A bridge too far … for Albertans

Posted November 12, 2012

In a recent op-ed page article in the Mercury, the CEO of a Calgary-based outfit called Enquirica Research said that Albertans are not interested in paying for a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

This echoes that downer comment from Alberta during the National Energy Plan debate in the early 80’s: “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark.”

Gracious, and all this time I believed we were part of a grand confederation of provinces and territories.  Sounds like the real separatist movement is alive and well in… Alberta.

Funny how good fortune experienced by one of our partners creates a streak of greed and meanness. Research discovers this outfit is primarily an investment house that specializes in commodity investments.

Why would they embark on a survey conducted by staff members of Lethbridge University to discredit a project that is vital to easier trade between two countries? And Albertans benefit from such a project as more than 25 per cent of the trade between the U.S. and Canada flows between Windsor and Detroit.

The privately owned 84-year old Ambassador Bridge cannot handle the growing traffic as goods and people flow freely between the two countries.  A big chunk of Canada/U.S. trade flows between Windsor and Detroit.  Why should a cranky billionaire maintain a chokehold on our two country’s national interests?

So exactly how has Alberta benefited from its association with the Federal government?

Let’s start with goods not manufactured in Alberta. They arrive on railroads and aircraft and trucks on tracks, airports and roads funded by the federal government.

The federal offices throughout the province provide services to Albertans. The RCMP, a federal police force, acts as the province’s police force.

The federal government runs the various military bases in the province.

How about the airports in the province? Federal money built these.

Then there is the Federal gas tax rebate given to Alberta’s municipalities.

Alberta is the only province and territory in Canada that has no provincial income or sales tax because of exploitation of oil and natural gas resources and substantial royalty payments, a flood of money that has poured into provincial coffers

The irony of this is Alberta would never have happened without confederation and the support of Ontario and Quebec.

So why is this argument coming across as uppity and confrontational? It’s about arrogance and attitude, folks.

That bridge is going to be built despite the feelings of some Albertans, and Ambassador bridge owner Marty Maroun, and they will pay their fair share, just like the rest of us.

In time, Albertans will benefit from easier access to major mid-west U.S. markets. So will the confederated Canada.

As for Enquirica Research, pick up your bat and ball and play in another sandlot.

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2 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

2 responses to “A bridge too far … for Albertans

  1. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Perhaps the outfit should be renamed “ENQUIRKA”. Not sure from under which rock it crawled out Why would anyone with even half a brain make such a statement when there are plans to reverse pipeline flows to move western oil eastward to replace imported Arabian oil? At the same time there are desires to move both gas and oil across to west coast terminals.
    Sounds like the “QUIRKAS” believe they can suck and blow at the same time.

    • Glen T. Tolhurst: I get the feeling these are immigrants from Texas where freedom and obligation never meet. The sad part is of those polled, 56.2 per cent of Albertans believe they should not contribute to the bridge.The good news that not all Albertans are terminally dense, 43.8 per cent were in favor.

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