A separatist movement in Canada’s oil-rich western province of Alberta wishes to secede it from the country.
The “Wexit Movement” (as it has become popular styled after “Brexit”), has become more vocal since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was re-elected in October 2019.
The separatists complain that “climate crusader Trudeau” is working to cripple the oil industry, and that the province sends too much in taxes to Ottawa and gets too little in return.
In late November, the Wexit movement organized a rally, with approximately 1,600 people in attendance in Calgary.
Speakers at the rally said that an independent Alberta would have more money, without federal taxes and so on.
At the same time, there was the typical fear mongering, warning about unvetted immigrants and the creep of communism.
Albertans contribute disproportionately to federal coffers, paying about C$5,096 more in tax revenue per capita than they received in government spending in 2017. By contrast, Quebecois received C$1,958 more than they paid.
The group has filed to become an official political party and will focus on electing candidates to push its agenda in Ottawa.
There’s no actual plan on how secession would happen and what would become of Alberta after that.
Trudeau addressed western Canadian alienation in a news conference shortly after his election, noting the economic challenges in Alberta and Saskatchewan, reiterating his support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and saying he’ll continue working to help the prairie provinces.
“We are moving forward to solve some of those challenges, but it’s going to take all Canadians sticking together, helping out folks who are struggling in places like Alberta and Saskatchewan,” the prime minister said. “This is what Canadians expect of their government, and this is something that we’re going to stay focused on.”
This tendency of promoting “green economy” by Western politicians has seen quite a bit of push back, as shown by the “Yellow Vest” rallies in France, as well as the “Tractor rallies” in Germany and the Netherlands.
It was, possibly, just a matter of time until more followed suit, and with even more “severe” demands – such as seceding the province of Alberta from Canada.
However, talk of secession isn’t anything new in Alberta.
According to a survey by Ipsos, in Alberta, the number of respondents who answered positively to the question “Do you think your region would be better if it separated from Canada” was already 33% prior to Trudeau attempting to establish the “green economy.”
The growth dynamics of the supporters of separatism is also important: in just one year, their number has increased by eight percent, and if the situation develops in the same direction and at the same speed, then in a couple of years there is a risk of a separatist majority.
In the neighboring province of Saskatchewan, the same survey indicates that 27% of respondents support secession from Canada.
To compare, in the province well-known for its separatist sentiments, attempts to secede, in the French-speaking province of Quebec 26% support the separation.
The separatist movement in Canada has a very clear identity, and this identity is not ethnic, but cultural and ideological.
In a country led by a prime minister known for his love of various minorities, an open door policy in terms of migration and a willingness to stifle traditional values along with traditional sectors of the Canadian economy such as oil, gas and gold, it is understandable that a large part of the population would express discontent.
Moreover: they are insulted that migrants and those same residents of rich coastal cities live on taxes from their oil, who, on the one hand, vote for Trudeau, and on the other, humiliate the citizens of these same oil regions at every opportunity. Despite it being clear that these citizens are the ones who provide them with their lifestyle.
According to the same Ipsos poll, 59% of respondents agree with the statement “Canada is now more divided than ever.”
The Economist, covering the growth of separatism in one of the key countries of the collective West, sent its journalist to Edmonton, the provincial capital of Alberta.
The journalist attended a meeting of supporters of the separation from Canada and felt the specific atmosphere of the audience that comes to the speeches of separatist leader Peter Downing:
“Baseball caps for sale bore such slogans as “Make Alberta Great Again”, “The West Wants Out” and “Wexit”. On stage, before a Canadian flag held between hockey sticks and pointed upside down, Peter Downing recited the grievances that drew the crowd: cancelled plans to build oil pipelines, subsidies paid to the rest of Canada and snobbery towards Alberta from the central Canadian provinces. The country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, would get what’s coming to him, Mr Downing pledged. Someone near the back muttered, “Hopefully, a bullet,” the Economist reported.
It is also just a matter of time, until reports start circulating in media, claiming who the “villain” behind the loss of Canadian statehood is – it would either by US President Donald Trump or the collective “Russia” – led by “evil overlord” Vladimir Putin.
Prime Minister Trudeau, who is the real main culprit for the internal rift of the Canadian people, in April of this year was extremely concerned about the prospect of Russian interference in the elections.
And if the separatist movement becomes a real Wexit (by analogy with Brexit), then accusations against Russia, which many in the West consider guilty of Britain’s exit from the European Union, will be self-evident.
The Canadian authorities have always supported separatist movements within the USSR and inside Russia, but now they themselves have to face the problem of separatism, which they themselves have created.
And accusations against Russia, US President Donald Trump or claiming that the citizens of the oil-rich regions are racist won’t solve any of the brewing crisis.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Canada Oil And Gas Infrastructure (Map Update)
- Matthew Ehret: “Canada to Russia: Interference Is Okay If It Destabilizes You but Not the Other Way Around”