History offers dose of oil-wealth irony

Re: Productive politicking nowhere on horizon, Letters, July 17.

To the Editor

Re: Productive politicking nowhere on horizon, Letters, July 17.

The letter writer suggests that Quebec should separate from Canada so Alberta can stop their equalization payments. These payments he believes are a ‘fiasco’.

But a closer look at history gives us a big dose of irony.

Alberta received equalization payments until 1947, and again from 1957 to 1965. During these times, Alberta was a ‘have-not’ province and received billions of dollars from the rest of Canada.

Wealth comes and goes, and even the wealthiest provinces were once poor, and could easily become poor again.

Far from separation being a cure for our equalization ‘fiasco’, separation itself would clearly be the fiasco.

And comparing the separation of Quebec with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia is comparing apples and oranges. For one, Czechoslovakia was part of the former Soviet Union – Canada was not. These are completely different circumstances.

The ‘welfare pot called equalization’ is the deal many others call Confederation. It binds our country together in a mutual agreement of support and partnership. When one province is struggling, the federal government helps out.

As recently as 2009, when oil prices plummeted, Alberta almost became a have-not province. To get through the choppy economic waters it began talks with the federal government for a $220-million loan.

So when Alberta complains about the deal they made at Confederation, let’s not forget that many times throughout history, they too have dipped their hands in the cookie jar.

David Geselbracht