I formed the Alberta Independence Party in 2000 at the ripe old age of 29. I was full of piss, vinegar, and inexperience. The party didn’t last long but the experience gained was invaluable.
Now more than 20 years later, other Western independence groups and parties have come and gone. All of the same regional grievances exist and we are no closer to independence than we were decades ago.
We continue to go in circles and keep making the same mistakes. While the situation of the West hasn’t changed in the last 20 years, I have.
I have remained active in provincial political circles and have served in roles ranging from election candidate for the Separation Party of Alberta to VP of policy for the Wildrose Party of Alberta when they were the official opposition.
After every assault on the wealth or culture of the West, we see new supporters of independence created. Every time a Conservative candidate takes us for granted or a Liberal candidate insults us, a few more people realize that the West’s relationship with Canada is untenable.
New supporters of Western independence are often politically inexperienced. They are ready to pursue independence but don’t know where to begin. They need a guide and I am putting it together.
It’s time for a new approach and there is little need to keep slamming into the walls that I already have.
The book is now in the final stages of editing and an electronic version will be published soon. The introduction is below. Consider signing up in the form at the bottom of the page so you can be informed when the full book is available.
Support for Western independence in Canada has had ebbs and flows for decades. Western alienation in Canada has existed since the beginning of confederation.
This book is for those who have concluded that the time has come for Western independence but may not know where to begin. We have tried to achieve change through the electoral system for generations to no avail. Attempts to change the constitution are futile as demonstrated by the failure of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.
Canada’s system is outdated and lopsided. It is designed to serve Central Canada at the expense of outlying provinces. The deck is stacked and we will never win by playing within the existing structure.
The Reform Party burst upon the scene with the message of “The West wants in”. Through decades of pressure and compromise, the Reform Party merged into the mushy Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) of today. Even with O’Toole throwing Western interests to the wind by flip-flopping on his carbon-tax and firearm rights stances, the CPC was rejected by Central Canada in favour of the scandal-ridden Liberals. Western interests will never be a priority in federal politics. It is political suicide for a federal party to serve anything but Central Canada’s demands.
Western independence parties and movements have come and gone over the years. The Western Canada Concept made inroads in the 1980s and faded away. The Alberta Independence Party made ripples at the end of the 1990s and dissolved shortly into the 2000s. The Separation Party of Alberta came and went by 2010. Wexit was formed in 2019 and morphed into the soft-regionalist Maverick Party that made little more than a blip in the 2021 election.
We need to approach the pursuit of Western independence differently or we will never break out of the pattern of chronic failure that has marked the movement so far.
Rather than spawning more parties and advocacy groups, Western independence proponents need to build their base as individuals.
A lasting foundation for Western independence won’t be built through electoral runs or advocacy groups that seem to be little more than fundraising machines. Those organizations inevitably fall apart due to self-interested leadership, infighting or the compromising of core principles by the impatient.
Every supporter of Western independence needs to become an ambassador for the movement. The discussion forum for independence needs to be at dinner tables, over the neighbour’s fence, and in the lunchroom at work. Growth needs to be organic and from peer to peer.
This book will provide the tools to become an effective advocate for Western independence. Not as an annoying fanatic, but as a rational voice for a concept whose time has come.
Supporters for Western independence need to be won one person at a time. It will take patience and many conversations but this is how we will build the environment for the sea-change required in order to make Western independence a reality.
As Western independence proponents, we must to be able to effectively counter the common arguments made against independence. We need to be able to express how it’s the Canadian system rather than the Canadian people that we are eschewing.
We also need to avoid the mistakes made by previous independence movements.
Rather than having an independence movement represented by a handful of parties and groups we need to have a movement made up of hundreds of thousands of active, individual supporters. A true grassroots movement is invulnerable to the damage that organizations can cause under poor leadership.
When we communicate with our peers about independence, we speak directly and genuinely. The bias of the mainstream media is bypassed when we take on communication individually.
Once the strong foundation of support for Western independence is built, the parties will follow. As the late Ralph Klein said, his secret was to find out where the parade was going and to get in front of it. Once we build the parade, rest assured we will see plenty of prospective leaders and spokespeople rushing to get in front of it.
The concept is old but our approach needs to be new. This book will chart the path to Western independence and it begins with you.
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