Opinion: Ambrose, as a separatist, what are you going to do for me?
During one of my recent public speaking engagements, a young man came up to me and introduced himself. He said he was a journeyman electrician from eastern Canada. He moved to Alberta a few years ago, like many, for work.
He said he made good money but did not have much at the end of the day. He is single, rents a small apartment, has a truck loan with the bank, and a student loan payment.
He can afford to go out occasionally with friends and visit his ageing parents in Nova Scotia yearly. He said that he has friends back east who are working for much less and fewer hours, but they seem to be doing better than him financially at the end of the day.
He told me that he often questions his move to Alberta because it seems that he isn't getting ahead. He told me, "I work hard for my money, but by the time I pay my bills, buy groceries, pay rent, my student loan and vehicle payment, gas, and insurance, there isn't much left."
Now, this gentleman has a keen sense of the ongoing political climate. He has followed the separation movement and resonates with their messaging. There is a lot of talk about Alberta keeping its equalization money, billions of dollars that could better fund essential services, fix potholes, etc.
Alberta does seem to have the worst roads in Canada. Especially Edmonton.
He believes pipelines would create work, but he said he has a job and can only work so many hours. He told me point blank that the things separatists discuss seem like good ideas, but he said, what are you going to do for me at the end of the day?
What are you going to do for me?
On the surface, this millennial's attitude seemed entitled, selfish and all about himself. Here I was, volunteering my time. Speaking about helping Albertans and western Canadians, this guy asked what I would do for him.
I was taken back and didn't have an immediate answer. I considered talking to him about equalization, pipelines, eliminating our growing debt, reducing our exploding unemployment numbers and Trudeau's systematic attack on our resource sector, including farmers, ranchers, loggers, and oil and gas workers.
But this man had heard all of those things already. He didn't want me to regurgitate them again. He wanted to know what I was going to do for him.
After some consideration, I concluded that he was right. If I get into politics, I will have to win votes, one at a time. I am not naïve, thinking I can win everyone over, but it starts with convincing one person that you are worthy of their vote.
The question remains, what is western sovereignty going to do for you?
Every sovereignty supporter and mainstream politician has catchphrases.
"We are not landlocked. More pipelines equal to more work. Cancelling equalization will keep money in Alberta. Eliminate corruption. More accountability. Less foreign influence. End foreign oil imports. Get rid of Trudeau."
All catchphrases that are genuine and necessary are often vague and uninspiring. The question remains, what will western sovereignty do for me. It seems like a selfish question, but it's a legitimate one. It is even a problem you have also considered.
Let's start with taxes. I don't mean income tax; we will always have an income tax, maybe lower as a country, but we need to pay for things like a police force, healthcare, border services and other essential services as a sovereign country.
Let's talk about the millions of dollars the Trudeau government steals from us indirectly that most of us don't know about. We work hard, make good money but still live from paycheque to paycheque. At the very least, added transparency would be appreciated.
How much money is stolen from us by the Trudeau government in direct and indirect taxes?
According to a recent report from the Fraser Institute's annual Canadian Consumer Tax Index, we spend more money on taxes than any other expense. The average western Canadian household pays more in taxes than the combined essential costs of clothing, food and shelter.
Federal Gasoline and diesel tax is 45 percent. Yes, 45 percent. We don't see that tax on a receipt at the gas pump, but that is the fuel cost. It's 120 bucks to fill my truck, and 54 dollars goes to Trudeau.
So, to get this right. The crude oil is in Alberta. It was taken out of the ground by hardworking Albertans and refined by hardworking Albertans at refineries in Alberta. It never leaves Alberta, but we have to pay Trudeau a 45 percent tax when we fuel up. 45 percent. That seems a bit excessive.
As per section 109 of the Canadian constitution, provinces hold jurisdiction over their resources. The oil is in Alberta, owned by Albertans, taken out of the ground by Albertans, refined by Albertans and used by Albertans in Alberta.
Then, what could entitle Trudeau to a 45 percent cut of our resources in the form of a hidden tax?
We refine crude oil with the highest environmental standards; we hold the highest human rights record; the highest labour stands globally; we enter serious partnerships with First Nations and Metis.
If anyone should be paying a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, it should be eastern Canadians who insist on importing foreign blood oil. The West should not be paying any fuel tax, and we will not be paying a fuel tax as a sovereign country.
So, to my new electrician friend Jordan. Thank you for your question. The answer is, as an independent country, you will have more money in your pocket. Not only will the West not have a 45 percent fuel tax, but we also do not pay the 80 percent tax on alcohol.
Yes, we pay a hidden tax of up to an 80 percent tax on alcohol. As a sovereign country, we will eliminate the five percent GST tax introduced by conservative Brian Mulroney and Trudeau's five percent carbon tax.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates that western Canadians pay approximately 60 percent of their earnings in taxes.
We work hard in the West. We deserve the benefits of our labour. A sovereign country's benefits are more money in your pocket for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren.
Its time for sovereignty believers to transition from questioning one another's motives, infighting, disagreements and conspiracy theories to become a legitimate and creditable political party juggernaut.
We work hard in the West. How we will keep more money in our pockets is obvious. Our money. Our choice. Our future. Its Time. Wexit.