In the aftermath of Stephen Harper's 2015 election victory, Canada faced troubled times. The Northern Gateway pipeline, approved by the federal cabinet despite an adverse environmental review, faced construction delays resulting from public protests along the route. The government of China, as a major participant, expressed its impatience.
In the United States, President Barack Obama lashed out at the Prime Minister for his refusal to sanction more oil exports across the 49th parallel. ("We don't want the Americans draining all our sacred reserves at less than world prices," Mr. Harper was heard muttering to an aide.) When the drone attack and parachute drop on Parliament Hill by U.S. Special Forces occurred, no one expected Canada's vigorous raid on Washington, which ended in the burning of the White House. The President's surprise offer of an armistice was graciously accepted by the Prime Minister, who insisted that he never really opposed new oil exports, and offered unlimited contracts at a fixed price of $200 a barrel for 10 years. Peace returned to North America.
That was the point – as an access-to-information request now reveals – at which Ottawa began its covert planning for a new capital city.
"Prudence demands that we move the capital farther away from the American border," according to one adviser in the Prime Minister's Office. "We have the perfect alternative: a pleasant town in the province that holds our wealth, which will signify our status as a world energy superpower. It's a small and historic place called Three Hills, Alberta."
Planning and building the new city proceeded in deep secrecy under direction from the Prime Minister's chief of staff. The Defence Department assisted by designating most of central Alberta as a restricted military zone, accessible only by special permit from the PMO.
For four years, total secrecy was maintained. The completed capital city was to be unveiled on the eve of the 2019 federal election, as a special gift to the nation, but we can now reveal this astonishing project as it nears completion in 2018.
"We never mentioned it before, because no one ever asked," the Prime Minister's spokesman explained.
On one of the three hills that give the town its name, the new Royal Canadian Government Centre will contain all the (substantially reduced) facilities of Parliament and the federal public service.
On the second hill, the giant Canada Ethical Oil Corporation will refine dirty oil to a high standard for export to China and the United States.
On the third hill, a National Historic Memorial will be dedicated to the capital's inspiration and creator, Stephen Harper, Founder of the Canadian Nation.
The memorial was planned, without the Founder's knowledge, by staff in the PMO/PCO and his Calgary constituency and will occupy a hilltop area of 20 acres. Four towers will dominate the corners of the square, each containing an artifact from the life of the Founder: in the first, a full-size replica of his birthplace home in Toronto; in the second, the Steinway piano used in his historic performance of A Little Help from My Friends at the National Arts Centre; in the third, an illuminated copy of his manuscript about the creation of professional hockey in Ontario; and in the fourth, the original court documents marking the bankruptcy and termination of the Liberal Party of Canada.
At the top of the square, and dominating it, the Harper Mausoleum will arise, sheathed in marble quarried in Alberta's Rocky Mountains (Inc.). A spokesman in the PMO tells us that flattening the hilltop and constructing the mausoleum has been financed entirely through private gifts.
The capital's transfer from Ottawa to Three Hills will take place after the Natural Governing Party's electoral victory in October, 2019.
Denis Smith, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Western Ontario, made no predictions on the outcome of the recent Alberta election. At the time, he was in Ankara, and visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, "founder of the Turkish nation."