Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Can we talk? Our relationship is at a crossroads. Funny, ‘relationship’ might be overstating things between us. Relationships are about mutual trust, encouraging growth, fairness, and pulling together. Yet the way our relationship has been recently makes us think that it’s time we sit down and talk this through.
On the hard days, things between us are more like a transaction, than a relationship. Sure, you love our stuff and the hard work it takes for us to get it to you. Our resources fuel your good times, we’re even ok to have other provinces do well because of us – it’s the Alberta way to stand up for our common good. And it’s not as if you don’t visit. Heck, sometimes you even stay over for the weekend to take in a party and snap a few photos.
But recently we’ve been looking at this relationship-turned-transaction and we wonder if things are not as they should be. A few folks remember the National Energy Program in the 1980’s. Some estimate it cost us over $50 billion dollars, yet Albertans have found ways to look forward. Some of us long for Quebec’s subsidized child care, even while we pay twice: first for our equalization payments, and secondly for our own child care. Hey, we can carry that when the times are good. But when our ability to pay for this expensive relationship (now with looming new taxes), was shrugged off by your disinterest for us, well, we have to chat. When lawyers are involved, it’s no longer a relationship, it feels like a shake down, and you’re taking all you can from us.
Some might call for a separation or divorce. But that’s not our way. We’re tough, we’re giving, and we’re in this for the long haul. That’s why we have to be frank here. We stick it out and Albertans will be here to the end. But we need a new way forward. Here’s how it will work, in four simple steps.
First, Alberta and Canada work best if we relate together as partners. If Canada wants to grow, it will need to talk to us, understand us, and even more than that, encourage our industries and cheer them along. We’re invested in Canada, and the Canada of tomorrow will know the resiliency and talent of Albertans. Our workers are worth celebrating, and when your actions put them out of a job, it’s a no-go for us.
Secondly, we don’t like the unilateral vibe of your government. No more. When you want to tax us, we’ll talk it over and let you know. We have a history of paying more than our fair share. We’re fierce Canadians and will always work hard to pitch in a bit more. But Alberta is not a blank cheque, so please put down the pen.
Thirdly, we don’t like playing games. Some of your politics and favouritism hurt. You support some industries, but look the other way when ours are hurting. We don’t want a handout, we want fairness and the rule of law.
Fourthly, Alberta beef is fantastic. Seriously, give it a go; barbequed with a bit of salt and pepper. Delicious.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, how about you give this another try.
Albertans have always been there for Canada, and we will be again. What do you say you do your job and meet us in the middle.