Separatist Leader Now Wants Alberta to Join the US - Vice

As the Western Canadian separatist movement Wexit becomes more mainstream, the group’s founder is hoping to lead disillusioned western Canadians ... to become the U.S.’s 51st state.
“Just like Wexit wasn’t mainstream and mainstream, the American option isn’t mainstream but it will be,” said Peter Downing, the driving force behind Wexit.
Wexit is a growing movement of conservative western Canadians who want to separate from eastern Canada. The group, built off existing separatist sentiment and western rage, was founded by Downing in early 2019 and has grown to become an actual political entity: it’s now a registered party in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan (although in some province’s Wexit has changed names and merged with other separatist groups).
Downing recently resigned as the leader of the official Wexit party in June, making way for Jay Hill, a longtime mainstream Conservative Party politician from 1993 to 2010. The appointment of Hill, who had stints as both the chief Conservative Party whip and the house leader, granted Wexit a new air of legitimacy. It’s also allowed Downing to focus on the next stage of his plan.
“Stage 2 is the next logical approach, to touch on what the Liberals and what the eastern Canadian elite fear the most: Alberta secession to the United States,” Downing told VICE News. “All the arguments against (Albertan separation)—us being landlocked, losing investment—all those things simply just go away.”
“We’re looking forward to our Wexodous,” he said. He’s also launched a website for the “Alberta 51” movement.
Western alienation has grown since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first took office in 2015 and downright exploded with the economic downturn in Alberta and Trudeau’s re-election last year. A recent poll showed that while only 7 percent of Canadians think that the western provinces leaving the country is a good idea, 20 percent of Albertans believed in the cause and 26 percent more could “live with it.”  (editors note: 20+26 = 46 percent of Albertians). ...
“The anger is so deep-seated and the frustration with a failed Confederation is so widespread now in Western Canada that we are taking this extraordinary step, I believe, to organize federally…and elect members to Parliament similar to what the Bloc Québécois (a federal political party devoted to Quebec sovereignty) has done,” said Hill.
Downing, a former RCMP officer ... said he helped recruit Hill for the role of leader and hinted that joining the U.S. was always the plan. Now, Downing is raising money for billboards that’ll go up not just in Alberta, but also in the U.S. where he’s hoping to convince Americans of the benefits of taking in the Wildrose province. ...
The slow-burning, pragmatic approach Hill is likely going to take will be a sharp departure from the large promises and brash stylings of Wexit 1.0. For Downing, this isn’t a worry.
“The reality of the situation is going to be all of us, whether it’s me or Jay Hill, we all gotta put up or shut up,” Downing said. “We gotta deliver the goods for Albertans.”
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