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WAGNER: Central Canada’s decades-long attack on Alberta oil drives the need for independence

“Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside of Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers.”

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A new book by Western Standard Senior Columnist Michael Wagner makes the case that Alberta must become independent. The following is a brief excerpt from No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta.

Alberta is rich in fossil fuels, which are essential components for advanced modern economies. With the energy crisis of the 1970s, Central Canada benefited enormously from Alberta’s abundance through government-imposed low oil prices and an export tax on oil. Subsequently, as Alberta’s oil was later allowed to reach world price levels, the federal government continued to reap large financial rewards at Alberta’s expense.

Now, many voters in Central Canada want Alberta’s fossil fuels to be locked in the ground, supposedly to prevent climate change. What this would mean for Albertans is crystal clear: poverty and a future without economic hope. In effect, Central Canada wants Alberta to return to its status of a have-not province, like it was before the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947. To see the future that voters in Toronto and Montreal envision for Alberta, simply look back to the economic struggles the province experienced in its first few decades. It’s not a pretty picture.

But there is absolutely no reason why Albertans should accept this fate. Albertans have the opportunity to determine their own future, and they should do so. Through entirely peaceful, legal, and constitutional means, Albertans have the power to choose a future of self-determination and prosperity. That is, Alberta can become an independent country.

Seceding from Canada to form an independent country is certainly a drastic step. But there really is no other option. Serious proposals have been made in the past to reform Canada so the West could receive a greater voice in national institutions. These kinds of reforms – with the Triple-E (equal, elected, and effective) Senate being top of the list – have been rejected and are no longer viable. This means Albertans face a stark choice between the status quo, with its inevitable economic decline, or independence.

Many people in Alberta are very hesitant to embrace secession due to strong personal and emotional ties to Canada. This is reasonable and completely understandable. There is much laudable about Canada, including the freedom and prosperity it offers to its citizens. Canadians also have much to be proud of in their past, such as the courageous exploits of the Canadian military in the world wars, as well as other conflicts. Indeed, there is much to admire about Canada when it is compared to the other countries of the world.

Nevertheless, Canada has been going in a rather unhappy direction since the late 1960s. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had a vision for a different kind of country that he did much to accomplish. It’s not a coincidence that the first efforts to create a separatist organization in Alberta took place during Trudeau’s first term as prime minister. Today, Pierre’s son, Justin, pursues a different set of policies that harm Alberta’s future. 

There is a lesson to be drawn from these two periods of Trudeau administrations: If Albertans don’t choose a new direction for their province, they will forever be entangled in cyclical periods of hostile federal policies.

In short, Albertans must choose between the status quo and independence. Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers. This latter option will lead to prosperity for Albertans and their children. The choice is clear.

You can order a copy of Michael Wagner’s new book, No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta on Amazon

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

Michael Wagner is a Senior Alberta Columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include 'Alberta: Separatism Then and Now' and 'True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.' mwagner@westernstandardonline.com

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Fergus Hodgson

    June 22, 2021 at 1:00 am

    Michael, I am right with you on this. I am a Canadian citizen living in the United States, but I would return and make a home in a free Alberta!

  2. Larry

    June 21, 2021 at 9:16 am

    What happens when 30 million people want in to the black gold mine.
    What happens with the pot of gold with more hands in the pot.
    What do you do to keep the taxes low then?
    I think Dawson had a gold rush?

  3. secondhandlion@hotmail.com

    June 21, 2021 at 8:33 am

    YES, YES & YES it is time to get out! Rembering Reform 1990’s “THE WEST WANTS IN” well no longer we tried that and got nowhere, only option left “THE WEST WANTS OUT”

  4. Chris

    June 20, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    I just ordered the book, looking forward to reading it.

    I escaped Ontario in 2008 and never looked back. Leftists have destroyed Canada and there are not enough conservatives elsewhere to make any national changes. I fear Albertan’s still have a long way to go before they recognize how devastating the east will be to our way of life in Alberta.

    Support the Wildrose Independence party with your time and/or money so we can help convince those on the fence to open their eyes to the reality that Canada will never be a country that respects Alberta nor want to see us prosper.

  5. David

    June 20, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Cogent lucidity from Kelly Carter, hoping to see more from Left Coast.

