Roundup: BC causes Western alienation?

As a former Albertan, I often find myself unmoved by tales of “Western alienation” because they are so often based on lies that Albertans like to tell themselves – that they put the oil underground themselves, or that the National Energy Programme caused the global recession and crash in oil prices, or that their inability to properly run a provincial budget that doesn’t rely on resource revenues to paper over the problems with it is somehow the fault of others. And when I see people like Rona Ambrose concern trolling about how “Western alienation” is real and dangerous, I find myself even more unsympathetic because she and her former colleagues tend to go out of their way to foment these feelings in order to score temporary points against the government of the day. And then there’s this kind of nonsense that gets thrown in – that somehow BC is part of the cause of “Western alienation,” as though BC wasn’t also in the west.

It’s fine if Alberta wants to have its own particular regional character. That’s part of what makes Canada so great – that we have regional characters that are distinct and yet make up part of the whole of the country. And hey, we don’t always get along, because we do have different issues and priorities in a country as vast as ours. But I also find it a bit, well, rich, that a province that is as rich as Alberta’s – and it is the richest province my pretty much any measure – thinks that they’re hard done by as a result. But while they enjoy roads that are frequently paved, or infrastructure that isn’t crumbling around them, and whine that they’re so hard done by, my patience runs thin because they don’t seem to realise that not every province has it as good as theirs. And to top it off, their politicians tell even more lies about how equalization works in order to further drive these feelings of “alienation” for their own benefit. It’s shameless and we should be better than this, but who cares about trying to cause discord for the sake a few votes? It’s not like any of this “alienation” that they foment is dangerous, right? Oh, wait…

Good reads:

  • The government is (mostly) backing down and will accept (most) Senate amendments on Bill S-3. We’ll see how much senators push for all amendments.
  • Today in Paradise Papers revelations, we find that Paul Martin’s former company is a large client of the firm at the centre of the whole affair.
  • In a speech in New Brunswick, Her Excellency Julie Payette praised our country’s religious freedom and tolerance. Can we get off the fainting couches now?
  • The government has tabled a bill to tighten laws around workplace harassment.
  • Quebec’s face-cover ban legislation is getting a court challenge. Now comes time for the federal government to decide if they will be an intervenor in the case.
  • The Federal Victims of Crime Ombudsman has released a series of reports on how to make the justice system fairer for said victims of crime.
  • A CIHI report says that health spending is $6604 per person in Canada. By comparison, it’s $11,916 per person in the United States.
  • Senator Percy Downe is calling out CRA for what says is overstating the efforts they’re taking on combatting tax evasion.
  • “Fewer than five” Yazidi survivors resettled in Canada have accessed individual trauma counselling.
  • Bureaucrats mishandled secret files thousands of times last year. As someone who once did records management in a federal department, this is not surprising.
  • The long-time Commissioner of Correctional Services of Canada is retiring.
  • Manitoba will allow private retailers to sell recreational cannabis.
  • Here’s an interesting tale about the “red alert” the Premier of the NWT put out, with his facts being questioned by MLAs from the Territory, and his brother the MP.
  • Senators plan to start distributing the sesquicentennial medals that they commissioned for the “unsung heroes” of Canada.
  • Susan Delacourt delves into Canadians’ feelings towards wealthy politicians.
  • My column looks at the proposal for the planned Senate audit committee, and wonders if some senators haven’t learned from the spending scandal.

Odds and ends:

The Maclean’s Parliamentarian of the Year awards were handed out last night, with honours going to Judy Sgro, Scott Reid, Rodger Cuzner, Shannon Stubbs, Hélène Laverdière, Kevin Lamoureux, Joël Lightbound, Nathan Cullen, and Garnet Genuis, with lifetime achievement award going to Monique Bégin.