February 20, 2003


Klein's conservatives plan to raise separatist spectre (Mark Reid and Rick Mofina, February 20, 2003, Ottawa Citizen)
Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party will discuss the issue of separation at the party's upcoming annual meeting, but Premier Ralph Klein says he doesn't want the debate to overshadow the convention. [...]

The issue of separation arose earlier this week during the provincial government's throne speech when it asserted that Alberta's ability to be a partner in Canada is compromised by the federal government.

Mr. Klein said the comment in the throne speech should not be construed as a threat to separate, but rather to put the federal government on notice that Alberta intends to "strongly defend" its interests.

"Alberta's ability to be a partner in Canada is compromised by the current federal government, which does not listen to the people of this province," Mr. Klein's Conservative government said in its throne speech.

Following the throne speech, Mr. Klein said Alberta can't be part of the "Canadian family if big brother down there in Ottawa doesn't want you to be part of the family." [...]

Rob James, a member of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party and gun registry opponent, has drafted a resolution calling for a referendum on separation, but party executive director Marilyn Haley said it won't be debated on the convention floor.

Mr. Klein's political opponents in Alberta, along with some political experts, say there simply isn't strong support for separation in the province, and accused the premier of "trotting" out the spectre of separation to deflect attention from troubles on the homefront.

"This is just something the province trots out when things get a little bit hot on the provincial level, to try to distract people from problems at home," said University of Calgary political scientist Doreen Barrie.

Randy Thorsteinson, leader of the fledgling Alberta Alliance party, said "there is a tremendous amount of frustration in Alberta," but added Mr. Klein's comments are nothing but "hollow rhetoric" after his recent failure to stop the federal government from implementing the Kyoto Protocol, and his inability to obtain major concessions in health care.

It's all about oil. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2003 11:12 AM


Who would you back in a Canadian Civil War?

Posted by: Tom Stamper at February 20, 2003 2:27 PM


Posted by: oj at February 20, 2003 3:03 PM