The newly elected Premier of Alberta has stated that if he doesn't get his way on the Federal Government's Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69) he will schedule a referendum on separation in conjunction with Alberta Municipal elections in 2021. He even cited the example of Quebec using the threat of separation to get what it wanted from Canada.
While I can see his logic, it is a dangerous assumption that Quebec Separatists were just playing chicken with the Federal Government in 1976 and again in 1995. It is also a fallacy that following the same tactics will produce for Alberta the same kind of "benefits" that Quebec has.
What is upsetting Alberta? The province sits on vast petroleum resources that are difficult and expensive to extract compared to other crude oil producers. Alberta is land locked, meaning it cannot sell its bounty to everyone in the world and must accept the price it can get from either Canadian or US refiners. Alberta crude sells at such as steep discount that there is little incentive for crude producers to invest there. Even worse, the longer term future of profitable crude oil production is one technological breakthrough away from disappearing. The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones. Once an inexpensive fully electric car is available 71% of demand for petroleum is in immediate jeopardy of going away.
To sum up, Alberta's oil riches are expensive to develop and limited to a select market. That market has access to much less expensive crude. The future profitability of the entire crude production sector is at risk of technological obsolescence. The investment required to get Alberta's oil to a wider market may never be recovered if that technical obsolescence occurs in the near future. The investment required to produce more oil in Alberta is under the same risk. Nothing the Alberta government can do will change any of those market factors.
Alberta is currently capable of producing more crude than it is selling, That is severely frustrating while they know that the value of that unexploited resource could drop significantly due to factors beyond their control.
Alberta is in a tough spot, no-one can deny that. The solution to their problem is not political re-alignment of any sort. The economic and political uncertainty from forcing Canada back into what one Quebec Separatist called a stint in the "Dentist chair" will cost Alberta a fortune and as much or more for Canada. No amount of separatist threats will improve the basic macro economic dilemma facing Alberta.
Jason Kenney's objective of getting Alberta back to the good old days but with more pipelines is sheer fantasy. Toying with separatism as a strategy to get there will only make Canada's and Alberta's situation worse.
Jason Kenney needs to develop another strategy that will transition Alberta to a post oil economy. Doubling down on a resource that will plummet in value sometime soon is irresponsible to Albertans. Creating massive political uncertainty while doing so is irresponsible to Albertans and Canadians. Thus for being irresponsible on two important fronts, JK is being grossly irresponsible.