Sunday, September 18, 2005

What is it with Alberta and Separatism?

Let me be clear about one thing - I am not a separatist. Period. However, looking at the rumblings coming out of the various separatist/isolationist groups in Alberta is fascinating - it's the intellectual equivalent of a train wreck - one is fascinated by how the mess got made.

The latest collection of two bit nutjobs I just found are the "Alberta Republicans". What caught my attention was their proposed constitution.

I gave it a brief scan, and here's what I come up with in the department of colossal stupidity:

1) A government structure that is a legislative mangling of the US government mashed together with a bit of Westminster tradition. Great - so we're going cross-breed a platypus and an elephant.

2) The usual rants about the primacy of the individual. I just love this one. As usual, the nuttier side of the equation has gotten their hands into the cookie jar and created an enormous problem:

1. It is hereby declared that Albertans recognize as self-evident the following fundamental human rights and freedoms which exist independently of government, namely,

a) the right of the individual to Life, Liberty, Property, and Security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and to protection of the law;

c) freedom of religion;

d) freedom of speech and expression;

e) freedom of assembly and association;

f) freedom of the press; and

g) freedom of movement.

That all sounds pretty reasonable. Until you read the preamble to the next part:

Every law of Alberta shall be so interpreted and applied as not to abrogate, abridge or infringe or to authorize the abrogation, abridgement or infringement of any of the rights or freedoms herein recognized and declared.

Lessee - logic 101 would suggest that just perhaps, there might be a few issues here where someone's "rights" of freedom might just impinge upon someone else's rights. Of course, any law that would draw such a boundary would immediately be unconstitutional based on this little section. Congratulations, people, you just rendered the legislative bodies utterly impotent when it comes to dealing with human rights issues.

3. Economics - this one just about killed me when I read it:

1. The National Legislature shall have no authority to borrow money without the consent of a majority of citizens voting in a public referendum.

Ah yes. The right wing extreme view of government - less is better, none is the best. Congratulations, through yet another completely brain damaged design, this constitution renders the very bodies of governance impotent to act when necessary. Emergencies happen, and you don't always have the money in the cash box. (Hmmm - Hurricane Katrina come to mind, anyone - or in Alberta's case, a severe cold snap that affects the electrical system, or gas delivery?)

Have you ever known a referendum to succeed - especially in Alberta? I can hear it now: "Dear God!, the government can't spend money - I want to buy beer tonight!"

The rest of the document is left as an exercise to the reader to dissect.

As for me, thanks, but no thanks. Flawed as it is, I'll take Canada over what would rise out of a constitution like this.

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