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Forgetting Differences – for this week, anyways

This week marks two national days of consolidation. Canada Day and Independence Day.

Coming over the big rocks to our alternate home on the Coast is a state change. It’s a different culture, a different world out here in BC. And those differences have become a factor now that our two provinces are in a Cold War.

The war – maybe I don’t have to say it – is over BC’s control of her coast and Alberta’s access to tidewater and markets beyond. The skirmishes have previously been over proposed northern pipelines crossing BC to Prince Rupert. Now the War is over the Kinder Morgan line [I guess a name change is in order now!]

It’s really hard to believe that this expansion could raise hackles to the stalemate we now see. BC’s minority government Premier Horgan is dead set against doubling the line. Albertans can’t believe that paralleling an existing line in the ground for 40 years could elicit such objections.

BC has no jurisdiction over ocean shipping. Now the Feds have joined with AB against BC to punch the line through despite objections.

How could matters have come to this?

When we’re there, living on Hornby Island the mindset and context becomes clearer.

First, the governmental situation. BC has always oscillated. If the Free Market people [the Liberals] get to sacrificing the interests of the common folk in favor of business, the pendulum swings back, they’re thrown out and the NDP socialists come storming back to save the day by restoring shared advantage at the expense of development.

This time the swing came with an extra sting. The Green Party – sworn to an extra degree to prevent any environmental change holds the balance of power and is, in this case, calling the tune.

It’s very easy in the face of this intransigence, for Albertans to demonize those BC crazies. To think that we are not in the same country.

BC folks are constitutionally different.

On climate change and development they are almost ritualistically and reflexively oppositional. As soon as there was a rumor of a coal mine potential opposite Denman Island, “No Coal” signs appeared on many driveways.

On the other hand, when transacting simple business, those same people can treat that interaction as an opportunity to enrich interpersonal life and always seem to add a little graciousness and spark of community to what would be in Alberta, a mundane moment.

They are much better at knowing how to spend time vs. our go-go all out effort to save it. For what? These people know, and spend it wisely. Our contractor unapologetically says “I’m going climbing that day.” When a time to meet is proposed.

We go out west to enjoy the benefits of their drive for natural protection.
We Albertans are always more ready to be fatalistic about unfortunate people vs catching them if they fall.

So we may be a bit at odds with them now, frustrating as they are, but hopefully still tolerant and even appreciative of la difference during this week of national celebrations.

It’s tough for our friends to the south going through their national paroxysm of government. Beset by a President and cohorts many cannot be proud of, whose actions fly in face of decency and morality, some feel they are living in a political hell. They wonder if their country is no longer theirs. Canadians feel a twinge of vulnerability there that wasn’t in the air formerly. Nothing like that sensed by immigrants!

Yet others are gratified by finally seeing an end to American accommodation: a return to a hard, tough line.

This week we affirm our nations despite internal differences. A time of remembrance of what binds us. The divisions are a little less tearing and fractious.
Besides, it’s all off for the summer, anyway.


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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