An advocacy group in Alberta, Canada, is trying to educate residents of the province about what it argues would be the benefits of breaking off from the country to join the U.S. as its 51st state.
“I find myself having an affinity toward the U.S. more than Canada because of the freedom, Constitution and just the entire republican system versus the monarchy here, which is really a pseudonym for dictatorship,” a source with the Alberta 51 Project told Fox News Digital.
Founded in 2022, the project is “dedicated to supporting education to all Albertans on why we should become the 51st state of the United States of America,” according to its website. About one-fifth of Canadians in various provinces believe they would be better off under the U.S. government, according to a poll done by Research Co. earlier this year.
The source who spoke to Fox News Digital did so on condition of anonymity amid what he described as the increasingly authoritarian tactics of the Canadian government, which he noted has arrested Christian pastors and targeted its political opponents by freezing their bank accounts during last year’s trucker convoy protests.
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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the trucker protest during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on Feb. 14, 2022. (Dave Chan / AFP via Getty Images)
The source said that the project rolled out in response to online chatter among disaffected Albertans who wished somehow to secede from the authority of the federal government in Ottawa, which he noted is in the eastern part of Canada and exhibits a mindset that often diverges from that of Canadians in the more conservative western provinces.
“Albertans have a real affinity with the land, and they have that cowboy spirit, that Indian spirit, that oil-and-gas rigor spirit,” he said, adding that many Albertans have a desire to be left alone by the government.
“That’s not really a Canadian governmental kind of thing,” he said. “Basically, in Canada, you have a socialist-style system, and that socialism is kind of like a bad disease that just keeps getting worse and worse as time goes by.”
“We wanted to dare to poke the Canadian identity bear,” he said. “When Trudeau came in, he said some years ago that Canada doesn’t have a culture, they’re not different. So, they use that for globalism and what they call ‘multiculturalism.’ So, they kind of pooh-pooh any Canadian identity – with the exception of Quebec, of course; don’t touch the sacred cow.”
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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Monday, March 6, 2023. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press via AP)
The source said Trudeau’s assertion was insulting to Albertans as well as many traditionalist Canadians who live in Saskatchewan, eastern British Columbia and even westernmost province Yukon, whose worldview he likened to rural Americans in states such as Montana and Texas. He also said that the rich natural resources of Alberta and similar provinces have been unfairly siphoned by other parts of Canada since the provinces were established.
Such Canadians are suspicious of big government, he said, and noted that the U.S. Constitution was framed by men who had the same attitude and would better fit them. The source maintained that fear toward their government has seized many Canadians in recent years.
“The monarchy is the supreme ruler and his representative is the prime minister and the governor general,” he said. “And really, it’s just a rubber stamp. Whatever the prime minister says, that pretty much goes. We saw that during the trucker convoy when Trudeau basically shut off everybody’s rights and freedoms, and nobody did anything. No one said anything. In Canada, we don’t have rights and freedoms like in the U.S.”
“Trudeau, at heart, is a fascist; he’s a communist at heart, he’s a globalist,” the source said, who maintained that the prime minister “will never be held to account” because his administration also appoints the country’s judges.
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Many people in Alberta, which boasts the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, work physical jobs, Peter Downing said. (Digital Camera Magazine via Getty Images / File)
Peter Downing, a former officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who founded the separatist movement “Wexit” — a play on “Western Exit” — in the wake of Trudeau’s 2019 reelection, told Fox News Digital that Albertans increasingly began looking toward their American neighbors amid the Canadian government’s crackdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Echoing the source at the Alberta 51 Project, Downing speculated that Alberta, which saw more clergy arrests during the pandemic than anywhere else in the Western world, has repeatedly popped up in international media because of its “rugged individual mindset.”
“We don’t tolerate it,” Downing said of Albertans’ attitude toward government overreach, adding that most people in the province do not adhere to the “socialist environment” of Ottawa.
Alberta made international headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic for multiple clergy arrests. Pastor Artur Pawlowksi, above, was arrested in May 2021 after keeping his church open during lockdowns. (Artur Pawlowski)
“Most people actually do go to work doing physical jobs, whether it be in the oil field – which is by far our largest industry – or farming or any other kind of primary industry or trade,” he said of Albertans. “The people here are younger, and we’re willing to do physical work to make more money.”
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“The die is being cast right now, and it’s about seeing who blinks first, whether it’s the provincial governments or the federal government,” Downing said. “For the folks in Alberta, we’re at a precipice of our own where we’re not going to allow this to continue.”