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LETTER: Gazette columnist Bill McQuarrie’s biggest gaff

“The more important part of the story is that we should avoid mocking Albertans in such manner”

Dear editor,

“The world divides us into camps based on what we are most afraid of – and all too often we join in, ignoring or villainizing the voices that challenge our preferred vision of reality.” – Monica Brands Sadly, this seems to sum up the whole game of Gazette columnist Bill McQuarrrie in his “Wexit – paradise lost” column of Nov.6 2019.

The day after I returned home from visiting my soldier son’s home in the fine and friendly little town of Bon Accord Alberta I was disenheartened to read an article that mocked Albertans (and others) most recent plaints of the federal government’s lack of concern for their ongoing situation. His use of derisive terms such as “Albertastan”, “Saudi – Alberta”, and others may have seemed witty to him but the lack of intelligence in the desultory column was the bigger concern. Mixed in with such similar stuff as claiming that even with Saskatchewan joining in the 2 provinces would equate to a “miniature prairie republic with fewer inhabitants as most major cities.” Any study of world geography would have to deny such an evaluation given that multitudes of dynamic countries, especially in Europe, are dwarfed in the extreme by these 2 provinces.

But McQuarrie’s biggest gaff is his question: “How will Albertastan export oil, grains and beef when access to all markets requires transporting those goods through another nation?” and the further suggestion that Canada’s trade agreements will no longer benefit Alberta so they will suffer punishing tariffs without recourse! Does McQuarrie not realize that we in BC will be cut off from the rest of Canada should the unlikely situation of Wexit result? How else but through negotiations! It cuts both ways, Mr. McQuarrie.

But the main thing he surprisingly fails to realize is that any student of history knows that more than half of Alberta’s early 20th century immigration came from America as I learned in college. That is why there has always been a bit of a cultural difference in Alberta with a more libertarian, and one might say more mercantile emphasis in the province’s politics. Which leads us to the crux danger which could raise its’ head?

The possible loss of a disaffected province to the offer of statehood by America! Though it might seem improbable at this time – such people as Justin Trudeau and the like should not rule it out.

The recent suggestion of the US buying Greenland and the like, as well as the real possibility that the Canadian economy will continue to stutter and perhaps collapse versus the ongoing relative success of America (especially in investment terms) could very well mean a block in our own land bridge between provinces and to just as negative results for BC as McQuarrie simplistically prophesies for Alberta.

But all this is just potential politics. The more important part of the story is that we should avoid mocking Albertans in such manner. Yes, tease them for their slow driving on our curving roads and the like. But when it comes to the well – documented things like federal political favouritism to Quebec and even Ontario (readily discerned through multiple financial studies) show some wisdom by not “pooh poohing” the very real complaints they might have. Things such as the very real discrepancy between the feds spending and perspective on Bombardier, those crooked engineering firms that sadly belittle Premier Legault’s “Quebec Values”, and even such things as the myopic differences in oil tanker policies on east and west coast.

Perhaps a look at such crazy inequities as VIA Rail allowing multiple western Canadian rail services to lapse and rot while they attempt massive spending on an already over served Windsor – Quebec corridor – this while Greyhound eliminates all west of Ontario bus service! Or the subsidization of eastern coastal ferry services with none available to the west?

Perhaps BCers might have a little more sympathy with the prairie populists if they looked closer at the East’s abuses?

But the important thing is for Trudeau et al to do it right this time– that is all.

Bruce Lloyd,

Port Alice Councillor

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