The Wexit would face the same obstacles that the other movements sovereignists

Le Wexit ferait face aux mêmes obstacles que les autres mouvements souverainistes

The grievances of the Canadians of the West, which are largely based on the perception that the federal government is opposed to the exploitation of oil and gas resources and the belief that the region makes a contribution disproportionate to the Confederation.

22 December 2019 13: 40 pm

Updated at 18h12

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The Wexit would face the same obstacles that the other movements sovereignists

Lauren Krugel

The Canadian Press

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CALGARY — The recent secessionist movements in the world offer some encouraging examples to Albertans or Saskatchewanians who want to transform their province into an independent country, according to experts of the question.

The “Wexit” — a play on words apparent with the “Brexit” — has appeared in the political lexicon canadian, a sign of the tensions between the West and the central government.

This apparent gap has widened a little more in the wake of the federal elections of October, when the liberals were deferred to the power of a minority, even if they have been swept up in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Paul Hamilton, political scientist at Brock University, in St. Catharines, recalled that the secessionist movements are born usually of ethnic conflict historical.

“And then there’s another category of secession, often the horse of battle of a few people with an Internet connection,” he says. Shake it like a protest movement or, frankly, a joke.”

The grievances of the Canadians of the West, which are largely based on the perception that the federal government is opposed to the exploitation of oil and gas resources and the belief that the region makes a contribution disproportionate to the Confederation.

The independence of the West want to form their own political party, to elect members of parliament and ask for a referendum on the issue. They are present in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia.

Their program is to want to declare their independence of Canada, to leave the Commonwealth, to elect a president and to align with u.s. policies. They want to establish their own defence policy, their own police forces and their currency. They do not specify neither the cost nor the logistics.

“We can always count on the secessionists for as it seems easy. But it is at this point that you realise that they are not serious, because it is incredibly complicated,” said Mr. Hamilton.

Examples

The Texas — formed its own country for nine years in the Nineteenth century — has long flirted with the idea of separating from the United States. There is a movement, established in 2005, which calls for a “nation-State independent and autonomous, free of the control of the bureaucrats and the political class in Washington”. It grows to a referendum on “Texit”.

According to a recent article published in the magazine The Atlantic, an independent Texas would be at the mercy of its share of the national debt of 22 trillion $ and a “transition very costly.”

And this is not because a population votes for independence that it will happen automatically.

In 1933, Western Australia voted to become independent, but Britain refused to allow this to happen.

More recent case: the Catalonia. The region has voted in favour of independence in a referendum in 2017, but the Spanish government rejected the results, claiming the process was illegal. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against several leaders of the pro-independence catalans, causing the recent major events.

Errol Mendes, a professor of law, University of Ottawa, said that supporters of the Wexit should realize that the right to independence, unilateral, does not exist under canadian law, or even international. “The main judge of this, whether we like it or not, it is our own supreme Court of Canada.”

In 1998, the country’s highest court had ruled that Quebec could negotiate conditions for access to the sovereignty if a referendum with a clear question, giving a net answer.

“The obligation to negotiate in good faith with the rest of Canada would be a huge obstacle potentially insurmountable”, says Mr. Mendes.

Sometimes, the separations can be friendly, such as in 1990 when the Czech Republic and Slovakia have decided to sail each of his side, ending the existence of Czechoslovakia.

“Is it that this could happen to Alberta? This has no chance of happening”, says professor of law.

A new independent State would not be immune to the tensions, secessionist. Mr. Mendes points out in particular that the First Nations signed treaties with the Crown. According to him, the Wexit would be “a recipe for chaos”.

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