fbpx
Connect with us

Opinion

JOHNSTON: Currency concerns “minor” for Alberta sovereignty, but a big deal for the CBC

Ideas for a currency solution in a post-colonial Alberta run the gamut from practical to fantastic – but critics of the Wexit movement aren’t listening.

mm

Published

on

As Wexit-themed events continue to attract thousands of people across Alberta, tough questions are being asked of those who believe the province would be better off as a sovereign country. One of those questions is what an independent Alberta might do about currency.

CBC News reporter Drew Anderson wrote that “When pressed on tying a new currency to the wild price swings of Alberta’s natural resources, [Wexit founder Peter Downing] says ‘having paper that’s backed up by nothing creates uncertainty, too.’”

In the age of competing borderless crypto-currencies, Anderson is implying that currency is an intractable impediment to Alberta independence. Okay, boomer.

Downing’s concerns about “paper that’s backed up by nothing” are supported by a Bank of Canada report showing that “Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money. Even with a low annual inflation rate of two per cent (the midpoint of the Bank of Canada’s target range for inflation since 1995), a dollar will lose half of its purchasing power in approximately 35 years.” This means that over a lifetime of saving for retirement, the value of any Canadian retirement fund is worth about half of what it might otherwise be worth without this inflationary monetary policy.

The Canadian dollar is backed by the strength of the Canadian economy and is already subject in part to the “wild price swings of Alberta’s natural resources.”

So why the snark from the CBC?

How well would an Alberta dollar perform? It’s a complicated question that requires a fair amount of speculation to answer. What we do know is that an independent Alberta would have a massive current account surplus as a result of energy and agriculture exports – and nothing pleases global currency traders more than this kind of scenario. Canada, by comparison, runs a current account deficit.

Ten Trillion dollars in Zimbawe wouldn’t be enough to buy you a copy of “Alberta Separatism: Then and Now” (Photo credit: Western Standard)

While Downing and his Wexit group support the idea of creating an Alberta petro-dollar, a new official currency may not be required of an independent Alberta – or even preferred.

An independent Alberta could chose to continue with the Canadian dollar in order to make the transition from province to nation less disruptive for businesses and consumers. In an interview with the Western Standard, Steve Horwitz, Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise at Ball State University, said:

“In the debate over secession, concerns about Alberta adopting the Canadian dollar should be minor at best. Should Alberta secede, both Canada and Alberta would have an interest in Alberta adopting the Canadian dollar as its official currency.”

This type of arrangement is not without precedent. “We have examples from around the world of independent countries adopting the currency of another country as its own and those arrangements largely work well,” said Horwitz.

The US dollar is not only the preferred currency for business transactions in many nations, it is also the officially recognized currency of about a dozen foreign countries.

Adopting the currency of another nation – either the Canadian or US dollar – would be an option for an independent Alberta, but one that would require the new nation to give up control over monetary policy. According to Horwitz, that may not be a bad thing: “Well you can’t inflate to pay off debt, but I think that’s a good thing.”

While it may be in Canada’s interests to allow the oil-rich nation of Alberta to continue to use the Canadian dollar should independence occur, the federal government rarely acts in the national interest and diplomatic tensions between Canada and Alberta could prevent this from happening. Or maybe not.

“I don’t think they could prevent it,” said Horwitz.

Global currency markets and an international network of financial institutions allow people to trade in almost any currency they want – and there is little Canada can do about this even if it was inclined to be heavy-handed with breakaway nations.

Ideas for a currency solution in a post-colonial Alberta run the gamut from practical to fantastic: keep the Canadian dollar, adopt the US dollar, create an Alberta dollar, adopt a gold standard, allow banks to issue competing currencies, adopt one of many crypto-currencies. The options are vast.

But critics of Alberta’s sovereigntist movement are not interested in solutions to the challenges of independence. Government scribes at the CBC would rather sneer at the idea that independence is a viable option for the province.

