Numbers can no longer be hidden

Dear Editor,

Albertans are still trying to convince the rest of Canada to be reasonable while other Canadians skillfully minimize Alberta’s contribution.

The evidence is in the guest opinion article, “Time to rethink the federal transfers system,” from Dec. 6.

Mr. MacKinnon is suggesting and even now proving that Eastern Canada has better and more accessible “provincial programming” – such as hospitals – than either Ontario or Alberta.

The most disturbing thing about this article is that MacKinnon writes many wonderful words extolling Ontario’s $96 billion contribution with one mere mention of Alberta’s $228 billion contribution – from 2007-15.

This is after 50+ years of equalization and other transfers of money coming mostly from Albertans.

Remember that there are four million Albertans compared to Ontario’s 14 million people. But that didn’t stop the writer from taking the focus off of Albertans’ huge contribution.

However, the numbers can no longer be hidden. Everything Albertans need to know is available.

For example, the four Atlantic provinces, combined, have only 55 per cent of Alberta’s population and only 81 per cent of Alberta’s area but these four provinces collectively export only a dismal 30 per cent of Alberta’s $100 billion in international exports in 2017.

These same provinces are federally represented by an astounding 94 per cent of the number of Alberta’s Members of Parliament.

The inequality gets even worse in the Senate with five times Alberta’s number of senators for only four very small provinces.

Nova Scotia, the biggest of the four, has less population than the city of Calgary, but what amounts to double the votes.

And now we learn that these provinces have better access to things like hospitals. However, the writer again only says this of Alberta: “provincial programming was less accessible in Ontario and in some cases Alberta.”

Sadly, simply changing the federal government is not going to change any of these facts. Federal transfers and percentages of representatives in

Parliament is set in the constitution. Any constitutional change requires at least seven out of 10 provinces with at least 50 per cent of the population of Canada, to agree.

Knowing this, do you really think that anything is going to change until Albertans really assert themselves?

In fact, Alberta is in a much better position than Quebec was in the 1990s. I count at least seven different options that the Alberta Government can pursue outside of Canadian Confederation.

Jay Bortnik, Hanna, Ab.

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