Stolen Honour

Disbanded regiment deserves to have its reputation rehabilitated.

By rights this issue should be classified as a scandal, with a lot more press coverage than it has received up to this point, and, it also happens to be one that is very personal to me.

I think I may have mentioned my family’s history in the military in a previous post, along with my ties to the PPCLI. My Uncle “Spike”, as he was known, was a Sergeant when he retired back in the early ’80’s, and a couple of years before he retired, he was asked (asked mind you) to join the Canadian Airborne Regiment. A one time army boxing champion, he had what it took to be a jumper. He still ran everyday in combat boots into his 50’s, switching to running shoes until he stopped running in his late 60’s.

So, when the regiment was disbanded in disgrace on September 1st, 1995, in the wake of the Somalia scandal, I felt the shock that one feels when told that a family member has died. It was as though a part of my self was somehow gone now. I couldn’t imagine there ever NOT being an Airborne Regiment.

Initially, I felt anger towards those who had committed the brutal acts that led to it. Them, the chain of command on the ground, the lot of them. These were bunch of racists whose bosses had given them free reign to terrorize the local populace, because they were too goddamn lazy or didn’t give a shit or both. Thanks to them, the Canadian Forces had a black eye, and the Canadian Airborne Regiment had ceased to exist. Way to go, assholes.

But then, some time later, mefloquine made the news, and all of a sudden, things weren’t quite so cut and dried after all. As the story began to unfold, the blame started to lift from the soldiers, and would ultimately land square in the lap of the Department of National Defense, and Swiss pharmaceutical concern Hoffman-La Roche.

Because of their actions, two Somali teenagers are dead, and the lives of some of the soldiers forever changed. A large number of veterans continue to suffer from the nightmarish side effects, and in all likelihood courts will be hearing cases for years to come in future legal actions.

The Stuff of Nightmares

Marketed under the brand name Lariam, mefloquine is an anti-malarial drug. Anti-malarial drugs have been available since the 19th century, when French scientists were able to extract quinine from the bark of the Cinchona tree, native to the Andean region of South America.

Quinine was in demand by European militaries, as colonialism made its way into tropical areas, and today, military personnel take the majority of doses of anti-malaria medications dispensed. It only makes sense that militaries would have an interest in their development, and have aided in the advancement of these medications over the years.

Big Pharma And The Military Industrial Complex

Lariam was developed by the US military near the end of the Vietnam War, as part of an effort to find an anti-malarial that was effective, economical, and safe. The first reported trials of mefloquine were done in 1975, on prisoners in the Joliette Correctional Centre in Illinois, while another was performed the following year at the Maryland House of Correction. No details of these trials can be found.

During the 1980’s, the pharmaceutical industry began lobbying the US congress in an effort to get their products to market quicker. Testing protocols were delaying the time it took to get a drug to market, and the drug companies wanted to shorten the time it took, so that they could begin earning revenue quicker.

So when the FDA approved Lariam for use in 1989, a number of critical studies relating to tolerability and interactions with other drugs had not yet been done. Within months of being released, safety concerns would begin emerging, yet the drug would remain to be the go to for the prevention of chloroquine-resistant malaria.

Start of a Scandal

The Canadian Airborne Regiment left for Somalia in December 1992, five months after then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney had committed Canadian troops for the mission. Called Operation Deliverance, it would become part of the US led Operation Restore Hope, which would ultimately fall under UN control and become UNOSOM II.

Members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment sprint into position as they arrive to assume responsibility for the airport at Bali Dogle, Somalia, on December 15, 1992. Canada is taking part in a UN relief operation in the East African country. (CP Photo/Andrew Vaughan)

The decision to send 2 Commando to Somalia had been controversial from the very beginning. The unit was known to be rife with racism, and was viewed to be the dumping ground for those with discipline issues. The CO of the regiment had been sacked for stating that the regiment was unfit for the mission, and replaced by Lt.Col. Carol Mathieu, who would lead the contingent in Somalia.

For whatever reason, the DND had made the decision the Lariam would be the anti-malarial prophylactic to be used on this deployment. Though available in the United States, Lariam was still unavailable in Canada, though it could be if it were being used in a clinical trial.

As with any clinical trial, there would be strict protocols that would have to be observed. There is a great deal of monitoring, testing, and recording involved in a clinical trial, and so knowing this, the DND made the decision to participate in the clinical trial for Lariam. Whether or not anybody bothered to look for any existing clinical data from the US is debatable, though I’m betting nobody bothered.

