Keynote speaker blames “Colonial” Central Canada for western alienation

Written By Amiel Pion, Posted on January 21, 2020

“The Value of Alberta” Conference that took place Saturday morning in Calgary had experts and grassroots activists debate the merits as well as the downsides to the separatist movement. From greater economic independence to full-blown separation, Albertans gauged the panellists’ comments and questioned Alberta’s place within Confederation. 

Notions of loyalty, separation, liberty from constraints and fairness were mentioned with great eloquence and articulation within the halls of the Telus Convention Centre. While there is no one solution to cure the ills of Alberta, educating on the exploitive “colonial” practices of Central Canada is worth noting.


Dr. Randy Royer, whose family was the first to settle present-day Edmonton, conveyed the argument that Western Canada’s political and cultural values of democracy and liberty are dissimilar and conflicts with the Central Canadian narrative of “Peace, Order and Good Government.” 

The current disposition explained by Dr. Royer is of two different regional interests, and two competing visions of Canada comes forth from past streams of history. Loyalist settlers, antagonistic towards the values of the American Revolution, brought forth imperialism and the centralization of the government 

While the west was settled with immigrants of great agricultural skill, including Eastern Europeans, most were fascinated by the American ideals of liberty, democracy and freedom. Notably, freedom from religious persecution was crucial, especially for the Ukrainian settlers.

The West has to formulate a plan, says Dr. Royer

With two different cultural outlooks in continual conflict with one another, a possible solution is to create a new Canadian constitution, where Western Canada is less constricted by Central Canada’s political authority.

Dr. Royer suggested that Canada be “one country with two systems,” to accommodate western interests better. With Senate reform dead in the water, addressing those economic realities proves challenging. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understanding why western alienation is a reoccurring phenomenon.

The resource-based economies of Western Canada drive up the value of the Canadian currency, while Central Canada’s manufacturing industry is most competitive with a lower currency. 

Historically, Central Canada has engaged with protectionism to ensure the survival of its domestic industry against the “Rust Belt.” The branch businesses of Toronto and Montreal held the Maritimes hostage as their economic dominance was replaced by dependency on the state. 

The same, arguably, is happening to the West, which, in Alberta’s case, remains a net contributor to Confederation. Alberta, while running deficits in recent memory, gave more to Confederation than it received back, which has played a significant part in Québec’s current surpluses.

The current system allowed Western provinces to be exploited by a “colonial” political scheme created to benefit Laurentian Elites of Central Canada. And it’s about time that the current system evolves to defend Western interests better.

Amiel Pion

Comments are closed.