During a meeting in Ottawa, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister gave some “friendly advice” to Justin Trudeau. Pallister told Trudeau that there was growing frustration in western Canada has towards Ottawa, according to the CBC.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues that came up during the election campaign. This included climate change and indigenous issues, as well as western alienation. Speaking to the CBC, Pallister stated that “there’s some great frustration with the lack of progress, not just on pipelines, but on other things.”
Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell has called Wexit “nuts” and that it was created to sow “unnecessary division.”
Speaking to Global News, Campbell stated that “adult” conversations were necessary with policies like equalization, and yet the dialogue has been anything but mature.
“We’re a complex country and we are always going to have issues that need solving,” she added. When Campbell was prompted on Wexit she gave out an incensed screech: “It’s nuts! I’m sorry, it’s a dead-end, so Alberta’s going to separate and that’s going to make it easier to get access to open water? That is a slogan designed to make people angry.”
Campbell’s comments come after the surging support in western separatism deriving from Justin Trudeau’s re-election. Since then, a notable online presence has grown in support of the Wexit movement, and the premiers of western provinces have cautioned Trudeau of the stark consequences of western alienation.
Campbell finished by saying that the Wexit movement “was not how grown-up people address problems … I see this and I think grow up!”
A Twitter search of Campbell’s tweets on Quebec show no similar criticism of the separatist movement in that province.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet has attacked Alberta Premier Kenney by saying that he needs to “start explaining things with truth.” Blanchet went on to say that Kenney had been spreading “false information” about the province’s equalization payments, according to Global News.
An indignant Blanchet told The West Block that Canada “does not send a cheque to Quebec … I would be glad if he started explaining things with truth instead of some false information as we see.”
When Blanchet was asked about the Wexit movement he stated that he understood “that some people in western Canada don’t feel comfortable in the presence of this country … but the desire to do whatever they want with their oil might not be a sufficient reason to fuel a desire to become a country.”
Blanchet’s comments is the latest escalation in the war of words between the Quebec and Alberta premiers. Last week, after leaving a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Blanchet told a scrum of reporters that he would not indulge western Canada’s desire to build an “oil state”.
Due to Kenney making a point of criticizing equalization payments, even going as far as to threaten a referendum, Blanchet’s position will further antagonize an already disenfranchised western Canada
Since 1960, Alberta has paid $600 billion in equalization payments to Ottawa, much of which has then relocated to Quebec. Over the last few years, Alberta’s economy has begun to slow down, even falling into a light recession this year. Despite this, they still have had to pay $23 billion each year for the past five years.
Blanchet’s comments, then, add additional salt to Alberta’s wound, especially as Quebec posted a $4 billion surplus.
Yves-François Blanchet has said that he will not do anything to alleviate western Canada’s frustration. Speaking to reporters, Bloc head Blanchet said that he would not lift a finger to “create an oil state in western Canada.”
These remarks came after Blanchet’s meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa today. Trudeau has been meeting with the leaders of the federal parties to prepare for parliament reopening on Dec. 5. After this meeting, Blanchet stated that he will support Trudeau’s minority government in emission-reducing initiatives, however, he will fight the Liberals on the TMX pipeline.
The Bloc’s intent to halt the pipeline will not cause Trudeau trouble in controlling the majority of the House.
Blanchet also indicated to reporters that he did not expect the throne speech to get in the way of Quebec’s secularism bill. Bill 21, the deeply controversial bill that stops public employees from wearing religious symbols, has created tension between English and French Canada.
Over the previous week, Trudeau has been meeting with provincial leaders, as well as Andrew Scheer, in an attempt to placate the increasing sentiment of alienation in western Canada. Blanchet’s most recent comment will only likely further this rift.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is calling PM Trudeau to recall Parliament just five days after Trudeau is expected to announce his cabinet.
According to the CBC, Scheer made the demand a day before the two leaders were supposed to meet.
Simon Jefferies, the spokesperson for Andrew Scheer, said Parliament should reconvene to address growing divisions in the country coupled with an economic downturn in the energy sector.
“Trudeau can’t keep running scared from testing the confidence of the House,” said Jefferies. “We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on behalf of Canadians.”
Jefferies said Scheer would try to convince Trudeau for certain priorities to be included in his throne speech. They’ll be based on the Conservatives’ priorities for the new Parliament.
Priorities include “keeping Canada united and strong,” “helping Canadians get ahead,” “restoring ethics and accountability in government,” and “getting the energy sector back to work.”
The Liberals won 157 seats this election, enough to form a minority government; the Conservatives came second with 121 MPs.
Trudeau has said he will reveal his new cabinet on November 20 but hasn’t announced when he plans to recall Parliament.