[Ted Morton] The West won’t get over this election, while fear of the future fuels feelings

[Ted Morton] The West won’t get over this election, while fear of the future fuels feelings

Opinion
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[Calgary Herald] Our news media is flooded with stories about the tsunami of separatist sentiment that has exploded in Western Canada since Monday’s federal election. Memberships for a “WEXIT” website soared from 2,500 to 125,000 in less than 24 hours. Signatures on an online petition to separate have surpassed 80,000 and more are being added every minute. (Google “Western Alliance Alberta Separation.”)

VIDEO: [Matthew Barry] Boston’s Sons of Liberty, fed up with being vulnerable to crippling policies and politics, protested British authority via the 1773 Boston Tea Party. Sound familiar? [Aug. 19, 2014]


Mainstream media and commentators are reassuring readers that this disturbance will dissipate. Of course, the 70 per cent of voters in Alberta and Saskatchewan who voted for the Conservatives and now find their provinces with not a single MP in the new Liberal government are angry. But this is just a passing phase. Albertans will get over it, and we will be back to business as usual soon enough. But they are wrong. And they are wrong for two reasons.

The first is this is not just about anger. It is about fear. Fear of losing jobs and the ripple effect this is having. The day after the election, Husky Energy laid off 200 employees in its Calgary office. These are not the first layoffs in the western oilpatch and they will not be the last.

During the election campaign, export oil and gas pipelines were treated as an infrastructure and financial issue. Which they are. But they are also a people issue. Bankruptcies and layoffs have a ripple effect on Main Street. When a spouse loses his or her job, young families suddenly can’t pay their home mortgages or car loan. They can’t afford or get to the kids’ hockey practices or soccer games. Predictably, since 2014 Alberta has witnessed a spike in domestic abuse, divorce and even suicides.

So no, this is not going to disappear shortly. Anger and frustration may. But fear is deeper.

This article continues at [Calgary Herald] [Ted Morton] It’s time for Alberta’s Boston Tea Party moment

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