"All of a sudden Alberta is not just prosperous, Alberta is off the scale, while many other provinces are struggling," says Peter McCormick, political scientist at the University of Lethbridge.
"That makes us a target. That makes us unique, unlike any other jurisdiction in the country, and therefore resented."
Peter Lougheed, Don Getty and Ralph Klein told the Calgary Herald that record energy prices - and the province's mounting billions in resource revenues - are feeding an "Alberta envy" in the rest of Canada.
"There's always envy when we're making money," added Klein, who led Alberta from 1992 to 2006.
We lived through that. There was a significant amount of -- the actual word is jealousy -- by citizens at large in other parts of Canada, particularly Central Canada and Atlantic Canada," Lougheed says.
"You're not going to overcome it completely. It will be there."
Lougheed's successor, Don Getty, believes jealousy is leading some political leaders in Canada to look for ways to siphon Alberta's petro dollars.
"There is a bit of targeting going on here," Getty suggests. "There are people looking at the wealth of Alberta and starting to talk about taxes. It started so innocently in the past."
First of all, if there is any criticism levelled against Alberta, from what I can tell, it stems from environmental concerns, rather than any jealousy about prosperity. I think people are confusing targetting a problem with targetting a province, or region. If you start with the premise, which is completely outside of economic consideration, that Canada needs to cut its greenhouse gases, then it is beyond obvious to look at the major sources. That isn't part of some plot, it's simply the reality, factually based, empirically sound, it is what it is. Now, when certain people spout off about transferring wealth, it feeds any paranoia, but for the most part, I don't see any economic consideration in environmental concern. People like Klein don't really see a problem, "dinosaur farts" and all, so obviously they reject the impetus, which leads to "alterior" motives. Those people can say what they want, but if you believe the environmental "cause", it's a natural concern.
I want a diversified Canada, the more "powerhouses" the better, no matter the set-up, we all prosper as a whole, when certain portions do well. It's a positive development, if the west's influence is greater, in the end balance may help deter all the regional tensions. Envy is the last thing on mind, and from what I can tell, it really isn't even on the radar in the supposed "resenting" regions. I keep hearing about it, but strangely the sentiment rarely comes from the supposed source.
This isn't the 1970's, which isn't to say we should ignore history. In 2008, Canadians from various regions have an unprecedented understanding of areas outside of their immediate jurisdictions. Rather than be a slave to the past, which by definition has nothing to do with NOW, people need to acknowledge the differences. Right now, on this blog, there are people from Alberta, people from all over Canada. In the age of interconnectedness, I find it outdated to cling to notions of misunderstandings, there are a million mediums to "learn" about opinions outside of your street, town, province, country. Heck, on satellite I can watch Vancouver newscasts nightly if I choose, another example of decaying "barriers". Canada is getting smaller over time, which is why I find the "distance" all the more confounding, and why people who cling to that really fly in the face of reality.
I'm not jealous of anybody, I want us all to succeed. The problems seem to stem from a lack of the "Canadian" dimension. If people want to start carving up the country, us vs them, pitting citizens against each other, then have it at, but I'll have none of it. It's merely a desire to see Canada actually "lead" on the environment, that's my bias, that's the starting point. It has nothing to do with envy, more like simple reality. The ironic part, if not for the tar sands, Alberta would probably be viewed as the environmental leader in confederation, some of the best innovation and forward thinking projects coming from that part of Canada, an example that others should follow. But, the tar sands are on the radar, and people would be wise to stop confusing environmental concern with NEP II, or plots to rob and transfer. Sure, you can always find a asinine comment, or examples of ignorance, to support the narrative, but let's look at things in totality, that provides a more honest assessment.