Connect with us


JOHNSTON: The new, must read book on Alberta independence

I set out to review No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta, Wagner’s latest contribution to Western secessionist thought, to answer this question: Are Albertans now ready to leave the rest of Canada behind for an independent, prosperous future?




Alberta: Separatism Then and Now was published in 2009. It’s a must-read history of the Alberta independence movement written by author and historian Dr. Michael Wagner who was not, in 2009, a Western sovereigntist, at least not publicly. The book was not intended to provide an explicit argument for Alberta independence; it served instead to place the pervasive feeling of Western alienation in its full historical context.

I personally reviewed this book when it was first released and made the point that Wagner documented an independence movement in name only, a movement that with few exceptions was frustrated by its self-proclaimed leaders who, when pressed, had very little enthusiasm for Alberta independence and certainly no appetite for the delightfully seditious and daring enterprise of secession and nation building.

Prior to 2009, most so-called Alberta sovereingtists could be described as free market advocates and frustrated nationalists nostalgic for a culturally conservative national identity that no longer exists in the post-national state that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls Canada.

I now set out to review No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta, Wagner’s latest contribution to Western secessionist thought, to answer this question: Are Albertans now ready to leave the rest of Canada behind for an independent, prosperous future?

Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien remarked last month that Alberta has “culture of complaining” with respect to its treatment within confederation, a statement that’s equal parts condescending and historically inaccurate. As former Liberal Member of Parliament David Kilgour explained in his 1988 book, Uneasy Patriots: Western Canadians in Confederation, “… history shows that Westerners have attempted within the framework of existing institutions to make our voices heard in Ottawa, yet have failed to achieve political and economic equality with Central Canada.” After documenting the decades of attempts to reform Canadian federalism, Wagner now concludes Alberta has “No Other Option” but to secede from Canada.

Wagner made his own journey from “uneasy patriot” to unapologetic sovereigntist, and he has made this journey with thousands of other Albertans. In fact, in his summary of past and present public opinion surveys on Western alienation, Wagner includes a 2019 Angus Reid poll showing “more than half of Albertans (52%) say they believe the West would be better off if it left Canada.”

Western alienation is as old as Confederation itself.

“Westerners have had complaints against the East going back to the earliest years of settlement. Indeed, Louis Riel led rebellions against the federal government twice, in 1869-70 and 1885. Later, farmers would create political organizations to represent their views to Ottawa. The Progressive Party of Canada was very popular in the West and elected a number of MPs from the region during the 1920s. Subsequent iterations of Western political dissent, such as Social Credit and the Reform Party of Canada are well known,” writes Wagner.

These complaints have, of course, been ignored by the Laurentian elite who believe Canada’s history is confined to that of Quebec and Ontario, and that Canada’s institutional structures must serve the mercantilist ambitions of these two provinces. Alberta was and is nothing more than a colonial outpost “opened to settlement to line the pockets of eastern pot and pan salesmen,” according to former Alberta Premier Harry Strom. Alberta independence is not, as Wagner meticulously documents, a new idea and nor is it a movement founded on trivial complaints from resource-rich Westerners unwilling to be part of any truly national agenda.

At its core, No Other Option starts and ends with Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Justin Trudeau. Albertans have come full circle, from the National Energy Program of Pierre Trudeau to the destructive policies designed to meet Canada’s obligations under the Paris Accord signed by Justin Trudeau.

The mood in the province today, however, goes beyond simple frustration and those still committed to reforming confederation are losing their audience. The rallying cry of the Reform Party — “The West Wants In” — is scarcely heard among the rank and file who once fought tirelessly alongside Preston Manning for a renewed Canadian federalism. Today, many just want out or, at the very least, are prepared to speak more candidly about the independence option.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose departure from federal politics has made room for the independence option, observed: “Alberta and much of the rest of Canada have embarked on divergent and potentially hostile paths to defining their country. Alberta has opted for the best of Canada’s heritage — a combination of American enterprise and individualism with the British traditions of order and co-operation … Canada [by contrast] seems content to become a second-tier socialistic country.”

While Alberta and Canada may be on divergent and hostile paths, most of the leading scholars on matters concerning Alberta’s place in confederation are still convinced against the evidence that Canada and the West can avoid a constitutional hot war. The respected Calgary School academics are not yet prepared to say good-bye to a country that is just not that into them. They have instead embarked on a strategy to flirt openly with independence hoping the Laurentian elite will realize they’ve taken the West for granted.

