneer past, and to our own provincial part in it. We must now face the fact that the old Canada is gone forever and the new Canada is disgusting.

So what are we to make of all this?

What is driving more and more Albertans towards separatism is the fact that our original constitutional arrangement--the political bargain on which Canada was built--has long since been obliterated by the national government.

Had that not happened, Canada would not be in its present ugly mess.

Alberta is the only province with both the means and the motive to force a restoration of those original terms. Not by asking. By telling.

But we owe it to our nine federal partners--the other provinces--to state the terms on which we would be willing to stay. This is something we have never done.

Only if those terms are refused should we decide on independence.

- Link Byfield

Link Byfield is chairman of the Edmonton-based Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy, and an Alberta senator-elect.
"Just Between Us" is a feature service of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. The purpose of the Citizens Centre is to enhance freedom and democracy by enabling ordinary citizens to become active and effective on important issues outside the normal processes of party politics.

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