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'Separation, Alberta-style': Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic bid to retain power is based in part on his assertion that, “This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists.”

As the nation awaits Governor-General Michaëlle Jean’s reply to Harper’s request, perhaps it is worth reconsidering Harper’s own separatist writings.

"Separation, Alberta-Style: It is time to seek a new relationship with Canada,” was the title of a Dec 8, 2000, op-ed Harper wrote for the National Post.

“Albertans should decide that it is time to seek a new relationship with Canada,” Harper wrote.

Harper began by asserting that the Canadian Alliance’s drubbing at the polls was the result of “a shrewd and sinister” Liberal attacks.

“The strategy -- sometimes subtle, but sometimes blatant -- was to pull up every prejudice about the West and every myth about Alberta that could be dredged,” Harper wrote.

In language that takes on new meaning in the wake of his own blistering attacks against Quebec, Harper continued: “There is no reason to believe the same strategy could not be repeated at any time under any circumstances against any political movement...”

“Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status, led by a second-world strongman appropriately suited for the task,” Harper wrote.

At the heart of Harper’s 2000 argument:

Albertans would be fatally ill-advised to view this situation as amusing or benign...

It is to take the bricks and begin building another home -- a stronger and much more autonomous Alberta. It is time to look at Quebec and to learn. What Albertans should take from this example is to become "maitres chez nous."

In one policy area after another, the province of Quebec, with much less financial independence than Alberta, has taken initiatives to ensure it is controlled by its own culture and its own majority. Such a strategy across a range of policy areas will quickly put Alberta on the cutting edge of a world where the region, the continent and the globe are becoming more important than the nation-state. ...

Westerners, but especially Albertans, founded the Reform/Alliance to get "in" to Canada. The rest of the country has responded by telling us in no uncertain terms that we do not share their "Canadian values." Fine. Let us build a society on Alberta values.

Monte Paulsen is investigative editor of The Tyee.

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