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Will Alberta Secede From Canada? Ask the Wildrose Party!

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The official emblem of the Wildrose Party, the Alternative Right-wing party of the Canadian province of Alberta (and the home of secessionist sentiment)

The world has seen monumental political changes in the last year. The British exited from the European Union. Alternative Right-wing parties are on the rise throughout much of Europe, threatening to undo the European Union. Marine La Pen seems poised to become the next French leader. Meanwhile, in the United States, the election of Donald Trump has thrown the comfortable assumptions of globalization out the window. China, I believe, is also slated to feel the intense shocks of this negative reaction to globalization throughout the world.

But, one place that is often overlooked is Canada.

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Is Alberta the 51st state?

However, the shocks that have ripped through the international system will also soon wash over Canada, exacerbating the natural divisions that define the Canadian system. Indeed, the rise of the Wildrose Party in the energy-rich Canadian province of Alberta is a sure-fire way to assess where Canada is headed. It is unlikely to be pretty (for the Canadian government in Ottawa, at least), if trends persist.

The Wildrose Party is yet another Alternative Right-wing party which was created predominantly as an opposition movement. You see, Alberta is the most prosperous province in all of Canada. Yet, it is also the most heavily-taxed province in the entire country (there are ten provinces).

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The Alberta flag.

The central government in Ottawa has a predominantly Liberal orientation (this is especially so under Prime Minister Trudeau’s rule). In order to provide the costly social services, the Canadian government very often needs greater sums of taxpayer money. Since Alberta is the most prosperous province of the country, they feel the taxation more. What’s more, Alberta being a distant province in Canada means that the province is under-represented.

This has led to antagonism and resentment on the part of the Albertans toward the government in Ottawa and much of the rest of Canada, whom they believe have placed unfair economic burdens on Alberta. In many respects, the Albertans are not unlike the American colonists who revolted against the British Empire in 1776.

The Wildrose Party rose as a means of trying to end the perceived unfairness and to shed light onto the fact that many Albertans will no longer tolerate being taken advantage of. It makes sense that they’d be angry. It also makes sense that, in the current global climate of localism and nationalism, that many Albertans would turn to a party like the Wildrose Party to guide them to a better future.

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Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean in 2015. He has helped to build the party into an effective political force in Alberta.

The Wildrose Party has, since 2012, made incredible gains that mirrors those of both the La Pen National Front Party in France and the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) Party in Germany. Whereas the Wildrose Party was once a fringe political anomaly in Canadian politics, it is now the second-largest party in Alberta’s provincial legislative body. Indeed, going into the 2019 provincial elections, the Wildrose Party seems poised to take power.

As you’ve learned from reading this website, the anti-globalist trend is unstoppable. It is consuming the world. Therefore, Canada will be no different. In his stimulating 2014 book, “Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder”, geopolitical analyst Peter Zeihan speculated that Canada’s Alberta province could eventually secede from Canada. If that were to happen, he posited, that would be the end of Canada. Furthermore, he suggested that if such an event were to occur, the Albertans would likely seek to become the 51st state of the United States.

51fwrg77-vl-_sy344_bo1204203200_I believe that Zeihan is more correct than even he realizes (in the book, he adds an equivocation about comfort, nationalism, and culture being unquantifiable things that could make or break any Alberta accession to the United States). While the Wildrose Party has sought to retool its message from that of a pure opposition party to also one of a constructive governing party, there can be little doubt that secession is at the core of their agenda.

Should the Wildrose Party continue on its meteoric electoral rise (as I suspect they will), we can expect the Albertans to increasingly look toward secession as a viable option. While this move will in no way be a unanimous move on the part of Alberta (in much the same way that neither the Brexit vote nor the election of Donald Trump was universally approved), it will be a fait accompli, should the Wildrose Party win electoral victory in Alberta.

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Polling data from November 2016 for the parties involved in the 2019 provincial elections. As you can see, the Wildrose Party has been on a steady rise. Obviously, there is still much time between then and election day, still, the trends are fascinating to watch–and they have been dangerously ignored by most media outlets and analysts.

