Looking at his personal cellphone, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saw the incoming call was from his confidante and best friend, Gerald Butts.
“Hey G-Bear,” Trudeau answered. “How’s life in the great outdoors?”
“Really, really good,” Butts replied. “We got Alberta on the run. In fact, columnist Don Braid in the Calgary Herald said last week, even if we get just a minority government, Trans Mountain pipeline is dead. Braid says there’s no way NDP or Greens will let it ahead. So we just blame a shutdown on them. This is actually working out way better than I ever thought.”
“You got that right, Gerry,” said Trudeau. “Manitoba and Saskatchewan aren’t going places fast. If we can keep shutting down oil projects in Alberta, there’s nothing left out there in the West to upset the apple cart here in Ottawa. Ontario is stupid enough to keep voting us in, and Quebec knows Liberals will always look after them, no matter what. If we can push Alberta off the cliff, there’s nothing to stop us from running this country for the next 100 years or so. Good work, my friend.”
“Yeah,” said Butts, “I thought we might have to kick pipelines in the teeth a couple more times. If this keeps shaping up for us to be a minority government, this is just as good. Western farmers and loggers won’t amount to a hill of beans once oil is gone. We probably won’t even have to buy them off every crop failure or bug infestation or forest fire. Indians supporting energy projects will soon enough bail out too. Instead of working and running their own businesses, just vote like Quebec.”
Trudeau smiled to himself. The whole 50-year old scheme of keeping Western Canada as a “bank account” to keep feeding Central Canada was a good plan. Just keep them ‘semi-broke.’
Oh, there were hiccups. Oil discovered off the East Coast has Newfies getting uppity once in awhile. But in general, the whole part of Canada east of Quebec was broke enough to keep happy with a few crumbs now and then.
Then there were those problems in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Too many immigrants coming to Canada and settling all in and all around Vancouver. Why couldn’t they come to Toronto like they were supposed to? Oh well, we will figure out how to keep them voting Liberal.
There’s a couple of nasty problems. Northern British Columbia doesn’t seem married to the rest of BC like they should be. Those dang folks there are too much like Albertans. Independent minded and always wanting to earn their own money, not wait for government to mail it to them. We have to make sure they don’t get too carried away with ideas about pipelines and railways.
And this climate change stuff. Next thing you know, somebody will want to build a pipeline to the Arctic again. Why don’t they agree Canada should be mostly parks and wilderness?
“Gerald,” Trudeau said confidently. “Let’s get together on the weekend. We really got a thumb on the West. Let’s chit chat where we are heading after the election. I want to hear your good ideas.”