Alberta: America’s New Best Friend
By: Leigh Patrick Sullivan
President Kennedy said it. Nixon, too. As well as Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bushes. As far back as the days of Ike in the White House the promise to lessen the United State’s dependence on foreign oil has been made. Administration after administration, Democrat and Republican alike, the issue was raised with the vow to give America more independence and self-sufficiency when it came to non-renewable resources. Today, America’s reliance on oil from overseas has never been higher.
The rising tensions in the Middle East has placed the U.S. in a precarious position. While dealing with radical oil producing nations and maintaining shaky alliances with shady Arabian nations such as Saudi Arabia, the U.S. has found itself playing the odds when it comes to the future of gas availability. The attention has recently been swayed over to the side of finding ‘alternative energy sources’ to not only help find a solution to the oil issue but to the environmental problem as well. Even Dubya has started to talk about finding these so-called alternatives. What many Amercians don’t realize is that there is a friendly, mostly pro-American place that has an abundance of oil. It isn’t located in a volatile part of the world, and doesn’t have a religious, radically power-obsessed dictator running the government. And it’s close. Really close.
The province of Alberta is in the midst of an oil-driven economic boom, the likes of which have never been seen to this extent before. With the discovery of a process whereby oil is separated from sand, the oil sands industry has become the engine that has become the power not only behind the provincial economy, but has had positive effects on the entire Canadian economy as well. The impact has been felt across the province, with unemployment rates virtually non-existent and record wages being realized. An influx of Canadians from other parts of the country to take advantage of the boom has added to the new image of Alberta being the place of opportunity; the land where there are jobs for everyone. The buzz surrounding Alberta hasn’t just been limited to Canada, as more and more Americans are being made aware of the prosperous Western Canadian province. The fact that Alberta’s oil production will, within the next 3-5 years, exceed that of the entire production of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry has made many in the American oil industry sit up and take notice. The more that the United States can get it’s oil needs met through agreements with friendly nations the less they will have to depend on getting their crude from Islamic nutjobs.
It is no coincidence that Alberta is, in the political and social sense, against the grain of the rest of Canada. Albertan’s are more conservative politically, and have the image of being fiercely independent as well as possessing a deep pro-capitalist attitude. Existing inside the decidedly more liberal rest of Canada, Alberta has a history of standing alone on many issues which have, at times, become public battles with the usually Liberal federal government. These days the Conservatives hold power federally, albeit in a minority parliament. Since coming to power last year, Prime Minister Stephan Harper has made successful inroads in the attempt to rebuild the tarnished relationship between Canada and the United States, which became strained under former Liberal P.M. Jean Chretien and his governments overtly anti-American mindset. Harper, with his government’s strong commitment to continuing Canada’s leading role in Afghanistan and his desire to strengthen economic ties with America, has shown his plan of putting Canada back on the world stage. Coming as it does with Alberta’s oil windfall, this bodes well for America – as long as they know we are here.
Historically, Americans have known fairly little about Canada. Many misconceptions have floated around for years, often bringing the average Canadian to a good chuckle when we hear of them. (We’ve all heard about the American tourist who shows up in Calgary, in July, with skis strapped to the roof of his car. ‘Where’s the snow?’)
The more Americans learn about Alberta and what we have to offer the more stable they will be. Presidents have long spoke of wanting to find a friendly source of natural resources. With Alberta sharing a border with the States, the opportunity is here.
Leigh Patrick Sullivan’s blog is Rants For The Moderate Separatist
The Moderate Separatist