Montréal, 3 mars 2001  /  No 78
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Scott Carpenter is a young entrepreneur living in Victoria, B.C. and the founder and editor of Liberty Free Press.
by Scott Carpenter
          I've heard a lot of talk in the media lately about the independence movement brewing in the west – mostly from academics and politicians. There seems to be some confusion over a few issues so I'd like to set the record straight.
First things first 
          First of all: the resources out here don't belong to « Westerners » in the collective sense any more than they do to the Québécois, Nova Scotians or Newfoundlanders. These resources, particularly oil and gas, belong to those who own the property they lie under or to those who can afford to retrieve and refine them. These resources don't belong to the government or to « all Canadians », they are supposed to be held in trust by the Crown until someone with the capital and the incentive is willing to take the risk to extract them. 
          And that, my dear friends, is called capitalism. It's about wealth creation by those with the means, the good old fashioned know how and the guts to pull it all together. Without these « Greedy Westerners and Americans » putting their own capital and, dare I say, lives on the line Alberta (and to a lesser extent BC) wouldn't be the growing, booming and wealthy place it is. I know it's difficult for our socialist ruling elite to believe but capitalism has improved the living standards for all of us out here – even those of us who are not involved in the oil and gas business. Indeed, the wealth generated by this industry filters out into every aspect of our lives. Wealthy people spend money. That's a fact and we in the small business community appreciate their patronage! 
          So you can understand why the recent call for another National Energy Program by some of our eastern autocracy is tantamount to heresy and has succeeded in fanning the flames of Independence rather than quelling them. Westerners are quick to spot a bad deal – that's what business is all about. Thus, you see, it's not that we're « greedy » but rather we are opposed to the theft of our income. Ruin the oil and gas business and you ruin us all. Maybe this is the intent of our federal government – they seem to have a real propensity for creating welfare states and, after all, slaves are easier to control than free men. 
Born out of frustration 
          The other myth perpetrated by the boys on the hill is that we already have a lot and shouldn't be asking for more. 
          Well, let's qualify that shall we? What do we have lot of and what are we asking for? Money? Sure, but we'd have more if Ottawa wasn't into wealth redistribution to begin with. 
     « Westerners are quick to spot a bad deal – that's what business is all about. Thus, you see, it's not that we're "greedy" but rather we are opposed to the theft of our income. Ruin the oil and gas business and you ruin us all. » 
          The issue here really isn't one of asking for « more », or special status or anything of that nature. That's the job of a few elite and angry politicians in Quebec. 
          The issue here is about being left alone. It is about sovereignty –  both regional and individual. It's about keeping what is already ours. 
          This independence movement was not born out of a feeling of neglect or « specialness » of some sort. It is a result of frustration with a system that is designed to stifle success and squash incentive. It was born out of a desire for more freedom and less oppression.  
          In fact, Ottawa could make this whole nightmare go away if it would just do a couple of things that require no cost on its own behalf: 
          Primarily: treat us like human beings. 
          That means equal representation in government. 
          That means a government that can be held accountable. 
          And how about a justice system that punishes real criminals instead of punishing lawful citizens for arbitrary crimes. 
          But mostly, how about a real constitution with property rights and guarantees to all our natural and political rights that is not open to interpretation by any court or group of lawyers appointed by our Prime Minister. In short, we want a paper that means what it says and not some fuzzy socialist ‘living document' that changes meaning like the wind. 
          I know, that seems like a lot, a contradiction to my earlier statement perhaps? Maybe, but more freedom is not an unreasonable request, it is our right. This is a fact that more and more westerners are waking up to every day and it is why this movement continues to grow. 
Free the West! 
          Economic and political liberties are necessary conditions for a free state. Currently they are taboo subjects east of Saskatchewan. That's too bad because the only way this movement will go away is if the government starts talking about these issues. 
          In the mean time get used to hearing the slogan « Free the West! » uttered in your local coffee shops and papers. 
          ‘Cause, gosh golly gee darnit, we're here to stay! 
          Yee Haaa! Freeee the West!!! 
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