As Zeihan analyzes in his book, there are some important factors to consider when looking at the ramifications of Albertan secession. The first is that Alberta is the most prosperous province of Canada. Also, unlike the rest of Canada, Alberta has a vibrant population density that favors youth (the rest of the Canadian population looks disturbingly like the demography of Western Europe: old, dying, and few native born citizens to replace those old and dying workers).

This is not the case with Alberta. It is the energy capital of not just Canada, but if it were to join the United States, it would be the energy capital of all of North America. Indeed, not even potent Texas holds a match to the energy production of Alberta. If Alberta were to join the U.S., it would overnight become the most prosperous state in the country. Consequently, as Zeihan asserts, if Alberta did join the U.S., America’s energy independence would go from being completely theoretical to a very real thing overnight (this, as Zeihan analyzes in his thrilling book, would have profound consequences for America’s view of the outside world).

Some other considerations is that Canada, despite having so much in common with the U.S., is quite dissimilar. Its geography impedes greater unification and impinges on interstate trade. Because of this, the ten provinces of Canada are largely politically autonomous. They are also culturally dissimilar from one another. Lastly, these provinces, due to their geographic limitations, have become increasingly integrated in the American economic system. This is particularly true of Alberta and the various islands of Canada.

Indeed, the Canadian government resembles the old government that the Articles of Confederation created in the U.S. between the Revolutionary War and the enactment of the Constitution in 1789. The reason that the Canadians have had to embrace this confederal system is because there is virtually no way that a more centralized, federal system would work there.

e9206ba9a18aad155794a91e900aba22Thus, the government in Ottawa governs in the fashion it does mostly at the largesse of the other provinces. Ottawa has basically used its ability to tax and spend to pay off the old Quebec separatists, for instance. Meanwhile, in 2000, the Ottawa government made secession a legally protected act. All of this does not bode well for the longevity of the Canadian state.

Another factor is the demographics. Canada, despite being the fourth-largest country in the world (in total land area), only has a population of roughly 35 million people. Compare that California, which has a population of 38 million people and you can see that Canada’s population is extremely small compared to its geographic size. With the exception of Alberta, Canada’s population, as I noted earlier, is getting older and dying at a greater rate than there are young people to replace them.

Canada’s fertility rates also mean that, over the long term, their population will become smaller than it already is. Now, Canada has opened the flood gates on its immigration policies. While that has helped to blunt the damage of losing the Canadian population, it has not totally reversed Canada’s general demographic decline, nor has it not come without considerable negative consequences, as I have previously written.

Given the geographic isolation and political limitations, Albertan secession is not only possible, but if it were attempted, it would likely be successful. The Canadian military is not strong enough or designed to prevent a secessionist movement from being successful. What’s more, with 80% of the Canadian population living less than 300 miles away from the U.S. border, it seems unlikely that the United States would simply sit idly by while a civil war consumed their northern neighbor. Besides, the net positives for America embracing Alberta are far too great.

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The ten provinces of Canada.

And, once Alberta went, so would all of Canada. The maritime provinces, which are already closely linked to the U.S. economy, would likely follow suit. As would Quebec. Soon thereafter, the rest of Canada would quickly fall into place. Put simply, removing Alberta would essentially end Canada as an effective nation-state. Its component parts would likely soon be subsumed into the United States.

What we are witnessing throughout the world today is the end of the consensus on globalization. We are returning to the traditional standards and practices of the Westphalian nation-state system. Essentially, national priorities are coming to replace international concerns. The same trends affecting the West will very soon impact Canada. Indeed, they will hit Canada very hard. Should trends persist (as I suspect they will), 2019 will be a bumper harvest year for the Albertan secessionist movement.

It would be an irony of the ages, however, if the United States ended up basically absorbing Canada. Donald Trump and many who believe as he does were essentially elected (in large part) because of their opposition to things like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This free trade agreement has lowered the trade barriers between the United States, Canada, and Mexico to create a common trading zone.

Many on the American Right (and some on the Far Left) are understandably skeptical of this agreement, as it has led to much job loss in the U.S. Indeed, over the years, critics of NAFTA have fretted that this was but the beginning of an even greater attempt to unify the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in a North American Union. Such a union, they feared, would become a supranational political entity not unlike the European Union. It has never happened and I suspect that it was unlikely to ever occur, given the competing interests of the three states involved.

