Canadian separatism has definitely gone west in recent years, just like the old adage used to suggest in telling the story of former European arrivals populating North America.
Tristin Hopper who runs National Post’s hugely interesting First Reading newsletter, quotes Research Co. pollsters who asked Albertans last December if they’d think that they would be better off as an independent country. A not-so-surprising 38 per cent said yes. Unequivocally, too.
As Jason Kenney is about to step down as Alberta’s Premier, Danielle Smith leads the race to replace him. And Smith used to lead the Wildrose Party. That party wasn’t shy about saying that Canada has been built on some faulty propositions that have resulted in two Eastern provinces (Ontario and Québec) enjoying undeserved privileges and pumping others dry.
Smith believes that Alberta has been shamelessly exploited by crowds of people who, on one hand, detest her fuel commodities industries, while, on the other hand, love reaping all kinds of benefits that these commodities provide.
Sentiments like former Premier, the late Ralph Klein’s statement that those bloody Easterners should freeze to death, still resonate around Alberta. In fact, the 2021 Declaration of Alberta Sovereignty (a mere six pages but explosive like highest grade nuclear weapons) has wrought havoc on the many outside Alberta who fear its mere existence. Just look for it on your preferred search engine: cries about its lack of constitutionality lead the queues in all of them.
As Hopper describes Smith, she is the person “who would easily stand as the most separatist-minded premier in the province’s history.”
He’s got a valid point. But, as a reporter’s reporter, Hopper does not impose his own judgement on the issue: he reports it. Let the readers decide.
The Declaration demands nothing less than a right for Alberta to unilaterally ignore any federal law she doesn’t like, and to change the federal tax collection to deny Ottawa billions in federal transfers.
Meanwhile, in La Belle Province …
Québec separatists have been losing ground lately.
The province that claims to have played an important historical part in the founding of Canada, the province whose language, traditions and culture differ from the rest of Canada, used to demand recognition of her special status, and should she not get it, she would be prepared to bid adieu to the rest of the country.
It’s still there, Angus Reid reports, but it’s become almost invisible.
In fact, Coalition Avenir Québec, founded just 11 years ago and now in government, gets support from 35 per cent of Québec voters. Yet, while openly nationalist, it has become neutral on secession. Former separatist politicians have joined it, but the agenda has remained mum on separation.
The Parti Conservateur du Québec, formed in 2009, is now Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in La Belle Province, while remaining openly anti-sovereigntist and (their own words) “avowedly federalist.”
The Québec Liberal Party forms the tail of the mightiest trio. Its former leader, Jean Charest, is currently running for the federal Conservative leadership. One of his selling points: he battles for federalism. And so does his former party.
Only 30 per cents of those polled last December agreed that Québec would be better off as an independent entity.
These people obviously prefer nationalist passions prevailing over cold economic calculation.
Bloc Québécois, formed in 1993 to seek Québec’s independence, no longer approach this question without misgivings.
Why that change?
In addition to being on the right side of the ledger when it comes to the so-called equalisation payments, Québec enjoys relative freedom from all kinds of political decisions made by another Québecer, Justin Trudeau.
For example: Québec’s Bill 21 bans religious head coverings for civil servants.
Unimaginable in Trudeau’s Canada.
Another example: Bill 96. This one authorises unprecedented enforcement of using French with almost no exemption within Québec businesses. This one reads and sounds quite harsher than Ukraine’s laws on banning Russian in all of her possessions.
English Canada may have objected to these two laws, but Ottawa would not dare question their legality.
That neither of the two Canadas saw any reason to question Ukraine’s new laws remains a sad statement about political Canada’s state of mind.
The number of separatist Québecers has been going down, while the number of separatist Albertans has been increasing. In fact, more Albertans want to go their own way now than Québecers.
Québecers seem to be happy with being on the receiving end of other provinces’ enforced generosity. Albertans seem to be sick and tired of giving.
One day, the bubble will burst. If Trudeau Jr. is still in power, he will follow in his father Pierre Trudeau’s footsteps. Just as Trudeau the elder sent the army into Québec to break up Québecers’ gall in demanding their own sovereignty, so will his son send the army into Alberta.
Remember his reaction to last winter’s Freedom Convoy?
There you have it.