I haven’t seen any public opinion polls on the question of Alberta separatism, have you? But I am certain that both Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau have commissioned private polls on the subject.
About two weeks ago, we approached a pollster to commission a poll. And they refused.
I thought pollsters were supposed to be neutral. Yeah, and next you’ll tell me that the media is neutral, too.
I think we’ll probably see an Angus Reid poll on Alberta separatism pretty soon. And, depending on how the question is worded, I bet support will range between 20 per cent and 40 per cent.
If the question is hard, like “Do you want Alberta to become its own country”, I think it would be just 20 per cent.
But if you asked something easier — like the Quebec’s separatist referendum questions — I bet it would be higher.
In 1980, Quebeckers voted on a questions that didn't call for immediate independence, but for Quebec to negotiate a proposed agreement with Canada.
And look what it got them:
In the 38 years since that 1980 referendum, Quebeckers have had the prime minister’s office for 27 out of those 38 years. They get $13 billion a year in equalization payments from the rest of Canada, a guaranteed three out of nine seats on the Supreme Court, affirmative action into every senior job in the federal government, and much more.
So if you had even a moderately pro-Alberta Alberta premier, and you asked Albertans — hey, things aren’t working out well; maybe we’d do better on our own; but let’s try to negotiate a better deal with Canada, but let’s keep independence as an option.
Who in their right mind wouldn’t say yes to that?
So where do we stand on separatism?
We're not calling for Alberta separation. In fact, we recognize that the worst damage to Alberta was done by the Alberta NDP. But we regard that as a once-a-century anomaly. The congenital, constitutional hatred for Alberta from the Laurentian elite — that’s rather permanent.
Preston Manning campaigned on, “The west wants in.” That didn’t work. Stephen Harper allowed the west to live as equals, no special favours. But remove the man, and the system reverted to its natural posture.
We think it’s probably healthy if the Quebec style of negotiation is adopted in Quebec. Albertans would learn just how much better things would be in many real-world measure — mainly financial; but also cultural. Alberta has its own pur laine traditions, too — freedom, individuality, entrepreneurship.
So how are we going to cover Alberta separatism?
With respect, I think. And with an understanding that it comes from a genuine grievance, not an ethnic nationalism like Quebec, not an attempt to extort more cash. A desire to be allowed to live freely and fairly, under the rules of Canada as they were written.
And I think one thing we’ll do is constantly point out how Alberta separatists are covered by the media party, versus how Quebec separatists are.
Here’s one example, from Trudeau’s bail-out media, this one in Postmedia’s Calgary Herald.
It’s by Naomi Lakritz, who writes editorials there. But was this really written in Calgary — or in the PMO, as a condition for the $595 million bailout?
Alberta separatists fuelled by loss of civility
Alberta separatism is just another variation of extremist response to the otherwise politically ordinary.
Everything the left doesn’t like is “extremist” or “bigoted” or “racist” or whatever, isn’t it?
She quotes some American book, about other subjects, to describe Albertans:
"Many derive their standards … of conduct from the Bolsheviks. They think it reflects credit on them to scream in the faces of people they don’t like.”
Selfishness and fanaticism are the raison d’etre for the knee-jerk separatism that periodically rears its head whenever it feels the West is even mildly hard done by.
Do you think this insulting, factually inaccurate, historically illiterate rant, calling Albertans names for wanting to work — do you think that will make separatism higher or lower?
Trudeau hasn’t received his briefing note yet from Gerald Butts on what to say about it all, but you can bet it’s going to be along the lines of the Media Party — professors, pundits, the paid-for-bail-out media — all demonizing and denouncing Alberta separatism.
They hate Alberta anyways; they’ll want to hang separatism around the neck of Andrew Scheer in the upcoming federal election; but mainly, they don’t disagree with the underlying premise:
Albertans are different, and their chief role in Canada is to provide money to Ottawa, and a “bad guy” in every Liberal narrative.
We’ll report on it fairly. We’ll respect people who are driven to contemplate separatism by a system that is broken...
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