Ontario holds the largest sub-sovereign state debt in the world. The situation in Ontario is financially untenable. The only reason it has not filed for bankruptcy is because the Federal government has stealthily bailed them out through transfer payments from the West to fund their hair brained schemes.
Why wouldn’t the Federal government do so? Ontario is where all the Federal votes that matter are.
This phenomenon is known as “kicking the can down the road.” The problem is that eventually the government will run out of road. I think the end of the road is a not as far off as Mr. Trudeau and many provincial Premiers would like to think it is.
The situation in Alberta, the only net payer into the Federal transfer system, is bleak. People are losing their jobs, local companies are cancelling projects, foreign companies are pulling out investments, pipelines are being cancelled. There is the feeling of a worse recession or even a depression in the making.
Making things worse, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the various provincial Premiers are in Paris, negotiating how to further extract more taxes from our oil and gas industry while the industry is struggling. As an Albertan, it feels like we have been transferring our wealth to Ontario for years and in exchange, Ontario will soon be transferring it’s poverty to us.
This poses the question, what would happen if Alberta separated?
The transfer system that ensures Ontario can keep borrowing money to pay for both essential services and interest on previous debt would eventually disappear.
Quebec and the Maritimes bail out Ontario? Not likely.
More likely, the Federal Government would start tearing pounds of flesh off the remaining Western Canadian provinces, in Alberta’s absence.
This will only exacerbate the problem, especially stoking separatist sentiments in the remaining provinces with the only viable option for the Ontario and Federal governments being crippling austerity or currency devaluation and hyperinflation.
Either way, in Ontario, this would lead to total anarchy.
In Toronto alone, armies of welfare dependents, youth gangs, and non-integrated immigrants will go crazy as services such as law enforcement and housing subsidies cease.
Ivory tower, middle class progressive elites will turn cannibalistic within days as infrastructure crumbles and just-in-time delivery networks of organic, non-GMO food grind to a halt.
The Federal government just might declare martial law and call in the military to keep the situation under control, as they have in the past, only instead of snow shovels to clear the roads, soldiers will be locked, loaded, rolling in with RG31’s and LAVIII’s.
This austerity would spread to Quebec who, in as poor of financial health as Ontario, would see social unrest on a comparable scale. A separatist movement would finally have to come to terms with the fact that separation would lead to even greater austerity and the reality that they no longer would have English Canada on the hook to protect and preserve their unique, French culture. Would Quebec separate. Only the Quebecois know.
The Maritimes and conservative rural areas of Ontario and Quebec would have to deal with the fall out of swarms of refugees from urban Ontario and Quebec warzones. Who knows? They might end up ahead from all this.
To be fair, Alberta Separating won’t be a total slam dunk for Alberta. There will be major pains of instability while we purge ourselves of the toxic influence of the Canadian Federal government, much like a drug addict trying to kick a heroin addiction.
Securing financing for our services will be tricky, but if one were to look at the balance sheet of Alberta versus the balance sheet of Ontario (at least before the Notley NDP have their way) it wouldn’t be hard for any interim government to secure financing to keep essential services running.
I do not believe social unrest would be in store for Edmonton and Calgary.
We may go through a more severe recession, suffer massive job losses, endure cuts to public services, and go through temporary scarcity of goods while we negotiate trade routes with BC and the US.
Albertans, however, are a tenacious lot and we will get through it. As Paul Brandt wrote in his song, Alberta Bound, “I’ve got independence in my veins.” After some short term pain, I am certain Albertans will step up to the plate to rebuild and recover for serious, long term gain.
Certainly the first Calgary Stampede and Edmonton K-Days after separation would be very interesting.
That all remains uncertain.
What is certain, is the Americans would undoubtedly be taking a very special interest in the unfolding events.
Put yourself in the shoes of whoever is the next US President. This instability presents a unique opportunity. Two geographically connected, sovereign states sharing a border with you are in distress.
One with a relatively low debt, resource based economy with a strong, young, independent population and resources the US already have an abundance of (energy and agriculture). There is no port to ocean and little strategic, territorial gain in annexing. The people may be struggling, but they are not desperate.
The other, a bankrupt, financial and industrial based economy with a large coastline with ports to the arctic and a major waterway to Europe. The crown jewel, however, being one of the world’s most envied banking systems and an industrial manufacturing sector without an inadequate labour pool to operate it.
One of the biggest concerns undecided Albertans have is the question “Will we just end up becoming Americans if we separate?” Many presume the answer to be yes and automatically write the idea off. In reality, Ontario has just as high (or higher) a likelihood of becoming a US state than Alberta does.
In Ontario and indeed all of Eastern Canada where progressive liberalism is en vogue, the people are weak, government dependent, and perpetually willing to sell their souls for security and indulgences. When there are riots on Young Street or La Rue St-Catherine and when their stomachs hit their spines because the grocery store shelves are empty, these progressive’s sense of self-idolatry will overrule any sense of patriotism. Progressives, who I believe constitute the majority in Ontario, will beg for a savior to make it all stop even if that savior is President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton.
In Alberta and in all the Western provinces we are strong, free, principled, self-reliant people. Independence is a part of our culture and who we are.
Will we escape being amalgamated into the US? I do not know. I would prefer Albertans and all Western Canadians decided for themselves through democratic referendum.
What I do know is that we possess the strength and the means to resist the Americans and the possibility of the long term freedom and liberty we could achieve through separation is worth the turmoil we would see as an immediate aftermath.
It is my earnest hope that all the Western provinces eventually constitute a New Canadian Confederation. This new nation will be similar to the Swiss Confederation, with each province it’s own sovereign state, with it’s own constitution, laws, taxes, monetary policy and military – all held accountable by the people of that province through direct democracy.
A very small central government will only exist to facilitate inter-provincial dialogue, mandate each province’s sovereignty, guarantee citizenship with a sensible immigration policy, and ensure all citizens have the right to hold their provincial governments to account by protecting universal mobility rights thus securing the time tested and most effective democratic recourse – the right of citizens to vote with their feet.
No federal government mirroring the abomination of Ottawa will ever be formed.
A small, simple national constitution will codify the specifics of how that will be done. Amendments done to the national constitution will be done through direct, democratic referendum to further codify and guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms of the people against relentless expansion of the government.
In essence, Ontario can become the 51st State. Western Canada can become a glorious, new nation.
All it takes is for each of our provinces to exercise our right to vote for separation in a peaceful, democratic referendum.