In the last week or so there has been an amazing amount of near paranoid rantings about "Ontario raiding Alberta's riches". Granted, coming from King Ralph, it's hard to put much credibility behind these words. Ralph has been increasingly obnoxious and arrogant these past few years, and I doubt that many would put much stock in his pronouncements outside of the Alberta legislature these days.
However, I do believe there is some wisdom in the words of former Premier Peter Lougheed.
Alberta is part of Canada, and playing like the spoilt child trying to hoard all of the toys is not going to work. While times are good (and right now, they are exceedingly good), it is time to "make hay". Certainly, we should be building up the Heritage Savings Trust Fund further, rebuilding and enhancing infrastructure and other tasks desperately needed in Alberta. At the same time, we need to find ways to help the other provinces that are in, or heading into, tougher times.
In Lougheed's day, the compromise was to provide loans to other provinces at reduced interest rates. What is an appropriate approach today? I don't know - but it isn't Ralph's "Hands Off Or Else" approach.
Alberta is poised to move into a leadership role in Canada. It is financially well off, debt free, and moving forward comfortably. Its role in the political dialogue of our nation is changing. Alberta cannot gain by playing these childish games of political confrontation. We must move beyond that conflict-ridden approach and become the broker of positive solutions.
The fortunes of the Reform/Alliance/Conservative parties on the federal political scene speak loudly to how well petulant politics plays outside of Alberta.