After lying dormant for nearly 40 years, talk of Alberta separatism is again boiling to the surface.
On Tuesday, Premier Rachel Notley said she’s well aware of the increasing chatter about giving up on Canada.
And she dealt with the question exactly as the first PC premier, Peter Lougheed, did back in the 1980s.
“I say to all those folks that we’re right there with them,” Notley said. “We, too, are very, very frustrated.
“But even as we’re angry, we roll up our sleeves and get to work finding the solutions. That’s the Alberta ethos I want to make sure we’re all focused on.”
It’s the only sensible strategy for a premier — don’t demean separatist feeling, but don’t endorse it either. Meanwhile, dig in and fight for provincial interests.
The earlier separatist wave faded after Lougheed won enough battles with Ottawa to show that Alberta could prevail, or at least survive.
Victory is far from certain today. And so, there’s rising separatist feeling, tinged with deep anger.
Exactly what we saw nearly four decades ago.
Exhibit A is W. Brett Wilson, Calgary’s celebrity investor, philanthropist and former Dragon’s Den star. He’s suddenly presenting himself as the poster boy of Alberta alienation.
Recently, Wilson tweeted that environmental “traitors” should be hanged.
“Bastards, slimy bastards,” Wilson called them. He didn’t do that just once — it was a repeated theme over several tweets.