McQUARRIE – We buy Albertastan a pipeline and this is the thanks we get

(Image: Kinder Morgan)

ALBERTASTAN?  A make-believe world, created and promoted by those looking to divert your attention and blame from some truly serious issues.

Yes, the chest pounding, swagger talk coming from Saudi-Alberta separatists makes for a good 6-second clip on the news.  But seriously, does anyone really believe being a land-locked, mini state of 4.3 million people is going to make things better?

Even if Saskatchewan adds their 1.1 million people to this swaggerville WEXIT concept, it still ends up being a miniature prairie republic with fewer inhabitants than most major cities.

Yes, I hear the, “but we have oil” cry. However, so do a lot of other countries and in most cases, their crude is easier to extract, of higher quality/value and comes with an ocean conveniently attached to their country.

Currently, as residents of Alberta and citizens of Canada, there are three oceans attached to your country, with one of them just a single province away.  And apart from proximity, the prime minister – so hated by many Albertans – made all other Canadians pay $4.5 billion to buy the province an existing pipeline.

He also told – not asked – all taxpaying Canadians to give Alberta an additional $10-15 billion to twin that pipeline.

Sure, the process has been long and difficult but hey, sometimes that’s life.  In the end, the pipeline expansion will be built on behalf of Albertans and ironically, paid for by all those Canadians so despised by the WEXIT separatists.

In the midst of all the posturing, has anyone discussed what will happen to that $15-billion taxpayer infrastructure gift when Albertastan casts off the yoke of Canadian oppression and tyranny?

If people thought negotiating access to a port was difficult when we were all part of the same country, imagine what will it be like when Alberta is a foreign nation?  Pipeline-dysfunction and port-envy will look good compared to getting no access for one’s pipeline.

How will Albertastan export oil, grains and beef when access to all markets requires transporting those goods through another nation?

Separate and Alberta is no longer part of Canada’s free trade agreements with the U.S., Mexico, the EU, South America or any country within the Pacific Rim Trade pact.

What were once trading partners will likely impose tariffs on Albertastan products.  And being so small and facing incredible logistical problems, they will be seen as inconsequential and taken advantage of when trying to negotiate new trade agreements.

Equalization payments may start to look like a good deal, especially when Albertastan no longer gets some of it back in the form of transfer payments that once supported healthcare, education and social services.

With less than 5 million people and a dismal track record on royalty management, finding the money to support the WEXIT fairytale is nothing more than a fantasy.

Why would anyone think being their own tiny country with no access to anywhere and a tax base so small it will be unable to support anything, feel leaving is a good and positive step forward?

Separatism is a make-believe world, created and encouraged by those in power who will never suffer the serious consequences of the anti-Canadian deception they so desperately promote.

Bill McQuarrie is a former magazine publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at

4 Comments on McQUARRIE – We buy Albertastan a pipeline and this is the thanks we get

  1. Tony Brumell // November 3, 2019 at 11:16 PM // Reply

    Great article Bill .I wonder how long the ingrates on BC’s eastern boarder will be able to withstand the American force of the un natural. Only blind greed and arogance could desire such a condition.. On the other hand no province has done more damage to it’s environment and still it ends up broke.

  2. Walter Trkla // November 3, 2019 at 2:02 PM // Reply

    If one looks at Alberta’s history, from the fur trade, many Albertans exhibit a superiority complex. Quebec, due to its conquest by the British, suffers from an inferiority complex, while Alberta, due to its superiority complex they threaten to separate. In Alberta every gopher is an agronomist just like every successful businessman is a politician and an economist.

    We have a tax system in this country which favors wealth over the tax benefit. In Alberta like the rest of Canada employees can’t deduct anything while the regressive structure of the tax policy gives well off people many write-offs.

    Alberta’s predicament is due to low royalties for its resources and lack of diversification and value-added production. The people who govern Alberta only understand dig it out and ship it out. This just does not make sense to me. This policy erodes the national tax base, and with-it education, healthcare, and the environment, and, in the end, leaves the profit in private hands and socializes risk. Politicians who think that this is good economics belong in insane institutions not in government positions.

    Transfer payments come from taxes and the same rates apply across the country. Alberta spends the most on business subsidies, which come from federal and provincial taxes despite questionable benefit. Per person subsidies were $640 in Alberta, about $100 ahead of the next most generous jurisdiction, Québec. Alberta also stands out by having the least transparent public reporting of business subsidies. What Alberta gives through the front door it is returned to them through the back door.

  3. Sean McGuinness // November 3, 2019 at 9:00 AM // Reply

    Great column. I guess these ruggedly independent Albertastanians need to learn things the hard way. One of the first things Albertastan would discover is that their problems do not go away by isolating themselves. In fact, they get worse. When you have an economy which i) largely depends on the price of oil ii) has failed to diversify iii) has a tax base which is too low, and iv) has no money saved , then you have current predicament in Alberta.

    Good luck Albertastan.

  4. Beverley Campbell // November 3, 2019 at 8:37 AM // Reply

    If you truly believe that any Province is seriously considering leaving Canada and setting out on their own, then you are the only person in Canada that believes that.

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