With Brexit, Britain is poised to emerge as ascendant player in the international community as opposed to a vassal state of the European Union. Britain has given us as Western Canadian Separatists a powerful precedent to look to for how to forward our campaign for our own independence, but they also may provide us with a tangible opportunity to gain and maintain our independence.
The implications of Brexit are impossible to foresee, but the historic ties between Canada and Great Britain are self evident. Canada is a relic of British Empire. It was a land mass intended to bridge the Atlantic and Pacific British colonies to preserve the hegemony of the Empire.
In 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan were created, a major influence guiding the decisions to join Canada was the fact that the British Empire was still the dominant force in the world. Canada, was a demonstrably loyal, British Dominion and for the inhabitants Alberta and Saskatchewan, alignment with the British through Province hood in the Dominion of Canada was more attractive than Statehood with the United States.
Times have changed.
It was not until after World War 2 that the Empire began to fall apart and America emerged as the sole global super power. That super power status, combined with a general sense of camaraderie as allies during the wars was the prime reasons Canada exists as a nation to this day. Trade with the Americans allowed for inflows of capital that fueled the mass industrialization of all of Canada.
In spite their benevolence and good will, many Canadians harbour what I consider misplaced animosity towards the United States. This is a contentious issue that even cuts through the separatist community, with many flat out refusing the idea of separatism on the grounds that a possible outcome is ascension to the United States.
I contend that most of the positive aspects of Canada today are a consequence of benevolent, good relations with the Americans. The best illustration of this is in how the Americans have subsidized and guaranteed Canada’s national security since World War 2. In the Post War era, a relatively small American military task force could have invaded and taken over Canada in a matter of weeks with far less resistance than what they encountered in every country they have tried expeditionary military operations since.
As a member of the British Empire, Canada was not as a whole an advanced, modern society until the post-World War 2 era when it grew distant from Britain and closer to America. Prior to the war, Canada was primarily a resource and agrarian society. The primary driver of Canada’s rapid industrialization in the Post War era was proximity to the US consumer market and the ravenous American appetite for Canadian products generated by the American Baby Boomer generation.
“Ad Mari Usque Ad Mare” (From Sea to Sea), Canada is one of the most geographically disadvantaged countries on the planet. Maintaining national unity in Canada is only possible with tremendous injections of foreign capital. Just think about the cost to build and maintain the national transportation and distribution infrastructure (the railway, highway, airway, electrical, and pipeline) necessary to enable pan-Canadian mobility of goods and people. Not only are there long distances separating Canada’s major population centres, there are equally massive natural barriers and some of the most extreme climate in the world to contend with.
Prior to the World War 2, the capital that made Canada possible primarily came through trade with the British Empire. After World War 2, and with the collapse of the Empire, that capital came primarily through trade with the United States.
Canada remained a member of the British Commonwealth, therein maintaining a friendly diplomatic relationship that persists to this very day. For all intents and purposes, Canada’s national existence depended and depends almost entirely on American willingness to trade.
Something which in recent days under the Presidency of Donald Trump, seems imperiled.
Regardless, for us as Western Separatists (and Alberta Separatists especially), our need to generate capital cannot be understated. For Alberta and Saskatchewan, our landlocked position is a major disadvantage that dissuades many from the idea of separatism. Our ability to attract capital to overcome our our landlocked position and austere natural geography and climate is equally valid of a concern. The Alberta oil sands in particular are hugely capital intensive and without foreign investment to generate that capital, even with pipeline infrastructure, they will be landlocked.
To that end one option Western Canadian Separatists need to consider the possibility that a strong alignment with Post-Brexit Britain may be a vehicle to guarantee our independence.
As a part of the EU, Britain gained access to the continental European market. London was, is, and for the foreseeable future will be the financial hub of Europe (as Toronto is in Canada today), but with Brexit, there is a real possibility the British will lose a access to the European market.
There may be a glut of British investment capital looking for a new home. Western Canada could be that home.