The Reformer's Firebrand

*-{The New Canadian Colonist's Advocate }-* A commentary of fiery reformist sentiment from the spirit of it's 210 year old Canadian ghost publisher patron. This will be a home to the new wave of anti-partisan advocacy for defeating Canada's second "family compact" and reinstallation of responsible governance in this 21st century new Canadian democratic dominion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Winds of change blow in Alberta

Yesterday's comment window yielded this from my friend Paul:

Debris Trail said...

Bill, this is a carry over from a question I asked you over at CJUNK. You've got
connection in AB; tell us: In your opinion, how is mood there? The people I know
are all hardcore separatists from way back, so I don't count them. How is the
mood in the general population?

My friend and fellow blogger Paul at C-Junk asked a question in the last post's commentary that I feel needs a full answer to the best of my ability. The comments block is isufficient to deal with the subject of Alberta's political marginalization or its current political climate.

I won't get into the historuical confederal and constitutional greivences here because they are well known to Albertans and their academics or anyone with any interest and knowledge of western alienation issues. I no longer take the time to educate the purposely dumb on the already widely available Alberta/western greivences. Speaking honestly and objectively about the second class treatment Alberta and the periphery regions of Confederation have gotten from Ottawa should be added to Margret Wente's list of subjects which have been politically cleansed from partisan liberal nattering circles.

I'll address the question in 2 parts.

First: The current committed support for hard core separation.

The only polling research done here has been by the Klein government or phone polls by separatist organizations and a single question poll about independence by the Herald. The research that was leaked from last year's Klein PC "Firewall town hall" tour of the province is very interesting. Rumor has it that sympathetic persons inside the government have released "unofficially" to leadership in the independence movement, the stats that were gleaned-out of the "official" media release from that token firewall dog and pony show. It appears, that of the people the Klein PCs enticed out to the province-wide firewall meetings, fully 78% support the firewall items in principle and there is a 15% hard core who see Firewalling the province as a first step to an official, on-going policy of cutting political ties with Ottawa. The phone polling people in the ASP executive have done found pretty much the same thing...about 15% hard core separatists.....However, when the firewall option was not mentioned, more than 60% of respondents said that separation ( that was the word used, not "independence") was a legitimate option if no change in Ottawa was seen.

The Herald poll asked almost the same question ( the word and concept of outright separation was not used) but more than 70% of respondents viewed "independence" as a viable political option to resolve the historic Alberta greivences with Ottawa and Alberta's electoral impotence.

Personally I think these figures are spurious and fleeting and will change from day to day depending on how owley the population is feeling with Ottawa's stone walling and revenue raiding on any given day. From the unofficial straw polling I do at the many local fairs, gun shows, rodeos and town halls I have attended with independence petitions, I'd say that hard core separation support ranges from 10-25% dependant on where you go and the soft separation ( or firewall independence) ranges from 40-75% dependent on where you go. I trust the feel of these numbers if they were to be extrapolated over the whole population because Alberta is gifted with having less than 12% committed lib-left-federal statist voter base.....a gift of small bureaucracy, small numbers in public sector unionism/federal statism. ;-)

The wild card is the large portion of Albertans still active in the provincial PCs and the federal CPC who see Harper's shot at getting the western democratic reform agenda on the federal agenda, as a last go round before we do something more drastic. There is a large demographic of voters who are still looking for change through the federal system and see Harper as the last try. When they are disillusioned by Harper's and the CPC's rejection by the eastern establishment once again, we will see the ranks of independence support swell....possibly by as much as 50%.
Whether they will be soft or hard separatists is a coin toss...but my educated guess would be they will align pretty much along the lines their already decided fellow Albertans have.

Bottom line is; if the current status quo in Ottawa is maintained after the next federal election, there will be a lot of politically active, and politically savvy Albertans writing off the federal system as any solution to the confederal/democratic deficit. Many will swell the ranks of the Separatist party and many will revitalize the PC party to be a firewall government. At any rate Alberta's political landscape will change dramatically in a post Martin reelection Canada.

What is the nature of the "soft separatist" in Alberta and what are the numbers of his ranks?