    I’ve been in this socialist cesspool called Ontario for 3 1/2 years now, and the widespread cognitive disconnect is insane! There are still people here who think Trudeau is doing a great job, there is zero likelihood that Doug Ford will be made to suffer for his egregious covid overreach. And the simmering Western Independence movement isn’t even on anyone’s radar.

    Please, PLEASE, Alberta – wake up and make a country where sane people can grow and prosper!

  6. THOMAS CLARE

    June 20, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    The Wild Rose Party needs to present a platform for all Albertans to see, consider and discuss with others. The platform must address a pension plan for seniors, an Alberta Police Force, a simple, straightforward flat tax plan, a passport etc. These are the things that Albertans need reassurance on so they can be comfortable with Separation.
    The days of negotiation with Ottawa on Equalization, pipeline approvals, Tanker traffic and many other subjects should be over. Because of his past history and alliances, Kenney is not the person to lead this Separation Movement.

  7. David

    June 20, 2021 at 8:07 am

    I look forward to reading Michael Wagner’s book.

    Independence will not be an easy path. There are significant hurdles. The first will be transitioning away from the debauched Canadian currency. The second will be creating a new constitution that actually protects our rights and protects the value of our votes. The third will be a new tax regime. Unfortunately simply copying one from the Dakota’s as suggested above will not work. That is “a state” tax embedded within a federal tax framework.

    We could adopt a sales tax and not collect taxes from employment earnings. That is not a problem. The problem will be a revenue sharing arrangement between levels of government as we should definitely write a constitution that limits the powers of taxation by government. It is government gone mad with tax dollars that has destroyed Canada and its’ future. We do not want to make the same mistake.

  8. Douglas Hendrickson

    June 20, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Is not the route, open for us, to buttress the provINcial government with all political power being included in an encompassing Alberta CONSTITUTION?
    Write it, and present one or two versions to THE PEOPLE of Alberta for ratification.
    BYE BYE OTTAWA !

  9. Baron Not Baron

    June 19, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Alberta. The province always has been a not have province, actually.. If the oil goes to South for about nothing, and the money to the east, then Albertans are left with nothing, but ugly towns and a worried population. The province is of the people who actually sanctified it, or built it – so if the people have lost what they had (businesses, jobs, etc..then the province is poor). It will be rich when its resources are used here, for Albertans. It will be rich, when Albertans will learn to spend their money in Alberta, instead of non stop flying into the US, Mexico (really, Mexico? What the hell is in Mexico?) and other places, but in Alberta.
    The only way to see the light out of this is Independence. Alberta becomes a country – a rich country – not only when it will use its resources, but when different industries will be attracted here, because of low or no tax.
    I advocated for a long time to practice a South Dakota tax model. No personal or corporate tax, no personal property tax, – just sales tax (they have 4.5%) and they’re left with excess of budget – because of the great number of businesses moving in and the grand total of revenue that is not felt by its citizens. If one keeps all of his earned money, then there’s money to purchase, invest or save. Therefore there is plenty of money even for retirement – more than the BS pension the gvt throws at you.
    Albertans have become pathetic a long time ago – otherwise how can anybody explain the magnitude of stupidity of the people, for taking this treatment (plantation like) from the east?
    Dear fellow Albertan freedom seeker, aren’t you exhausted yet to keep listening to all of these agents that came here from the east, to tell you how to live your life for so long – and actually lying every time? There is only one option left on your dinner table: Wildrose Independence Party. There’s no middle ground.

  10. Dennis

    June 19, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Great article and yes to all comments. The time has come to right the ship. Take charge of our affairs, get our house in order and then separate from a dysfunctional confederation. As said above Canada and the constitution will NEVER change in favour of Alberta when Quebec, who BTW, never signed the constitution, has the final veto over any changes. Wildrose 2023 is our means to break the status quo and make Alberta a great Sovereign Nation.
    https://wildrose.party/

  11. Steven Ruthven

    June 19, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Calgary Co-Op at in the NW, is selling regular gas at $1.339 today 19 June 2021.

    I wonder how much higher the price of driving your car, which is a necessity to many, regarding living a modern lifestyle outside urban areas were alternatives are easily accessible? Real big disconnect with urban & rural areas when it comes to attitudes on getting around, real big.

    Justin Trudeau was blaming Alberta for the countries social & economical problems back in 2010, in a french language interview. Justin also stated at that time he felt “this country Canada belongs to us” meaning Quebec. The Trudeau’s out right hate towards Albertans and Western Canada should have been dealt with a long time ago, prior to 1982 & the National Energy Program.

