‘Canada has forsaken us’: Western separation calls grow on social media following federal election results

CALGARY — The Liberal victory in Monday’s federal election appears to have stoked the flames of Western alienation.

The vote knocked out Alberta’s three Liberal MPs, including Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi. And all but one of the province’s 34 ridings went or remained Tory blue, with the exception of Edmonton-Strathcona, where the NDP managed to hang on.

Over the past day, thousands of Facebook users signed up to a group called VoteWexit.com — a community calling for Western Canada to separate from Canada entirely. Some social media users posted about their discontent on Facebook and Twitter, with some saying the Liberal minority result is proof of antagonism in the rest of Canada against the West.

One Facebook poster said he’d already reached out to provincial politicians demanding an Alberta-wide referendum on whether to separate from Canada.

The concept of Alberta separation in particular isn’t new. In a July poll by Abacus Data, about 25 per cent of Albertans surveyed said they’d vote to leave Canada — the second-highest separatist sentiment in the country after Quebec. In the lead-up to Monday’s vote, former Wildrose Party leader-turned-columnist Danielle Smith called for Alberta to become a “nation within a nation” with its own border patrol, collecting its own taxes, and leaving the Canada Pension Plan, in an op-ed for the Calgary Herald.

But others on Twitter pushed back against the idea, insisting separation from Canada wouldn’t solve Alberta’s main problems (namely, difficulties getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to the West Coast).

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Brennan Doherty

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