The "soft" separatists....we will refer to them as the "firewall Albertans" are best epitomized by this man,( who I have hunted with and run constitutional challenges with and BTW is an excellent wing shot) Dr. F.L."Ted" Morton. Ted is a classic libertarian ( as am I) who has found ideological camaraderie in the Blue PC fraternity of Alberta and the libertarian-based CPC. He was once elected to be an Alberta senator but Martin/Chretien insults in appointing their lapdogs to the positions sent him to Provincial politics to effect change through the firewall. He is the core of the new Blue PC caucus, the firewall movement ( or soft indies) and potentially Alberta's next premier.

I differ with Ted on his
solution, I advocateimmediately severing all political ties to Ottawa after a
successful local referendum to cut them loose. ( We are not so leaving Canada as
simply remaining where we are and losing one expensive, corrupt level of
government...I bet many of you nay-sayers are envious of our ability to do

I'll let you read Ted's articles from the link so you grasp the concepts in "firewall pseudo- independence"...all I will deal with here is how the firewall concepts dovetail into the wider perceptions of the soft independence supporter.

The average "soft indi" or Firewall independence support has one major expectational/ideological flaw....having seen, and been disillusioned by, the inability for Albertans to effect democratic reforms through the federal system, he believes that the firewall agenda will accomplish basically what he wants. The flaw in the reasoning is the unrelenting greed and malice towards Alberta's independent spirit harbored by the liberal Ottawa elite. I have witnessed them in federal and supreme court chambers, the powers Ottawa assumes it holds over the provinces...the fuming pomposity at the notion that any province would reject Ottawa's newly prescribed subservient-wardship dependency and be more autonomous as per the original confederal agreement....none of these federally propagated notions is linear with the confederal agreement as enunciated in the BNA act ( our constitution). The feds will come raging at any western government who dare take back stolen jurisdiction, in a hissing, tooth and nail fight. The fight will, of course, be political ( by using MSM propagandists to demonize the firewall Alberta government) and by dragging it into endless SCC jurisdictional challenges and keeping it wrapped up in court instead of legislating change. Ralph ( and his T.Ross asociate retained constitutional law firm) know this...he is a comfortable old king and not up to the fight....but I believe Ted is...and he may have a few tricks up his sleave the Feds aren't counting on.

Where will the "soft indi" voter turn when he sees his firewall independence vanish in hostile fed-initiated court battles????? Stick around Bruce Hutton because all soft separation will do is prolong the misery for another 5 years or so before the softies wake up and call for referendum.

From my straw polling, and from the best poll data available, I would place the soft-indis at about 60% of the current Alberta voter base...that number will balloon after Harper is rejected and it will put into office a Ted Morton lead firewall solution. I see this as stage 1 of Alberta independence. A local vote of confidence for the firewall government is a rejection of the federal system by Albertans. Stage 2 of independence will depend on how successful a firewall government is in implementing the Alberta agenda...and how effective the firewall changes are in sheltering Alberta and Albertans from Ottawa's political/democratic/confederal degeneracy.

The certainty is that Alberta politics will change definitively after a Harper defeat and that change will usher in the road to Alberta/western independence or reconfederation. The wild card is whether ,ultimately ,separation or reconfederation will satisfy the needs and aspirations of the large soft indi demographic.

We are on the cusp of political upheaval due to degenerate central governing neglect. Alberta will take a lead roll in that change...the end product is a matter of how Ottawa reacts.

PS: One of the greatest irritants to Albertans is the displayed contempt socialists and their Ottawa governments have for private property and individual property rights. Randy Hillier of the Lanark land owners was on the radio today. It was refreshing to hear an Ontraio activist-farmer who has many of the same complaints with Toronto as Alberta has with Ottawa.


Blogger Aizlynne said...

Unfortunately Ted doesn't have much of a chance winning the leadership. It's going to go to Jim Dinning, unless Ted can get enough new PC members in order to win the ballot.

Ted should consider running for leadership of the Alberta Alliance Party. They are socially and fiscally conservative and the only other right wing option to the Red Torys.

July 19, 2005 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous rob said...

I don't know, all that's needed for the separation party is a leader to ignite it. As Bill say's, in another 5 years we'll be facing the same thing anyway. Bruce Hutton has already stated that he is NOT the leader for the party.