    Canada is a failed Federation. The Constitution projects the reality of 1867 towards Western Canada at that time as “Colonies” & still does today in 2021.

    I agree, only an independent Alberta free from the colonial attitudes of Upper & Lower Canada is the only option.

  12. Eldon

    June 19, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    I agree with this article and with the comments from Kelly Carter (above comment).
    At this point in time, we have no choice.
    Thankyou Micheal Wagner for writing this much needed article.

  13. Andrew

    June 19, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Cheers to my fellow Albertans also working to get Alberta out of this god forsaken country.

  14. Kelly Carter

    June 19, 2021 at 10:09 am

    It is worse than just the Trudeau’s. All governments since the 1970’s need to be looked at. The most pro-Alberta was perhaps the 6 months with Joe Clark. Mulroney was defined by trying to stabilize Canada (mostly from Quebec separatism) so not hostile to Alberta but not helpful either. Chretein was boarder
    Ime hostile to Alberta, but spent most of their time addressing Quebec and Ontario and financial concerns. Harper, whom I did like, was also not hostile but not terribly helpful to Alberta either. Not much changed under him, and that was perhaps the best opportunity of the last 50 years. Trudeau 2.0 is openly hostile to Alberta. So we can hope on the next conservative government, but they are more likely to be less hostile but not helpful to Alberta. And the next Liberal government (or NDP) will be openly hostile again. So what is fairly clear at this point is the Laurentian elites, the GTA, Quebec, and the SCC will never allow anything to acctually change to allow for more provincial autonomy within confederation because then they lose power. That makes the next best option seceding from Canada. High time to get Alberta tax collection, Alberta police and an Alberta version of the CPP going so that Alberta independance becomes easier. Maybe things change in that time, and maybe they don’t. Doesn’t matter because at least we will be doing something about it instead of complaining.

  15. THOMAS CLARE

    June 19, 2021 at 10:05 am

    A clear message has to be created and delivered as to how Separation would take place. Seniors (mostly) have to be comfortable with the principles that matter most to them: Canada Pension, Taxes, Law Enforcement, Passports, Currency etc – how these points are handled, clearly and in a straight forward manner need to be presented to the public. Otherwise a vote on Separation will fail. We’ve already seen how Kenney will make the referendum on Equalization cloudy and obscure so we won’t be able to intelligently vote on it.

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Former general slamms Trudeau ‘stupdity’

Canadian taxpayer’s millions go directly into the Taliban’s blood-soaked hands. No one’s on the ground to ensure it helps Afghans they terrorize and slaughter.

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There’s truth, duty, and valour — the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada’s motto the honourable live by as they strive to keep promises made.

Then there’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s broken promises to thousands of Afghans stuck in a potential death trap, as hopes of evacuation to safety rapidly fade.

Afghans helped the Canadian military during their 2001-2104 Afghanistan mission, believing Canada’s promise to bring them here to safety if necessary. 

It’s years past necessary. Promises broken. They’re hiding in terror with their children — Lord help the little girls — from Taliban predators. 

“There’s a bunch of people running around with sharp knives looking for them. They wouldn’t be brought before a court. The Taliban would take their heads off,” retired Maj.-Gen. Clive Addy, former Land Force Western Area commander, told the Western Standard.

Faithful translators proved invaluable. 

“They were very good at passing information to soldiers to prevent them from getting bombed out, or things like that. There’s a myriad of human services they provided. It required a heck of a lot of skill, camouflage, truth. It was that kind of courage they showed on our behalf that we must show for them,” said Addy.

“Truth, duty, and valour. The truth is, the Taliban took over. They’re criminals. Now they’ve got the place. The people to whom we made a vow, we have the duty to fulfill it. And valour, we’ve got to have the guts to do it.” 

“I cannot, having served my country, sit here and watch us walk away from such an important commitment. We’re walking away.”

It’s not that Trudeau isn’t shovelling money into Afghanistan. He pledged an initial extra $50 million for humanitarian aid, topping $27.3 million allocated for 2021.

Recently, Trudeau gave $1.7 million to the Afghanistan Strategic Evacuation Team (ASET), a group of Canadians and Afghans overseen by the Veterans Transition Network (VTN), helping Afghan interpreters.

Of the 10,000 Afghan translators and their families they’ve identified, 1,760 are hiding in safe houses used since the U.S. withdrawal in August. 

