The #Wexit thing

I signed up for Twitter yesterday. Following our Oct. 21 federal election, after seeing the outpouring of anger from Western Canada, I wanted to post a copy of the Feb. 19, 2001 Alberta Report cover story Alberta First: Six prominent citizens deliver a manifesto calling for provincial autonomy, by Kevin Michael Grace. This is about the so-called Firewall Letter.

The twitter tweet has the cover story posted in magazine-style using a service called yumpu, very simple and free. I have the document in pdf and initially couldn’t figure out how to get that on twitter. Guess I’m a little rusty. Then I found this article. Boom! Done. The pdf I posted to this site here.

The Firewall saga is a small history lesson for all those Albertans who weren’t around 18 years ago. Alberta in 2001 had a population of 2,974,807 and that has now grown to 4,345,737. The lesson is for those “new” 1,370,930 souls. They, like our children and our pets, are our future. I mean, we’re going to rely on a lot of them to vote for separation, right? So they should know what the fuss is about and have some idea of how long this has been going on.

Hmm, I pondered, how to reach all those people? I know, Twitter! And so I signed up again. (I posted on Gab as well.)

So far, I have one Twitter follower, the guy who wrote the article. Not the massive reach I had anticipated. He’s in B.C., not Alberta. He’s not “new” either, as in post-2001. But hey, maybe I’ll just go ahead and count B.C. in, too.

In 2001, B.C. had 3,907,738 peoplekinds and now has 5,020,302. That’s a difference of 1,112,564. We’re up to a potential audience of 2,483,494. I’ll throw in Saskatchewan as well. Why not? My dad was from B.C. and my mom is from Saskatchewan, so I want all the relatives in on the separation thing. Wouldn’t you? “From the prairies to the mountains to the sea” should be worked into the new national anthem; we’ll need a lot of real estate to support bombastic, aggrandizing lyrics of a new national anthem. Saskatchewan in 2001? 978,933. And in 2019: 1,168,423. So add on another 189,490. As noted, we include Saskatchewan for its real estate… and its population, not its population growth. Now we’re up to 2,672,984! Over two and a half million!! Holy cow, all I need is the internet and I’m gonna be rich!$!$! (To enhance the nostalgia of reviving the old cover story, I’m intentionally mimicking a fuzzy-minded internet bubble investor from the early 2000’s.)

Yes, the Firewall proposals are some handy suggestions about things we can do while thinking about, or getting ready for, separation from nasty, anti-deporable, anti-redneck eastern Canadians, such as those who pitched in with put-downs on Twitter under the hashtag #rednexit.

We really don’t need ass-holes like these in our lives (and btw why does my spellcheck give “cashless” as an alternative to “asshole”?). A referendum, a clear question, a clear majority and we’re outta here, provided we stay vigilant to all the dirty tricks the Ottawa government will attempt. Will they try dirty tricks? You bet. The whole world knows about it. (See John Henley in The Guardian, Sept. 8, 2014: Money, pride and dirty tricks: what Scotland can learn from Quebec)

I’ve stayed away from the public “conversation” for a few years due to family matters, but every once in a while if the mood hit me, I would drop an internet comment here and there. It hit last December when, during my usual route through the news aggregators, I came across a story about the Truckers for Pipelines protest posted on Small Dead Animals. Under the bland name of “Alberta Guy” I wrote

December 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Enough whining. Notley needs to dust off the old Firewall Letter and start implementing some of its recommendations. It’s tailor made for her. We know the NDP like to create more government. Well, this is the time and the place to build the bureaucracy. In order of importance: 1) set up a revenue collection agency to receive all tax money paid in Alberta and then kick out the Canada Revenue Agency. 2) Establish a made-in-Alberta Pension to replace federal benefits. 3) Convert the Alberta Sheriffs Branch to a police force to replace the RCMP.

I don’t like the NDP, but if Notley did this, I’d help raise the money to build a statue of her to be set at the steps of the AB leg.

The statue is a nice touch, if I do say so myself. Imagine Rachel Notley in bronze, dressed in her Pride Parade tights, standing tall (trying to, anyway) waving a gas pump nozzle (like those guys in Zoolander). Anyway, if you read on after my comment, there’s some libertarian jibber-jabber about too much bureaucracy and driver’s license exams. Then someone named Osumashi Kinyobe hits on the idea that we “should treat Justin as one would treat Kim Fatty in North Korea” and sanction his access to carbon products etc. I was about to blast off on Mr. Kinyobe and his fuel sanctions scheme and scream “Get serious, you ^#@#$@$” (hey, it’s a comments section, what can you expect) when I bit my tongue, took a breath and replied:

December 20, 2018 at 2:06 pm

You have the right idea in that you are thinking about how to create leverage with Ottawa. That’s what the Firewall Letter was all about, creating leverage. Btw you can be serious about creating this leverage, or you can spend your time, as fundamentally unserious people, whinging about who gives drivers exams and blood tests, like those above.

That’ll show ’em, said the snarky boomer to himself. But Osumashi Kinyobe stuck with his product specific sanctions idea. Clearly, my communication skills have greatly diminished.

However, all was not lost. A few days later, it was gratifying to see someone in a newspaper come to roughly the same conclusion at roughly the same time: Danielle Smith in the Calgary Herald, Dec. 28, 2018: Alberta needs a firewall, the sooner the better.

The point I wanted to stress, in my comment, and by posting about the Firewall letter, is this; the recommendations in it are doable, now, today, and they will create bargaining power with Ottawa.

If you are talking Western separation, but aren’t willing to take the steps outlined in the Firewall letter—steps that would have to be taken in the event of separation anyway—then you are either an unserious hot-head, or a bad negotiator. Ralph Klein dismissed the Firewall recommendations. He was not a serious person; a lovely and loveable fellow, surely, grade A and my kinda guy, but not a serious negotiator.

Over to you, Premier Kenney. I know Kenney doesn’t like this separation talk. He has his own ideas about how to negotiate, create leverage etc., court cases, referendums on equalization etzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… We’ll see where that gets us… it’ll get us to the year 2040, I suspect, with nothing changed.

btw I was the magazine’s art director at the time of that cover story and I am the guy responsible for the story’s weird layout.

You see, I had been a staff writer, but changes and cutbacks at the magazine saw me busted down to librarian, and all the editors busted down to writers. Then they needed an art director. Following company policy—what in the newsroom we called the “some guy” policy, as in “we can just put some guy in that position and he’ll figure it out”—I became Art Director.

I remember thinking as I instructed the photographer to drive all over Calgary to take the photos, dragging with him his backdrop curtain so the pictures would have the same tone, “Boy, this is going to be a great!” But when I saw it in print I was like, “well, uh, can’t we make the photos a bit smaller? No? Something to do with column widths and stuff? This isn’t turning out as I had expected. Shit!” Boss said it looked fine. So good enough for that week.