The Department of National Defense had absolutely no intention of doing any of what was required of it for the study, and this fact was apparent as soon as the mission started. There was no monitoring, no reporting of adverse events, no effort to even make it look like they were trying.

Worse still, the men had no idea that they were supposed to part of a drug trial. While they were told what the medication was for and what the possible side effects were, they were not given the forms to sign that would have constituted informed consent. As far as they knew, they wouldn’t have been given the medication if the government had thought it was dangerous. It’s an assumption we make all the time. They would have assumed wrong.

The Adverse Effects

It wasn’t long before some disturbing side-effects began to appear, similar to those that were reported in the United States. Anxiety, nightmares, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, and other serious symptoms began appearing.

It has been revealed in recent years that many of those serving in Somalia had exhibited these symptoms, including those involved in the incidents in question. For many, the symptoms continue to this day, years after taking the drug.

The stage was now set for a scenario straight out of a movie; a battalion of heavily armed, highly trained, potentially psychotic, racist killing machines, would be dropped into a high-stress mission in Africa. The worst-case scenario was about to play out.

The Result

In order to keep this from becoming a novel, I’ll dispense with most of the details, but feel free to do some research for yourselves online. The key points are two Somali teens, Shidane Arone and Ahmed Arush were killed, and a third, Abdi Hinde Bei Sabrie, was seriously wounded.

Master Corporal Clayton Matchee would be charged in relation to the Arone death, however he would attempt suicide by hanging himself, and would suffer permanent brain damage. Due to the extent of his injury, he will require constant care, and he no longer faces the criminal charges that were brought against him.

Trooper Kyle Brown would be found guilty of manslaughter and torture and serve a 40 month prison sentence. His life after getting out has been difficult, as he continues to suffer from PTSD and the neurotoxic effects of mefloquine.

Several others would face charges in relation to the matter, however most would later be acquitted by a court martial. These men and hundreds of others on that deployment would suffer from psychological anguish brought on by mefloquine neurotoxicity, which was identified in 2006.

It wasn’t until 2017 that the Canadian military decided to begin curtailing the use of mefloquine. It is no longer being offered as the first option in malaria prophylaxis for deployments. In fact, it appears as though mefloquine is being used less and less worldwide, as calls go out for further studies on the long-term effects. Litigation attorneys in numerous jurisdictions are busy preparing briefs for actions that will likely total in the billions of dollars.

We Really Need An Inquiry Do-Over

A three person Commission of Inquiry into the Somalia affair was convened in late 1995 by Defense Minister Art Eggleton, issuing its report in September 1997, after being cut short by David Collenette, Eggleton’s replacement.

Collenette had grown impatient with the commission, and when it was brought to an end, a great deal of testimony had yet to be heard. The final report contained 2000 pages over five volumes, and was highly critical of the leadership and culture within the Department of National Defense. There is no mention of mefloquine anywhere in it.


Marj Matchee holds a photo and boots of her husband Master Corporal Clayton Matchee during an anti-malarial drug mefloquine rally September 19, 2017 on the front steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
DAVE CHAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

In 2017, Clayton Matchee’s wife, Marj Matchee, began calling for the government to re-open the inquiry. A great deal of information has come to light since the Commission’s incomplete report was released, and it needs to be brought to light. Had the information been available at the time, there is little doubt that it would have had an impact on the final report. To not re-open the inquiry would be a miscarriage of justice.

Kyle Brown, Clayton Matchee, and the rest of 2 CDO were not saints by any stretch of the imagination, and some held some pretty repugnant views, but they were professionals. The way I see it, and many will agree with me on this, without mefloquin, this wouldn’t have happened. The men of 2 CDO should not have to wear the mantle of destroyers of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. They, along with the Canadian Airborne Regiment, deserve to have their reputations restored.

Ex coelis

DBC

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847738/

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2016/bvg-oag/FA1-1999-1-0-eng.pdf

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/clayton-matchee-s-wife-wants-to-reopen-somalia-inquiry-1.4258889

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As Convoy Reaches Parliament Hill, The Real Message Is Muted.

Media Focus On Yellow Vests Shows That A New Approach Is Needed.

Looks like a pack of loons to me.

