I find it ironic that the United We Roll for Canada convoy that began in Red Deer, Alta., and made a brief stop as it passed through the Sault last week, is looking to Ontario residents for support because things aren’t all that good in the western province at the moment, with jobs not as plentiful as they once were because of the province’s problems getting its oil to market.
Because when I lived in Alberta, from 1962 to 1975, one of the favourite bumper stickers for the latter part of my time there read: “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark.”
Coming from Dryden, Ont., naturally I wasn’t happy with this, although some of my friends fell right in step with their adopted province. My cries that we were Canadians first, Albertans second, fell on deaf ears.
Alberta does have a rather high unemployment rate at the moment, 6.8% compared to Ontario’s 5.4. But it wasn’t always this way. For most of the time, Alberta was the place to go if you were having trouble finding work.
Alberta at one time didn’t have a deficit but it is running one now and is counting on the completion of the Trans-Mountain pipeline project to get the deficit off its back.
I can recall when I was out there, the word was that any time a debt appeared the provincial government would simply open the natural gas taps a little wider.
And it should always be remembered that Alberta does not have a provincial sales tax.
Actually, it was the first province to have one, instituting it way back in 1936. But it removed it the following year and hasn’t had one since.
Considering I am in the process of paying more than $3,000 in provincial tax on a new vehicle, I find it very hard to feel sorry for our western cousins.
There was also a comment in Brian’s Kelly’s story in The Sault Star that really gave me pause.
Wayne Woywitka, a Vermilion resident travelling with the convoy, said he appreciated the chance to meet so many amazing people he “probably wouldn’t have given the time of day to two and half months ago.”
You’re OK now that you are offering the support he is looking for but you would have been nothing to him if you had met two and a half months ago.
The people on the road with the convoy and some of the local residents who met them in their stop in the Sault are blaming the federal government for the fact the Trans-Mountain pipeline project is on hold.
But it should be remembered that the federal government has announced its intention to purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline system and it was a court, citing the government for a lack of consultation with some indigenous groups, that shut it down.
Yet some of comments were of the kind you would expect to come out of Trump country, not Sault Ste. Marie.
One local said he backed convoy participants using violence against Prime Minister Trudeau.
Another got into anti-Semitism, claiming the global banking system is controlled by the Rothschild family “to a point where it’s putting any kind of uniqueness of nationality gone,” a claim Kelly, thankfully, laid to rest by quoting an online fact-checking site that labelled it a long-held conspiracy theory.
Refugees were also a target, some saying they weren’t against immigration in one breath while saying they didn’t want them crossing our border and taking our jobs in another.
One also railed against carbon taxes, a tax I accept because I want to see as much as possible done to make the future safe for my children and their children down the line.
The comments in Kelly’s piece took me right back to the infamous English-only language resolution passed by council in 1990. With its misguided wording declaring English as the official language of the city, we were labelled as racists, bigots and rednecks across the country.
The resolution was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the damage was done.
I can understand people being upset about things that are happening in this country, but when the word violence comes up in regard to a political figure they are going too far.
Somehow we have to come to the realization that we are all human beings and “taking care of our own” should be all-encompassing rather than territorial.
No matter our colour, we all bleed red.
And when a child is hungry anywhere, we should care, not just when it is in our country.