|2002 Archives from ColbyCosh.com
The Calgary Herald's Ric Dolphin is doing top-notch
political reporting these days and his account
of the muddle on Ralph Klein's right flank gets it...
No mention of the dreaded 'S' word though. The political money
Randy Thorsteinson won't take is, I suspect, seeking a credible voice of
separatism, if only for the sake of establishing it as a bargaining chip. Such a
threat should be established, but "credible" means "credible"--and the
Randy Party, credible or not, refuses to put it in its platform.
To repeat what I've said before: it would take the coming-out
of just one senior figure, whether an old-time PC MLA or someone well-known
outside politics, to create the option and test the true depth of separatist
sentiment. A new party wouldn't have to have a detailed plan for alternative
government or a centralized structure; at least two parties (the United Farmers
and Social Credit) have actually won Alberta elections without having such a
plan or structure. The party just has to say "Ralph Klein isn't willing to
consider threatening a referendum on separation. We are."
A lot of people hate Ted Byfield, but if Ted Byfield were to
found such a party and run it in an election, it would go to at least 30% in the
polls overnight. Well, I can tell you Ted Byfield's not going to do it: he's too
busy. Ted Morton could do it; he's already won
elected office in this province with a
hundred-thousand-some votes. But he's a busy man, too, and I'm not sure he wants
to butt heads with Ralph. The old-time politicians who are known and trusted,
the Marv Moores and Connie Ostermans and Ray Speakers, are mostly still
beholden, one way or another, to the present-day government or the social
circles tied to it. Same with the well-known oilmen, I suppose. But this is the
kind of person I'm thinking of; one of them would be doing us a big favour if
they bit the bullet and came out.
And, in fact, Ralph would be doing us and himself a big favor
if he'd quietly convince a current MLA to wander off the reservation, with tacit
permission. Perhaps someone would be so kind as to pitch it to him as the Cosh
Plan. All you have to do, Ralph, is take aside some half-smart, well-trained
junior rural MLA and feed him the dialogue. Your plant calls a press conference
and says "I will henceforth sit in the Assembly as an Independent Conservative,
and I intend to run in the next election, in my riding, on a separatist
platform." Hue and cry. Ralph, you make a show of opposing and denouncing him.
"I'm very troubled and disappointed that Stinky has decided to leave the caucus.
But of course this is the kind of thing that happens when Ottawa fails to
respect the constitutional arrangements between itself and the provinces. I can
only hope the separatist virus stops spreading of its own accord."
And then we see whether people flock to Stinky's banner--which
is, secretly, secure in the hands of Ralph. Which is more or less fine by me.
The question, Mr. Premier, is whether you want the lanyard in your hands
when the trial balloon goes up.
- 2:50 am, December 21 (link)
|This Tears It - Weblogging is Officially
There, I've finally filed all my Report copy and I can
start goofing off here again. For future reference, when I disappear for 36
hours at a time, you can always console yourself with Paul Martin's new
weblog. Is this shit for real?--the link comes from
but the "whois" lookup is singularly unenlightening. Certainly whoever's writing
these entries has captured Martin's soggy position on Kyoto perfectly. "We're
going to implement it, but not at the expense of any one region or sector:
therefore Albertans should like the Liberal Party all the better." If you
say so, Uncle Junior. Good luck tying yourself in a knot trying to figure out
how you're going to impose limits on carbon emissions without hurting the
damn carbon industry.
Webloggers everywhere (who may not know that Martin is all but
certain to be Canada's next Prime Minister) will enjoy PM's dorky explanation of
why he's starting a "blog". Wonder who the ghostwriter
- 1:41 pm, December 12 (link)
|The National Singularity
Floyd McWilliams says that
Alberta is welcome in the American Union, on one minor condition. Oh, but why would we want to leave Confederation? Haven't you heard
is morally superior to the United States?
