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30 years to fix western alienation. One Trudeau to revive it

9 18 386

Despite the pressures of a struggling economy and the best efforts of numerous rivals to get under her skin, Rachel Notley has always managed to maintain the air of a fairly civil disposition as premier of Alberta. It was noteworthy, then, when she let loose Friday on Senators in Ottawa, who had decided to skip Alberta while holding hearings on an oil tanker bill that will have profound implications for the province.

“I gotta tell you, this is kind of an unprecedented stampede of stupid,” Notley said. “I’m stunned. Albertans deserve better from Canada.”

Maybe they deserve better, but since the election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals they’ve become accustomed to disappointment. The Trudeau government has shown itself to be less than efficient at bringing to fruition any number of the visionary pledges they dangled before voters in 2015, but they’ve been absolutely masterful at reawakening the anger and resentment that held sway for so long, and took decades to dissipate.

Albertans haven’t been so quick to shake their fists and spit epithets in an eastern direction since the days of Peter Lougheed and his epic confrontation with Trudeau’s father over energy policy. Albertans can still be roused to fury over mention of the National Energy Program, introduced by Trudeau in 1980 and wound down after his retirement four years later.

Brian Mulroney ran against the NEP. Preston Manning founded a new party fed by the anger it helped produce. Stephen Harper’s status as a Calgarian — though admittedly a transplanted one — helped assure many that western concerns would finally get reasonable consideration in the........

© National Post