In the federal political arena, Western Canada has traditionally struggled to get the attention of legislators in distant Ottawa.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and their respective cabinets were in Prince George, Wednesday, to talk about a number of collective initiatives between the provinces.
Perhaps it is time to take that inter-provincial cooperation to the next level and merge into one province.
According to the 2006 Census data, British Columbia and Alberta have a combined population of 7.4 million people, just short of Quebec’s 7.5 million.
British Alberta or Alberta Columbia would be the third-largest province by population, the largest geographically and second-largest economically by Gross Domestic Product. In addition, it would have the third, fifth and sixth-largest cities in Canada.
Alberta Columbian voters could then demand 75 seats in the House of Commons like Quebec, instead of the 64 we currently have between us.
Federal politicians could not afford to ignore voters in British Alberta if they wanted to get elected. In addition, much like Quebec, we could create our own political party to cater to our needs alone.
Alberta Columbia’s provincial economy would be diversified: including oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, tourism, fisheries, transportation and logistics.
The combined province would be far more resilient to downturns in any one industry. Merging the two governments would eliminate many redundancies and improve economies of scale, saving taxpayer dollars.
Having one tax and regulatory regime over the whole area would increase the appeal to investors looking at building pipelines and other large projects.
As an Albertan married to a British Columbian and living in British Columbia, I can vouch that the culture and values of the two provinces are very similar.
As British Columbians, we would stand a lot to gain from our eastern neighbours. We would be figuratively marrying into money.
By taking the best of provinces, we could make a powerhouse province capable of shaping Canada’s future and championing Western Canada.
The TILMA agreement already has reduced many of the barriers to trades and employment across the border, why not take the next logical step?
After 150 years as British Columbia, perhaps it is time for a change.