For most Albertans it is 1775. A year after, as every American knows, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. In the time that the Colonies were still part of the British Empire; it is, consequently, an British as much as an American document, which is why its logic contains such a broad appeal today at the West.
All American schoolchildren understand how it begins: when a single people seeks to dissolve the political bonds with another, a decent regard for the opinions of humanity”requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” It affirms that human beings are created equal, which they have inalienable rights that authorities protected and that governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed. When authorities are destructive of these ends,”it is the right of individuals to abolish it.” Most evils are sufferable, the Declaration continued,”but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing inevitably the identical object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a government,” and establish a new person. This was the place of American Patriots from the Thirteen Colonies in 1776; this is the position of many Alberta Patriots today.
On the west of the Canada of the St Lawrence river valleywhere we call Laurentian Canada, put the Hudson’s Bay Company lands, even in law a plantation, with a status like Jamestown at seventeenth-century Virginia. In 1869 the Imperial Crown transferred this enormous territory to the Crown in right of Canada. Canada indemnified the Company for”improvements” made within the previous two centuries, but it was not purchased, since Alaska was purchased from Russia.
Some Company land was given to Quebec; a few to Ontario. All the remainder, from the western boundary of Ontario to the peak of the Rocky Mountains was earmarked”for purposes of the Dominion,” which is, for the benefit of Laurentian Canada.
The Laurentians disregarded the presence of a flourishing andalso to use the terminology of the afternoon, a”civilized” settlement at Red River, present-day Winnipeg. They hadn’t been consulted with respect to the move, nor did they consent to it. Canada never created anything like the Northwest Ordinance of 1789, the terms of which allowed the orderly incorporation of the inhabitants of the American shore into the USA. Instead, Canada used an archaic imperial statute to annex the Northwest and all its inhabitants. A long-time opponent to Company principle, Alexander Kennedy Isbister, said the territory was degraded into a”colony of a colony.”
If the inhabitants of Red River were going to join Confederation, it’d be in their terms, as British Columbia had completed. They found themselves as vocal citizens, not mute topics. Laurentian Canada thought otherwise, equally in 1870 and fifteen years after when it deployed a military force to extinguish an armed battle to their distant imperial principle.
The Northwest stayed a colony of a colony before 1905 when two new provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, were created. Neither was a full-scale state because, unlike every other state, they failed to restrain the main sources of earnings, notably public lands and natural sources. James Mallory said they had been provinces”from the Roman sense,” where he meant that, like Trans-Alpine Gaul, the West would be dominated by a new Rome, Ottawa, as a conquered territory. In return, like Roman provincials, Westerners were compelled to pay tribute–taxation –to Laurentian Canada. This legal subordination lasted until 1930 when the prairie provinces were granted control of the natural resources.
Laurentian Canadians still believed the West and its own sources existed to reap them. The sources changed, from fur to wheatgerm potash, uranium and today: hydrocarbons. Accordingly, when the Yom Kippur war drove the price of petroleum, the Ottawa found a”created in [Laurentian] Canada” cost that subsidized eastern consumers. As the national energy ministry, Marc Lalonde, helpfully explained, he desired”to transfer wealth from Alberta to central Canada.”
Albertans have attempted to operate within the computer system. Consider Senate reform. At present all Senators are made by Ottawa. Alberta contains 6. Attempts by Albertans to establish an elected, equal and effective–“triple E” Senate–‘ve neglected. The Supreme Court of Canada said change required …