The $3 million spent to date, at $20,000 a day, was donated by private citizens and corporations. 

Funds run out November 5. 

Shockingly, Trudeau stipulated the $1.7 million couldn’t be used for safe houses, only logistics.  

ASET is overseen by three retired Canadian major generals — Dean Milner, David Fraser, and Denis Thompson — all RMC graduates.

Bureaucrats, obediently wagging their tails for Trudeau, tell these military greats, all former task-force commanders in Afghanistan, where to spend money.

Canadian taxpayer’s millions go directly into the Taliban’s blood-soaked hands. No one’s on the ground to ensure it helps Afghans they terrorize and slaughter.

Trudeau’s foolishly hoping the devious Taliban — seeking cash and recognition as a legitimate government — will be good little terrorists keeping a promise to behave.

“I’m just shaking my head. I don’t know how they come up with this stupidity. The Taliban asked for support, and we’ve got immigration going through the UN prepared to give them money. But they’re not prepared to give money to people under threat,” said Addy.

“The Taliban have the gall to say ‘Our people are hungry, send money to the UN.’ We’re supporting that. I’m sure there’s some hungry Taliban that Canada might help. The rest of the people are starving.”

On the campaign trail, Trudeau said Canada would welcome 20,000 Afghan refugees. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, a former Navy commander, doubled it to 40,000 at the UN General Assembly in September.

At an October G20 meeting, Trudeau proclaimed humanitarian assistance must continue, but urged the Taliban to respect rights of women and children. Urge away, it’ll never happen.

Trudeau also urged other countries to take in more refugees.

So far, Canada says it welcomed 3,700 Afghans. That disputed number’s likely 3,000. Many had already left Afghanistan and were ‘evacuated’ from safe countries. Less than 20% were interpreters and families.

Addy recently penned a letter to ministers and MPs to be signed by RMC alumni, outlining a blueprint of what Trudeau must do.

It stated the need to expedite funds to ASET; remove barriers restricting funds from being used for safe houses; remove documentation obstacles eliminating the need for passports by issuing single use travel documents to valid resettlement applicants allowing them to obtain Pakistan e-visas; issue facilitation letters to support the travel documents; and fund air charters for evacuation.

Addy, Milner, Fraser and Thompson aren’t the only retired commanders criticizing the government.

In August, retired general and former chief of the defence staff Rick Hillier told CBC the evacuation operation is “cluttered” by bureaucratic clumsiness, inefficiency, and paperwork. Former lieutenant-general and Liberal MP Andrew Leslie echoed concerns.

Trudeau said the Taliban seized power so quickly, Canada couldn’t evacuate more people. Nonsense.  Military personnel and NGOs have fought for years to get interpreters out.

“I spent three years trying to bring in one of my good Afghans and family members. His file was in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada longer. No movement. Zero, with me picking on them daily, getting lawyers to help,” said VTN’s Milner.

“He was almost killed. The Taliban had his phone. He was a fighter. The Taliban wanted him big-time. We were able to sneak him and his seven lovely children out…They’re in Canada.”

The government, rightfully, says Afghans must be vetted. Hence, the delay. 

The VTN already vetted thousands, people they know well.

Who better to vet? A bureaucrat perusing applications? Or Canadians these Afghans fought beside?

The clock’s ticking Trudeau. 

It’s about truth, duty and valour, right Garneau? Being a RMC graduate, did you forget that part? 

Get them out.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Canada dithers while girls get beheaded for playing volleyball

If Taliban thugs unleash demonic rage on a girl because she was involved in sports, imagine what awaits Afghans who helped Canadian soldiers — keeping many alive — during the 2001-2014 mission in Afghanistan.

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Mahjabin Hakimi was beheaded by the Taliban who then posted gruesome photos of her severed head on social media as a menacing warning to others. 

Why? The girl played volleyball.

Hakimi, a star player on the girls’ national team, was slaughtered in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul.

If Taliban thugs unleash demonic rage on a girl because she was involved in sports, imagine what awaits Afghans who helped Canadian soldiers — keeping many alive — during the 2001-2014 mission in Afghanistan.

Time is running out for 1,760 Afghan translators and their families who’ve been kept safe only because of an effort led by retired Canadian top military commanders and carried out by non-governmental agencies and others.

