Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pen Meets Paper Jan.10'11

Opinion by Helge Nome
There is currently a referendum taking place in the African state of Sudan. After a prolonged civil war between predominantly African people in the south and Arabs in the north, a point has finally been reached where people are prepared to go to the ballot box to decide whether two independent states should be created. And, just over 10 years ago, a Parliament of Scotland was re-established after an absence of some 300 years.
Canada is famous for its regional tensions, with people in the predominantly French speaking Province of Quebec being the most vocal group in this respect. Possibly less known, but very much alive, is also a sense of Western alienation from what is perceived to be an effective dictatorship by Central Canadian political/economic interests. Westerners are fully aware of the fact that they were politically manipulated by the establishment in Ottawa when the four western provinces were established about 100 years ago, ensuring a fragmented western voice in the Federal Parliament. The result of this has been that the huge natural resources of the west have been milked by the Central Canadian establishment for a very long time. And now the mega corporations have moved in, playing one province against the other in getting good deals for themselves, exploiting the region’s natural resources. Here in Alberta we now even have sovereign wealth funds (i.e. funds controlled by foreign nations with their own objectives) buying control of Alberta resources in the ground. Albertans are watching foreigners hijacking their resources with a nod of approval from the Central Canadian establishment.
Meanwhile, the Alberta provincial government is desperately trying to appease the big energy companies in order to stay in office. And the two main contenders for being the next Alberta government, the Progressive Conservatives (currently in power) and the Wild Rose Alliance, are competing for the crumbs from Big Energy that would give one party the edge over the other. The underlying problem is political apathy by Albertans, a very understandable sentiment in light of lackluster performance of elected politicians.
The net result of all this is the handing of the West to the highest bidder. The logical response would be for the people of the West to gather under one banner and take charge of their own affairs.

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