As the federal election draws near, the plight of Western Canadians is being noticed, with statistics and the media suggesting Western voters will be going to the polls angry in 2019.
After four years of assault on the Canadian energy sector, the introduction of a carbon tax and disastrous trade policies, the resource-based provinces of Western Canada have been feeling more distressed.
Earlier this year True North reported on new statistics showing western discontent on the rise, with 86% of Albertans believe that their province is becoming more infuriated with the federal government. This feeling is shared by 81% of people in Saskatchewan, and 63% of British Columbians.
These numbers are significantly higher than decades past, demonstrating the negative effects the carbon tax and pipeline-restricting laws like Bill C-69 have had Western provinces.
Anti-Energy policies and Justin Trudeau’s intention to “phase out” the oil sands has led many Western Canadians to believe that there is no reason to stay part of Canada.
Half of Albertans in one survey believe Alberta leaving Canada is a real possibility, and 25% were willing to support it, compared to just 28% of Quebecers.
This disillusionment directly led to the United We Roll convoy, a massive demonstration that took Western discontent directly to Ottawa.
Despite only asking for the government to pay attention to the plight of the energy sector, United We Roll was largely mischaracterized by the mainstream media.
With the election underway, more western Canadians are voicing their frustrations with the Canadian government.
“I’ve honestly never felt so… not even under-appreciated, just like completely ignored,” says Sarah Leguee, a Saskatchewan grain farmer contacted by Global News.
“It seems like any time we, you know, say something, we just get labelled as racists, as bigots.”
Canada’s failure to act when India put tariffs on Canadian lentils or when China targeted Canadian products substantially hurt Western farmers like Leguee
This feeling of resentment is not isolated to regular people, their feelings are shared by Western leaders.
Former Opposition Leader Preston Manning recently told reporters that he has been noticing the surge of resentment in the West.
“The problems with the energy sector and the inability to get resources to tidewater and world markets are all fuelling Western alienation,” the former Reform Party Leader said.
While the Trudeau government does not seem interested in addressing Western concerns regarding economy, Manning suggests parties take the time to address their concerns or else risk further alienation.
“Don’t dismiss them,” he said.
“Don’t tell people, ‘You’ve got no right to be angry or mad,’ but try and provide constructive alternatives rather than tearing things apart.”