Will Canada's petro wealth cause the country to split in pieces?
I have a list of about 25 small publications that I scan for good writing and trends coming in from the horizon that will hit American society and the world as a whole. These include the Texas Observer, The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, High Country News, The eXile, Church and State, Ode, among others. But increasingly on my radar is an online outlet from Canada called The Tyee (I also like the Canadian mag Walrus). (And hey -- if any of you want to point out the names of good magazines/papers that you read, post a link).
The Tyee has a speculative article suggesting that Alberta Province's increasingly vital petro reserves could foment a split with Quebec. A history of constitutional power struggles and the absolutely enormous wealth that Alberta is sitting on:
...[H]ere we are heedlessly headlong towards a constitutional crisis that will make a Quebec referendum look like a motion to adjourn the annual meeting of your local gardening club.
First some history. With the arrival of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1965, the oil price fix has been in and we all know about the crisis in 1974 that brought about huge lineups at the gas pumps in the U.S. What Alberta has amnesia about is the fact that back in the '60s, they were given subsidies at industrial Canada's expense because world prices were so low.
In 1980, oil prices went from under a dollar to $20 and the federal government stepped in with the National Energy Program which, in effect, forced Alberta to sell to Ontario below world prices. The agreement was, of course, much more complex than that. The cow pies hit the Alberta fan and Premier Lougheed cut production and threatened to hold back on exploration. Bumpers on Alberta cars had stickers saying "Let those Eastern bastards freeze in the dark." It wasn't a pretty sight.