“This may be Alberta’s paradox: That we need to go half-way down a road to a destination we don’t want, in order to get the policy and constitutional changes necessary to stay in a Canada we love,” wrote Tom Flanagan, Jack Mintz and Ted Morton in their book Moment of Truth. I don’t think it is unfair to conclude from this statement that an independent Alberta would be a consolation prize for these authors.

The common refrain of “independence if necessary but not necessarily independence” is, however, a self-defeating strategy that lacks the bold vision required to build a new nation. It’s a desperate and uninspired reform-minded strategy born out of a prolonged and enervating colonial subjugation. We are long past realizing the benefits of this sort of posturing. It is, quite frankly, embarrassing.

Albertans can’t save Canada, but they can save the West. Canada is already gone. It is now nothing more than a bureaucratic administrative body with no distinct national character whose history is to be acknowledged only as a source of shame for ritual selfflagellation during national holidays. Justin Trudeau passes by the toppled statues of our country’s founders without notice as his attention is now squarely focused on global political governance.

So are Albertans now ready to leave the rest of Canada behind for a more prosperous future? Sadly, not yet, but we are getting closer. As Wagner writes, “a particular kind of charismatic and high-energy leader is likely essential for taking the independence movement to the next level.” I don’t see that leader yet, which is not to take away from the important and heroic work currently being done by Alberta patriots.

Long live a free and prosperous Alberta.

Matthew Johnston is a contributor to the Western Standard

Continue Reading


  1. Claudette Leece

    November 22, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    We have nothing to lose. Canada’s not our friend, if I ever was

  2. David

    November 21, 2021 at 11:34 am

    We are only going to get one more shot at voting for a real change. Make it count.

    In a couple of years, the only option will be revolution.

  3. Dennis

    November 21, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Loud and clear Baron.
    If you look at the WIPA site closely you will see there is a Meaningful Recall (not the glossy garbage that Kenny proposed) that will hold elected officials accountable to the people who elected them and pay their salary.
    This is the primary fault that governments over the past decades have fallen into where they believe they are in charge, when in fact, the people are in charge and it’s the government’s responsibility to administer the affairs for the betterment of the people. Not to buy votes and sling burgers at the stampede and make crazy laws that infringe of the rights of the people. That shit has to stop. Wildrosenation.com

  4. Andrew

    November 21, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Great book!

    join wildrosenation.com!

  5. Baron Not Baron

    November 21, 2021 at 10:28 am

    The most obvious place left, of self-determining future, remains Alberta. Alberta, with our support, will be THE HUB OF PROSPERITY for who wants to work, invest, live. But a place to reject parasitism! And that is proper.

    WIPA has my support. But if they act in any malevolent way, God help them as their existence will be very short. Very short and erased.

  6. Greg Porter

    November 21, 2021 at 10:16 am

    ESHEA if you move here now, you can join WIPA and begin to help right away.

  7. Dennis

    November 21, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Between an openly hostile Federal Government and an Inept Federalist Provincial Government, Albertans are slowly waking up to the fact that there is One and only One option for Alberta and that is through an Independent Sovereign Nation.
    It’s time, go to Wildrosenation.com buy your membership, make a tax deductible donation and get involved with your local CA. Time for a whole new government By The People, For The people. What we’ve had ain’t workin.

  8. Left Coast

    November 21, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Great Read . . .

    Canada is circling the Drain right now . . . the country will never recover from the last 6 years of complete incompetence & insane spending.

  9. eshea@teksavvy.com

    November 21, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Please leave and take as much of Canada that will go with you(no Quebec please).
    I will be happy to move to join you in the new Canada and support the old Canada I believe in and get rid of these parasites that supposedly lead us to the future- one of self disgust and economic destruction…. for what?
    Let me know if and when I can vote to join you from Ontario.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


THOMAS: How Western Canada fared in the 2021 housing market

“That didn’t happen. By early summer, sales picked up, prices steadied and the industry hasn’t looked back since, with some markets setting sales records in 2021.”




When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, like many industries, the lockdowns and restrictions shut down housing industry operations.

Home sales and prices plummeted, adding to the fear of the virus that homeowners would lose their homes’ equity. 

That didn’t happen. By early summer, sales picked up, prices steadied and the industry hasn’t looked back since, with some markets setting sales records in 2021. 

Here’s how major markets in Western Canada fared last year.


It was the third year in a row with record-breaking sales and dollar volumes.

