EDMONTON — Elections Canada says Wexit is now eligible to register as a political party in federal elections.
The federal agency’s website says the western separatist group was granted eligibility status Friday, and Wexit Canada leader Peter Downing announced the news to cheers during a rally on Saturday at the Alberta legislature.
Requirements for eligibility include submitting the names, addresses and signatures of 250 electors who are members of the party and support the party’s application for registration, as well as a logo and the purpose of the party.
Once a party is eligible, it can then be registered when it endorses a confirmed candidate in a general election or byelection.
Benefits of registering with the chief electoral officer include having the party name appear on the ballot, the right to issue tax receipts for donations, and partial reimbursement of election expenses.
A Wexit Canada Facebook post says it plans to nominate 104 candidates — one for each federal riding in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba — and compete in every western federal byelection between now and the next general election.
“We now officially have something you can vote for and we now officially have set the grounds — the conditions necessary — to have a referendum on separation,” Downing said, telling Saturday’s crowd that it’s impossible for Conservatives to ever form government again.
“This gives Albertans a choice: be governed by Justin Trudeau forever, or vote for your independence.”
Speakers at the rally voiced support for veterans and firearms rights, as well as opposition to Trudeau, the carbon tax and the United Nations.
Downing filed the paperwork with Elections Canada to form a federal Wexit party in early November, saying his group had sent the agency over 500 signatures.
He said at the time it could, in his words, do for Western Canada what the Bloc Quebecois does for Quebec.
Following the Oct. 21 federal election, a simmering separatist movement in Alberta gained momentum under the “Wexit” umbrella, a name seemingly created to mimic the Brexit movement aimed at separating Britain from the European Union.
The group drew large crowds at several rallies in late 2019 and hopes to hold future referendums on separation in each of the four western provinces.
According to the Wexit Canada website, the Justin Trudeau Liberal government has continued the agenda of the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau and implemented laws and regulations “established to squeeze the West into submission through economic destruction leading to poverty and reliance on the government.”