Response to Pierre Poilievre’s Statement that He “Understands Alberta Separatism”
During his most recent campaign rally in Calgary, Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre spoke briefly on the rise of separatist movements in Quebec and Alberta. “Well, listen. I understand why you feel that way. I understand the frustration of being a Western Canadian and feeling like your central government is attacking you. I get it.” But does he really understand?
I like Pierre Poilievre, but I have not met him. I like that he acknowledges the tyranny of the majority (Eastern voters) over the minority (Alberta voters). I like that he seems to understand that if you respect individual freedoms and rights, societal freedoms and rights will also be respected, but the reverse does not hold. I like that he supported the truckers and chastised the Liberal Government for the draconian methods employed in Ottawa, including the unnecessary freezing of accounts. I like that he understands the fallacy of anthropogenic climate change, and that the real purpose of the climate change movement is a socialist wealth transfer. I like that he speaks out against the dystopian “Great Reset” contracted by the global elites of the World Economic Forum – United Nations under “Agenda 2030”. But does he really have a lasting solution for any of the aforementioned? And does he really “understand Alberta separatism”?
Although Pierre was born in Calgary, as a federal politician, I question if he truly understands the rationale for why so many Albertans wish to get out from under the suffocating control of Ottawa. To be fair, most federal politicians also do not understand why Alberta independence is on the rise. Let’s examine a few key points:
1. Does Mr. Poilievre understand that the “fix” was in from the beginning. Alberta was incorporated into Canada on Sept 1, 1905, thanks to Clifford Sifton, the Minister of the Interior in the Liberal Government of Sir Wilfred Laurier. In 1904 Mr. Sifton made a very prescient statement, “We desire, and all Canadian patriots desire (referring only to those living in the east) that the great trade of the prairies (meaning Alberta’s wealth) shall go to enrich our people in the east, to build up our factories and places of work, and in every legitimate way contribute to our prosperity”. Alberta started as a colony in 1905 and remains a colony of the east 116 years later and continues to be pillaged and plundered for the benefit of the east.
2. Does Mr. Poilievre really understand how the first Trudeau divided Canada, imposed price reductions on oil from Alberta to benefit the east, and then imposed export taxes on Alberta oil, which resulted in a massive shift of wealth from Alberta to the east. Does Mr. Poilievre understand the real purpose of the National Energy Policy of 1980? It was enacted to prevent Alberta from becoming the center of economic power in Canada, and to buy Quebec’s loyalty to Canada with Alberta’s wealth. Since 1965 nearly $700 billion was confiscated from Alberta, for which Alberta has not received one penny in return.
3. Does Mr. Poilievre understand that Albertans overwhelmingly feel over-governed, over-regulated and over-taxed? Is he aware that we are federally taxed nearly $60 billion per year, of which we get back about $27 billion, and that we overfund the Canadian Pension Plan by nearly $3 billion per year? It is self-evident that our seniors could use that overage.
4. Does Mr. Poilievre recognize that the traditional nuclear family is under socialist ideological attack, and does he recognize that the family is the pillar of society from which principles, morals, ethical behaviour, accountability, knowledge, and critical thinking are passed on to future generations; and that socialist school systems should not get in-between parents and their children?
5. Does Mr. Poilievre understand that the majority of Albertans are not in favor of wokeness, cancel culture, critical race theory or the “Great Reset”, and don’t believe that the federal government or our provincial government will prevent these policies from being implemented?
6. Does Mr. Poilievre understand that not one federal government or provincial government since 1905 has ever protected Alberta’s interests, wealth, or self-determination. In other words, no government has or will protect the individual freedoms, rights, and prosperity of Albertans, because:
6.1 of the structural electoral imbalance which ensures that all federal elections will be decided by voter rich Quebec and Ontario, and
6.2 it does not matter which party is in power. In order to be elected and to remain in power, the party will always pander to the wishes of the east at Alberta’s expense.
7. Does Mr. Poilievre understand that the five hurdles to change the Constitution precludes protecting the individual freedoms and prosperity of Albertans? Surely he is aware of the two previous attempts to change the Constitution, both of which failed. But look how easily a Liberal appointed Supreme Court over-rode the Constitution to implement a carbon tax which disproportionately harms Albertans.
8. Does Mr. Poilievre know that 47% of decided voters in Alberta favored independence in a Mainstream Research Poll reported on October 19, 2021? Was Mr. Poilievre aware that Jack Mintz, the Chair of Public Policy at the University of Calgary determined that ending our hydrocarbon industry would result in a one-third reduction in the average incomes of Albertans? Is Mr. Poilievre aware of the Angus Reid Survey from Jan 4, 2022, that reported 73% of Albertans are disillusioned with the federal government. And on Jan 12, 2022, 87% of Albertans polled by Angus Reid were concerned about inflation and the cost-of-living? Is Mr. Poilievre aware of this?
9. Is Mr. Poilievre aware of the federal government cancellations of Alberta-based projects such as Keystone XL, Energy East, Northern Gateway, Teck Resources, and the recent federal denial of the Suncor Expansion? While denying the Suncor project, the federal government approved the Bay du Nord oil drilling project off the coast of Newfoundland. While Mr. Poilievre may “understand” these federal denials, I question if Mr. Poilievre truly understands the depth and breadth of Albertan’s anger at federal government overreach, socialist ideology, and confiscatory taxation, particularly since he represents the riding of Ottawa Carleton and rarely visits Alberta?
If Mr. Poilievre truly understands Alberta Separatism, then he should understand that it is not possible to improve Alberta’s circumstances within confederation since it hasn’t happened in the past 116 years. The barriers for change are impossible to overcome, and Alberta has no leverage to protect itself. However, a successful referendum on Alberta independence would give Alberta the moral and legal legitimacy to chart a new path forward. And if Mr. Poilievre really understands “Alberta Separatism”, he should also understand that saving Alberta may just save Canada.
Finally, Mr. Poilievre would have far more control and influence leading Alberta to independence than he will ever have as PM of Canada. And even if he became the PM of Canada he, like all previous PMs, will be controlled by eastern interests and voters, to the perpetual detriment of Alberta. It is naive to think otherwise.
Dennis L Modry, MD
CEO, Alberta Prosperity Project