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David Staples: Alberta separatism will rise unless Canada gets it right on pipelines

Never before have I heard so many Albertans bitterly rant against the province’s deal in Canada.

It’s now common for Albertans on social media to raise the issue of separation. There’s no official separatist party, but if other provinces continue to enjoy tens of billions in benefits that annually flow from Alberta’s oil economy, yet refuse to allow necessary pipeline infrastructure, the anger and alarm in Alberta will explode into a populist movement.

If you think the notion of Alberta separation is just heated bluster from oilpatch diehards, here’s what our new Sen. Paula Simons of Edmonton, appointed by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recently had to say in the Senate about the level of alienation here: “We control our oil, our natural gas and our bitumen, but since we are landlocked, our fellow Canadians are holding us hostage … Energy East, Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain — it seems as though every time we see a way to get our oil to tidewater, we are stymied by a broken regulatory model. Small wonder if Albertans are starting to feel that Confederation itself is broken, at least for them.”

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