For courageously risking their lives, Afghans were promised refuge in Canada if needed. They remain indefinitely trapped, betrayed by the Trudeau government. 

Despite endless political platitudes and promises, it isn’t the government doggedly working to get them out. 

About 10,000 Afghans who helped Canadians, identified by the Veterans Transition Network (VTN), are targets of vengeful marauding medieval assassins hunting for them.

The VTN oversees the provision of emergency funds for shelter and support of the 1,760 during an agonizing wait for evacuation through the Afghanistan Strategic Evacuation Team comprised of Canadians and Afghans.

The $20,000 a day cost since the Taliban seized power in August when the U.S. pulled out, has been manageable due to private and corporate donations.

Funds are running out. The lifeline’s gone in two weeks. 

Aman Lara, a Canadian non-governmental organization, works closely with the VTN. 

Retired Canadian lieutenant-colonel Eleanor Taylor, who is chief of staff, notified the Afghans Friday: “Due to the complexity of the situation in Afghanistan, Aman Lara regretfully has to scale back accommodation support to Afghans in need of evacuation by November 5.

“We had expected that applications would be processed in a timely manner and evacuations would be swifter. Unfortunately, our ability to finance the accommodations has diminished and time has run out.”

Three retired major-generals — Dean Milner, Denis Thompson and David Fraser — have been working feverishly since July to evacuate these Afghans. They’re all former task-force commanders in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau assured Fraser the government is working on air charter evacuation flights to Pakistan and elsewhere and will investigate the problematic documentation process. 

He intends to pass along the VTN’s concerns to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino.

However, not much can be done until the October 26 cabinet shuffle, said Garneau. Then the new cabinet must settle in and Parliament won’t resume until November 22.

So, the federal government — and its cumbersome bureaucratic process that creates obstacles — continues along its useless path going nowhere.

Despite grand promises from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and cabinet ministers evacuation efforts are sluggish.

“They all keep saying they’re going to support us. When?” asked Milner.

Months ago, Trudeau pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees.

“Where are they coming from? Tell me. The Afghans that need to be supported are those in Afghanistan.”

The government claims it has evacuated 3,700 Afghans. 

“I think it’s over 3,000. Anything they said, I take it with exaggeration. No more than 20% were interpreters and their families,” said Milner.

That leaves embassy staff and Afghans already safe in other countries. 

“We don’t want the low-hanging fruit of other countries. The ones that did the work for us, that worked closely alongside us, are still stuck in miserable Afghanistan,” said Milner.

“We have over 10,000 Afghans in our group who still need to be evacuated. We’ve managed to bring a little over 300 through the border into Pakistan. We have a lot more to do,” said Milner.

That would include finding money to keep Afghans in safe houses. VTN asked the government for funding.

“We’ve been asking constantly. We’re getting support from many people. But the government still hasn’t bitten. They gave $1.7 million two weeks ago to keep us quiet. We couldn’t use that for safe houses. That was actually part of the policy.”

That money must be used to cover other expenses.

“That’s a drop in the bucket when you’re taking care of this many people. We’re paying to transport people across the country to Pakistan. We’re paying for buses. We’re paying for Afghans that are supporting us. We’re supporting a team trying to operationalize this and make it work. It doesn’t take much to eat up money.”

“Volunteers like me, I don’t need money,” said Milner.

Individual Canadians and “outstanding” companies like McCain Foods and Sobeys, donated nearly $3 million racked up in expenses so far.

“It has cost $20,000 a day since August for the safe houses. That’s not counting other life support and transportation costs.”

VTN is exploring ways to evacuate Afghans by land and on charter flights from Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, in Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city.

“We’d like to get going with charter air flights. The Taliban are now allowing flights into Afghanistan.”

But the $750,000 cost of one charter would “eat up” the safe house money left.

Why isn’t the government running charter flights?

No one’s flying out yet and the Taliban’s on the prowl. 

“There’s still an absolute danger. The Taliban are unpredictable. You can’t trust them. That’s why we fought them. Here they are now in power. They don’t like fun, they don’t like women, they don’t like school, they don’t like sporting activities.” 

“We get absolutely awful stories. We’re not going to stop until we get these Afghans out. We see it as a moral obligation. They supported us over there. They’re great people.”

TOMORROW: Truth Duty Valour vs. Trudeau’s broken promises.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

WAGNER: The left ignores growing support for Alberta independence at its peril

Angus Reid released its poll showing that over half of Albertans believed the province would be better off if it left Canada. Were those results just another Postmedia trick?

