It’s no secret that the current relationship between Alberta and the rest of Canada – and Ottawa especially – is fraught.
But who outside of Alberta could have surmised it was this bad? According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 50 per cent of Albertans consider Albertan separatism to be a real possibility. Furthermore, “more than half of Albertans (52%) say they believe the west would be better off if it left Canada.”
That means there is now stronger separatist sentiment in Alberta than Quebec. According to an Angus Reid poll conducted after Quebec’s provincial election last year, 82% of Quebecers were content to remain a part of Canada.
And it’s not just Alberta, either. There’s a growing proclivity among residents of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to identify as “Western Canada.” As the poll explains, “the four provinces of Western Canada … are united in their belief that their region is unique and that it has been mistreated by Ottawa.”
So much so, in fact, that many would support a theoretical Western Party of Canada ahead of the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, or Greens.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely residents and politicians of Alberta would mobilize a real separatist movement. But the resentment is real. In September of last year, Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney said he “would not be surprised if a significant and growing minority of Albertans are entertaining [separatism].”
Who would have though a highly controversial pipeline could cause such a divide…