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Globe and Mail suggests west doesn’t want autonomy with deceptive poll

A Globe and Mail article suggested prairie provinces are reluctant to gain more independence, despite most respondents in poll not being from the west.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

A poll conducted by Nanos Research and published by The Globe and Mail has painted a picture of prairie provinces reluctant to gain more provincial autonomy, though this snapshot is not as honest as it may initially seem.

In the poll, which surveyed 1,010 Canadian adults nationwide for what is by and large solely a provincial issue, touched on topics regarding Alberta withdrawal from the Canadian Pension Plan (and replacing it with its own provincial plan, a la Quebec,) or replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force, (a la Quebec and Ontario.)

This poll found that Quebec would be more in favour of these policies than those in the prairies, though the amount of representation in the poll has been criticized online, with some questioning why more people in Quebec (246) were surveyed than people in the prairies (213.)

The poll, which is titled “Support is not strong for Alberta opting out of the CPP and RCMP,” polls 807 more non-Albertans, Saskatchewanians, and Manitobans than those in those provinces.

Another poll, this time conducted by Ipsos for Global News, found that that the majority of those surveyed in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and in the Maritimes believe that Canada is “more divided than ever,” and according to Ipsos vice-president Kyle Braid, those numbers have reached “historic” heights, specifically in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“This is really a story of two oil provinces that feel that they made a substantial contribution to the Canadian economy during the boom years and now feel when things are not going as well, they feel isolated, underappreciated, misunderstood by the rest of the country,” he said about the poll, taken shortly after the 2019 federal election.

This study had findings which don’t directly contradict those of the Nanos poll, but do raise questions about whether or not more prairie-Canadians should have been apart of the poll. That study found that “agreement that the country is more divided than ever is highest in … Alberta (79%) and Saskatchewan (77%). A majority of residents in the two other western provinces of Manitoba (58%) and BC (54%) also agree the country is divided, but their agreement is aligned with Ontario (56%) and Quebec (54%) and not their western neighbours. Two-thirds (66%) of Atlantic Canadians agree the country is more divided than ever.”

Among the other questions were “Canada is more divided than ever,” “my province would be better off if it separated from Canada,” and “I think the views of western Canadians are adequately represented in Ottawa.”

According to the poll, approximately one-third (33%) of Albertans surveyed and just over one-quarter (27%) of Saskatchewanians agree with the statement: “My province would be better off if it separated from Canada.”

The poll surveyed 1,516 voting-age Canadians online between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, 2019, which was during the initial boom of the Wexit movement.

That separatist sentiment was up 8 points compared to last year’s figures (up from 25% to 33%,) and up 14 points from the 19 percent figure found in 2001. According to the survey, “a belief that Saskatchewan would be better off if it separated is up 9 points from just over a year ago (from 18% to 27%) and up 14 points from 2001 (was 13%).”

Seperatist sentiment, though, has not been a central part of prairie premiers Scott Moe, Jason Kenney, and Brian Pallister’s platforms, though more autonomy has been for both Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Weeks ago, Moe stated publicly that he believed his province should have more of a say over their immigration system, drawing direct comparison to Quebec.

Moe says he wants control over the growth of Saskatchewan’s population, which aims to increase by 300,000 residents over the next 10 years by adding 100,000 new jobs, increasing the province’s population to 1.4 million.

“The goal is not to say what the percentages would be. The goal is to have the flexibility to make the percentages work for the people and the industries in this province,” said Moe, according to The Canadian Press.

“In many cases, like climate policy, the provinces are most connected with the needs of the industries that are operating in our communities across the province.”

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