“Both 2020 and 2021 were remarkable years in delivering sales gains from the previous year,” said Kourosh Doustshenas, outgoing president of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. “Last year saw an increase of more than 2,500 sales compared to 2020 and 33% sales growth over the previous five-year average.”

Sales of existing homes in 2021 reached 18,575 units with the dollar sales volume reaching $6.25 billion, up 28% from 2020.

Single-family homes and condominiums were the most popular, with market shares of 68% and 14% respectively.


The Saskatchewan Realtors Association’s (SRA) report covers all sales in the province. 

A record 17,387 sales were recorded in 2021, surpassing the previous record in 2007 by 17%.

While the pandemic triggered disruptions in some sectors of the economy, housing boomed, said SRA CEO, Chris Guérette.

“Improved savings from those not financially impacted by COVID-19, combined with low lending rates have supported the strong sales environment we saw throughout 2021,” said Guérette, adding inventory levels in the province were 16% below long-term trends.

“This resulted in the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price* gaining more than seven percent.”


Sales of existing homes in Calgary soared in 2021, reaching a record 27,686, nearly 72% higher than 2020 and more than 44% higher than the 10-year average, says the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).

“Concerns over inflation and rising lending rates likely created more urgency with buyers over the past few months, said CREB’s chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, the supply has not kept pace with the demand, causing strong price growth.” 

The year-end benchmark price was $451,567, up 8% from 2020. 

“We enter 2022 with some of the tightest conditions in over a decade,” said Lurie. “In December, inventory was nearly 25% lower than long-term averages, which will impact our housing market in 2022.”


“2021 was an incredible year for the Greater Edmonton Area (GEA),” says Realtors Association of Edmonton chair Tom Shearer. “The year-over-year stats for sales and listings in the GEA were significantly higher than December 2020.”

Last December, single-family home sales rose 16.5% from December 2020.  Condo sales increased 25.6% from December 2020. Duplex/rowhouse sales increased 16.8% year-over-year.

The HPI benchmark price in the GEA came in at $410,900, a 5.2% increase from December 2020.

Metro Vancouver

Home sales reached an all-time high in 2021, with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reporting a total of 43,999, a 4% increase over the previous record of 42,326 in 2015.

The HPI composite benchmark price at the end of 2021 was $1,230,200, a 17.3% increase from December 2020.

“While steady, home listing activity didn’t keep pace with the record demand we saw throughout 2021. This imbalance caused residential home prices to rise over the past 12 months,” said Keith Stewart, REBGV economist.

“Detached home and townhome benchmark prices increased 22% last year, while apartments increased 12.8%.”


There were 10,052 properties sold in 2021, close to the record of 10,622 sales in 2016.

“The theme of this year has been very consistent,” says Victoria Real Estate Board president David Langlois. “Each month a high demand for homes paired with record low inventory has put strong pressure on pricing and attainability.”

The single-family HPI benchmark price in the Victoria Core in December 2021 was $1,144,900, up 25.1% from $1,122,600 in November. The HPI benchmark price for a condominium in the area in December 2020 was $570,600 up from $487,100 a year earlier. 

Housing supply across the country is a concern, said Langlois

“We have spoken throughout the year about the need for new housing supply at all levels to help moderate prices and improve attainability,” he said. “Some of our municipalities have begun to look at ways to make it easier for new homes to be brought to market and we applaud and encourage any movement in this area.”

*The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is a measure of real estate prices that provides a clearer picture of market trends over traditional tools such as mean or median average prices. It is designed to be a reliable, consistent, and timely way of measuring changes in home prices over time.

Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor. He started in radio as a child voice actor, also working in television and as the real estate columnist, reporter and editor at the Calgary Sun for 22 years.

Continue Reading


MAKICHUK: Flaming question: Should we let them go, or not?

“Maybe Gondek can take a holiday in Mexico? Pretty please?”




So, do we care if the Flames leave, or not?

That, my friends, is the question. 

While it appears Mayor Jyoti Gondek was instrumental in letting the arena deal die, it’s never quite as simple as that.

I wouldn’t exactly put halos over the heads of the Flames owners either.

Someone suggested the right people to negotiate this thing are not in place — that actually sounds like it might have some merit.

It reminds me of when the Flames decided to trade Doug Gilmour, the player who helped them win the Stanley Cup.

At that time, sources told me the team and Gilmour were not that far apart in the money department. In fact, it was pocket change compared to what they pay players now.

