Don't get me wrong. In certain respects, I like Erin O'Toole, but I remain ever skeptical of his 'true blue' Tory values, largely in part due to his platform. It failed to mention concerns of representation in Western Canada, despite highlighting Quebec's perceived issue on the same problem. There was no mention of triple-E senate reform, which is a pipe dream given that most elections are decided before a ballot is counted out West, or the budding separatist anger.
While his plan to undo the damage to our resource sector is appreciated, it presented nothing we haven't already heard before that separation wouldn't grant us altogether. Yet, the question remains whether we should believe him and give him and the Conservative Party of Canada one last chance?
Though he remains a half-decent representative with a military background and love for family, which, as a military veteran myself, is appreciated, he does not resonate with the party grassroots anymore than our beloved so-con darling, Andrew Scheer. He remains an establishment politician, a label which he has yet to shake off by the media, who prioritized central Canadian votes over the West, as expected.
Yes, he launched his campaign in Calgary, which served as a campaign platitude and nothing more. We grow weary of such ploys, having to deal with these under Justin Trudeau regularly.
Sure, O'Toole is best equipped to tackle veteran complaints and to bolster our undervalued under-equipped troops, but if he was fortunate enough to become the next Prime Minister, would he, as an easterner, take on Laurentian establishment politics to help the West? If he were to end equalization, end the carbon tax, end foreign oil imports, and force a pipeline through Quebec, then and only then should he have our attention.
But can he deliver for the West, and if he did, what are the costs?
Cancelling equalization would cost the CPC support in Quebec and the Maritimes, who have historically been net beneficiaries of Alberta's generosity.
Withdrawing the carbon tax would lose all of the options in Toronto's vote-rich regions and surrounding areas. As an aside, Dr. Lewis, a surprise so-con candidate from metropolitan Ontario, may or may not have swayed those ridings in our favour; however, the cultural divide between urban Toronto and rural Alberta was likely too vast to overcome on issues like gun rights and immigration, among others.
Ending foreign oil imports, especially from unethical producers like Saudi Arabia, and putting a pipeline through Quebec would cost support and end any possibility of O'Toole becoming Prime Minister.
To win the PMO, you must pander to the GTA, its surrounding areas, and Quebec. If you don't, you can't win.
O'Toole may have good intentions, but once his team breaks down the seat count in Canada and looks at the riding map, the path forward becomes clear. The road travels through Toronto and Quebec. Not the West.
Do we continue to grant the Conservative Party of Canada another chance to unseat Trudeau at the cost of our principles? Alberta did that in 1968, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1980, 2015 and again in 2019, but eastern Canada failed the West every time. Seven times in our history, the West has voted against a Trudeau. Should we vote the same way next election, hoping for a different result?
If the Conservative Party wins a majority, will they reciprocate the unquestionable loyalty we have continuously shown for five decades?
I must acknowledge that six Alberta MPs have been announced as part of his Shadow Cabinet. Still, none of them, other than Michelle Rempel Garner, have taken a defiant stance towards the Federation, as outlined in the Buffalo Declaration, which was signed by four Alberta MPs, while drawing ire from fellow Conservatives in the Tory Alberta Caucus.
Like Quebec, Alberta is a nation in its own right. The failure to recognize this explains why Western alienation is on the rise. We have been loyal, patriotic, Western Canadians endowed with resource-rich lands and an entrepreneurial spirit that cannot be tamed; we did our job and overwhelmingly rejected the legacy of the Trudeau dynasty over the past five decades.
We did our job, and the east has failed Canada. Our vote suddenly became essential, and establishment conservatives panicked once again, asking the West to maintain unquestionable loyalty to the CPC with the utmost devotion. In the O'Toole platform, he outlines his strategy for Alberta and the West by stating:
"No part of our country has suffered more under the Trudeau Liberals than Alberta. There is real anger in the West and elsewhere among those whom Trudeau regards as political obstacles. He has driven this country to the brink of a national unity crisis. It is reckless, and it is wrong. It's time for a government that respects Albertans and the West."
Though said with the best intentions, I firmly believe that we must vote strategically to give ourselves the best opportunities moving forward. We must vote to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren, irrespective of what Ottawa thinks.
We must unite the West and vote for Wexit Canada. Perhaps, O'Toole wins the east with a minority government, and Wexit Canada secures the West bloc to hold the balance of power in parliament. However, that is a pipedream reflecting the old Reform attitudes that "The West wants in." Today, I am a western separatist because suffice to say, many of us in the West no longer want to remain in the federation. We want out.