Garth Pritchard snapped this photo of one of the signs popping up all over Alberta (they have no snow left because a chinook roared across the prairies earlier this week and melted everything). The signs summoning Albertans to a demonstration outside the Alberta legislature, a first as far as anybody can recall. They’re heading to the capital to demand NDP premier Rachel Notley’s impeachment under one of Alberta’s arcane laws.
And they say this isn’t a distinct society?
Everything’s going to hell here. If it hasn’t already. Someone in the know tells us 367 oilpatch enterprises have already declared bankruptcy with a lot more to follow. Those aren’t personal bankruptcies.
The stories are pouring in about Albertans wooed to the U.S. oil-producing states with the promise of a green card and a house. They’re all being fired because they’re more expendable that their U.S. counterparts. No green card, no house and nothing left to come home to. “They’re absolutely raping their Canadian employees,” Garth says.
Meanwhile, the Trudeau government remains hopelessly out of step with what’s happening in Alberta. A federal minister and his provincial NDP counterpart were in Manning, Alberta, way the hell and gone up in the Peace River.
“They tried to bamboozle locals into some kind of a carbon tax,” Pritchard says. “Carbon tax? There’s nothing left up here,” an oilman told them. Most of the oil companies are insolvent. They’ve gone through every penny they had put away for a rainy day and there’s nothing left and these guys are talking about a carbon tax?
The CBC is pretty well all people get out here and their national broadcaster, true to form, is wall to wall about Ghomeshi’s chaotic trial. “Who gives a good goddam whether he hit her or she gave him a hand job,” Garth bellows. “What people want to know out here is whether it’s true Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is demanding a billion bucks for Bombardier in exchange for his approval of the TransCanada pipeline.”
That and the $9.8 billion Quebec will get in transfer payments in 2016. Alberta gets nothing because Alberta is a have province, even with all these layoffs and bankruptcies and Ottawa’s projected deficit is now pegged at $50 billion.
When the roustabouts in their dirty, about-to-be-repo’d pickups hit Edmonton March 8, I wonder whether Notley and her former federal NDP staff will have the guts to tell them that.