Dear, dear Dickie Gwyn. In all the land there is no better
personification of Toronto's unctuous superciliousness; if he did not exist we'd
practically have to invent him. Only in the country's largest-circulation
daily, the Voice of the Hub, would you find someone saying this with a
presumably straight face:
But a fair number of Canadians do feel morally superior to
Americans. ...for Canadians to feel this way, even if wholly unjustified, is a
sign of national self-confidence. It makes us unique in the world.
others resent Americans, envy them, wish they'd get out of their faces. Some
people hate Americans. Many others love them. Lots of people both love them and
Only Canadians, though, dare to feel morally superior to
Yes, you read that right. Richard Gwyn, high-paid columnist,
professional intellectual, believes that of all the world's two hundred-and-some
countries, only Canada looks down its nose, morally, at the United
Well, it's a newspaper, and this is most certainly news to me.
- 10:05 pm, December 8 (link)
|Sheesh, Did He Really Ask That?
Geitner Simmons asks idly if Canada
really has its own group of people vilified as "rednecks." Boy, this is a disconcerting question, even coming from an
American. Any Canadian can tell you immediately what
province Canada's rednecks live in. The word may actually
be more common in this country than it is in the U.S.; there is at least some
kind of cultural stigma attached to hatred of the American South, but very
little, in Canada, attached to hatred of the
Of course, this use of the word "redneck" is really slightly
inappropriate, since it's their affluence Albertans are resented for, not their
poverty. Here's an entire two-part radio documentary
commissioned by the national broadcaster on Canada's
- 5:20 pm, November 29 (link)
|"...If I Stay It Will Be Double"
(Link via Instapundit--you know how to get there)
Extraordinary. UPI's James Bennett writes about secessionism in Western Canada
and gets it almost
exactly right. I think he understands us better
than--well, than Eastern voters do.
There is an interesting disconnect, or discordance, which is
not often commented upon by anyone (but me). Here in Alberta, there is no
serious separatist movement. All the credible political and private
figures who might lead one are staked to the current system. There are certain
lines they won't cross for fear of ruining their ambitions in the political
afterlife (the Senate, the foreign service, royal commissions and touring
government panels, etc.) or the Eastern-dominated business world. Grassroots
separatist parties have floundered over the presence of single-issue kooks and
the difficulty of working out exactly what they want--what the bargaining
position should be, what kind of separatism they wish to pursue, which provinces
should be in or out of the tent, whether we should be a republic or join the
Despite the lack of a serious instrument for the expression of
separatist values, separatist sentiment is virtually universal amongst
people born and raised in Alberta. The class of federal-government beneficiaries
here is small. Most Albertans are vaguely aware that Confederation, for us, is a
huge financial rip-off, with outgoing net government transfers amounting to
thousands of dollars a head every year. It is a mystery to us exactly
what we get for our federal taxes nowadays. Sit down and try to work it
out sometime if you're an Albertan, remembering that health, welfare, and
education are provincially funded and administered. What, are they spending the
money on our elite, powerfully equipped armed forces?
Asked outright "Stay or go?", most Albertans (real Albertans,
not people who came over from Montreal at age 16) will tell you "Go", privately.
It's not just the rural loonies, either: as a rule, the more you know about
trying to run a business, the more likely you are to answer "Go". I have
a lot of trouble making Easterners understand this. If any well-known leader
decides to step up and give a voice to Alberta separatism, they will learn. And
Incidentally, yes, Alberta politicians do tend to call it
"Ki-ota". I find this a bit embarrassing, but there is an old political rule
governing the situation. Even Churchill, who cared very much for niceties of
language, deliberately pronounced "Nazi" incorrectly ("the narzee
menace") in radio broadcasts until the English people caught up to him.
- 4:34 pm, November 18 (link)
If you can ignore the annual six-month deep freeze, Alberta
has much of paradise about it; natural disasters mostly don't happen here. No
volcanoes, no hurricanes, no earthquakes. We don't
even have rats. But, alas, we do have tornadoes. Everyone
but me seems to have a story about the 1987 twister that killed 27 people. We were camping up north while it was busy
prying the gym roof off my high school. I was reading a book in my dad's truck,
waiting out the heavy rains of the storm's north edge, when I flicked on the
radio and heard the reports of death and destruction. For a long
time--minutes--I thought "Some sort of War of the Worlds-type exercise,
- 3:52 pm, November 11 (link)
|The Altar of the Experts
More appalling news on the Kyoto front: the University of
Alberta has refused to co-host a "forum on climate change" with the federal
government after the
Environment Minister insisted on hand-picking pro-Kyoto panelists. I was never prouder to be a U of A alumnus.
