Advertisement

Western frustration fuels Wexit separatist movement

Western frustration fuels Wexit separatist movement
WATCH: Interest in Wexit, or "western exit," has exploded since the October federal election. But what can be done to cooperate on both the provincial and federal level? Silvana Benolich reports.

This story is part of a special on western alienation. Click here for more coverage. 

The group pushing for western independence from Canada says people are flocking to the separatist movement, and support is coming from all across the Prairie provinces.

What are Albertans saying about Wexit?
What are Albertans saying about Wexit?

Interest in Wexit, or “western exit,” has exploded since the October federal election. The group now has more than 272,000 members on its Facebook page, and hundreds of people have shown up to support recent Wexit rallies in Edmonton and Calgary.

 

Political panel discusses what Albertans are saying about equalization
Political panel discusses what Albertans are saying about equalization

READ MORE: Hundreds gather for Wexit rally in Edmonton as group’s leader pens letter to Jason Kenney

Years of recession and frustration with federal government policies are fuelling western separatist sentiments.

Story continues below advertisement

Wexit founder Peter Downing blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for crushing economic growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We’ve never before seen a government in Ottawa so hostile to one area of the country,” Downing said.

Tweet This

“We want people here to have a high quality of life and it’s only through self-determination — which can only come through separation — that we’re going to achieve it. And we will achieve it,” Downing added.

Any talk of of western separation would need the support of First Nations, which have treaties with the Crown and traditional territory.

 

Majority of Canadians believe we are more divided than ever: Ipsos poll
Majority of Canadians believe we are more divided than ever: Ipsos poll

READ MORE: This way to ‘Wexit’: Navigating Alberta’s theoretical secession

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says no one from Wexit has consulted him.

“To have this conversation, saying, ‘We’re going to separate’ — and have First Nations not support it? It’s not going to happen,'” Cameron said.

Ipsos poll on Western separation records historic highs
Ipsos poll on Western separation records historic highs

Political analyst Duane Bratt doesn’t put much stock in Wexit’s chances of separation success either.

“I don’t think it’s a serious threat, but I think it’s a voice that needs to be heard,” Bratt said.

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

Bratt adds that Premier Jason Kenney’s Fair Deal plan presents an additional challenge for Wexit.

“I will say to Kenney’s credit, his proposal on the Fair Deal panel – essentially ‘Firewall 2.0’ – I think is going to cut the Wexit movement off at its knees. That instead of discussing how Alberta should leave Canada, it’s about what powers Alberta can have within Canada.”

READ MORE: Western alienation: weathering the storm in southern Alberta