In the months leading up to the recent Alberta election, there were renewed calls from the fringes for Alberta to separate. Now Premier Jason Kennedy acknowledged they were extreme views but said (nudge, nudge) they reflected the real anger and alienation of Albertans and shouldn’t be disregarded out of hand (wink, wink). I’m sure now that their favorite Harperite is ensconced in the legislature ready at willing to tilt at windmills (I mean, literally given his wishy-washy position on climate change) and take on Ottawa – the fall-back approach for provincial leaders wanting power at any cost.
But I have to say, I was intrigued. To be frank, I thought of offering to help them pack.
Don’t get me wrong, I lived there for 11 years and have lots of friends and even family in Alberta. I encourage them to move to more civilized parts of the country. If they can find one after the results of recent elections.
Still, the logistics of it all are fascinating. If Alberta separated, where would they go? The USA wouldn’t take them – they already have Montana, Utah and the Dakotas, plus plenty of fracked oil and gas. What’s the added benefit of taking on a bunch of Yahoos from Canada?
And going it on their own where they are is hardly a solution. They would still have to try to ship their oil through BC and put up with folks from Saskatchewan dropping across the border to avoid the sales tax. And, as a separate country, they would get even less attention to their whining from central Canada (though it’s hard to imagine how Torontonians could care less about Alberta than they already do). Of course, the NWT would be happy—all that construction money to build a highway north of 60 to connect to BC would certainly make life easier, though winter driving might be unpleasant.
But we have the technology!
If we used all that heavy equipment sitting idle up in the tar sands (sorry, if I’m going to be brutal, I may as well call them what they are), we could dig down a mile or so and just airlift the whole province right out of there. Maybe Putin would loan us some of those heavy lift helicopters they’ve been developing. Finding a place to drop it off might be tricky—I mean we couldn’t just drop it in the ocean. Think of the mess.
But maybe we could balance it on a few of those empty islands way south in the Pacific. The climate there is lousy but Albertans are used to that and, besides, once they were free to unleash that bitumen on the world, it might heat up nicely.
As for the rest of Canada, we could get our inland sea back—even though the dinosaurs would now be living in the south Pacific. BC could expand their ferry service and Saskatchewan would get all that seafront property. It would almost be worth making a trip there.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a project manager, I’m easy enough to find.
And that’s 10 minutes in a light-hearted sort of way.