Rex Murphy

December 16, 2021

-National Post


As a public service I have herein drawn up a concise — some might even say terse — table of the most explicit contrasts between Alberta and Quebec.

There is nothing new here, but as an aid to easy reference and quick digestion it is my hope it will prove of some utility.

• Alberta signed the Canadian Constitution. Quebec did not sign the Canadian Constitution.

• Quebec believes it can amend the Constitution even if it affects other provinces. Alberta accepts that it can’t.

• Quebec can import oil from Saudi Arabia. Alberta can export oil from Canada only with great difficulty.

• Quebec is a recipient of federal equalization money. Alberta is a giver of federal equalization money.

• In Quebec the federal government does all it can to help that province’s economy. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. (See SNC-Lavalin.) In Alberta the frequently proclaimed goal of the federal government is to shut down the province’s largest industry, and until that is accomplished, to box in its resources and carbon-tax the living daylights out of them.

• Quebec regularly sends a band of separatist politicians to the national Parliament. Alberta hasn’t started doing that. Yet.

• And the most significant contrast: Quebec is a nation. Alberta is a province (so far).

Now let us go on to more narrow territory, a particular. Quebec can and has reassigned a teacher for wearing a hijab. It has created quite a storm because this action is seen as discrimination on the grounds of religion.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wishes to remain out of this battle, off the field, a spectator.

On this differential, here are the prime minister’s words: While he is “deeply” opposed to Bill 21, his government “won’t step into the legal challenge taking place in Quebec in order to avoid triggering a fight with the province over jurisdiction.”

(Speculative — a Scenario)

Alberta reassigns a teacher for wearing a hijab.

Trudeau calls in the army, every human rights commission in the country, appeals to the UN, launches a countrywide tour to condemn the “anti-Islamic tactic,” and pleads with the International Court at the Hague to intervene.

(Still speculative, but pretty sure the following are the words he would say.)

The prime minister says he is “deeply” opposed to Alberta’s Bill 21, that this action cannot not take place “in the Canada I lead, and where all Canadians agree with me that diversity is our greatest strength.”

His government will be leading the legal challenge taking place “to trigger a fight with Alberta over this entirely regressive and shameful action.”

What I have so industriously compiled here is just a small table, a mini-catalogue of a few of the wonderful distinctions between Alberta and Quebec. In almost all you will have seen that Q. is the opposite of A., and necessarily A. is the opposite of Q.

I expect such a table will be of great use to junior high school students gaining their first political understanding of this great country, and as a minor bonus offer a glimpse into the character of its current leadership. It may also be of use to deputy cabinet ministers calculating equalization payments, drawing up the great green transition, building back better, and swelling our enormous deficit into an even more magnificently enormous deficit.

Citizens of Alberta will find it a convenient and useful tip sheet when they attend their next protest.

P.S. Wear your masks folks, and make sure you have received Booster Shot No. 3, or No. 4, or No. 5 — whichever is appropriate by the time of your civic display.