The previously linked Calgary Herald story mentions:
[A] group of more than 60 scientists who wrote a letter to
Alberta Premier Ralph Klein recently, attacking the provincial government for
questioning the science linking greenhouse gas emissions to global warming, and
espousing a view that Kyoto targets can be reached.
Lorne Gunter already broke down this group of "more than 60"
scientists in the Edmonton Journal. Actually, the figure he gave was 56,
but never mind that. He noted:
Nearly half the letter's signatories are biologists, not
climate scientists at all. Three are federal government forest scientists, seven
are geographers, one a mathematician and three are renewable resource experts,
whose discipline may be just a tad biased against fossil fuels. Only 10 are
earth scientists. Of the total, at least nine also have strong links to
environmental lobbies such as Ecotrust, Friends of the Environment, Global
Forest Watch and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
Of course, belonging to an environmental lobby doesn't
invalidate what you have to say about public policy. OK, OK, I know--it
does, basically, but for the purposes of the argument let's concede that
it doesn't. The real point is that these same lobbies are the ones who want to
exclude from the debate (a) the petroleum industry, (b) scientists or economists
who have taken money from the petroleum industry, and (c) anyone who is
vaguely sympathetic to the petroleum industry. By the tough standard they
routinely uphold, they should exclude themselves as well.
Not going to happen. Their expertise is the real
expertise, you see, and the expertise of someone like Bjorn Lomborg just doesn't
rise to the necessary standard. I find it amusing that the green crowd would add
a mathematician to a list like that, in a clear effort to build up the numbers
("Ooooh, more than 60"), then turn around and say that a statistician
like Lomborg has no right to critique the use of statistics in populist
Take a look again at the original Herald
story. The federal government wants Mike Percy, an
economist who opposes Kyoto, off the panel, at least by implication. It is happy
to put David Schindler, an environmental scientist who favors Kyoto, on the
I've interviewed Mike Percy and David Schindler in the past,
been friends with their students, followed their work. Percy, to be perfectly
candid, doesn't have the international profile and prestige of a David
Schindler. Schindler is probably the most distinguished living scientist in the
province of Alberta. I believe this reputation is probably quite justified. The
opinion that he is an amazing human
being is practically universal, and my own brief
interaction with him did absolutely nothing to dispel it. (But you know how
journalists judge this stuff: on the Barry Bonds principle. "He was courteous,
friendly, fast in responding, explained things clearly. Obviously a saint.")
You remember in the late '80s how everyone was worried about
the increasing levels of phosphates in lakes, and how a bunch of policy changes
were introduced, and all the detergent brands started switching around? That
was, basically, Schindler--our knowledge of what phosphates were doing was
founded on his work and his publicity activities. When he talks about
eutrophication, you listen, because he is basically The Eutrophication Guy. When
he talks about organophosphates, you sit up straight in your chair. The guy
knows his lakes as well as anyone alive.
And when he talks about global climate... well, you listen
then too, because you know he's not somebody who believes in circumscribing his
intellectual activity. He's got a wide range of interests--and biases too, being
human. He keeps up with the climate research (publishing papers about the
potential effects of climate change on boreal forests), and he has an
understanding of scientific method. But in the end, he's a lake guy and a tree
guy, one whose great work has been done out in the woods, a long way from a
computer lab. You'd be crazy if you didn't assess his credibility at a slightly
lower level when he stops talking about lakes.
And so why isn't Mike Percy entitled to participate in the
discussion with David Schindler? Yeah, fine, he's no Schindler, but he sat on
the editorial board of Forest Science. He's far enough from being a
provincial government stooge that he sat in the Legislative Assembly
across from it, with the Liberal bloc. And, what, like economics have
nothing to do with this public-policy question? Like there are no
international trade issues arising from the fact that the U.S. isn't going to
ratify the accord? Like economic development isn't relevant here? Are we going
to make this decision based solely on limnologic thermoclines?