I won’t go over the Gilmour-Leeman trade, it’s too painful for Flames fans to have to endure, and, well, I’m not that cruel of a person.

But really, are we that far apart now? We all know construction costs are soaring, but slamming the door shut on this deal, is not the way to go, IMO.

Even though I can’t stand the Flames. Why?

Well, for starters, I’m a Red Wings fan, all the way.

Secondly, when I worked at the Calgary Sun, whenever the Flames went into the playoffs we would end up working 12-hour days until the ordeal was over.

We did well against the competition, having a good stable of writers who worked their tails off. Not to mention the best sports photogs in the city.

As we got no extra overtime pay for all this extra effort and hardly saw our families during these times — which were exciting, of course, no argument there — it just got to be too much.

We would kill forests of trees to pound out pages on the Flames and their playoff adventures. 

In the end, whenever the Flames were eliminated, we would hold the “Thank You Flames Open” — a golf tournament, complete with prizes, and, a Green Jacket, which we purchased at Goodwill for $8.

The winner would get to wear the green jacket in the office, for an entire year — a tremendous honour!

But I’m not here to beat up on the Flames. I know how important this team is to the city.

While personally I don’t care if they stay or go, I know a lot of people want them to stay because they have become such an important symbol of our city.

Some of the best hockey ever played was between the Flames and, those guys up north … what’s their name again? Oil something?

Anyway, you get the picture. We happen to have a big rivalry with the folks in Edmonton who seem to get things done better and faster than our city council.

Case in point, Rogers Place. How come they could get it done and we couldn’t? 

That project also went over-budget, and led to a similar standoff. Clearly, cooler heads prevailed and Edmonton’s council approved the funding for the House of McDavid … and the rest, as they say, is history.

By the way, they also have better winter snow removal according to what I’ve been told.

So do we care or not? Should we try to resurrect this deal or not? 

Should Gondek — she of the climate emergency no one cares about — swallow her pride and step aside from the negotiation process?

Or, well … should we let them go and build a brand new stadium for the Calgary Stampeders instead? Believe it or not, they actually do need a new stadium.

As much as I love McMahon stadium, it is seriously out of date. I mean, even Regina has a much better football stadium, for crissakes. Regina!

If you ask me, I’d rather axe the Green Line, and other such Nero-like mega-projects of the previous mayor and use that money elsewhere.

But let’s get back to the Flames. Remember Winnipeg, who went through a dark period after their NHL team left town?

Glen Murray was city councillor for Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge ward at the time and was elected as the city’s mayor in 1998. He watched as Winnipeg’s team slipped away, eventually moving to Phoenix, where hockey never really caught on.

“It was heartbreaking because the provincial and the municipal governments who were subsidizing [the team] couldn’t sustain it,” Murray told the CBC.

“Every proposal for a new arena involved hundreds of millions of dollars, which no one in the community could raise at the time,” he said. “It was a real dark period for the city because people love their hockey team.”

When the much-despised NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the return of the then still-to-be-named team in May 2011, the excitement in the city was palpable.

“In all my years as a reporter, I have never seen a city stop before,” said Marjorie Dowhos, a CBC Manitoba reporter. 

“Cheers immediately broke out, some people had tears in their eyes and I had shivers up my spine as I watched all of this,” she said.

Season tickets went on sale to the general public on June 4 and sold out in 17 minutes.

What more do I have to say? Do we really want to go the way of the Winnipeg Jets?

Let me finish, with a little story.

Back in 1967, my Dad took me to my first NHL hockey game at the Olympia in Detroit. They were sold out, so we bought $3 standing room tickets.

The first thing I saw was Gordie Howe score effortlessly on Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Terry Sawchuk, on a breakaway. The place went nuts, it literally shook.

That, and many other experiences that evening, would change my life. I saw walls of Red Wings paraphernalia, none of which we could afford. I think all we came home with was a cheap program.

To this day, I will never forget that first experience of watching the Wings play and seeing them walk off the ice on a carpet, right in front of me.

Hockey gods they were — not like today’s overpaid prima donnas.

One can’t really put a dollar value on that. I don’t know how much the Flames bring to the city, financially, but I would imagine it’s significant. But then, there’s that emotional attachment, too. 

Remember the big run in 2004? We all do. Hell, even I was popping shooters on 17 Avenue!

So yeah, hell, let’s try to keep the Flames. Let’s give it another go and hope that as good citizens the Flames owners group will cut us some slack in this time of financial disarray. And let’s get the right people in there, to get this done.