Janice Copling

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/united-we-roll-protest-what-to-expect-downtown-this-week

Comments Section,Ottawa Citizen article, Feb. 19, 2019
The United We Roll convoy makes it to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The convoy that started out from Alberta on Valentines Day arrived on Parliament Hill this morning, joined by trucks from across the country. I wanted to see how the media were reporting this, so I looked at a variety of sites, and I was not surprised by much of what I read. That being said, it wasn’t all bad coverage, but the media bias in Canada is alive and well, and pushing an agenda based in fear.

The Big Three

Global, CTV, and CBC. Canada’s major fake news outlets had some differing takes on this story, though the CBC’s slant is clearly the most biased of the three. The Global and CTV News stories were the closest to being actual reporting, which frankly is refreshing.

CTV reported that 200 vehicles were involved, while Global put the number at “hundreds”. The CBC made no mention of the number of vehicles in their report.


On Tuesday morning, protesters parked approximately 200 vehicles in the streets surrounding Parliament Hill for a rally in front of the House of Commons.

Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTVNews.ca Staff  https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/convoy-arrives-in-ottawa-for-rally-following-cross-country-trek-1.4303118

Both CTV and Global made mention of the fact that trucks from Quebec and the Maritimes had joined in the protest, while the Mothercorp Commisar who wrote the CBC piece fails to mention this.


A group of like-minded protesters from Eastern Canada was expected to join up with them in Ottawa.


By Karen BartkoOnline Journalist  Global News https://globalnews.ca/news/4972392/truck-protest-ottawa-oil-policies/

The story on the CBC News website (author unknown) also contains judgmental statements such as “…controversial pro-pipeline movement..” and “..convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners…”, while the other two organizations refrained from being so blatantly prejudiced on this occasion, much to my surprise.


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer welcomed a controversial convoy bringing a pro-pipeline message to Ottawa today, assuring participants that “we’ve got your back.”

Unknown government chimp, CBC News
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/truck-convoy-red-deer-ottawa-arnprior-1.5024229

The Yellow Vests

The Yellow Vests play prominent in every story, and their role in the convoy varies depending on the point of view of the author, however it is quite clear that some see them as the organizers of the convoy, and that has detracted from the message the actual organizers wanted to get across.

A headline in the Montreal Gazette on Feb. 19th read “Trucks rolled in at a rally initiated by Yellow Vests Eastern Ontario”, while the grotesquely liberal Huffington Puffington Post (props to Mr. Rush Limbaugh for that one) ran a headline that read “Yellow Vest, United We Roll Aren’t Just A Pipeline Movement: Experts”. The gist of the article is that a horde of angry white nationalists from Alberta, driving in large, carbon spewing, climate killing trucks, have invaded Ottawa, and are spewing racism and islamo/homo/transphobia on the sacred grounds of Parliament Hill.


“A movement may try to distance itself and claim a project they think is innocent, but when you scratch the surface you realize it’s a vehicle of hate,” said Joseph. He described yellow vests as “a revisioned white nationalist, white supremacist movement.”


By Samantha Beattie, Huffer
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2019/02/19/yellow-vests-arent-just-a-pipeline-movement-experts_a_23673410/

It is in the comments section however, that you really get a feel for what people are thinking, at least what those people who felt strongly enough to actually write in anyways. The views of many who wrote in are summed up nicely by one woman, Janice Copling, whose comment on the story in the Ottawa Citizen was “Looks like a pack of loons to me”. While there were people who wrote in to defend the convoy, many saw it as just a bunch of angry racist rednecks who were out to stir up trouble.

Let The Editorializing Begin

Anyone who actually gives two shits about the issue and has a brain cell would know that the original purpose of the convoy was to draw attention to the fact that Ottawa needs to act on the pipeline issue IMMEDIATELY. The men and women in the convoy would otherwise be working right now, were it not for the current government of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau. Not only has it shown itself to be just as corrupt as Liberal government’s gone by, it has also proven to be perhaps the single most inept government in the history of Canada.

The message was muted by the presence of the Yellow Vests however, and this brings me to my thoughts on the Yellow Vest movement in Canada. Make no mistake, I fully support the vast majority of what the Yellow Vests are saying, with the exception of those beliefs espoused by the “fringe” elements of the movement.

I do not think that all left-leaning, liberal’s belong to or support Antifa, and so, similarly, I hope that you would not think that I’m a racist or neo-Nazi for espousing right-leaning conservative beliefs. I believe we need strict immigration controls, something that Canada is sorely lacking. This doesn’t mean I want to start putting muslim’s into internment camps, or deporting every person of colour that I see.

