I know. It sounds odd hearing from a dedicated independence advocate who literally formed an independence party back in 1999 saying we need to stop creating these parties.
Think about that though.
It has been over 24 years since I founded the Alberta Independence Party and neither that party nor the many other independence-leaning parties have made so much as a significant dent in an election. In fact, they are polling so low when they go to the voters, it is embarrassing.
Independence parties keep coming and going and people are investing a lot of political and literal capital into them which could be more effectively directed elsewhere.
Support for provincial independence has been polled as high as 25% and even a little more in Alberta. Independence parties struggle to break 2% when they go to elections.
Last fall, in the constituency of Brooks-Medicine Hat a by-election was held. That is prime territory for independence supporters. The Wildrose Independence Party garnered 0.44% of the vote while the Independence Party of Alberta took 1.77% of the support. Even combined, that is barely enough to be called a toehold of support.
It doesn’t help that independence parties love ripping themselves to pieces with infighting. The Independence Party of Alberta fired, then apparently rehired their leader Artur Pawlowski in the last few months. Likewise, the Wildrose Independence Party split and turfed their leader Paul Hinman and for awhile, they had two boards and two leaders all claiming to represent the party.
As the 2023 Alberta general election approaches, no independence party is in any kind of condition to seriously contest even a single seat, much less the election as a whole.
Support for independence in the West exists and it is ready to be fostered and grown. We won’t hit the tipping point of independence support through an independence party though and we have to quit wasting time on that approach.
Independence supporters need to participate in party politics but they need to do it within existing parties. They are just hitting their heads on the wall by constantly creating and imploding new parties.
Independence-promoting groups are essential and while they may come and go as well, they don’t hinder the movement like parties do.
We need to promote independence as individuals and in groups. Quit pissing around with new parties though. That path has been more than proven as a failure now.