Commentary – Another election, another dollar gone

Jeff Burgar

You may find yourself in a strange chit chat with a person who never lived or travelled north of Red Deer.

We have. More than a few times actually.

“So,” half-jokingly one asked, “does anybody live in igloos up there?”

“There,” he meant, just about anyplace north of Edmonton.

In fact, for some people, the city of St. Alberta is far, far out in the wilderness, despite it being just a few kilometres north of Edmonton.

Westlock, Barrhead, Whitecourt, Lac La Biche, Slave Lake, High Prairie, Falher, Peace River and Grande Prairie are terribly far, far north.

Another question once asked, “So, does the ice ever go out completely on that big lake of yours up there?”

Gosh folks. We actually do have summers.

And paved roads. And stores and hospitals.

And although we have our share of not-so-bright people, most of us up here know where the centre of Alberta is.

For those who never get to travel the Swan Hills highway from Kinuso to Fort Assiniboine and southward, the geographic center is a few kilometres off the highway south of Swan Hills.

Which of course, makes all those places like Edmonton and Lloydminster and Edson in central Alberta.

Or, if you wish to not make too many divisions, there is northern and southern Alberta.

Everything south of Swan Hills is not, emphatically not, northern Alberta.

You may know politicians talking about the royal pickpocketing that Ottawa, also known as central Canada, gives to Alberta. All of Alberta.

“Billions!” they shout. “They rob us of billions of dollars every year!”

It isn’t just provincial politicians. It’s coffee shop folks. Media people. Councillors in towns and counties and cities. Your neighbour. Your cousin sleeping under a bridge! Best, if that be a bridge in Calgary, it’s much, much warmer than a bridge in the frozen north of Alberta, like Whitecourt you know.

Does anybody ever switch the story? Are their complaints how Edmonton, or Calgary, or Stettler rip off the north half of this great province, each and every year?

Why is it hunky-doo to complain about Ottawa ripping off all of Alberta? But not so “correct” to complain about the giant rip off laid upon northern Alberta by the south.

Calgary gets kilometres of multi-lane highways and overpasses.

We get another fifty bucks to fill potholes in some of the goat trails we call back alleys.

Edmonton gets another 1,000 jobs added in a government department.

We are told to be happy we will lose only 10 jobs out of our local civil service, instead of the 20 they planned to cut originally.

And how is the chit chat from our candidates running in this coming election?

Nothing. It’s the same old story. This half the province gets ignored.

It’s always that 24 or 36 inch pipeline taking resources and wealth south.

What the North gets back barely fills a garden hose.


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