Canada doesn’t make sense from a geopolitical perspective. Think about it: geopolitics “provides the link between geography and strategy.” Geopolitics also seeks to “establish the links and causal relationships between geographical space and international political power, for the purpose of devising specific strategic prescriptions.”
Canada is a huge country geographically—the world’s second-largest behind Russia—but it’s internally disconnected and highly integrated with its American neighbor. Since vast swaths of the country is uninhabitable, most of the population lives within a two-hour car ride of the U.S. border. As time progresses, Canada’s geopolitical situation will make even less sense than it does now. Its demographics are working against the country’s long-term economic well-being.
More importantly, as the Arctic Circle becomes a zone of strategic competition, the United States will be forced to develop and better defend the territories to its north (just as it did with its Western territories in the 19th and early 20th centuries).
Which makes Alberta an attractive place.
#WEXIT or We Die
Alberta is an energy-producing giant; the “Texas of the North,” according to the popular saying. Of Canada’s 10 provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan provide the bulk of the economic heft for Canada. Albertans already enjoy the second-highest income of any province in the West. Yet Canada’s central government in Ottawa has made every effort to alienate Alberta.
For years, Albertans have chafed under the high-tax policies of the central government. It’s no wonder. Alberta is a highly productive economic zone and its citizens, understandably, resent having to bear a disproportionate tax burden to help prop up the less productive provinces.
Alberta’s demographic and economic profile is the inverse of many of the other provinces in Canada. Observes Peter Zeihan in his 2014 magnum opus, The Accidental Superpower: “As Canada’s—and Ontario’s and Quebec’s—population continues to age, a far worse than a disproportionate share of [national taxes] will be loaded into the Albertans’ national tax bill.”
This is a classic example of “no taxation without representation.”
Alberta and neighboring Saskatchewan are being taxed for their prosperity—just as the United States was by the British in the run-up to the Revolutionary War. Plus, Alberta’s essential oil and natural gas industry is entirely linked to and dependent on the larger U.S. economy. As time progresses, Albertans understandably will become less interested in being a part of a country that they are underwriting without also enjoying extra benefits for the privilege.
A Western Canada exit—WEXIT—has become a mantra among many Albertans and Saskatchewanians. A few years ago, the Wildrose Party, which began as an Albertan separatist movement but has since merged with another group to form the United Conservative Party, won plaudits from voters by highlighting the growing tensions with Ottawa. Although current polls suggest a majority of Albertans do not favor separation from Canada, support for secession has increased to historic highs (up eight points since the last Ipsos poll was conducted in 2018).
As time progresses, the United Conservative Party naturally will become more powerful as Albertan voters rightly view them as the only thing standing between their hard-earned wealth and a redistributionist government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Already, most Albertans do not believe that their central government represents them. Overall, 59 percent of Canadians believe their country is “more divided than ever” (79 percent of Albertans agreed).
And the situation between Alberta and the rest of Canada will only worsen—if only because Canada’s overall demographics are working against the country’s long-term economic prosperity. The more productive provinces will be forced to pay for more numerous, less productive ones, as the population continues to age.
Please, Let’s Take Alberta!
If present trends continue, secession from Canada will become a real possibility for Alberta’s leadership. Once Alberta secedes from Canada, the United States should consider welcoming this prosperous, energy-rich region into its union.
Given Canada’s expansive geography (and the dire taxation that would be incurred on provinces, like Saskatchewan once Alberta is gone) the entire Canadian confederacy may be at risk of collapse. If these provinces were to join the United States, it could enhance their own prosperity while helping to create a U.S.-led North American, energy-producing super-state.
By 2020, Alberta will be the only province that is a net contributor to Canada’s budget (which is estimated to be about $40,000 per taxpayer being sent to Ottawa). Joining the United States would flip Alberta’s situation. They would join a more sensible tax system (that’s only improving under the leadership of President Donald Trump), and they’d essentially get everything from Washington overnight that they’ve spent decades begging Ottawa to give them.
From the American perspective, it would be a no-brainer: Alberta’s entrance as the 51st state would consolidate U.S. power and prosperity on the North American continent, while better positioning the United States more ably to compete for access and dominance in the Arctic.
Further, the United States—already set to become a net energy exporter in 2020—would become a global energy powerhouse practically overnight, paving the way to reduce our overseas commitments significantly.
Looking at the map, we can see that the groundwork for the absorption of Canada into the United States was laid when former Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire. At that time, no one understood why the United States purchased a cold and distant land, disconnected from the contiguous United States.
Today, “Seward’s Folly” not only provides large quantities of mineral resources to the United States, but it also serves as a geographical bookend for the northern United States and Canada. The parameters have been set for expansion more than a century ago. It’s time to fulfill that particular destiny.
Correction: This article originally referred to Alberta’s Wildrose Party in the present tense. The party in 2017 merged with the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta to form the United Conservative Party. We regret the error.