Canada’s re-election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party has caused even more political divisions than previously believed.
Earlier in October, Trudeau won a narrow victory, with his Liberal Party failing to garner a clear majority at the federal level. This means the Liberals are no longer able to form a government without a coalition. Despite the loss, Conservatives like PM candidate Andrew Scheer have argued that Ottawa now has a mandate to govern more from the center.
For Canadians, Trudeau has a reputation similar to that of former President Barack Obama in the United States. He has been accused of outsourcing Canadian jobs, and ignoring the needs of more rural provinces like Alberta, which the BBC News referred to as the “Texas of Canada.” Now, political leaders in the province are leading a new movement that could see the province declare its independence from the country, along with other western provinces including Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Named in reference to the United Kingdom’s referendum to leave the European Union in 2016, “Wexit” is now a mainstream political movement in western Canada. Conservatives in the oil-rich region say the provinces there have been taken advantage of by being given little representation in parliament, despite contributing to almost a fifth of Canada’s GDP.
“Is it real? Yeah. People are mad,” Conservative MP Randy Hoback told Politico. “I’ve never seen it like this.”
Politico reports that the Conservative Party, the lead opposition to Trudeau’s government, swept all seats but one in Alberta. Trudeau’s Liberals maintain a strong hold in Ontario — especially in eastern cities like Toronto. Separatist-friendly Albertans refer to the province’s call for the construction of a pipeline, and the failure of the federal government to compensate the province for their oil contributions.
“Albertans and Saskatchewanians are pissed off because they haven’t found a voice in Ottawa,” Barry Cooper, a political science professor at the University of Calgary in Alberta told BBC News. “It’s a failure of trying to understand the other – we don’t share the same myths about what the country looks like, and we never have.”
It seems like the same populist sentiment that ended with the UK’s vote to leave the EU, as well as the mid-western states in America’s clear support for President Donald Trump, is spreading in Canada. Should this continue, the political situation in the northern country could look very different very soon.
Here’s BNN Bloomberg with more on Alberta’s independence streak.