Western Canada wants its own self inflicted wound.
Uninterested in fighting the pandemic, Alberta’s ruling United Conservative Party never tires of fighting a manufactured culture war instead. A virus doesn’t care about rhetoric, and it fights back. A straw man of your own devising — a bad argument that you invent yourself — always makes a convenient target. For decades, right wing politicians have riled up prairie dwellers with victim narratives that blame an unlikely bogeyman: their own country.
Think of Alberta as Canada’s trust fund kid. They have the biggest egos and sense of entitlement in the country. They have the largest incomes of any province, upon which they pay the lowest tax rates, and never tire of complaining how horribly hard done by this somehow makes them.
On October 18th, they’re holding a referendum on whether to demand the removal of Canada’s equalization program from the country’s constitution. Never mind that they have absolutely no power whatsoever to do so. Amending the national constitution would require agreement from every province, not mere bullying from just one. The impotence of the gesture is the point. They want to crank up the frustration felt by voters who back this feeble demand. Their more extreme elements hope to build momentum for “Wexit,” a secessionist movement that sees Brexit as an inspiration and hopes to duplicate it for themselves.
Brexit, as was easily predicted by many before the fact, is a total clusterfuck, arguably the greatest self inflicted wound any nation has dealt to itself in modern history. Who could possibly have predicted that removing yourself from the market which provided virtually all of your needs and effectively imposing sanctions on yourselves while giving all of your traditional allies and trading partners the finger might be a bad idea, other than pretty much anybody? Empty store shelves, unpicked produce rotting in the fields, skilled worker shortages and fights over gasoline are the hard impact of Brexit just getting started. The dregs of an empire that once spanned the globe is collapsing towards third world conditions.
You’d have to be a special kind of crazy to watch such a depressing spectacle and want the same for yourself…