Opinion

The Pipeline: YouTube cancels Western Standard

This week a Calgary Cop suspended for refusing vax, YouTube cancels Western Standard and D-Day on Kenney’s leadership vote rules. Join us live at 12 PM!

mm

Published

on

Continue Reading

Opinion

MORGAN: Free speech in comedy under siege

“What has happened to our society when a comedy festival may turn into a street battle? “

mm

Published

on

Standup comedians have always been on the front lines in battles over free speech and expression.

In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, most of the pearl-clutching busybodies came from the ‘moral majority’ religious right. They feared obscenity within comedy acts would degrade the moral fabric of the nation and for a while, the law agreed. Comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted and sentenced to four months in a workhouse in 1964 for the crime of spreading obscenity in his act. George Carlin was arrested seven times during the 1970s for his famous “Seven Dirty Words” routine.

Bruce died before the appeal of his sentence was completed. He was posthumously pardoned in 2003. Charges against Carlin were all dropped before he could be convicted. Carlin and Bruce refused to back down and in the end, the state couldn’t win. We will never know how many comedians allowed themselves to be cowed into changing their acts due to state and social intimidation in those days. Not all of them had the will or support bases Carlin and Bruce enjoyed.

The ability for comedians to freely express themselves is just as threatened today as it was 50 years ago. The source of puritanical outrage against comedy routines has changed, though. These days the prigs demanding the curtailment of free speech in comedy acts are the snowflakes of the politically correct left.

Canadian comedian Mike Ward found himself dragged before human rights tribunals and the Canadian courts for nearly a decade over a routine in which he mocked a disabled young Canadian performer. The case ultimately went to the Canadian Supreme Court where it was ruled in a tight 5-4 split decision Ward’s right to free speech was to be protected, and jokes were not subject to judicial review. We came dangerously close to having a comedian convicted for his routine during this decade. The threat to free expression is real and it’s ongoing.

The prime target of the cancel-culture mob lately has been American comedian Dave Chappelle. Chappelle has long enjoyed poking fun at the hypersensitive underbelly of the LGBTQ activist community and has never backed down in the face of the enraged blowback following one of his acts. In Chappelle’s most recent Netflix comedy special he went out of his way to antagonize the usual suspects as he made jokes about transgender ideological orthodoxy. The response to his act was immediate and predictable. Activists demanded Netflix pull the special down and small groups of Netflix employees staged widely publicized walkouts in protest of Chappelle’s act.

Netflix never pulled Chappelle’s special down and Chappelle has remained unapologetic for it. The controversy generated by apoplectic snowflakes in response to Chappelle’s act likely only increased viewership of the special.

It has just been announced Dave Chappelle is going to be headlining a Netflix comedy festival this coming April in Hollywood Bowl. This signals Netflix has done well with Chappelle’s routine despite or perhaps even because of the controversy it generated. In having a set date at a large outdoor venue and in such a populated area, Netflix is upping the ante in their battle with cancel-culture activists. Not only are they saying they won’t pull Chappelle’s older content, but they are also expanding the reach for his next act.

American and Canadian courts have proven they will protect the rights of free expression for controversial comedians, albeit grudgingly. Anti-free speech activists will have to take their case to the streets now and I suspect they will. With as many as 17,000 attendees arriving for a comedy festival being potentially greeted by a sizable number of protesters, things may get ugly.

What has happened to our society when a comedy festival may turn into a street battle?

Chappelle’s showdown this spring could be a turning point for comedy. Will he and Netflix stand their ground in the face of protests? Will local authorities ensure the show can go on even if activists vow to shut it down? This comedy event is going to be an important one.

As with any art, the enjoyment of comedy is subjective. Some people like simple clean humour, some like complex satire, and some like vulgarity-laden shock comedy. The only people who can judge good comedy are the audience and they should only be able to render judgment through voting with their feet (and wallets). In other words, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

Comedians ply their trade by observing the world and poking at sacred cows. They dig into subjects people commonly avoid and force us to think about them through the lens of humour. They provide a public service by pushing the boundaries of free expression and ensuring no subjects are ever out of bounds. They often make us laugh and we need a whole lot more of that these days.

