Throwback Thursday: Alberta ‘should annex’ parts of Canada’s North

On April 19, 1972, Calgary MLA Dave Russell, minister of municipal affairs in the newly elected Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Peter Lougheed publicly suggested that the Province of Alberta should annex parts of the Northwest and Yukon territories.

The Calgary Herald reported that Mr. Russell’s plan was to redraw the map so that on the eastern border the province would run from the American border to the top of Canada. The province’s western border would include the Mackenzie River Valley and parts of the Yukon.

“It makes sense in view of transportation and pipelines,” Mr. Russell told the Herald.

Here is an excerpt (pdf) from Mr. Russell’s speech in the Legislative Assembly as recorded by Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, because of what is happening in the field of energy resource development and transportation on the North American continent at this time, it seems to me that there is a great deal of logic in extending the existing northern Alberta boundary from its present location up to the northern limit of our country. I am thinking that the entire area lying between an extension of Alberta’s eastern boundary and the Yukon-Northwest Territories boundary, logically some day probably belongs in the Province of Alberta.

I am putting this proposition in the form of a question, because I am wondering if it has occurred to the hon. members what an exciting prospect there is there in making the entire area, from the 49th parallel right up through the Greater Slave Lake region and the Mackenzie Delta the energy and resource corridor and political entity on the North American continent. I think the potential there and the logic of carrying out such a move makes a great deal of sense.

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