This Isn’t France

The reasons why Le Gilete Jaunes have proven to be an effective movement in France, are the same reasons that their Canadian compatriots have not, and will not achieve the same success.

First, the yellow vest has become ubiquitous in France, thanks to the law requiring them in all vehicles. They were ready at hand, bought and paid for, and, most importantly, symbolic of their cause. As you may recall, the protests in France began in response to an increase to fuel taxes, which of course directly affect vehicle owners. In Canada, the majority of people do not own a yellow vest, and it would require an outlay of cash (anywhere from $4 if you can find one at Dollarama, to $20 or more elsewhere). This tends to reduce support among those who can’t afford one, leaving them feeling left out.

The Yellow Toque’s. A Made In Canada Movement?

It’s probably safe to say that the vast majority of Canadians either have in the past, or currently own a toque, especially after the total load of bullshit that Mother Nature dumped on us in the form of the Polar Vortex. It might be safe to say that on a per capita basis, more people in Canada wear toque’s than people in France wear yellow vests. I know it wouldn’t be the best choice for summertime protesting, but I really can’t think of anything more Canadian than a toque for this.

The lack of a cohesive message is the other thing that differentiates the Yellow Vests. Here in Canada, the myriad of issues lends itself to confusion. They are essentially protesting everything all at once, which, while it shows that we have a LOT to complain about, doesn’t provide the specific focus it will need in order to garner greater success.

The Fight Must Go On

As Canadian’s, we’re still fairly new to the whole protest movement thing, especially those of us on the conservative side of things. We don’t have years of experience in protesting against out government, unlike many Europeans.

It is funny, and at the same time very sad, that one would aspire to put on a protest like those many we’ve seen held in European cities. Tens of thousands filling the streets at once, signs made, songs ready to be sung, flags being waved. I would prefer going without the tear gas and water cannons that are often synonymous with Continental demonstrations, but it would be foolish to expect otherwise.

The stakes are simply too high to stop now. Justin Trudeau and his minions in the Liberal caucus are a detriment to Canada. We knew of the ineptitude of this government, and now we have proof that corruption is ingrained in Liberal DNA. Allowed to remain in office, they will finish destroying the Alberta economy, which will precipitate an economic disaster that will be felt from coast, to coast, to coast.

DBC

Post Script

To see what the Crisis in Alberta looks like by the numbers, follow this link. You’ll begin to understand what it is that has turned us into “Angry Albertan’s”https://onecalgaryvoter.com/2019/01/07/the-last-good-day-2/

Separatists Need To Step Up Their Game

The Canadian Red Ensign 1905-1922

If you were to ask someone in Calgary, or anywhere else in Alberta for that matter, where they stood on the matter of separation, you would likely get one of three responses. They would be: a) I am for separating from Canada, either alone or with Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and want to do it now, or, b) I am against separating entirely, Canada is better united and it’s unpatriotic, or, c) I’m open to the idea, but I’m going to wait until after the next election to make up my mind.

I am in the “a” group, but I have a few caveats to add to it. Ideally, I would like to remain as part of a fair and equitable Canada. So, if our politicians can find a way to address our concerns, and fix what we see is a broken Confederation, there would be no need for Alberta to go its own way.

In order to properly explain the nature of those concerns, will require a look at the history of Canada and Alberta, so please bear with me while I lay it all out for you, beginning with Confederation, in 1867.

History

Canada 1867

1867 – The majority of the landmass in what is now Canada was once owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company, while B.C. and the North-Western Territory were still British colonies. 1867 is also notable as being the year the United States purchased Alaska from Russia, making westward expansion all the more critical for the young nation.

1870 – The government of Canada purchased Rupert’s Land, and Manitoba becomes a province, thus reducing any likelihood of losing territory to the United States.

!871 – British Columbia becomes a Canadian province, with PEI following in 1873.

The Great March

1873 – Sir John A. MacDonald orders formation of a force to police the Northwest Territories, which will also act to strengthen Canada’s claims to sovereignty over the region. They would ride west out of Manitoba, and establish a fort near what is now Lethbridge.

1881-1885 – Perhaps Sir John A. MacDonald’s best known achievement, the transcontinental railroad was the means by which Canada would exercise its’ sovereignty over it’s territory. It would enable the growth that would ultimately lead us to where we are in the present day.

