February 18th, 2019

Stirring up Alberta separatism

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on September 11, 2018.

Alberta separatism is on the rise, at least according to UCP Leader Jason Kenney.

Although he proclaimed himself a “Canadian nationalist” in an interview with CTV’s “Power Play,” Kenney warned that a growing number of Albertans are having doubts about confederation.

In the same interview, the UCP leader suggested he would challenge Canada’s equalization payment formula, which provides funds from wealthier provinces, such as Alberta, to ensure equal access to social services across the country.

If the courts don’t succumb to his (and Premier Rachel Notley’s) insistence that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion get built, which is now up in the air due to a ruling by the B.C. Superior Court that the federal government didn’t consult sufficiently with Indigenous groups, Kenney threatened a provincial referendum on equalization.

“I think that’s Alberta’s ultimate leverage in the federation, according to the Supreme Court’s Quebec secession reference, that would force binding negotiations with the federal government,” he told CTV.

This is clearly a dog whistle from Alberta’s leader of opposition to provincial separatists, particularly given the explicit comparison to Quebec’s role in confederation.

Kenney treaded the same water in an interview with the News, when he was in Medicine Hat for a UCP fundraiser Thursday, saying on the one hand that Alberta’s separation would leave it stranded between two provinces.

However, he repeated his suggestion on CTV that Alberta, like Quebec, should hold a referendum in order to pressure the federal government to give it what it wants.

And Kenney is, of course, not alone on this insinuation in the UCP.

As the leftist website PressProgress reported, UCP critic for economic development and jobs Richard Gotfried tweeted in June, “Time to learn from PQ and change name of our legislature to the national assembly.”

“PQ” is, of course, the widely-known acronym for Quebec’s separatist Parti Quebecois. But Gotfried claims he was referring to the Canada Post acronym for “Province of Quebec.” However, the abbreviation has been “QC” since 1991.

To be fair to Gotfried, Quebec legislature’s name was changed to national assembly prior to the Parti Quebecois’s existence.

Not knowing that is just as likely as Gotfried not knowing QC is the official mail abbreviation for Quebec.

Kenney’s former federal Conservative caucus-mate Jay Hill wrote explicitly in favour of Western Canadian separatism, with a particular emphasis on Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Calgary Herald this summer.

His reasoning included many of Kenney’s favourite talking points – an equalization formula that purportedly puts Alberta at a competitive disadvantage, the “massive” carbon tax to be imposed by the feds on unwilling governments, more pipeline routes and enhanced “property rights.”

Is Kenney a closet separatist? No. But there is significant overlap in his worldview and those of Alberta nationalists.

And one cannot forget the factor of Alberta politics bad boy Derek Fildebrandt, who after being booted from Kenney’s caucus took over the openly separatist Alberta Freedom Party to create his Freedom Conservative Party.

FIldebrandt obviously wants to stay close to that party’s base, describing his vision for the FCP as “an Alberta patriot party, or autonomous party.”

He clarified that an “Alberta patriot” is someone who believes the province ought to play a strong role in confederation, while at the same time decrying the western provinces’ “colonial” status within confederation.

Like his former leader, Fildebrandt is clearly talking out of both sides of his mouth, trying to reach out to separatists without alienating federalist voters, of whom there are far more.

Kenney doesn’t want too many of his potential voters moving over to Fildebrandt’s party, so he’s echoing his former caucus member.

This could work electorally within Alberta, but Kenney is setting himself up for a battle with the feds he isn’t likely to win.

An editorial from the Medicine Hat News

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2 Responses to “Stirring up Alberta separatism”

  1. Dennis Bremner says:

    I enjoy commentary like this, what it does is creates radical boundaries as if those boundaries are the platform. The author would have us believe its better for a party who is threatening equalization payment action to consider perhaps putting a bag of dog dung on the steps of Rideau hall and set it afire as the viable alternative if we get no action?
    When a party has a platform and that platform challenges the very livelihood of the province they are running in, how do you get Federalist attention? Fiery Dog Dung bags?

    All Alberta wants is some recognition from these other provinces that we are their breadbasket. Certainly Quebec could care less, it was the past Mayor of Montreal Coderre that encapsulated Quebec’s appreciation of Alberta when he stated “there is nothing in it for Quebec” when opposing the pipeline to New Brunswick! BC is no better, they pretend they are a province of treehuggers as the cut their trees, ship hundreds of thousands of barrels of gas and diesel up and down their coast in barges daily, dump untreated sewage into the ocean and have the largest coal exporting facility in Canada “on their waterfront”! Somehow our less than 1% increase in ocean traffic is just too much for the two-faced treehuggers!
    For all that, Alberta sends BC their oil so they can drive their cars and Quebec their annual $10billion so they can crap on Alberta!

    Notley and the NDP are more then happy to spend spend spend, create government jobs and play footsie with the boy child in Ottawa. I am personally tired of supporting Canada who uses our OIL/NG and Oil derived products, to carry on with their daily lives and then blame Alberta for producing it!
    I have always said the next time a treehugger shows up either by dog sled or horse, wearing burlap pants, shirt, and seaweed sandals I will listen to them. Until then I personally have a message for them “shut the F$@K UP” and let the normal people support your real closet lifestyle, and be grateful for it!

    So if the UCP or NDP wants to threaten Ottawa and the boychild with Nuclear War to finally get a fair shake for ALBERTA I am ALL in!!! So far NDP pandering has got us diddly other than a carbon tax in an attempt to offset our outrageous less than 1% contribution to GHG’s to keep the rest of Canada in a lifestyle that they condemn us for! Its time to threaten Nuclear war!

    So in answer to the Authors Question, is “Kenney a closet separatist”? No, he, like a lot of pissed off Albertan’s, sees the injustice served to Albertan’s by the boychild daily and is willing to call a spade a spade, while Notley continues to play footsies and looses support daily because of it! Trudeau got involved with Trans mountain for one reason, his buddies in Quebec told him if they lose their Alberta subsidy he is a drama teacher again!

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