So how about W.L. Mackenzie running for the head of the SPA party? ... gotta admit, he has a way with words.... ;-)

July 19, 2005 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

As a fence-sitter (torn between the "soft" & "hard" separatist views mentioned) I can say that I know many like me.

One more Lib gov't and a WHACK of Albertans will go hard-core separatism.

From a personal perspective, I'm covering both bases - supporting Harper & supporting the Separation Party of Alberta.

I'm glad Hutton doesn't see himself as a leader, as I concur.

Should the CPC lose a federal election in the near (6-12 months), expect to see some high-rolling CPC people bail. We'll find our charismatic leader there.

(My money is on Harper or Solberg, although in the interim I'd support Ted).

July 20, 2005 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger W.L. Mackenzie Redux said...

Ted has a head start, a good campaign team, funding, a good media profile, the support of the rural regions and the support of the Blue PCs. Dinning is seen as a weak leader who will lose the PCs seats in their historic core support...that is unless he copies Ted's platform.

July 20, 2005 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger W.L. Mackenzie Redux said...

WLM has a family and a life and a poliytical job would kill both. I'm also repulsed by politics....I understand them and I'm pretty adept at reading them...but in my ideology there shoulf be no need for them...we need statesmanship, civi responsibility and truth in public office, not politics.

If Ted loses it will be because he is above crawling in the mud of modern degenerate politics.

July 20, 2005 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger M. K. Braaten said...

W.L. Mackenzie Redux:

If Albertan separation were to ever occur, it could only occur if the 'firewall' system was implemented. Regardless of the intent, the firewall strategy implements the nessesary legal/political/economic foundation for an out right separation.

I argue the biggest road block to the separatist movement in Alberta is the tax revenue transfer structure. Unlike in Quebec, currently the Fed's collect our taxes and send the balance to the Alberta government. This creates leverage for the Fed's and it keeps Alberta in line with Ottawas wishes. Under the firewall strategy, this tax collection would be reversed (ie the Province would send the balance of tax revenue to the Feds, not vise versa) and hence the balance of power would reverse.

You can already begin to see the Eastern establishments ackknowledgement of Alberta's current and future fortunes. Where there is money there is power. I urge you to read this Opinion peice by the Cheif Economist of CIBC that was printed in the Toronto Star:

Essentially the high oil prices will replace our need for provincial income tax thus drawing major industry (not just oil) to Alberta which would seriously negativly affect Ontario's economy. The economist predicts the high future 100$ barrel oil combined with an ever increasing CDN$ (causing non-energy imports to decrease) will materially hurt the automotive industry in Ontario.

The cash grab will come. There is no doubt about it. That is why it worries me that Ralph Klien says he will stay till 2007. He is not prepared to fight the Feds as say Morton or (maybe) Dinning will be.

Nonetheless, the likely rejection of Stephen Harper and Co. will put Paul Martin in a huge bind. Quebec is already on its path to succession and if Martin wins a minority Government Alberta will revolt. If he wins a Majority I can't comprehend what will happen.

Perhaps its fitting that Stephen Harper must fail in order for him to succeed. His vision of Canada is not a balkanized one but one that respects the rule of law (as stated in the charter) that respects the cosntitutional authority of each province. However, by him failing to reach the PMO Albertans will demand a Firewall provincial government -- this type of government would basically do for Alberta (provincial wise) what Harper has been trying to for Alberta (and other provinces) on a national scale.

Nonetheless, the demand for a province to create a firewall structure shows that the movement to succeed is gaining ground in Alberta, regardless of whether its a good or bad thing. One must realize that in order for Alberta to separate, it must previously be firewalled. Considering this, one must question the ulterior motives of the people advocating the firewall structure.

AIZLYNNE: Don't under estimate Morton's support. He has a huge grass roots following in Alberta. Dinning will win the corporate crowd but it remains to be seen if he has rural vote.

July 23, 2005 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger DazzlinDino said...

"The certainty is that Alberta politics will change definitively after a Harper defeat and that change will usher in the road to Alberta/western independence or reconfederation."

I agree, most of the people I talk to are giving this whole unity thing one last stab, I know of one that has turned into a hard core separatist after the new polling showing support fot the Liberals on the rise. I feel most Albertans don't want separatism, but think the threat of it will give us more say in federal politics, as in the Quebec model....

July 24, 2005 at 11:47 AM  

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