Rumblings of separation have been around for years but after the 43rd federal election results were in on Mon. Oct. 21, this cry for change exploded.
An online Facebook group called WEXIT (Western Exit) accumulated 30,000 members within its first hour of inception, showing the increasing demand for western separation from Canada.
One Stettler man, in particular, is taking a different approach to this idea.
Dr. David Zondag of Stettler proposes Albertans should sell the province of Alberta to the United States for a hefty price tag of $500 Billion US rather than being a sovereign, landlocked country.
Seeing how the downturn of the economy continues to escalate and foreign investment pulling out, he felt it was prudent to take a drastic change to keep Alberta viable.
“If you don’t have foreign income coming in to your province you don’t have a way to sustain yourself so with all the regulations and fighting in between BC and the federal government not allowing us to get pipelines to get our product to market it became obvious that we need a radical solution and that solution is to join the United States,” said Dr. Zondag.
To initiate this process, Dr. Zondag is committed to raising $30 million to hold a province-wide referendum on or before Oct. 1, 2020 to separate from Canada.
He calculated this to about $15 per person.
He says proceeds of the sale to the US will result in $100,000 for each family within the province.
His website, sellalberta.com, goes in-depth as to why this would be the appropriate route to take.
Selling Alberta could provide things like sustained health care, control of the education system, keeping the Statutes of Alberta as the Law of the State and all federal assets remain in Alberta.
This sale would also have certificates, diplomas, degrees, doctorates, etc. become US compliant instead of Canadian compliant.
Currency would be changed to the US dollar rather than other ideas such as ‘the Prairie Oyster’ joked about online.
Land titles and water rights would remain as written under the Land Titles Act.
Alberta would also potentially get two senators and the appropriate number of congressmen, for fair proportional representation at the Federal Government level, which Albertans currently do not have.
“If we just separate to a ragtag country we won’t have a lot of credibility,” he said. “With the United States, you have an incredible amount of credibility and the world loves to invest in the United States so we would fall under that protective umbrella.”
“Second of all, the United States has only 40 billion barrels of oil in reserves where we have 160. The US has spent trillions of dollars stabilizing the Middle East in order to protect their oil supply when we could to that for them for a fraction of the cost so by becoming a state they could essentially pull out of the Middle East.”
Zondag raised a question as to why separating has to be the solution to this problem. “There is a lot of talk about Alberta joining the US, just separating and joining, that’s fine but why doesn’t it make sense to sell? Because Alberta is ours. We the people of the province own it.”
“Since we’ve been falling backwards for the last few years, it’s time we finally benefited a little bit.” Zondag has found many benefits to selling, like the ending of fighting to get oil through rather than fighting with surrounding neighbours or the federal government.
“The Americans are just better business partners than the Canadian federal government so in many ways it makes more sense to sell,” he continued.
Despite the positives he identified, Zondag did note one negative that could prevent people from wanting to pursue this.
“The drawback is that people don’t want to become Americans. People are proud Canadians but we have only been here for 100 years, we don’t have a lot of culture, Canadiana established. And if we don’t do this we remain proud broke Canadians.”
Despite the push for this, the Stettlerite is not happy to be resorting to this.
“I don’t like the choice and it may not be the best choice but the least worst choice we have right now,” he said.
Compared to Venezuela, a country where Zondag spent some of his life in, over four million people have left the country due to the mismanagement of their exports and the lack of jobs associated with it.
“The remainder of the people who are there over the last three years, they have on average lost 35 pounds per person. I can see that slowly happening to Alberta if we do not exploit our oil and gas reserves,” said Zondag.
As for the correlation between WEXIT and selling, Zondag agreed that people are looking for a solution in order to get rid of the power of the federal government.
The difference is the challenge of creating a new government from scratch as well as resources and services.
“WEXIT has a problem because you need to get more than one province together and creating a federal government is a daunting task. You need federal aviation, you need immigration, you need border protection services and it’s a lot more efficient and effective for us to slide under the US federal umbrella rather than it is to create our own.”