If we want to talk about climate change, let's get some
climate scientists in here! I find it suspicious--given the large number of
climate scientists I've interviewed and read who are not in favor of
Kyoto--that the federal government has to sell this policy using people who
aren't climate scientists. The dead-cert attendees, the guys who are sure to be
on the panel, are Schindler and Mark Jaccard. Schindler's not a climate scientist, and Jaccard's an economist
(but, y'know, one of the good ones). Will the climate guys be attending? (The
makeup of the panel was supposed to be announced on the 6th, and was not.) Can
we get someone in here whose full-time job is to keep up with the
research and work with the models? If not... well, OK then: Mike Byfield from
the Report has written three long, research-intensive cover stories in
the last three months on Kyoto and climate change. Where's his invitation? Is a
Ph.D. in a tangentially related field the specific passport to participation in
If it comes down to asking us to treat certain
professors as though they were priests and judges, Alberta's going to keep
saying "Get stuffed" to this bullshit.
- 12:56 am, November 7 (link)
|Good Work, Boys, Now Finish the Job
Parliament today offered the stunning spectacle of Liberal
backbenchers growing a collective spine and forcing the
government to allow a free vote on secret ballots for
committee chairs. It passed 174-87. The result will be to take considerable
power away from the Prime Minister's Office and to allow for the growth of
non-partisan interest blocs within the Commons. And that's good for Canada,
which has suffered from an unnaturally centralized form of the Westminster
parliamentary model--one very often called, by critics of all stripes, an
"elected dictatorship". Perhaps Chretien will be Canada's last elected
Thirty years ago Trudeau called the Liberal backbenchers
"nobodies". They've finally done something to show they aren't, and they deserve
enormous credit for it, even if they did wait for what is, practically speaking,
an interregnum. (During Chretien's second term the Liberals had a majority of
seven or thereabouts; it would have been easy to force a change like this--easy,
but apparently not safe enough.) Now if they can just stop this Kyoto Protocol
I had an interesting conversation with the cab driver who
drove me home from work last night--interesting because he is one of perhaps a
few dozen people in Alberta who thinks ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is possibly
a good idea. He wasn't an idiot: clearly he was a smart, well-informed guy who
had the one overwhelmingly idiotic idea. I had twenty minutes to try and make
the anti-Kyoto case in a way he could accept. This was a challenging exercise,
because you can't take the "junk science" tack with a person like that: if you
haven't done the reading, you can't be convinced that the scientific consensus
which is often claimed to exist really doesn't. That's something you have to go
discover on your own.
First I tried to convince him of the extreme length of the
logical chain he proposes to tie himself up with. As I see it, to believe that
it makes sense for Canada to ratify Kyoto, you have to accept all of the
1. The earth is getting warmer.
2. This warming is significant and will continue, all things
remaining more or less equal.
3. The warming is, for the world, more bad than it is good.
(Or, as a possible alternative, the warming is good for the world, but bad for
Canada, and therefore we should act in our own interests. Or: the warming is bad
for the world but good for Canada, so we have some kind of responsibility to
take steps to harm ourselves and benefit the rest of the world.)
4. There is a significant human element in the causes of this
5. Greenhouse gases constitute the most important part of this
6. The modest greenhouse-emissions reductions proposed in the
Protocol will have a noticeable positive effect on climate change.
7. There will be no unexpected effects from, say, economic
changes which will counteract the aforementioned positive effect. (If the
economic harm from Kyoto somehow delays the eventual adoption of cleaner
technologies, passing it would be stupid.)
8. Assuming that ratifying Kyoto is a good idea for all these
reasons, it is ethically proper for our federal government to implement, on our
behalf, an economically damaging plan which has been rejected by Australia,
Japan, and the United States and which hasn't been imposed at all upon India and
9. Assuming that ratifying Kyoto is a good idea for all these
reasons, imposing the plan on the parts of Canada which have high greenhouse
emissions (because they are the economically productive parts of Confederation)
(a) is ethically acceptable, (b) is being done in a politically appropriate way,
and (c) will not harm the economy of the country, as a whole, too badly for the
plan to be tenable.
10. Assuming that these reasons are all good and that it is
proper to take on the proposed degree of economic self-harm, there is no
alternative way of spending the same (or less) money which would yield
more benefit in reducing emissions.
