Western alienation is a real issue in Alberta’s election tomorrow and could determine the future of our energy industry
For a guy who says one of his fondest memories as a Canadian was watching the Quebec separatist movement fail at the ballot box in 1995, Brett Wilson sure talks a lot about his own province seceding.
The entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist has been bringing up the idea of the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan dropping out of the country with increasing frequency. He sees separation as a potential remedy for moves by the federal government and other provinces — carbon taxes, the cancellation of a pipeline to the Pacific, the obstruction of a pipeline to the Atlantic — that he says amount to “economic civil war.”
“I remember celebrating when the Bloc Quebecois failed because I love my Canada,” he said in an interview, referring to the federal party that advocated Quebec’s secession. “That’s why I describe myself as a frustrated nationalist, not in any way a separatist.”
But Wilson, who was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and made his fortune in Calgary through ventures like investment bank FirstEnergy Capital Corp., added: “It’s real easy for Alberta and Saskatchewan to feel like they’re being pushed out of confederation.”
Wilson — an occasional panelist on “Dragon’s Den” — isn’t alone in that thinking. It’s become a major undertone in Alberta’s provincial election this week and could determine the future of Canada’s energy industry.