However, this anti-globalization wave that will soon impact Canada could eventuate with not only the implosion of Canada, but also with the absorption of Canada’s disparate provinces (notably Alberta) into the U.S. Thus, a political union of sorts would have been achieved under the anti-globalist leadership in the U.S. Of course, this political union would be a wholly American one, as opposed to a globalist supranational union that superseded the U.S. Constitution. Still, it would somewhat ironic that an anti-globalist, largely nationalist, Right-wing movement would end up expanding America’s borders.

Nevertheless, the question over Albertan secession is an important (and overlooked) one. If trends persist, it is likely that the Wildrose Party will be victorious in the 2019 provincial elections. If that were the case, the question of Albertan secession would be answered in a resounding “yes, secede!” This is a geopolitical trend to keep your eyes on. It could have long-lasting ramifications for not only the U.S. and North America, but the entire world. Because the more energy independent the U.S. became, the less willing the U.S. would be at engaging with the outside world. Indeed, the absorption of Alberta into the U.S. would essentially create a superstate. As such, America would have less incentive to involve itself in the world beyond North America.

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10 replies »

  1. Interesting article. I wonder what Saskatchewan would do if Alberta left. Its people and economy are a lot more like those of neighboring eastern Montana, the Dakotas and western Minnesota (all heavily Republican) than Toronto or Montreal.

    I was with the author until he got to the part about Quebec joining the US. Sorry, but that won’t work. I love my Quebecois friends but on the whole there are too many Socialists in Quebec for me to want to try to integrate Quebec into the US. The Catholic Church in Quebec is in a state of utter collapse, and the majority of Quebecois have little to nothing in common with social conservatives in the US. Also the Quebecois are used to a lot of special treatment (e.g., French language everything) from the Ottawa government. I can’t see most US citizens stomaching laws requiring everything to be printed in French as well as English. (I’m fluent in French and would have no problems with that myself so long as the Quebecois pull their vowels out of the 17th century; I’m just talking about the attitude of my fellow Americans.)

    How about this for a deal on admission of Alberta to the US: Alberta becomes the 51st state while Texas splits into four states: North (Dallas-Ft. Worth), West (El Paso to Abilene and Amarillo), South (Austin to the Rio Grande) and East (Bay City to Houston and Beaumont). Total: Ten new Senators, of whom probably six to eight would be conservative most of the time. Let California continue to stew with the airheads it keeps sending to the Senate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Barry, thanks for your comments. As for the portion about Quebec, I was merely positing that they’d have to make a move. First of all, once Alberta (and yes, you are correct, I believe Saskatchewan would follow Alberta’s lead. In fact there is a movement to get both provinces to exit called “ABSexit” they need to work on the name) bailed from Canada, not only would Saskatchewan follow but so too would the smaller maritime provinces, since they are already so integrated into the U.S. economy. With the more prosperous provinces gone, Ottawa would no longer be able to afford the payouts that they are making to the Quebecois. In fact, once any Abexit occurred, Quebec would have to either fend for itself (which, given the negative trends there, I don’t know how practical this would be) or it would have to seek greater union with the U.S. The most effective policy for them to pursue would undoubtedly be union with the U.S. They simply could not make it as an independent city-state on the far edge of Western civilization. Nor could they rely on Ottawa, for I suspect that once the more prosperous provinces left, as I stated in the article, Canada would effectively cease to be a real country.

      As for Texas: I know many Texans who would likely balk at that proposal. However, I will say this about any potential CALEXIT (1 in 3 Californians apparently favor secession): I will gladly trade California to Canada in order to get the prosperous Alberta. That’s a square deal if I’ve ever heard one. 😛

      Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff! You can also check out my work over at American Greatness (www.amgreatness.com) or keep your eyes out for the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s (FPRI) quarterly journal, Orbis, as my article on national security space policy will be published in the Spring edition. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@BrandonWeichert), and on Facebook (@TheWeichertReport). Also, please be sure to follow my YouTube Page (The Weichert Report). THANKS!

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  2. The Wildrose party may may have originated from originated from the disenfranchised older Albertans who, in the 1980’s and 1990’s supported Separatism, but it has morphed into a much more centrist, Federalist organization under Brian Jean.