To favor the ratification of the protocol, you have to accept
all ten of these propositions as a group. Any significant level of doubt
on even one of them makes a nonsense of the Protocol. And, as it happens, some
of the propositions are extremely vulnerable. Concerning (2), I have yet to hear
a convincing claim that the warming we are supposedly faced with (if you trust a
bunch of computer models which can't yet be made to fit recent empirical climate
data) is significant when measured against geological-scale climate
fluctuations. Proposition (5) has already been abandoned outright by some
important climate scientists: James Hansen at the Goddard Institute, who had a
big role in convincing American politicians that global warming was a serious
issue, has taken the focus completely off greenhouse gases in his own work and
is now worried about airborne particulates. Proposition (6) is pretty much just
plain wrong, and everybody knows it: the idea seems to be that we'll go ahead
with Kyoto anyway and pre-socialize the economy in order to introduce more
rigorous emissions limits later. Proposition (7) is something you must believe
as an article of religious faith: no one can say with certainty that it is true.
And then there's proposition (10): there's nothing more
sensible we can do, for the same amount of self-imposed harm, to combat climate
change or limit greenhouse emissions. The Alberta government has looked at this
chain of Kyoto Truths and decided to fight a rearguard action almost entirely on
the ground of number 10. We have, they say, a better plan for saving the world.
I, personally, am not convinced the world much needs saving.
But, as I told the cabbie, even conceding propositions one through nine, I think
the Alberta government is unarguably, absolutely right about #10. Science
minister Lorne Taylor wants to make a heavy financial investment in research on
areas where qualified scientists suspect it may be possible to attack emissions:
given five or ten years' work, we can find ways to make coal burn cleaner, or
trap CO2 emissions from oilfield activity. If we succeed in this
research project, the techniques created can be distributed to the whole world
gratis. We, in Canada, can help everybody limit their emissions by
spending a little bit of money, by freely accepting a little bit of economic
harm. Instead, the federal government prefers to inflict that harm in an openly
phony show of global goodwill. It would rather put people out of work than put
people to work reconciling human industrial activity with the putative
needs of the Earth's climate.
For heaven's sake, why? The only answer I can come up with is,
because it makes the federal government more powerful--at the expense of a
region it doesn't give a crap about--and because it will make the Liberal lice
in the foreign service and at the UN look good among their drinking buddies.
They're taking the most destructive, dumb, statist approach to this
problem--assuming it's a problem--that you could possibly choose.
And environmentalists are behind them almost uniformly, with
the exception of their personal anti-Christ, Bjorn Lomborg. This doesn't exactly
dispel my conviction that most of the people who "care about the environment"
are just commies in new clothing.
- 3:11 pm, November 5 (link)
|I'd Rather Be Outrighted
I joked yesterday that Minnesota was just part of Canada that
somehow broke loose and drifted south. Steven Ehrbar's response:
We'll return Minnesota to Canada when Canada gives back
Alberta, and not a moment sooner.
It's a deal! Ze prisoners to be exchanged vill meet at ze
center of ze bridge...
- 4:18 pm, October 7 (link)
Time to Let Smarter People Talk
Lyndon Epp, one of the many Saskatchewan transplants to
Alberta, offers an explanation for the schism between socialist Saskatchewan and
Alberta got more Americans, particularly in the southern part
of the province, while Saskatchewan got more Europeans (especially British) who
had a much more positive outlook for the glorious promises of socialism. I'm not
sure how far into the future you want to extend this, but even today I think the
prevailing attitude of Saskatchewan is one that is much more collective in
I don't know the exact figures, anyway, but there was
certainly no shortage of Eastern Europeans or potentially Fabian Brits here.
This theory still suffers from the nexus problem: at the exact moment
Saskatchewan was adopting socialism, Alberta was adopting a monetary heresy,
Social Credit, that was practically indistinguishable from socialism. It seems
to me that at that moment either province could have gone either way, whatever
the preexisting immigration patterns. The real mystery, perhaps, is the journey
of E.C. Manning, who steered Social Credit away from the left, purging the party
of the true believers. To what degree did he ever actually believe in Social
Credit? And just to add confusion to the issue, guess where Manning was actually
Janes proposes an attractive theory: Alberta is simply
better (well duh)!
The problem with Saskatchewan may be simply that it's boring.
