Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Prince Rupert gets high profile placement in futuristic view of Canadian politics

Two Alberta professors have redrawn the map to introduce their newly
imagined Republic of the Northwest, a vision which would make
Prince Rupert the new nation's largest port

We don't get the starring role in a new project from two academics at the University of Calgary, but when it come to the thinking out loud piece of what could come of a splintered Canada, the North Coast will apparently have a significant placement for the success of the proposed Republic of the Northwest.

The two professors, David J. Bercuson and Barry Cooper weave a tale taken from the current level of frustration found in Alberta when it comes to getting the ear of the Federal government and how its economic concerns don't seem to resonate much with the Federal government in Ottawa and a few provincial ones (hello BC, bonjour Quebec).

Some of their work has been reviewed by Maclean's magazine, which is where we discovered how the imagined republic of the Northwest would look

In the new republic of the Northwest, Northern BC will have left the current collective, with a swath of the region from the former Alberta border to the Pacific and parts of the Cariboo throwing their lot in with the new federation, which as the authors tell it stretches from Northern Ontario to the Yukon with the North Coast a key component for the newly created state.

In one sample from the Maclean's article of review, Prince Rupert is marked on the map as one of the new republic's most important trading corridors along with Kitimat  and Manitoba's Churchill)

With the accession of northern British Columbia, the Northern Gateway oil pipeline to Prince Rupert was built in less than two years. The huge new container port, built at the same time, has cut transit times from Chicago to the Western Pacific by three days as compared to shipping through Vancouver or Seattle. 

 The natural gas pipeline and LNG terminal at Kitimat was completed six months after Northern Gateway reached Rupert. Both developments brought enormous benefits to Indigenous persons living in the area, just as President Isbister had anticipated. 

With the accession of Northern Ontario a new resource outlet through Churchill was built to take advantage of the Northwest Passage, which was declared to transit international waters. Canada did not object.

The rest of British Columbia is described as some kind of rogue empire of sorts, much to the consternation of the Republic of the Northwest, which would seem to be a business as usual theme for some in Alberta we imagine ...

The real problem remains the rest of B.C. The Kootenays, the Cariboo and the Okanagan voted to join the republic, but the Lower Mainland, now in the grip of Green Party fanatics, has become a source of instability to all the territories west of Laurentian Canada. 

Discussions in the Senate in Saskatoon contemplated increasing sanctions, limiting the transit of the CPR across our country, and further reductions in shipments of refined petroleum products to Vancouver. There has even been talk of mounting an expeditionary force to bring order to these people.

The full review as discovered in Maclean's can be found here.

The two U of C profs have been mining the frustrated western viewpoint with some success in recent years, with two other publications on similar themes released.

Deconfederation: Canada without Quebec

Derailed: The Betrayal of the National Dream

The question as to how Northern BC might be delivered to the new federation is an interesting one. As a quick look at the provincial seating arrangements in the Legislature, would seem to suggest that the quest might gain a bit of resistance.

One would think that the political evolution in Canada would have to get significantly worse that it is even today, before the new Republic of the Northwest ever applies for membership in the UN (if they would even bother with membership in the global body that its).

For the most part  a majority of Canadians, and even a good number of them in Alberta,  probably will see the work as a discussion paper to highlight the regional tensions that currently course through the veins of the nation.

Should the Republic of the Northwest thoughts  ever make it into a full publication run, History buffs and fans of current affairs will have to decide whether the new work will make it onto library shelves and book stores displays under Fiction, Non-Fiction or Fantasy.

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