Canadian unity was a major issue three decades ago, centred around the wishes of a separatist government in Quebec to separate their province from the Dominion of Canada.
After a razor-thin referendum win that kept Canada together, our nation is still in one piece — but sadly, there are areas of this country that simply do not care about other parts.
Quebec, again, is at the centre of this issue. While they make demands of Western Canada, such as for our grain and equalization payments, they will not reciprocate in any way and will not allow the most development that would actually benefit them.
A number of years ago, that province killed the Energy East pipeline, which would have taken oil produced here in Saskatchewan and Alberta out to the refineries in the Maritimes.
The fruit of that rather myopic stance against pipelines is now seen with the most ludicrous and inefficient situation one can imagine: the Irving refinery wants Western Canadian oil, but instead of getting it through a pipeline, which would only make sense, they are shipping it on the ocean from the West Coast down to the Panama Canal, and then back up the East Coast to their refinery.
This prompted a comment from Saskatchewan’s minister of Energy and Resources, Bronwyn Eyre, who said, “You can’t make this up. It sounds like good satire, except it actually isn’t satire, which is the tragic thing about it.”
On the subject of bringing up the topic again of having a pipeline built from Western Canada to help provide access to market for oil producers here, she had more to say in regard to Quebec:
“The political view there is, as we know, pretty anti-pipeline, and pretty anti-Western Canadian energy. And that is such an enormous hurdle with Energy East, because of their obvious placement in the middle of the pipeline route.”
This is precisely the sort of disrespect of the West that has sparked feelings of resentment, and fuelled the fires of Western separation. The birth and growth of the Wexit party in Alberta, for example, comes partly out of this, and from the results of the federal election where the Liberals lost their seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan because of how they treat us here.
The West is just as much a part of the Dominion of Canada as Quebec and Ontario, and yet no consideration is ever given to this part of Canada. This isn’t helped when baseless rhetoric fuels opposition to oil in general, and Western Canadian oil in particular.
We need a renewed sense of unity in Canada, where each area and region helps each other, respects each other and encourages growth and economic activity throughout the land, not just for the central region.