Alberta has mountains, which means there is a means for young people to actually
entertain themselves, making it a much more attractive place to go or to
I don't know that many people come specifically to get away
from Saskatchewan's landscape, although I could hardly blame them. I think a
part of the primordial schism is in fact related to this: the first colonized
parts of Alberta were ranchland, while Saskatchewan attracted ordinary
homesteaders. Cattlemen, as you'll know if you've met them, are a ferociously
independent bunch. They don't learn to rely on neighbors they hardly ever see,
and since their wealth is portable they are hyper-aware of property
- 1:04 pm, October 1 (link)
Some months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine, an Alberta
expatriate now living in Toronto, and he told me something along these lines:
"People here in T.O. support the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol because they
are massively ignorant. They actually think it's got something to do with
the abominable air pollution here. So they figure 'Kyoto? Great idea, clean
things up a little. It's about time those bastards did something.'"
I fear I did not entirely believe him, even after I saw the
infamous CROP poll. Because if you were stupid enough to
believe that Kyoto had anything to do with air pollution, could you
simultaneously be cynical enough to believe that the answer was to crush the
economy of Alberta--a place where there is no air pollution issue?
today's Globe and Mail (link will be good for
seven days) Hugh Winsor endorses the theory without even blinking.
Like it or not, the global warming issue is linked in the
minds of most Canadians to clean air and pollution. Technically, they may not be
the same phenomenon, but it is all pollution.
Incredibly, this isn't even the most cynical theory on offer.
Lawrence Garvin at Fresh Hell has found at least one public figure who openly
supports Kyoto because what hurts Alberta has to be good, by definition, for
Ontario cities. The speaker is John Barber [of the
Globe, not the Federation of Canadian Municipalities--thanks to my
colleague Rick Hiebert for the correction]:
No, actually I
think Albertans are stupid: why else are we still in Confederation? In Liberal
Canada there are all of two provinces which are net contributors to the union:
one of them, Ontario, gets permanent political dominance in exchange for its
acquiescence. Our own reward can be seen above: we're the hewers of wheat
(hewers??) and drawers of oil who should know their place. Like the literal
scapegoat of old we're a "source of pollution."
Once again the hewers of wheat and drawers of oil are coming
to town to tell us what's good for us.
Previously, they've come during
elections, urging us to support political parties founded on the promise to
repress our interests in favor of theirs.
This time they want us to rise up
against ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that
couldn't be more attractive if it were written specifically to boost the
competitive advantage of Southern Ontario.
Do they think we're
We should have gone a long time ago. The Constitution allows
for it, and Albertans in fact favor it. If our chickenshit domestic political
leaders didn't think it would limit their career opportunities, they'd be doing
the right thing and saying "Screw you forever" to a country that tolerates us
because it needs somebody to steal from.
- 9:04 am, September 23 (link)
me a very nice review but inadvertently says something
Colby Cosh is funny, Canadian and about as libertarian as can
be expected up there.
Yes, you know, I'd love to push my political philosophy that
last mile, but--I'm Canadian! There are some things they won't let me
think. In truth, Jim knows perfectly well, or should know, that I'm not
really "Canadian", but Albertan. Which is a very different thing.
- 2:42 pm, September 21 (link)
|Fuck Me If I Can't Take a Joke
Ha bloody ha. A lot of people, as it happens, have been playing up the purported
link between driving your car and financing global terror. You may have believed
the propaganda: you may feel queasy taking your SUV to the golf course, knowing
that somewhere Osama is cackling over your decadent, dirty American consumerism.
You may have thought "Will the money I spend at the pump today fund a
jihad against my grandchildren?"
Well, my American friends, the truth is far far worse. In
actual fact, the money you spend at the pump funds this website.
Don't believe me? Have
a look at the numbers. Pop quiz: what country is the
largest single supplier of crude oil and petroleum products to the United
States? Saudi Arabia? Iraq? Nay: the correct answer is "Canada." We may
be the retarded giant on your doorstep, in the words of National Lampoon,
but we shit pure Texas tea.