1905 – Alberta and Saskatchewan join Confederation. Now, starting in 1867, the government had been actively looking for immigrants to settle in the new territory. This activity had increased in 1896, as immigrants from eastern Europe were being sought to settle the Northwest Territories. Thousands of Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, and other eastern European nationalities would be drawn by the offer of 160 acres of free land to homestead. Among them would be my Hungarian great-grandparents, who ultimately established themselves in central Saskatchewan.

1930 – This is a very important year in the history of Alberta, and ultimately, for all Canadian provinces. It was the year Alberta was granted rights over its own resources when the Dominion Land Act was repealed, something that up to that point had belonged to the federal government. After some lengthy and intense negotiations, all provinces now had rights over their own resources. Previously, only the 1867 provinces had these rights.

The Trouble Begins

William “Bible Bill” Aberhart, Alberta’s Seventh Premier (1935-1943)

In 1935, the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), who had led the province since 1921, were wiped off the electoral map following a sex scandal involving the party leader and premier, John Brownlee. Allegations of an affair with an 18 year-old stenographer, who worked in the Attorney General’s office, would lead him to resign in disgrace.

Not expecting to win the election that year, and caught completely by surprise, the Social Credit party hadn’t even picked a leader by the time the election had rolled around. When they won, they had to choose who among them would become the next Premier of Alberta. They chose William Aberhart, a staunch baptist minister, who was also known as “Bible Bill”. Aberhart was known for his weekly “Sunday Sermons” which were broadcast on the radio for all to hear.

An adherent to “social credit” principles, Aberhart believed that the cause of the Great Depression was that people didn’t have enough money to spend. So, he proposed a $25 per month “dividend” be paid to all Albertan’s, as a means of creating economic stimulus in order to escape the depression. Think “Guaranteed Income”. To further prove the point that he had absolutely no concept of economics, Bible Bill would do something typically seen in failing socialist countries. He would pay for the scheme by having Alberta print its own money.

The federal government would step in, and the move was declared unconstitutional, ending the plan for good fortunately for us. Today, we know why it was a bad idea, but at the time, most Albertan’s wouldn’t have understood the economics of it, and Bible Bill was seen as the champion of the everyday Albertan, and his popularity rose as a result. A feeling of resentment also rose in Alberta, and, for the very first time, the calls for separation were being heard around the province.

It came from a feeling of being looked down upon by Eastern Canada, as though the people of Alberta were merely residents of a colony, far from the civilized world of Central Canada, and incapable of handling their own affairs. Add to this the feeling of being used and exploited economically, and you now have a population that will start to view separation as the only means of protecting their interests, against those that they think are against them.

Aberhart, however, didn’t believe that separation was the right thing to do, and was opposed to the idea entirely. He would urge his supporters to reconsider the notion, and, ultimately, he would win the day. He remained in office until his death on May 23rd, 1943. Ernest Manning would go on to take over as party leader and premier, and the Social Credit party would lead the province for another 28 years.

Peter Lougheed and the Progressive Conservative’s take the Alberta Legislature by storm in 1971

1971 – Just like the way the UFA was destroyed as an entity by the Social Credit victory in 1935, so now were the SoCreds relegated to the political waste bin, as the Progressive Conservative party won the 1971 Alberta provincial election. Soon, another wave of separatist sentiment would be sweeping across Alberta and the prairies, only this time, Alberta would have more than sufficient justification for this, and it would be the basis for the separatist movements we are seeing today.

Pierre Trudeau. Human embodiment of Montgomery Burns.
Pierre Trudeau’s dim-witted progeny, Justin, is responsible for the sharp increase in support for separation in Alberta and across the prairies.

Reality

Concept for the flag of the Republic of Western Canada.

At the moment, the Alberta/Western separation movement poses very little to no political threat to anyone, and so isn’t taken as seriously as it needs to be in order for it to have any kind of impact. This was more or less the case over 40 years ago too, and it happened for about the same reasons, which would have to be addressed before separation would become a credible threat.

First off, there has to be some cohesion among those who want to separate. Over the course of the last 45 years or so, a multitude of groups, committed to the cause of separation, have come and gone. A number exist today. In order to have any hope for success, there has to be only ONE group or party delivering a single message, with a single objective. It is one thing to do it in only one province like Alberta, but add Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the mix, and things become even more difficult.

