Alberta is fertile ground for spawning political parties and there is no shortage of ones that have a separatist leaning. To name a few; the Western Canada Concept, the Republic of Alberta, the Republic of Western Canada, the Alberta Independence Party, the Separation Party of Alberta, the Western Block Party and maybe one or two that I have missed. These cover both federal and provincial endeavors.
They have a couple things in common:
1) Generally it is the same perennial group of people trying to catch a wave of angry Albertans.
2) They are considered just extreme enough that it is difficult for the general public to take them seriously.
It is no secret I have a soft spot for these guys, however I have a stronger belief in Canada and would prefer Alberta strengthen its position within our country. So it is no surprise this has been the source of many heated discussions in our household.
It only took four short weeks of campaigning, when Cory ran as a SPA candidate, for me to realize the S pill is way too big for people to swallow. Sure others will point to surveys that say 20+ or 30+ percentage of Albertans are willing to discuss or explore independence, but the reality is they will never, en masse, support a party whose sole goal is separation and actually put an X on the ballot for such a party.
I have a strong belief that for those who want to pursue independence and educate other Albertans of the benefits; it should be done through an advocacy or lobby group. That group can then pressure the government of the day to put it forth on a referendum as per the Clarity Act.
When people ask me what they can do towards this goal I make two general suggestions.
1) Contact your MLA; determine their position or in the case of some parties, the party position. Also look at the parties platforms; do they have a position on the Clarity Act and referenda.
2) Direct them to the Alberta Agenda website, which is an off-shoot of the Alberta Residents League.
The ARL has been organized and operating for over six years. They have been successful in developing a network across the province. They actively advertise and educate Albertans on the advantages of the Alberta Agenda items. They have also dedicated a lot of time (and I suspect funds) in solid research of the Agenda items.
Which brings us to the newest kid on the block, the Western Business and Taxpayers Association who in their initial press release announced the; “Separatist Business and Taxpayers Association Created.” They started out saying they might just a group or they might morph into a party. Since then they seem to have dropped the party goal. Bouquets of Gray has done a superb job of following the developments.
I know many of the individuals who are on the WBTA board. I will not comment on their individual strengths or weaknesses, but I would like to call into question why they are trying to invent something that already exists with the Alberta Agenda group? Why not put their efforts behind something that is up and running?
As a CFO for a provincial party, the other thing I must really question is what they intend to do with the funds they raise. They say they will “… fund any and all who share our vision of a new nation.” From this and one of their other points it would appear they will be making funds available to candidates and/or parties. Which begs the question; why would one donate to them rather than directly to the candidate or party and receive the tax benefit of it?
The long and short of this is that we do have separatist leaning individuals in our province; they certainly are not a majority by any means. And until they can “unite” those who want to "separate", it is unlikely to get any traction.