The Western Independence Party of Alberta (WIPA) though still not an official party at this time, is rattling their sovereignty sabre against the perceived imposing federal cage thought to be the cause of all western woes.
Pounding the pavement to solicit signatory support, the would-be Alberta separatists seek to gain legitimacy so as to run a full slate of candidates in 2019. In this post-truth era of Brexit and the daily White House circus to the south, what could be more fun than another divisive distraction in our midst?
Would-be WIPA leader, Larry Smith, has a simple premise to his separatist manifesto: Federalist rule is oppressing Alberta’s prosperity so let’s abandon Confederation and create our own country. Quite straightforward, really. Perhaps, if eventually successful, WIPA might simply rebrand Alberta to reflect our catchy license plate slogan: Wild Rose Country.
Disillusioned by Ottawa’s centralist rule by none other than Trudeau 2.0, the Alberta separatists want to ensure Alberta gets its fair share of revenue. As a ‘have province’ Alberta has certainly contributed more than its fair share of transfer payments over the decades. When has the rest of Canada ever given back to Alberta? I mean other than for the recent flood and fire relief and the many people who came from the east and other parts of the world to settle here and build our existing infrastructure – aside from this – what has Canada ever done for Alberta? WIPA is really on to something here!
As a transplanted Maritimer who has now called Alberta home for 25 years, I know what it means to be Albertan. I work hard to support my family, pay taxes, and seek to contribute to the greater good through community service and volunteerism. I also acknowledge that every region of Canada has its own peculiarities, its own regional traits, interests, and differences. This does not mean we should become isolationist or separatists though. It is our diversity that makes us Albertans and more so what makes us Canadians. Our federal model, while admittedly not perfect, has been rather a bit of a success story for the 150 years since Confederation. Most of the free world would attest to this.
Everyone across Canada is facing tough times. Yes, Alberta is particularly hurting but just as when a sick or troubled family member is hurting – we do not turn our back to them – rather, we reach out to help. We talk. We support them. The old saying ‘united we stand divided we fall’ rings true here. Democracy invites discourse, dialogue, and debate. We do not always get our way but we each get a say. That’s what voting achieves. And by the way, where was WIPA when Harper was the ruler of Ottawa?
So if you are inclined to see Klein on our Alberta currency someday then consider signing up to support WIPA. But whatever you do, especially at WIFA cocktail parties, do not mention the letters N-E-P! That will totally drain the energy in the room!
Tim Cusack is an educator, writer and member of the naval reserve.