Let’s assume for a moment that this has happened, that a single, unified party was formed in the prairie provinces, with a charismatic leader at the helm. They will need to have a plan in place, which will detail how they will accomplish this objective, and what it would cost. It would have to be very detailed, and cover a great deal of information, requiring the input of numerous experts from a variety of disciplines. Essentially, it would have to be the mother of all cost-benefit analyses.

W. Brett Wilson. Local billionaire.

It would take time to put together something like this, I’m thinking 18 months to two years at a minimum. It wouldn’t come cheap either, with the bill likely being somewhere in the seven figures, which would mean that such a separatist movement would need to be able to raise funds. Although there would be some in the grassroots who would be willing to donate to the cause, the vast amount of the money would have to come from wealthy benefactors, like W. Brett Wilson, Calgary billionaire, philanthropist, and television Dragon.

A Little About Quebec Separation

Quebec Premier Rene Levesque (Nov. 1976 – Oct. 1985)

I have a grudging respect for Rene Levesque, even though I didn’t agree with his politics. He was an average guy who drank, chain-smoked, and perpetually looked like he’d slept in his suit, and he was also the leader of a province. He held firm to his beliefs, and was willing to do the work it would take to see them realized, though to no avail.

He co-founded the Parti Quebecois in 1968, after a falling out with the Liberal Party, under whose banner Levesque was sitting in the National Assembly. He wanted to form an alternative to the separatist parties that existed at the time, who he viewed as too radical, and did not appeal to the majority of Quebecer’s. For instance, unlike the other parties, the PQ considered the rights of English speaking Quebecer’s. Unlike many in La Belle Province, Levesque considered them to be as Quebecois as those who only spoke French, which earned him scorn from those who were hardcore Quebec nationalists.

What Levesque and the PQ were hoping to achieve was what they called “sovereignty association”. Rather than a complete separation from Canada, it was to be modeled after the then newly formed European Community, the precursor of the European Union of today. It called for the creation of a political and economic association between Canada and the now independent Quebec, which would appeal to a broader base in Quebec.

What Levesque failed to see however, is that this was built on the premise that the EC would someday unite, which it later did, and that it wasn’t meant to be a framework for separation. It would suggest that Levesque didn’t understand the basic purpose of the EC, and hadn’t considered the economic and political intricacies that were involved.

Why Quebec Wanted Out

There have been tensions between english and french in Quebec since the 1600’s, and the root of these tensions lies in the differences between the two cultures. Religion and language were the biggest points of contention, and Quebecers would be defiant in their stance towards the english, whom they saw as oppressors.

A key part of the separatist platform in Quebec was the demand to be recognized as a “distinct society” within Canada. They wanted to have control over those things that made them distinct from the rest of Canada, in order to ensure the continuation of their culture, and all the things that made them Quebecois.

Different Provinces and Very Different Reasons

What it boils down to is this my friends, Quebec’s reasons for separating were/are cultural in nature, while in Alberta, our motivation is to ensure our economic survival. I have no doubt that I will be accused of making a glib over-simplification of the issue, but, at its heart, that’s just the way that it is.

I think it is very important that cultures be aloud to survive and, that every culture is distinct from all others, and it is something that absolutely that should be protected. That being said, I do not understand how, given the gravity and seriousness of our current situation, a serious and concerted effort has not yet been made in Western Canada to form a separatist political entity.

The stakes in Alberta and across the prairies are far higher than they ever were in Quebec. The priorities in Quebec are ensuring french is the primary language of all signage in the province, and having people acknowledge the fact that they are different from all other Canadians (duh). Meanwhile, for those of us living in Alberta, those priorities are very different.

We want to have more control over our own economy, something we do not have in this broken confederation we find ourselves in. For too long, we have been the primary contributor to the Canadian economy as a whole, and the provider of billions of its tax dollars to Quebec, to the detriment of every Albertan. If Ottawa isn’t willing to work to find a solution to this inequity, then the next logical course of action, would be to use the nuclear option, and go down the path of separation.

A Canada from sea to sea is the way I would like to keep things, but, if push comes to shove, I am willing to venture down that road. Yes, I’d prefer it to be just a threat, but has to be a credible threat, and in order for it to be credible, you have to be ready, willing, and able to follow through with it. I count myself to be among the growing number of people in Alberta and across the prairies who would be willing to do so.

So, I’m just putting out what needs to get done. I’m willing to do my part, whatever that may be, but until the west can get its’ collective shit together on separation, nothing I do will make a damn bit of difference. But, I’ll probably keep doing it anyway.

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