Most of the crude oil we supply to the United States comes
from here, in Alberta, a fact that is an endless source of grief and envy to the
other nine provinces. The US consumes, if I recall right, about 50% of our
output. It would probably not be overstating matters for me to say that the
livelihood of nearly every member of my extended family depends, directly or
indirectly, upon the petroleum business. My father fixes cranes, for example, at
the Syncrude bitumen mine near Fort McMurray, in the far north. And without a
broad base of loyal Alberta readers with large disposable incomes, the magazine
I work for would be up the creek. In fact, its majority owners are two Calgary
oilmen who bailed it out the last time it went broke (something that's happened
from time to time over its checkered 28-year history). I draw a paycheck for two
reasons: oil and gas. (OK, three if you count my abundant talent.)
As time goes by, the oil sands in Alberta's north are only
going to become more important to the American petro-economy, not less. The
price of extracting oil from those sands gets cheaper every year. Soon enough,
it won't even occur to your politicians to suck up to the Saudis: they'll be
priced right out of the market. "Thank you for financing global terror" says the
phunnee Situationist prefab graffito. Thank you for financing my next meal, say
I, entirely in earnest.
- 3:49 pm, August 26
|Why Can't We All Just Get Along
The Banana Counting Monkey, an Ontarian CA voter, has responded to my thing about CA strategy
and "uniting the right." A very interesting response it
I'm Ontarian, and I've voted Alliance/Reform for the last two
elections. What I can comment on is the attitude of other Ontarians towards the
Alliance. I've never once heard any mention of antipathy to the West as being a
reason for disliking the Alliance. What seems to jar people, especially women,
is the image that the Alliance has been saddled with of being the party of the
Religious right and a bunch of racist, homophobic bigots. (The moment of truth
for me in dating has more than once been telling a girl that yes, I support the
Alliance. This has not always worked out well. One girl from Queens told me
never to speak to her again after I had the temerity to ask for proof that
Stockwell Day was a racist as she'd claimed.)
Silly monkey! Do you think the image of the Alliance as the
party of bigotry would be credible for one minute if the party wasn't
dominated by Albertans and British Columbians? Of course people don't mention
regional antipathy as a factor, because they're ashamed of it or (more likely)
they don't even consider it. It just is a factor.
Look, the Alliance is the overwhelmingly dominant party
here--nobody who's from here doesn't vote for them. So when someone tells
you that the CA is a party of Holocaust-denying gay-bashers, he (or she) is
ipso facto admitting to regional hatred. What else would you call it when
an entire region of the country is arraigned for voting, pretty much
unanimously, for a neo-fascist conspiracy? This ugly regional prejudice may not
be a sufficient cause for the "stigma" you speak of, but it's certainly a
necessary one. The stigma is the antipathy. If you think this through
you'll see they're logically equivalent.
To put it another way, how does one maintain that Stockwell
Day is a bigot, and yet not think that Albertans, who overwhelmingly supported a
government in which he was a senior minister, are themselves a bunch of bigots?
The two beliefs go hand in hand, and I'm inclined to think (in the absence of
evidence that poor Stock Day has a racist bone in his body) that the implicit
one is actually the prior one. As an exercise, you may wish to find an Ontario
resident who comes from Alberta originally and is willing to admit to it:
they'll tell you quick enough whether the never-mentioned regional bias exists,
and is common, and figures large in people's minds. Hell, try telling some new
acquaintances you're from Alberta yourself, and check the reaction.
I really admire your courage, BCM, in sticking up for your
political beliefs (and mine). It's a shame you have to feel jumpy about voting
your self-evident self-interest. But there are nearly a million of you out
there, as I have to remind myself every day. So you're obviously not alone.
Several dozen of that million may even be chicks! Woo-hoo!
- 3:04 pm, August 20
Puck the Liberals
(Links from Bourque) The Ottawa
Sun's very intelligent Greg Weston has a column today
discussing Liberal quasi-corruption. One thing he forgot
to mention about the tax money wasted on government advertising in hockey
arenas: the Alberta NHL teams didn't get any of it. Not a dollar. That's worth
remembering, for those of you who grumble about chronic Western alienation. In
my experience, such people simply aren't aware how plentiful the causes are. I
mean, come on--even our community-owned hockey teams have to be taxed to
subsidize the deep-pocketed Leafs and Canadiens? Is this really fair payback for
the several dozen moth-eaten blankets the East shipped our way during the
- 3:07 pm, August 11