Comedians will not be able to effectively practice their art if they fear censors or legal repercussions. They will be restrained and they will leave subjects that need to be brought before public scrutiny untouched.

If the speech and expression of comedians are allowed to be suppressed, no speech is safe. We need to stand up for our comics for both their sake and our own.

Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard
cmorgan@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Opinion

WAGNER: Hydrocarbon based fuels are here to stay

“Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

mm

Published

on

Alberta’s future is threatened by a national campaign to dramatically reduce the production of hydrocarbons.

The political and media elite repeatedly assure everyone that such fuels can be replaced by new “green” energy sources such as wind and solar power. People currently employed in the oil and gas industry will supposedly transition into green energy production and life will continue on as before, except with fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s federal government has committed to transitioning Canada’s economy to producing net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Trudeau’s scheme is a fairy tale. Hydrocarbons are going to be required for a very long time because current green energy technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to replace them. Currently, there are no realistic alternatives to oil and gas, so reducing their production will only lead to energy shortages.

As Dr. Henry Geraedts put it recently in the Financial Post, “The ultimate goal of net-zero politics is to impose a radical energy transition that demands a top-to-bottom physical and social-economic restructuring of society, with no credible road map in sight. Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

Geraedts’ Financial Post column is a brief description of a policy report he produced in June 2021, and how it was ignored because its conclusions contradict the ideological perspective that university professors are expected to support. He didn’t toe the party line, in other words, and therefore got the cold shoulder.

Geraedts’ report, Net Zero 2050: Rhetoric and Realities, is available online at the website of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy which is affiliated with both the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. It’s a very credible piece of work.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons and Geraedts points out “hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy: the combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy.”

Currently, hydrocarbons comprise about 80% of global primary energy. This is essentially the same percentage as 30 years ago, when the global warming craze began. Despite years of favourable government policies and billions of dollars in government subsidies, green technology such as wind and solar energy remain relatively small contributors to the world’s energy supply.

Geraedts also describes the negative environmental impacts caused by so-called green energy technology. Among the most interesting details he mentions is: “Neither turbine blades nor solar panels nor lithium-ion batteries are physically or economically recyclable. They are instead, at an alarming rate, ending up in landfills leaching toxic chemicals — an estimated 10 million tons/year of batteries by 2030 alone.” So much for protecting the environment.

Geraedts is not a so-called “denier.” He points to data from reliable sources indicating global temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius since 1900. But he also explains “the projections used to justify net zero policies and the Paris Accord, are based on fundamentally flawed computer climate models that overstate warming by some 200%.”

Not only that, but “observational, empirical evidence remains agnostic as to what, with requisite confidence levels, is attributable to anthropogenic influences vs. natural variability.” In other words, it cannot be determined with certainty to what degree the gradual temperature increase is the result of human activities.

But climate change worries aside, there is still a fatal lack of realistic alternatives to hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency forecasts that even if all countries fulfill their Paris Accord commitments — an unlikely prospect — hydrocarbons will still account for 60% of primary energy in 2040. With accelerating energy demand in Africa and Asia, Geraedts expects hydrocarbons will remain the dominant energy source for decades to come.

This is what it all means: If we put progressive ideology aside and take a hard, honest look at the energy situation, hydrocarbons are here to stay for quite a while. Knowing the ingenuity of human beings in a free society, the discovery of new energy sources is likely at some point in the future. For now, though, we need oil and gas, and Alberta has lots of both.

With strong international demand for hydrocarbons forecast to last for decades, there is no reason why these resources cannot continue to provide the foundation of economic prosperity for the province. The biggest obstacle to such prosperity, of course, is the federal government. Due to its determination to prevent the development of hydrocarbons, independence may be the only way to maintain and increase the resource-based wealth that is Alberta’s birthright.

An independent Alberta could implement policies maximizing economic growth and avoid the suffocating policies of Canada’s central government. A free Alberta would be a prosperous Alberta.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Share

Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

834 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.