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3 Wisemen | Trudeaumania | October Crisis | Bilingualism | Petro Canada | 72 Super Series | Wage & Price Controls | 1976 Olympics | PQ Comes to Power | Interlude | Western Alienation | 1980 Referendum | The Constitution | Changing of the Guard

Western alienation has had its roots causes in the Western Canada's disappointment at not having more control over the Federal Government. To many in the west, Ottawa is viewed as pre-occupied with the Quebec Ontario axis and makes most of its decisions based  upon how they will effect central Canada. During the 1950's and 1960's Alberta's oil industry grew substantially and the Social Credit government in Edmonton was happy to leave oil development to big business and just collect the provincial tax revenues and royalties.

As the 1970's began the Social Credit were ousted in Alberta and replaced by a Conservative government under Peter Lougheed. His government took a much more activist role in the oil industry, believing that not only could more revenue be generated for the province but the oil industry could help develop other industries in the province and diversify its economy.

In 1973 the Yom Kipper war in the middle east had resulted in a saved Israeli victory and the Arab OPEC nations decided to increase oil prices by up to 100%. The windfall profits that resulted from the oil production were quickly absorbed by Alberta's provincial government which resulted in the building up to over $14 billion of what was called the Heritage fund. The flip side of the coin was that he rest of Canada were subjected to gas prices that rose by over 350% in a year and threatened economic stability. The Trudeau government moved to try and relieve the oil price stress by disallowing resource companies from deducting provincial royalty charges before they calculated federal taxes owning, freezing oil prices, and imposing an oil export tax.

These actions led to a confrontation between Trudeau ad Lougheed over oil policies. May in the west felt that the oil boom was their opportunity to use the profits to diversify their economies while the Federal government wanted to alleviate the economic pressures on the rest of the country. Lougheed accused Trudeau of selling out the west for Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes and when asked what was the east suppose to do he replied "Let them freeze in the dark".  

This dissatisfaction in the west over energy policy led many to desert the Liberals in he belief that they were a party of Ontario and Quebec interests. This dispute was further aggravated by the introduction of additional energy  polices by the Federal government and by the end of the 70's support in the west for the Liberals had dropped to such a low level that they only managed to elect one MP, Art Phillips in Vancouver Centre, west of Manitoba.

After the 1980 election when the Liberals were returned to power they held no seats west of Manitoba. Trudeau proceeded to introduce the National Energy Policy or NEP which allowed the Federal government to build a window to see into the oil industry an determine what was really going on. They did this independently of the provincial governments which alienated the west even more.

By 1981 almost half of Albertans were in favour of separation from Canada. Their feeling that the Canadian government was controlled by Ontario and Quebec interested was relatively correct in the vast majority of the population of the country lived in those two provinces and they had therefore had the majority of the seats in Parliament. The isolation of the west was briefly alleviated in 1981 when Lougheed and the Fed's came to an agreement over revenue sharing but when oil prices collapse in 1982 Alberta was faced with difficult times and many blamed the Federal government for the bad times.