The Future of Alberta is separatism, according to Sam Bell of Wexit

Written By Guest User, Posted on December 25, 2019

The National Telegraph interviewed Wexit Communications Director on what advocating for an Independent Alberta means for him, as a millennial.

As a proud Albertan, Bell attributes his Alberta-First messaging to the exploitive nature of the Federation, and of federalism, which he states will not change regardless of who forms the government.

TNT: As a “proud Albertan,” what enticed you to join Wexit?

Bell: [Well,] I’ve been involved with Wexit for a few months, and have always been a separatist since I was 18. I’ve found myself in their camp [because] a lot of [what] they stand for [I do too]. Peter Downing reached out to me before the election, and he mentioned he’d seen my Facebook page. He agreed with some of the things I posted [regarding] separation.

TNT: At the Wexit Rally in Red Deer, you stated, “I will not apologize for being proud of who and what I stand for.” How important has social media been to navigate through the political arena today?

Bell: It’s getting more complicated, I would say. Because, first of all, not all Albertans agree on everything. There are diverse opinions [from] every political [stripe], and I’ve just picked what I believe and decided [to express them] on social media.

I find that there’s a large number of people who agree with what I have to say. Maybe they don’t agree with everything, but they agree with the general sentiment. I find that most people [place themselves] in environments where their ideas are supported and reaffirmed. So people that come to my page generally agree with me. And that’s why social media can be so powerful. [It allows] people [to debate] and reaffirm their beliefs by following people who think as they do.

TNT: In a recent article by Huffington Post Canada, you had received some flak from the author who explored why their hometown, Red Deer, was the epicentre of Wexit. After, you experienced a lot of traffic negative traffic on Twitter. How was navigating through that?

Bell: It’s because most people don’t know who I am. I’m a nobody, essentially. Having my name in the public sphere is [a new experience]. I’ve received more support from people who have listened to my speech than negative feedback. It’s [an] inevitable conflict from a microcosm of the political realm right now. 

TNT: What do movements like Wexit have to offer to the youth? 

Bell: I think [Wexit] represents something more significant. [It’s] a political machine. A microcosm of the global trend [to protect] the self-determination of a people. The rejection of being a colony of the East and getting taxed unfairly without proper representation, in fact, the least representation in Canada. 

These issues [and] the direction of the political left on climate change alarmism will completely undo our economic security. I feel that if we continue [as a partner in] Confederation, Alberta will not thrive.

TNT: Now, you mentioned the importance of self-determination. We interviewed a gentleman by the name of Ambrose Ralph. He owned and operated the Alberta To The Point Facebook page and was a guest speaker at the Edmonton Wexit Rally. In his speech, he mentioned that consultations with indigenous Canadians, whether it’s the Cree to the North, or the Blackfoot to the South, were vital for Wexit. What are Wexit’s thoughts on indigenous consultations?

Bell: If you consider what we’re saying, and that we have indigenous and non-indigenous supporters, all [who] struggle together [in the pursuit of] self-determination and liberty, we want to consult and include indigenous folks in the conversation. Nobody should be left out, and cooperation [is needed] to move forward and progress. 

While there are other opinions, not necessarily mine, that say who cares? And I don’t mean that with malice in my heart. Not restricting [the] movement to a particular way of thinking is essential. But, Wexit wants to attract as many people as possible, including First Nations.

TNT: The National Post recently wrote an article on [indigenous consultations], where they said that any attempt to separate, whether it’s only Alberta or others, Wexit would have to consult with indigenous peoples because of prior agreements with the Crown. In Alberta, they vote overwhelmingly conservative and are typically pro-resource development. 

Their history with Trudeau’s father, Highlighted through the White Paper of 1969, was the Liberal’s attempt to tell them how their culture should be protected. Partly, this document tried to abolish Treaty rights and undermine their ability to govern their land. 

Similarities exist between Wexit and Indigenous pushback, with the [Laurentine Elites] trying to dictate how the West should live — rejecting their self-determination. Having [said] that, do you see [the value of] amicable relations?

Bell: Absolutely. Because of the similarities [inherent] to these struggles, there [is] lots of room for amicable relations and to move forward in arms locked. I think there is that potential. Yeah.

TNT: In your speech at the Red Deer Wexit Rally, you said that Trudeau’s new cabinet, has “little to no Western representation.” Does that [indicate] that Confederation cannot be salvaged or that we need to [negotiate] a fairer deal in Confederation? Do we abandon it altogether [or] do we have that conversation first before proceeding forward?

Bell: I think that conversation has already been had. It’s been happening over the last 50 or so years [since equalization became a factor]. It’s come to a boiling point now because we’re realizing either we fix Confederation [through] drastic changes [like] more autonomy. Disarming us [and] removing what remains of our free speech [is concerning]. I want Alberta to be free from Central Canada. 

But Confederation could be salvaged. Absolutely. One of the things that would take some of the wind [from] the separation sales is a ‘fair deal’ and not a ‘fake fair deal.’ [Removing the] carbon tax on high emitters and [rejecting] the continued phasing out of our natural resources. But we don’t see the potential for that happening, especially with the lack of representation in the West and [the rise of] climate alarmism.

TNT: I’ve had prior conversations on the importance of a Conservative majority that is sympathetic to the West. Would that reality assuage some of the separatist sentiment, or is that irrelevant at this point?

Bell: I think that’s the point we’re reaching, but a few months ago, the mindset was if Andrew Scheer wins and the Conservatives are to make Confederation work, then ‘I want to be a proud Canadian.’ If Andrew Scheer loses and Trudeau wins, then ‘I’m going to be a separatist October 22.’ And that’s where we’re at right now. 

Trudeau getting re-elected furthered support for separatism, who are firm in the belief that Confederation is broken and cannot be fixed.

TNT: With the Wexit Party [emerging] at the provincial and federal level, how is it different from the Reform Party who supported that same Western populism?

Bell: Reform was before my time, so I can’t speak too heavily on that. I know that the Reform Party slogan was that the West wants in. They wanted to be involved in Confederation and have some equality within. Wexit’s slogan [endorses] separatism [outright]. We are done and [we won’t out].

TNT: You also had mentioned in your Red Deer speech that “some of the things I post are spicy, perhaps on my Facebook page, but the underlying message is that I’m proud of our western values, our heritage, culture and abundance of resources.” Previously, we have talked about how the cultural divide between Western and Eastern Canada is reaching a tipping point. Is there a way we can reconcile that?

Bell: Can two completely different nations within a nation [that has] completely different cultures, languages, and politics come to the table and compromise? If that’s possible, then sure, we’ll go back [to the table]. 

Will they say they’ll take fewer equalization payments? Will they build those pipelines? There’s a couple of obvious things that need to happen for Alberta that would levy a lot of our problems. 

If they say no outright, then absolutely no deal can be reached if there’s no compromise whatsoever on their side. [Some Québec politicians] want us to phase out our oil sands and diversify into more renewable forms of energy. We’re not going to do that, frankly.

TNT: I had a conversation with a fellow last week at a pro-oil and gas event. He was from Québec, and he said the divide between Albertans and Québec, especially on oil and gas, mostly comes from a lack of energy literacy. He said, the average Québecer know what is passed down from [the Laurentine Elites], who, very much dictate the narratives there. 

Would there be an appetite – and I know you are not a spokesperson for the movement – for members of Wexit to engage with the everyday Joe in Québec on this?

Bell: Of course! If I could promote my province’s resources, support our industries and help what would [ultimately] make our lives easier? Absolutely, yeah.

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