Maybe Gondek can take a holiday in Mexico? Pretty please?

And really, let’s leave this “line in the sand” crap to Vladimir Putin and his maniacal ambitions. 

We’re better than that, I’m sure of it. Let’s get ‘er done.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news

Continue Reading


SLOBODIAN: Truckers going pedal-to-the-metal for Canadian freedoms

“We feel that the trucking industry is literally this country’s last hope to potentially getting our freedoms back.”




The complainers started calling Richland Transport Inc. while Rick Wall was still at the Canada-U.S. border protesting federal mandates requiring cross-border truckers to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated.

Wall, president of the Winkler, Man. trucking firm, organized Convoy Against Mandates. Semi-trucks drove along Highway 75 to the Pembina-Emerson port of entry in Southern Manitoba Monday. Pickups, tractors, and cars joined in.

“I love the haters. We’ll go out there all day long and battle for them as much as we will for any supporters. We were out there uniting the truck industry to fight all mandates for everyone,” Wall told the Western Standard

“This country has been ripped apart. We need to reunite and love and respect each other like we used to. Our government has done a tremendous job of dividing us, destroying us.

“We’re supposed to hate each other based on medical decisions. That is not right… We need to open our eyes.”

One caller who threatened to cut Richland’s phone lines “because your boss is stupid” might change his mind when the impact of the Liberal mandate personally affects him.

The mandate requiring truckers returning from the U.S. to be fully vaccinated or quarantine took effect January 15.

“Whether you support our movement or not, it will affect you. You wouldn’t see an instant effect from what we haul. It’s a trickle effect. It’s all linked,” said Wall.

With fewer drivers delivering loads, the supply chain will be heavily impacted. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) anticipates a loss of 12,000-16,000 cross-border commercial drivers. Some estimates peg it higher at 20,000-26,000.

Unvaccinated American drivers will be denied entry.

“You’re going to see price increases on basically everything, especially food. I think you’ll see a lot of empty grocery store shelves. We’re in the middle of winter and our food is getting trucked in. Nobody’s growing gardens this time of year. They couldn’t have picked a worse time to do this. So much of our produce comes from the southern U.S.”

Meanwhile, unvaccinated truckers forced into quarantine — after they deliver their loads — lose income. 

“In a lot of scenarios, it’s basically taking that particular driver’s right to provide a livelihood for his family away from him. It’s detrimental to these families. There’s a lot of drivers not willing to participate in this mandate. The vaccines are clearly not working, that’s my view on it.”

Truckers have been treated shamefully by a Liberal government that kept changing direction. 

Since mid-November, the government was in a state of confusion over the requirements, announcing different rollout criteria, then going back to the original plan.

“It’s been a really, really tiring battle. Our heads have been spinning for months. Clearly, we saw how chaotic that was last week on how the government flip-flopped right until the very end,” said Wall.

“We had no solid information on the Canadian side basically until they started enforcing it on our drivers. It was pretty tough for us to navigate and try to figure out what do we tell our drivers.”

When the mandate kicked in, Richland’s first returning driver ran into problems at the border.

“He was down in the U.S. for a week. He came across Saturday morning. He was verbally abused by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers at Emerson port of entry. He was treated horribly and was finally released after an hour and-a-half and told to go quarantine.

“Most of these guys know their rights. They will cite their rights and try to stand up for themselves. I’m very proud of them for doing that. We should all have that right.”

Some CBSA officers treat truckers with “utmost” respect.

“But the next guy is on a complete power trip giving the driver a really hard time, disrespecting them, denouncing everything the driver will say in his own defense.

“Goodness gracious, you’re coming home to your own country where you pay your taxes. And quite frankly, that officer’s salary… They come back home, and they’re treated like criminals. 

“Our system is incredibly broken…Something has to be done.”

Well, never underestimate the grit and stamina of truckers.

They’re just getting started. More rallies are planned.

A convoy rally will be held January 24 in Winnipeg. It will circle the perimeter of the city then head to the legislature.

A cross-Canada trucking convoy starting January 23 in Vancouver working its way east will gain momentum as it crosses the country. Truckers from across Canada will convene in Ottawa.

“It’ll just take a few more of us to stand up and say this isn’t right and try to unite the people. We need to end all these totalitarian mandates,” said Wall.

“We feel that the trucking industry is literally this country’s last hope to potentially getting our freedoms back.”

And our shelves stocked.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments


Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

1,113 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**

The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:


Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.