A group dedicated to western separation has taken the first step towards fielding election Candidates. Wexit Alberta has applied to be an official political party with Elections Canada.

Wexit Alberta’s leader, Peter Downing, said early Monday that the group is in the process of becoming a sanctioned federal party.

“We’re sending in over 500 signatures, over double the required 250 signatures,” Downing told CTV.

“We’re going to do for Western Canada what the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec.”

Wexit, which stands for “Western exit,” is a burgeoning movement that wishes to see the western provinces leave confederation.

The group saw an immediate spike in interest after the federal election, in which the governing Liberals failed to win a single seat in Alberta or Saskatchewan. The Liberals also lost seats in British Columbia and Manitoba.

Wexit Alberta received a good reception at its first rally in Edmonton. Rallies in Calgary and Red Deer are scheduled for later this month.

The group desires to see Alberta separate from Canada and create an independent federal republic.

“We will ensure that Alberta remains sovereign, and no way subordinate to the Government of Canada, British Crown, or the United Nations,” the group’s platform reads.

Downing said that the current dynamic between the west and Ottawa is not fair, especially with regards to equalization payments.

“From our perspective, it’s a very unfair equalization program. We went through a horrible downturn and are still going through that right now,” said Downing.

“For a number of reasons right now Western Canadians, and Alberta, in particular, are looking into the situation and we really do think that we are going to be better off separate from the ruling authorities in Ottawa.”

After the election, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding action on Alberta issues such as equalization fairness and pipelines, none of which have been addressed as of yet.

Kenney remains firmly against the idea of Alberta secession.

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