Since the oil boom of the 1970's, many Alberta wives have called themselves "oil patch widows" due to work rotations that require their husbands to be away for weeks or months at a stretch. It is understandable how this physical separation can lead to an emotional disconnection between two people who are often leading separate lives.
In the 20th century, much of the divide in politics and policy was over how best to create jobs, incomes and keep people from starving--how to create opportunity as part of the good life. Those on the "left" argued for state intervention and often outright state ownership; those on the "right" pointed to open markets and other elements of capitalism as the superior route to avoiding poorer populations.
"Here," said a Heiltsuk friend as we began the walk, "put this in your pocket, it will help protect you." She handed me a piece of dried Devil's club bark, medicine from the B.C. coastal rainforest to carry with me as we walked by Alberta's tar sands facilities. Strong medicine was definitely in order as my lungs hurt, heart ached, and eyes welled up with tears with all that I witnessed.
On the last day of May, the government of British Columbia gave the back of its hand to Alberta and indirectly to the rest of Canada, which benefits -- and could benefit more -- from continued development of Alberta's oilsands. Getting new coastal export capability is important to the future of Alberta, and to Canada as a whole.