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A recent poll conducted by Mainstreet Research for the Western Standard showed new heights of support for Alberta independence. This demonstrates the movement is alive and not running out of steam. Just because the issue is out of the headlines for the moment does not mean it’s far from the thoughts of a great many Albertans.

The poll found 40% support for Alberta independence with 45% preferring to remain in Canada, and another 15% undecided. If the undecideds are removed, support for independence rises to 47% versus 53% for the status quo.  

Previous Mainstreet Research polls commissioned by the Western Standard showed growing — but demonstrably weaker — support for independence. A July 6, 2020 story entitled “Alberta leads the West in wanting independence” found only 20% of Albertans favouring independence. Another story from Jan. 13, 2021, “Third of Albertans & majority of UCP voters back Western independence, shyer about going it alone,” found 25% favouring Alberta independence if the province struck out on its own, but 36% support for an independent country comprising other Western provinces.

The polling results seem to indicate a growing trend of support for independence. That’s obviously good news for those favouring that option.

It seems, however, that Alberta’s progressives have a blind spot when it comes to acknowledging popular support for independence. This has been evident in recent years, even as Justin Trudeau has driven many Albertans into the sovereigntist camp.

With Trudeau aggressively preventing pipeline construction and resource development, support for independence gained considerable strength towards the end of 2018. Indeed, early in 2019, the Angus Reid Institute released its own poll indicating independence sentiment was quite strong in Alberta. The article reporting the results stated: “More than half Albertans (52%) say they believe the west would be better off if it left Canada.”

Yet, just a few weeks earlier, prominent leftist blogger Dave Cournoyer wrote, “Reading the pages of the Postmedia newspapers or the #ableg hashtag on Twitter you might believe that Albertans from roughneck Fort McMurray to trendy Kensington are calling for Independence and rising up in arms against their political overlords in Ottawa. Nope.”

He went on to state that “… it is difficult to believe there is any real appetite for Albertans to leave Canada, and the consequences that would follow.” And he assured his readers that “support for separation remains consistently low.” The occasional demand for Alberta independence, Cournoyer wrote, “is the political equivalent of a toddler’s temper tantrum.”

Shortly after Cournoyer’s piece appeared, another prominent leftist blogger, David Climenhaga, also downplayed the independence movement. Climenhaga’s unique contribution to the discussion is his claim the Alberta independence movement is a smoke-and-mirrors trick perpetrated by Toronto-based Postmedia.

Writing of the surge in support for independence towards the end of 2018, Climenhaga claimed that, “The whole thing was almost entirely ginned up in a couple of weeks by a parade of political commentators at Postmedia’s newspapers, basically providing background music for the campaign of United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.” That is, Postmedia was trying to create a political climate to aid Jason Kenney in his dispute with Justin Trudeau.

Climenhaga went on to assure his readers that by the beginning of 2019, “the Alberta independence ‘threat’ will be fading into history, again, worth a chuckle or two, like Ur-Western-separatist Gordon Kesler, and taken seriously by almost nobody – or perhaps I should say, nobodies.” Apparently, in his view, only “nobodies” take Alberta independence seriously. That would probably mean a lot of Western Standard readers would be “nobodies” by Climenhaga’s standard – like Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables.”

His main point, though, was public controversy over Alberta independence was just a big show that had come to an end: “But the squall is over, folks. Watch for Postmedia to start backing away as soon as they start to realize how little traction this partisan claptrap has.”

Yet, just a few weeks after he wrote that, Angus Reid released its poll showing over half of Albertans believed the province would be better off if it left Canada. Were those results just another Postmedia trick?

Albertans had grievances with the federal government for generations. These grievances are accumulating and generating increasing discontent with the province’s place in Canada. The support for independence revealed by the new Western Standard poll reflects the unhappiness of many Albertans. They are beginning to realize the status quo is not going to change and the only positive alternative is for Alberta to leave Canada.

Nevertheless, progressives appear to be blind to the legitimate concerns of these Albertans and dismiss them as “nobodies” who are throwing a “temper tantrum.” If support for Alberta independence continues to grow, progressives may have to do more than simply demean its proponents.

The causes underlying growth in sovereignist sentiment are not going away and as a result, the movement is here to stay.

Michael Wagner is a Western Standard columnist

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