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Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Oil Fuels Alberta Separatists"

Saturday - Sept 9, 2006: I posted a blog entry on the Roger Gibbins essay on big oil and Alberta separation on August 23, 2006. The Edmonton Journal political columnist, Graham Thomson has picked up on it and also comments on Roger's perspective. He has added some of his own comments and perspectives on how difficult it must be for Jim Dinning - the "big oil company candidate" running for PC leadership, to deal with these sensitive and linked political-social-economic issues. Check out Graham's column in the Edmonton Journal Saturday September 9, 2006 - it is a prime example of his usually sharp political insight. KJC

The Toronto Star recently published an op-ed piece by Roger Gibbins, the President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation entitled “Oil Fuels Alberta Separatists.” Roger tells me it is proving to be quite controversial. That pleases me because it is an invitation to engage citizens and politicians to start thinking strategically and longer term.

He does not predict. Instead he does a bit of scenario based foresight projection and suggests with the Clarity Act in place, that Alberta – not Quebec - could be the first province to separate. I have also suggested that as a possibility in many forums since the Clarity Act was passed.

Lots of folks will see his commentary as a prediction. It is not. It is more foresight based on trend analysis and the implications from certain trends. It is a powerful narrative of what can happen to Alberta and Canada if we do not learn how to manage prosperity and be more inclusive as a province. Trends are not destiny unless we become benign and blind to them.

His presumptions are that with $70 oil and there are likely even higher prices coming. He notes that Ontario is faltering and about to fail as a “have” province. That means Alberta is the only reliable “have” province left. The wealth discrepancy has been “masked” for quite a while but natural resource commodity prices may not normalize, given global events. Alberta’s wealth then becomes%2