    Separatism is not a new concept in Alberta. Alberta is the only province outside of Quebec in the past 30 years to have elected separatists into their Provincial Legislature. However, a large plurality of Albertans still view themselves as Canadians. The Separatist movement really died down when the Reform Party arose and went completely dormant when Stephen Harper rose to become Prime Minister. While Stephen Harper was an Albertan by adoption, he was born in Toronto and was absolutely a Canadian federalist first and foremost. Albertans loved him for his defence of Alberta, and his love of Canada was infectious.

    The 2015 election that saw Justin Trudeau elected, however, left a huge mark on Albertans and Western Canadians in general. Much of the rhetoric around the 2015 Federal Election revolved a great deal around antagonism by Eastern Canadians towards Albertans as a consequence of Stephen Harper. In particular, a French interview of Justin Trudeau where he claimed Canada’s problems were a result of “Albertans controlling our social democratic instututions” and that “this country, Canada, belongs to Quebec.”

    The day after Trudeau’s victory, social media groups calling for Western Canadian and Alberta Separation emerged attracting thousands of followers. The largest group, “The Republic of Western Canada” at present has approximately 27,000 followers.

    In Alberta politics, the big fear among the right is of vote splitting between the traditional “Progressive Conservative” (PC) party, aka, the Tories who true to their name sake are a conservative loyalists, adhereing to the notion of traditionally federalist British-Canadian politics. The Wild Rose Party, though Albertan in origin, have greatly moderated their town to become more centrist themslves.

    Brian Jean himself was a Federal Member of Parliament in the federal Conservative Party before assuming leadership of the party. Jason Kenney, the leading contender to take over leadership of the battered Alberta PC’s was also a Provincial MP with Conservative Party a well. Kenney’s leadership campaign revolves entirely upon a unification of the PC party with the Wildrose, which will likely make the new party even more centrist and federalist in nature.

    I do not believe Wildrose is a separatist party.

    I believe after the 2019 Alberta provincial election, regardless of who wins, a separatist party will emerge. In the meantime, grassroots movements are growing in support of Alberta separation.

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    • I am all for it – Justin wants to make amendments to constitution with out any consideration of majority . Taking rights and freedom away and giving us Moslem laws to abide to – done – let’s separate – don’t need the bullshit of Ottawa

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  3. I’m following every online news report about Alberta becoming the 51st state, because I hope it succeeds. Alberta would be a pretty big state, the then lower 49 states would extend further north. I wish British Columbia would become a state, since it would link Alaska directly with the then lower 49 states. Or what if like Arizona and New Mexico, the new official American region would just be added to another state? Alaska in this case. Although the people in southern Arizona and southern New Mexico who did not want to be in America, or Arizona or New Mexico for that matter- want to secede from those states and create their own: Baja Arizona and Baja New Mexico. But for now, I just want a Canadian province to become a U.S. State. I’m more interested in land area than land value or benefits from a well developed province as a new State. Between Ontario and Quebec for example, I would like Quebec more to become a U.S. State. Then Ontario, then out of order- British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador… The rest- either one next would be good enough, except Nunavut.

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  4. Enjoyed this article. There are 3 areas of concern in Alberta which are: 1) Equalization 2) Electoral Reform 3) Debt by Federal Liberals. These subjects can be dissected into a miasma of subject where Alberta is disadvantaged by the East with particular reference to Quebec. Alberta has not received equalization since 1950 which infuriates us particularly after having worked so hard to develop our oil/gas resources.
    Atavism from the East towards the West has a powerful sociological effect on the political movements here in Alberta. Our technology in oil/gas is world celebrated while Quebec continues to dump sewage in our St. Lawrence. I think we are pragmatic people and feel much money is wasted on language laws.
    Brian jean is hardworking, knows the numbers and yes I am a secessionist and strongly motivated in this world disorder as Canada has not and will not be able to protect itself from Russia in the North, N. Korea missiles, etc and in fact the Liberals are not protecting Canadians with their platforms and quite frankly, in my opinion being politically childish in their affront to Americans re Norsat, open borders, and so on. thanklessness for US protection does not go unnoticed by Alberta as we have gone “unthanked” for years.

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