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National Policy

The high tariff feature of the National Policy saw 20% tariffs on farm implements, and was raised to 35% in 1884. The effect of this was that Albertan farmers had to either pay high duties on imported farm equipment, or buy the more expensive competitors's goods from Ontario or Quebec. Albertans were harmed by this policy well until the 1970s, when the GATT lowered worldwide tariffs.

Freight rates on the CPR monopoly were 50% more expensive in Western Canada, being more expensive the farther from Ontario the transportation took place. Freight rates continue to be discriminatory against the West.

Also, despite 2/3 of the CPR's traffic occuring in Western Canada, only 1/3 of its employees work there.
Unequal Status Entering Confederation

Alberta (as well as Saskatchewan) became part of Canada in 1905. Both provinces were essentially regarded as colonies. Neither province had rights to their natural resources until 1930. Every other province had these rights from their inception.  Essentially, both Alberta and Saskatchewan were regarded as colonies to benefit Canada. It is quite humorous how the federal government gave up their stake in 1930 because they wrongly perceived Alberta's natural resources as next to worthless.

The Borden Conservatives won the federal election in 1911, based upon their opposition to free trade with the U.S.. From an Alberta perspective, this protected Eastern manufacturers and made it more difficult to market agricultural products. It was essentially an extension of MacDonald's National Policy, which protected Eastern manufacturers. Alberta farmers were left with the choice of paying high duties on imported farming machinery or buying higher priced substitutes from Ontario or Quebec.

Protectionism has disproportionately harmed Western Canada relative to Eastern Canada. According to the Canada West Foundation, from 1968-1988, the net cost of tariffs to the West was over $5.7 billion. Over the same period, the gain from protectionism was $6.8 billion in Ontario.
The Great Depression

Similar to the argument about the development of the oil industry, some Canadians engage in revisionist history when it comes to how Canada helped Alberta during the Great Depression.

How? The Canadian government simply didn't redistribute wealth yesteryear as it does today.

Alberta was the only province that was allowed to default in Canadian history.

The protectionist policy of the Canadian government disproportionately harmed Western farmers.

The only benefit from the Canadian government of any permanent substance that Alberta received was the ability to control her own natural resources. Note that every other province, save Saskatchewan, had that right when they joined Confederation.

Albertans weren't looking for federal handouts. But the revisionist history that is sometimes forwarded is false. And using it to justify quid pro quo forty, fifty, sixty or seventy years later is disingenuous at best.
Development of the Oil Industry

Some Canadians attempt to present a revisionist history of the development of the Albertan oilpatch. Canadian banks rejected the proposals of Albertans to develop Alberta's struggling oil industry in the 1930s and 1940s. The Canadian government offered no assistance either. It was American oil companies and financiers that helped develop Alberta's oil patch. Don't believe it? Check out who owned the oilpatch prior to the National Energy Program. If Canadians were the ones who developed the oil industry in Alberta, Canadian ownership would have been much higher and Canadianization would not have been a stated purpose of the N.E.P..

Also note that this revisionist history is used as a poor excuse to gouge Alberta today. The argument made is that since Canada helped Alberta to develop the oil patch, Canada deserves the current payoff it is getting today. Not only is that faulty logic, but it is historically inaccurate.
Alberta Defaults; No Federal Guarantee

From 1936 to 1945, Alberta default on the principal of maturing debt, and managed partial coupon payments to debt holders. The Canadian government apparently guarantees the debt of other provinces. Should a province go into default, the federal government is supposed to essentially make the payments. This practice is quite common, with the federal government backing the debt of various provinces and other national entities, such as CMHC. The Canadian government let Alberta default. Nowadays, Alberta has the better foreign currency credit rating than even Canada.
Equalization / Transfer Payments

The Canadian government, through equalization and transfer payments, has stolen over one quarter TRILLION dollars from Albertans. The cost of staying in Canada in 2003 amounted to $3,158 for every Albertan man, woman and child. That is over $12,000 for a family of four.

Also worth noting is that this number is multitudes higher than the amounts various dictators like the Shah of Iran, Marcos or Hussein have stolen from their citizens. The magnitude of this number cannot be overstated.
Canadian Debt

Canada has a high national debt, which was accomplished by spending programs Albertans had no political power to change. Albertans, on our own, have no net debt.
Canadian Taxes

Canada has high taxes. Again, this was accomplished with Albertans being powerless to alter this situation. And you thought that Taxation without Representation only affected the American colonies?
Firearm Controls

Official government statistics measuring Canadian firearm ownership are questionable at best. Such measurements show an unlikely decline in firearms in Canada from the 1970s. The rationale for such stats being questionable range from the federal government trying to portray firearm ownership in a certain light. The other big issue is that with firearm control increasing, firearm owners are less likely to be honest about whether they own firearms.

