On Saturday, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith laid down a red line that Ottawa must not cross. You’d better be paying attention, Justin Trudeau! I give you … paper straws!
Smith was bloviating in her characteristic gab salad for the benefit of her audience on Your Province, Your Premier, the forty-some minutes of what amounts to free political advertising CORUS Radio provides to Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) premiers.
Alberta’s restaurateur-premier was trying to explain why we need her Sovereignty Act, legally and rather deceptively known as the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act, when a truly epic example of federal overreach sprang to her habitually overactive mind.
Having just claimed to Wayne Nelson, the show’s jovially enabling host, “the federal government is using environmental legislation to violate our provincial rights,” Smith proceeded to an example that any good Albertan can understand, and that is obviously front of her mind as the owner of The Dining Car at High River Station, a restaurant that is not surprisingly located in a dining car at High River station.
If only we’d had the Sovereignty Act, she exclaimed …
PREMIER SMITH: “So how many people love the fact that they are now having to use paper straws? I can tell you ’cause I have a restaurant, and when you’re tryin’ to give a kid a root beer float, you have to plan to give them four paper straws because they get so destroyed.” …
PREMIER SMITH: “Wouldn’t it have been better for us, in advance, to say, ‘Hold on a second.’ We can recycle plastics our own way, a different way, without, without identifying things that just don’t make sense, and get people talking about it in advance, and then be able to develop a policy about, around recycling that makes sense. Instead, we sat back, we waited for the federal government to pass policy. They identified six single uses of plastic and it, uh, and it, and some of them are idiotic, and now we’re fighting it in court to get those, uh, to be able to get that power back. Wouldn’t it have been better if we hadn’t allowed them to take the power away from us in the first place? That. I think it would have. And those are the things that we’re looking for.”
HOST (perhaps sensing this was not going in a direction that would be helpful to the premier): “Yeah, being pro-active. Awright! Back to the phones …”
So there you have it, a situation that clearly would have benefited all Albertans if only we’d had on hand an unconstitutional law that handed the job of our impartial and independent courts to our partisan Legislature, which is packed with deep thinkers like Smith!
I admit I am not entirely clear on how this would have prevented Parliament from passing the law in the first place.
Regardless, I think we can all agree that, with this, Smith has pretty well sewn up the demographic of 10-year-olds who love root-beer floats and hate mushy straws, not to mention southern-Alberta restaurant owners who are seeing their budget for straws, already hammered by inflation (and we know who to blame for that) going through the roof of the rail car.
Maybe some of the kids’ parents will support her too if it’ll stop the little whiners from crying in their (root) beer about the way the cheap straws at the Dining Car keep collapsing.
That said, I can’t help thinking that maybe the Car’s manager, whoever that might be, might solve the problem by using a better class of paper straw.
Full disclosure, in his misspent youth, before discovering the pleasures of that other kind of beer, the one made from hops and barley instead of sassafras bark, your blogger consumed many milkshakes at the bowling alley in his home town through paper straws without ever suffering a straw collapse!
Is it possible that paper straws are something else that just ain’t what they used to be? Or could the problem that could be solved with Canadian-made artisanal paper straws?
I mean, seriously, people, is this worth breaking up the country over? After all, even though Smith insists her Sovereignty Act is not only constitutional but will actually strengthen Confederation, one of the architects of the scheme apparently thinks otherwise.
Leastwise, University of Calgary professor, climate change denier and advocate of Alberta separation Barry Cooper has said in writing that “the whole point of the Sovereignty Act” is that it’s unconstitutional.
Well, in fairness, Cooper said that before the act had been passed in its present form by the Legislature. What he said afterward, though, was this: “I want the Constitution to be changed, or we’ll have another referendum.”
Translation: I want the Constitution to be changed to suit my cranky and unpopular notions of an independent Alberta, or we’ll have another referendum just like the ones they had in Quebec.”
I wonder what he thinks about the Clarity Act? Just something to fix with the Sovereignty Act, probably.
You’d almost think from the way he phrased his comment that Cooper imagines he’s the de facto premier of Alberta. Or is he?
It’s all very entertaining to have little fun with idiotic policy discussions about straws, and I don’t necessarily refer to the environmental policies of the federal government, some of Premier Smith’s friends have very dangerous ideas. No less so because they lack popular support.
Indeed, over the holiday season, it might be a good idea to keep a very close watch on what Smith’s increasingly extremist government gets up to when everyone else is thinking about presents, festive decorations, family dinners, peace on earth and goodwill to all.
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