The 51st State Alberta USA?

My deepest apologies for not writing in a long time. It’s been a very busy summer with Covid-19 and American as well as Canadian politics taking centre stage.

A new group has emerged. Led by the former leader and driving force on independence, Peter Downing, who has seen fit to change course. His group, entitled “The 51st State Alberta USA” desires to leave Canada and join the United States as the 51st state.

After some consideration, the Polite Separatist cannot endorse this or even consider it as a viable option. Here’s why.

“The Canadian constitution does not authorize or prohibit secession. It is simply not mentioned either way.” – about 51st state Facebook page.

Ah but it is. Dismembering Canada will require a Constitutional Amendment. Amending the Constitution has received much debate in Canada, and the two most comprehensive attempts to revise the document, the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord, have both been defeated. Chapter XIII clearly lays out what is required to amend the constitution, that being the “750” requirement. This is seven provinces representing at least 50 per cent of the population of all the provinces must approve. Minor amendments have been approved such as renaming the Province of Newfoundland to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In case of a province leaving confederation to join the US thereby causing great upheaval in Canada it is very doubtful that majority could be achieved.

“In the case of Quebec, they recognized this. So, the separatists took over the provincial government by the will of the people, and they pushed a referendum to secede.” – about 51st state Facebook page.

Well, I’ll be kind and say, sort of. Quebec is a unique case since there are significant cultural, historical and societal differences that have existed since the Plains of Abraham in 1759. In order to keep New France (Quebec) from jumping to the American colonies, Guy Carleton, the 1st Baron of Dorchester issued the Quebec Act of 1774, recognizing French and Catholicism traditions while ensuring they were citizens of the Kingdom of Great Britain. As such, there has always been an air of uniqueness that endures to this day. Over time this has morphed in a separatist movement that not only ended in defeat in referendums but also spurred the creation and passing of the Clarity Act. And the Clarity Act, for all its one sided advantages is what must be satisfied in Canada.

“Under international law, a democratic referendum only needs a 51% vote in order to be recognized. Kosovo is an excellent example of a Universal Declaration of Independence. Even Canada recognized Kosovo’s independence. – about 51st state Facebook page.

Yes, but. There are many examples where the mother state did not agree with this, Catalonia comes to mind as a recent example. Also, the Kosovo Declaration of Independence of 2008 came after years of bitter fighting resulting in many deaths. And it also resulted in the alienation of the Serb minority in Kosovo. One should note that not all countries recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Is Alberta prepared to go the Kosovo or Catalonia route? The Polite Separatist does not see the benefit of this.

Would the United States admit Alberta into the Union? Because Canada is the largest trading partner of America it is doubtful that there would be much appetite in the halls of Congress and Senate to enter any kind of conflict with Canada. True, Alberta does trade with the US to the tune of about $105 Billion per year. However Canada trades $1.9 Billion per day with the US. Would Americans want to compromise that or destabilize nearly $700 Billion in trade in any way?

We in the independence movement have suffered greatly from division and turf wars. Joining the US is just the latest manifestation of this. This has given a tremendous aid to those who would have us fail. Stopping this is paramount.

Lastly, there is the question of who is the master of our house? Are Westerners prepared to trade a master in Ottawa with a master in Washington? Are Westerners keen on importing all the violence and disharmony in the US today and perhaps worse in the future?

Independence is the answer for a strong West, not trading one of ten for one of fifty-one.

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