These stats indicate that Alberta's rate of firearm ownership is roughly the national average. Other facts don't back this up. The National Firearms Association is based in Edmonton. Efforts leading the fight against gun control have originated in Alberta. Western culture embraces firearms as part of our culture. Many Albertans are employed as ranchers or farmers, where firearm ownership and usage is necessary. In other words, stating Alberta has firearm ownership rates that are at the national average is ridiculous.

Besides the financial cost of white elephants like the Gun Registry or other efforts, there are other costs to firearm controls. There is a positive relationship between increasing crime rates and gun control, as the Lott study on firearm ownership has demonstrated. Note that recent Canadian crime stats have increased, undoubtedly in part due to the recent attack on the right to bear arms.

As Albertans likely have higher rates of firearm ownership than Canadians, these controls discriminate against Albertans.
Forced Bilingualism

Being bilingual is a wonderful attribute for any individual to have. Forced bilingualism is a terrible idea. It infringes upon free speech; it is costly; it favors certain ethnic groups over others.
Oil Export Tax and Price Controls

The federal government imposed an export tax on more than one million barrels of oil per day which Alberta was selling to the U.S.. It also temporarily froze the price of domestic oil. In essence, Albertans were subsidizing, once again, Canada's industry.

Ironically, the reason Alberta exports its crude is because federal governments continuously denied the Alberta request for pipelines to be extended to Montreal. It was always denied on the basis that it was cheaper to buy oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. That may actually be a credible reason. It does make sense to buy from the cheapest source. And a corollary of that is that it makes sense to sell to the highest bidder. Canadians were allowed their ability to buy or sell in their interests; Albertans weren't.

Note that other forms of energy that are exported, namely electricity from Quebec, are not subject to federal taxes. Also note that the federal politicians who implement such programs are the rising stars federally. In this case, we have John Turner as the prime architect of this program, who later became Prime Minister.
Foreign Investment Review Agency

FIRA helped kill American investment in Alberta's oilpatch.
National Energy Program

The National Energy Program decimated the economy of Alberta in the early 1980, and transfered great amounts of wealth from Albertans to Canada.
Interprovincial Trade Barriers

Interprovincial trade barriers represent restrictions on the rights of Albertans to freely trade goods and services. Despite the Agreement on Internal Trade, such barriers remain ridiculously high. In many cases, trade is freer to other countries than with Canada.
Unelected, Ineffective and Unequal Senate

You could make the argument that Canada's Senate is equal by region, if those regions are Quebec, Ontario, the West and the Maritimes. This "equality" did not exist in the original BNA Act, nor did it when Newfoundland joined Canada. One can also make the case that the regions chosen to be equal are not relevant in order to give regional protection against federal legislation. In an extreme example, one could give PEI 9 seats with each of the other provinces getting 1 seat. Even though you could claim that PEI is a region and Canada ex-PEI is a separate region, the claim of equal representation is somewhat lacking.

Canada's Senate is, of course, unelected. Senators are appointed by the Governor General, though in practice the Prime Minister has this power.

Canada's Senate is completely ineffective. It rubber-stamps legislation that has passed the House of Commons. Given how Alberta has 3 active Senators (fewest of any province), and they are all Liberals, the ineffectiveness of the Senate alone does not matter. The most prominent time the Senate has acted, it has acted against Alberta's interests. This occured when the Senate refused to pass the FTA. Not surprisingly, this was due to politics more than anything else, since the Liberal appointees controled the Senate.

These characteristics of the Canadian Senate are harmful to Alberta, because there is no effective regional check against federal legislation. If Alberta had such a political weapon at her command, perhaps a National Energy Program would have never come to be.
Unfair Representation

Alberta, along with BC and Ontario, are unfairly represented in the House of Commons. Due to the Senate Clause and the Grandfather Clause, Alberta winds up with fewer seats than it should have. However, Ontario still controls who gets elected. Alberta does not affect the federal political dynamic, which is another type of unfair representation. Given the combination of parliamentary discipline, few representatives and power over Albertans, Alberta has no say in her own affairs.
Canadian Wheat Board

Canadian farmers can sell their wheat to whomever they want, provided they live East of Manitoba. If you are an Albertan farmer, you will get arrested if you try to do that. Sadly, some Albertans have been arrested.

Again, this is another case of Eastern Canadians being able to do one thing, and Albertans being prevented from doing so.
Future Threat: Kyoto

Kyoto has the potential to be the most egregious legislation to affect Alberta since the National Energy Program. Kyoto could possibly wipe out certain sectors of the oil industry in Alberta.

Note that certain regions are given "credits" for the purposes of measuring net production of greenhouse gases (except for water vapor of course - especially for landlocked Alberta). Note that Quebec benefits from this, because hydroelectricity is considered a "clean" form of energy. Also note that Ontario's auto industries will be exempt. In other words, the only place to suffer the consequences of this legislation is Alberta. It is nothing but an attempt to redistribute Alberta's wealth to Canada.