LITTLEJOHN: Ricky Gervais & Jordan Peterson are the Socrates of 2020 – Western Standard

Posted: February 12, 2020 at 5:42 pm


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Rebel Media owner Ezra Levant hosted a Calgary townhall meeting in October, 2019. He asked those in attendance if Alberta should become the 51ststate. The room responded overwhelmingly, No. A Research Co. Study found that only 22 per cent of Albertans say their province would be better off as an American state. In contrast, 40 per cent of Albertansbelieve the province would be better off as its own country. In short, those Albertans ready to cut the chord with Ottawa do not want to reconnect it with Washington.

There are many reasons both social and political for this lack of enthusiasm. But leaving the maple leaf for the star-spangled banner merits consideration.

The economic benefits of becoming the fifty-first state are impressive. Albertans would save a huge sum of money if they no longer propped up the rest of Canada. The no-more-pipelines bill (C-69), the tanker ban (C-48), and the carbon tax would no longer hamper Albertas economy. The U.S. has no GST, and no direct equalization transfers.

Americas 327 million person-strong market is ten times the size of Canadas, and unlike Canada, they have much stronger internal free trade. Greater market access would be a boon, making it easier to diversify Albertas economy. There would also be increased access to global markets.The U.S. is the largest market for oil on the planet and has the largest concentration of refineries capable of handling Albertas heavy crude. Labour mobility would improve, and the strong U.S. dollar purchases far more than weak Canadian currency, which is artificially devalued to prop up Eastern manufacturing interests.

Less critical[KS1]but still important would be cheap gasoline and dairy, and access to U.S. Netflix and television without the CRTC shoving subsidized, amateurish CBC and can-con down our throats.

The U.S. carries a massive debt, but it is still slightly smaller per capita than Canadas on a combined federal-state/provincial basis. As of 2017, the United States had a public debt-to-GDP ratio of 82.3 per cent, and Canada, 89.7 per cent. Both countries continue to spend far beyond their means and force future generations to pay, but neither country has a material advantage on this front.

Critics of independence claim that a national Alberta would be landlocked. While this isfar from trueif Alberta can secure free trade agreements,union with the United States would guarantee that this was not the case with their greater protections for internal free trade.

While Washington does indirectly transfer some wealth from prosperous to less prosperous states, wealthier Americans [KS2][DF3]like wealthier Canadians pay more in federal taxes than others. So, while Washington does move money around, it does not do so as directly or as aggressively as does Ottawa. Right now, Alberta pays $20 billion net more than it receives back from Ottawa every year, representing the largest regional transfer of wealth in per capita terms in the Western World.

Suffice it to say, Alberta is the only consistent net contributor to the rest of Canada, but its votes count for less per capita than the rest of the country. The result of Albertas lackluster national influence is a federal government that plunders its wealth, while simultaneously working to stop it from generating that wealth.

Alberta with twice the population of all four Atlantic provinces has not quite half the Senators of tiny New Brunswick. As a state, Alberta would have equal representation with New York and California in the Senate. Importantly, Alberta would have influential allies such as Texas.

In Canada, the Conservatives can take Alberta for granted, while the Liberals ignore Alberta outright. In the U.S., Alberta would likely be a coveted swing-state, like Florida and Ohiowith both major parties falling over themselves for electoral support.

It is likely that Alberta would be welcomed as a U.S. state.Alberta has the third largest oil reserve on the planet, a world-leading GDP, and an educated workforce. While Alberta is Canadas most conservative province, it would be ideologically in the centre of American politics, and therefore would not represent a threat to either the Republicans or Democrats.

Geopolitical analyst Peter Zeihan said that if Alberta ever applied for U.S. statehood, he would be stunned if more than a handful of people in Congress object.

Staying under the boot of Ottawa is no longer an option for any self-respecting Albertan, and independence is the preferred option for sentimental reasons. But joining the United States could be the more pragmatic route to a positive future. The U.S. has a long history of successfully integrating new territories: the Louisiana Purchase, Hawaii, and Alaska to name a few.

Trump recently offered to buy Greenland, not just to increase Americas geographic reach, but to build his legacy. It is conceivable that Americans might want to buy Alberta. By this, I mean: would the U.S. be willing to pay off Albertas provincial and share of the federal debt in return for joining?

As difficult as it is for many Albertans to wrap their minds around independence, it is understandably even more difficult to countenance joining our southern neighbors; but when we set sentimentality aside, its a proposal that we should consider on its merits.

Tessa Littlejohn is a Columnist for the Western Standard

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LITTLEJOHN: Ricky Gervais & Jordan Peterson are the Socrates of 2020 - Western Standard

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:42 pm

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