Alberta’s secession movement spells trouble for Justin Trudeau

THE 700 PEOPLE who gathered on a recent Saturday night at the Boot Scootin’ Boogie Dancehall in Edmonton, the capital of the western Canadian province of Alberta, came not to boogie but to vent. Baseball caps for sale bore such slogans as “Make Alberta Great Again”, “The West Wants Out” and “Wexit”. On stage, before a Canadian flag held between hockey sticks and pointed upside down, Peter Downing recited the grievances that drew the crowd: cancelled plans to build oil pipelines, subsidies paid to the rest of Canada and snobbery towards Alberta from the central Canadian provinces. The country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, would get what’s coming to him, Mr Downing pledged. Someone near the back muttered, “Hopefully, a bullet.”

The anger at the Boot Scootin’ would be easy to ignore, except that it will be one of the dominant themes of Mr Trudeau’s second term in office, which began when he narrowly won re-election in October. His Liberal Party was wiped out in Alberta and in its equally resentful neighbour, Saskatchewan. Mr Trudeau appointed Alberta-born Chrystia Freeland, the foreign minister in the last government, to be deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs. One of her main jobs will be to soothe western feelings. Canada’s governor-general was expected to outline the government’s ideas for bridging...

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