February 19, 2019 9:51 pm
Updated: February 20, 2019 1:44 pm

Should Alberta ‘ditch’ Canada? Billboard campaign poses bold question

WATCH: As the United We Roll convoy rolled into Ottawa, new ads rolled out in Alberta asking a pretty bold question: should Alberta "ditch Canada?" Lauren Pullen reports.

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A new ad campaign in Alberta is asking a pretty bold question.

Two digital billboard ads, one in Calgary and one in Edmonton, read “Should Alberta ditch Canada?”

READ MORE: Large pro-pipeline truck convoy protests federal oil policies in Ottawa

The organizers behind the ads, a group called Alberta Fights Back, think separation is the best thing for Alberta.

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“The political and economic realities are Eastern Canada’s interests are not aligned with Alberta’s interests,” Alberta Fights Back executive director Peter Downing said. “Our economic interests aren’t aligned and we are completely outvoted [in the House of Commons].”

“We’ve got to look at our options and our options are this: we need to look at walking away.”

Downing said Alberta has helped prop up Canada’s economy for years and now when the province needs help, “Canada has turned its back on us.”

The group is registered as a third-party election advertiser, which means it’s independent of any political party. The money to pay for the ads came from fundraising and donations, according to Downing.

LISTEN BELOW: Peter Downing speaks with Ryan Jespersen on 630 CHED

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“It’s not the first time we’ve heard this,” Calgary political analyst Lori Williams said, pointing to separation movements dating back decades.

Williams sees this as more of a message to the federal government — expressing how frustrated Albertans are — rather than something that will actually happen.

“This is just spite because of frustrations with the pipeline and equalization payments that we are paying more into the federation than we are receiving in return,” Williams said.

READ MORE: A Western Canada party once worked to win a place in Ottawa. Today, voters might back another: poll

Downing and other members of Alberta Fights Back said this is just the first step in their push for separation.

The ads are to get people talking, but the group said the ultimate goal is for a referendum to allow Albertans to make up their own minds.

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