Everyone understands the concept of self-defense. When one person is attacked by another, he or she may fight back to protect himself or herself from harm. For most people this is self-evident. It is a natural instinct to fight back when attacked. It is also virtuous and just to resist aggression.

This applies to countries as well, of course. When one country attacks another, the country being attacked will inevitably respond with military force, even if facing overwhelming odds.

Due to current and forthcoming federal policies, Alberta needs to see itself as a community under attack and act accordingly. The attacking force is Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, and every avenue of defense has been exhausted, short of independence. Complaining to Ottawa about unfair treatment, launching court challenges, and even a referendum on equalization will accomplish nothing. They have been tried and found wanting. Therefore, achieving independence must become the goal if Alberta is going to have any sort of meaningful future.

Of course, Trudeau is not using military force against Alberta, so this is not a shooting war, and it will never become a shooting war. The only necessary and effective weapon is the will of the Alberta people, expressed through a clearly-worded referendum on independence.

It is important to note this is not a conflict that Albertans have desired or provoked. All of the blame lies with politicians elected in Central Canada. Indeed, the majority of Albertans would prefer to live within a reformed Canada with common-sense policies for economic development. They simply want to earn a good living and know their children will have opportunities to prosper as well. But this is not possible with the Ottawa government intent on phasing out Alberta’s key industry.

The issue is not whether Canada can be changed to provide a space for Albertans to prosper on their own terms. Those days are long past. Shutting down much of Alberta’s economy is the openly-stated goal of the federal government.

If industries need to be shut down to “save the planet,” then let them shut down Ontario’s automobile industry and Quebec’s aerospace industries to demonstrate their commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Those are the provinces that keep the Liberals in power, so they need to lead the way by sacrificing their own people first. At least then we’ll know they’re truly serious about meeting their climate policy goals. Right now, politicians in Ontario and Quebec win votes by promising to punish Albertans for producing hydrocarbons – the fuels vital to every advanced industrial economy, including Canada’s.

You can be sure those politicians won’t do anything to harm Ontario’s and Quebec’s major industries. But they’re gunning for Alberta’s oil and gas industry, so it’s imperative to get out of Canada as soon as possible.

Although it’s Trudeau’s Liberals who are pushing the anti-Alberta campaign, he is fully supported in these efforts by the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Greens. Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are missing-in-action as he tries to demonstrate his firm commitment to the Paris Climate Accords. He is willing to lose votes in Alberta in exchange for votes in Toronto, so we know where his heart lies, and it’s not in the West.

Alberta must now defend itself and that involves pursuing independence. There is no other way. We can’t allow people elected by communities over 2000 kilometers away to impose hostile policies deliberately designed to hurt our province. It’s not right and it’s not fair.

There’s nothing “selfish” about self-defense. It’s the right thing to do when under attack. Alberta is under attack and Canadian constitutional law (thanks to the Supreme Court’s 1998 Reference Re Secession of Quebec decision) provides only one remaining option to escape Ottawa’s grasp – independence. It’s time for Alberta to launch out on its own to protect its economy and its citizens.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

Senior Columnist (Alberta)

Michael Wagner is the Senior Alberta Columnist for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in Edmonton, Alberta. He has a PhD in political science from the U of A and has authored several books on Alberta politics and the independence movement.

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