I’m not surprised: Sixty per cent of Albertans would favour a western separatist movement. That’s the result of a new opinion poll by Angus Reid.
Here’s their headline:
Decades after Reform’s rise, voters open to a new ‘Western Canada Party’. And by that, they mean a new federal party, to run in Canadian elections, like the old Reform Party did, to promote a western point of view.
Angus Reid says a new pro-western party would immediately be in first place across the west, and would literally get 40 per cent in Alberta. Could be.
Of course, it would depend a lot on the leader; I think a lot of westerners are disappointed in the weak sauce of Andrew Scheer. Maxime Bernier, who calls himself "the Albertan from Beauce," actually has more of a chance that others might think.
Now look at the real question in the Angus Reid survey:
Would you be in favour or opposed to your own province joining such a western separatist movement?
Forty three per cent of BCers and 45 per cent of Manitobans are strongly opposed to the idea, although 35 per cent of BCers are open to the idea, and 36 per cent are open to it in Manitoba — before such a party even is formed.
(And remember, simply having a western separatist party doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll separate. It might just mean you want to negotiate a bit more firmly than rolling over every time. It's worked for Quebec.
(Furthermore, I’m not sure what use the United States of America would have for an independent Quebec. But I’m pretty sure Donald Trump would know what to do with Alberta...)
And Albertans, I think, know this, if you look at these poll results. Again, without even advocating, 60 per cent of Albertans would immediately support such a project — and half of those supporters are “strong”. That’s a landslide, folks.
So what does this all mean?
I think it means that all of the existing political entities have failed the west.
Obviously the Liberals, but the NDP doesn’t much like it either. And the Conservative Party? Well, the stats speak for themselves: People prefer another party to it; they prefer separatism to it. That’s sad.
Of course other institutions have failed, too. The mainstream media is in many ways the worst; but so are the courts — which are the primary means to attack the oil patch and pipelines. People are fed up.
They called Preston Manning a bigot for standing up for the west. Thirty years later, that playbook still seems to work. Get ready for it again.
NEXT: One of our most popular guests, consultant and lawyer Manny Montenegrino, comes on to talk about the U.S./Canada trade war I discussed earlier this week.
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