Too often the voice of Western Canada is ignored and the separatist Maverick Party aims to change that, says Red Deer-Mountain View candidate Mark Wilcox.
“The issue is that we need fair representation in Western Canada, and that’s what the Maverick Party is trying to do,” said Wilcox, an airline pilot who lives in Carstairs.
“I think the CPC (Conservative Party of Canada), and to the same extent the Liberals, get mired into having to please Eastern and Central Canada. And often those values are coming from a different place than the values of the Western people.
“We’re kind of plugging the hole that the Conservative Party is leaving in how westerners feel they should be represented.”
The party, rebranded from the Wexit Canada party last September, is taking what it calls a twin-track approach in which it seeks Constitutional amendments to strengthen the rights of provinces while simultaneously building support for a separate Western Nation.
One of the planks in its platform is the scrapping of the equalization formula for a fairer formula that takes into account revenues from renewable energy, such as the billions Quebec makes from hydro generation, when deciding equal shares. The party wants the removal of fiscal restraints built into the federal fiscal stabilization program that prevents Alberta receiving billions in equalization rebates.
Premier Jason Kenney took aim at the equalization formula on Thursday when announcing a referendum will be held during the Oct. 18 municipal elections asking Albertans if the principle of equalization payments should be removed from the Constitution.
Maverick Party now has 15 candidates in Alberta, with a Red Deer-Lacombe candidate expected to be announced soon. Other candidates have been announced in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C, and the party is growing quickly, said Wilcox.
The party supports the autonomy of western provinces in taxation, pension, healthcare, childcare, employment insurance, immigration, energy and the environment. The West should also have more of say in negotiating international agreements and is calling for the reduction of trade barriers between provinces.
It also calls for the scrapping of the north pacific ban on tanker ships and the carbon tax, and supports creating national energy corridors to expand the country’s resource sector. The party also wants to see Western provinces having great flexibility in healthcare, childcare and seniors programs.
Wilcox expects Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call an election in the late summer with a September election day and the Maverick Party is looking forward to taking its message to Western Canadians.