A former Reform Party MP and Sask. Party MLA says he wants people to think about what might happen following October's election and the potential that "the lid's going to blow off western alienation."
Allan Kerpan, who farms in Kenaston, Sask., will give a talk Thursday evening in Regina as part of his Can Confederation be Fixed? speaking tour. The event is being put on by Wexit Saskatchwean, which describes itself as an "emerging western independence movement" that's seeking registration as a provincial party.
Kerpan says the problems that led to the birth of the Reform Party in 1987 still exist, namely a power imbalance that favours eastern provinces like Ontario and Quebec over Western Canada.
He said he doesn't believe that problem will ever cease and that the current Liberal government and its decision-making, including the contentious passage of Bills C-48 and C-69, have become "disastrous" for Western Canada.
"I would rather have a real hard look at a Western, independent Saskatchewan than have to suffer through four more years of [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau. That's basically where I go," Kerpan said.
A poll conducted by the Environics Institute found more than half of the Alberta and Saskatchewan residents polled believe Western Canada gets so few benefits from the union, it may as well separate.
Jake Wall, an organizer with Wexit Saskatchewan, said he believes those numbers will grow if the Liberals get a second term in office.
"I don't have any problems being part of Canada, if Canada was going to work," said Wall. "The fact of the matter is that Canada doesn't work the way that it's laid out."
Wall said he'd been interested to see what would happen with electoral reform, but Trudeau scuttled his election promise of doing away with Canada's first-past-the-post system.
For Wexit Saskatchewan members like Wall, even Conservative leader Andrew Scheer will have a hard time delivering change that will be satisfying to those who want to see independence for Saskatchewan and Alberta. Federal politicians, including Scheer, must cater to population-rich eastern Canada as a matter of course to get re-elected, Wall said.
A time to take questions on unity
Kerpan's June 26 talk takes place at the George Bothwell Library, at 7:30 p.m. CST.
"We ask those people who are on the fence, and wondering can something to be done to save Canada, those are the ones we want to come out," said Wall.
Kerpan describes himself as being among those undecided.
He says his talk is meant to lay out some of the problems he sees to the union of Canada, and to discuss options to fixing these issues of national unity. One of those options may end up being separation, he said.
"So I guess I'm sort of leaving all my options wide open at this point."