Alberta Canada’s Cycle of Abuse with Big Oil

Michael Nabert
18 min readFeb 26, 2021

Big oil hurts Alberta, Alberta hurts Canada, rinse and repeat.

The angriest part of the Canadian map

In the classic cycle of abuse, today’s abuse victim can easily grow up to become tomorrow’s abuser. Unable to wreak vengeance upon their own abuser, the pent up rage and frustration from their own suffering is unleashed upon a different convenient target, and the cycle perpetuates. Since the fundamental lesson learned from powerful abusers is that apparently it’s okay to be brutal towards those who are easy targets, the abusee tends to focus on finding easy targets that won’t or can’t easily defend themselves. This is a component in the societal problem of populations experiencing hardship tending to punch down at those whose circumstances are even more precarious than their own rather than directing their ire upwards at the true source of their woes. The province of Alberta’s dysfunctional relationship with the rest of Canada and the fossil fuel industry is a perfect example. Every blow the province feels from big oil is one it turns around to deliver twofold to the nation it is a part of.

Big oil dishes Alberta a surprising amount of crap.

During a few boom times while big oil was king, resource revenues temporarily afforded Alberta plenty of spending money while maintaining a minimalist tax regime. It remains the only Canadian province without a sales tax, and even when the Business Council of Alberta — hardly a bunch of Marxist lefties — calls upon the province to implement one, the right wing politics that have dominated the province for almost all of the last half century immediately rejects the idea out of hand. After all, when faced with record deficits, why consider bringing in more revenue? It feels easier to angrily insist that yet another boom time for big oil will once more turn the tables, and the fact that the entire global economy is moving away from their product can’t possibly be relevant. As a result, Alberta’s strategy for coping with collapsing global demand for their product has consisted of spending public money on things like embarrassingly bad efforts to promote climate denial and attacking environmentalists.

The narrative that the province’s well being is inextricably tied to fossil fuels has been repeated so…

Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.