By Matthew Clark
During Canada's short history the inhabitants of Alberta, and Saskatchewan, have made significant contributions to civic life in the 'Great White North!' 'The Regina Manifesto' of 1933 was instrumental in the development of the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), which is known today as the New Democratic Party. During this same era radio preacher 'Bible Bill Aberhart' took the theories of social scientist Major C.H. Douglas, which the Major titled 'Social Credit', to create both a political platform, and political party, based on those theories. Aberhart designated the new political party the Social Credit Party (logically enough). The preachers politics resonated so strongly with the average Albertan that he won the 1935 province's election.
To this day the N.D.P. is a national institution. Provincial NDP parties have, on different occasions, held political power in the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. At the national level the party obtained official opposition status in 2011, after the Canadian general election of that year. Meanwhile the Social Credit Party held governing power in Alberta from 1935-71. In British Columbia Social Credit obtained provincial political control for long periods of time under the Bennet's ( William and son Bill) as well as Bill Vander Zalm. In the federal parliament Social Credit M.P.'s enjoyed strong representation from Alberta during the 1950's, and, in the 1960's from the province of Quebec (under the leadership of Real Caouette). Although no longer in existence the Social Credit Party had a definite impact on Canadian politics.
Without a doubt the most famous, and impactful, political movement to come out of Canada's Prairie Provinces occurred in 1987 under the leadership of Preston Manning, son of former Albertan Premier Ernest Manning. Preston Manning, and his political associates, started the Reform Party. Only seeking representation at the federal level, albeit with a definite Western Canadian slant, the Party continued to grow over the years. After several title changes the emerging political movement became 'The Conservative Party of Canada ( not to be confused with the federally defunct Progressive Conservative Party). In 2006, under the angst leadership of Stephen Harper, the Conservatives achieved governing status. Preston Manning has justifiably been referenced as "The Father of Modern Canadian Conservatism."
Alberta, and Saskatchewan, have made enormous financial contributions to the nation of Canada. 'Fairness Alberta,' a social organization advocating for getting Alberta a fair shake within Canada, points out that Albertans pay $3 billion annually to the federal equalization program (initiated in 1957). Albertan also pay $3 billion annually more than they receive from the Canada Health Transfer, and Canada Transfer programs. Altogether $6 billion leaves Alberta every year, to be divided up by an ungrateful, disingenuous, Canadian nation.
Meanwhile in Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has expressed relief that the province has not had to anti up into the equalization fund in a number of years. Yet the political leader points out that Saskatchewan taxpayers lose $500 million a year in taxes to the Ottawa based federal administration.
So what do these two productive jurisdictions, with a history of strong social, and entrepreneurial activism get for their contributions to the Canadian nation? In a nutshell, the answer is, abuse and suspicion! Seen as right wing societies, the two Prairie provinces are subjected to highly prejudicial (against them) economic policies when the Liberal party controls the federal government. Green New Deal, and the NEP are contemporary, and historical examples. Astoundingly when Conservatives attain federal political power these programs, or ones similar to them, are continued, albeit in a less draconian manner. Former Prime Minister Harper's administration is an example of the accuracy of this statement.
Canadian institutions such as the CBC, have such a recognizable bias against both Alberta, and Saskatchewan politicians, as well as the citizenry in general, that it is easy to predict the negative slant their journalists will assign to every story concerning these province's. In the area of legal representation the two provinces are fortunate to get 1 judge between them to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. Meanwhile both Ontario, and Quebec, are constitutionally guaranteed 3 members each, on the nation's highest bench of jurists.
As an Ontarian I tell you not only is it a stacked deck, it is also truthful to predict this will never change! It will never change because while you people out west complain a lot about your circumstances within the nation, you never do anything about it. All you do is whine, all the while continuing to comply with a thoroughly unjust , towards you, system. A disinterested onlooker could reasonably assume you enjoy, even desire, your martyrdom!
Furthermore your elected representatives continue to let you down. They do this by their subservience to national politicians, and national corporations. With due respect to Scott Moe, during the Covid era his government was far too limited in it's opposition to Mr. Trudeau, and his health bureaucracy regime. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's tenure as provincial leader was marked by a pathetic compliance to Ottawa directives, which resulted in his being an arm of the federal bureaucracy. Mr. Kenney completely turtled over the course of the Covid era. His failure to favourably acknowledge the protests against Mr. Trudeau's extreme (un)health(y) measures runs counter to Alberta's tradition of placing a high value on individual rights!
Fortunately Jason Kenney has been replaced as Alberta's top politician by Danielle Smith. Ms. Smith has criticized the extreme health procedures of the last several years, as well as expressing openness to proposals to withdraw Alberta from the Canada Pension Plan, while also creating the province's own police force, rather than relying on the R.C.M.P. to fulfill that role. These measures are a good beginning, yet more is needed if the two province's are to achieve their worth in Canada. We in Ontario expect, with complete accuracy up to the present time, that politicians representing Alberta, and Saskatchewan, will always back down from a tough tussle. They lack guts, and the voters of the two provinces lack guts in letting their lawmakers sell their interests out. Both politicians, and citizens, must prove this wrong by pushing back hard against the rest of the nation in general, yet Central Canada in particular. Ultimately secession, separation if that is the preferred term, must be on the table. It must be a credible option, one that Prairie inhabitants are willing to pursue if their well being is continually thwarted by Ottawa. Premier Smith, and Premier Moe, hopefully have the intestinal fortitude to take on the federal establishment. Nevertheless they need strong support from their constituents, and their political representatives, if they are to end the oppression practiced against the people of Alberta, and Saskatchewan. It will be a tenacious battle, resulting in justice only through federal surrender, or new political national jurisdictions!
Prairie denizens must start their campaign against Canadian injustice by becoming apathetic on how Central Canadians perceive them. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once accurately proclaimed, "Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner!"
At this moment the folks of Alberta, and Saskatchewan, are prisoners of the people of Ontario, and Quebec, as well as the rest of Canada. If you want to terminate your incarceration breaking out of jail will probably be necessary. If the actions this demands are too uncomfortable for the people of Western Canada too contemplate, than I thank you, as an Ontarian, for the billions of dollars in contribution you will make to Central Canada. We will make sure to squander it with great gusto!