Canadians feel more divided than ever before

TRENTON, Canada

A new poll released Tuesday found 59% of Canadians think the country is more divided and separation sentiments are simmering in Western Canada.

The Ipsos poll found the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are most negative about the recent federal election in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party returned to power but with a minority government.

The Liberals did not win any seats in Alberta or Saskatchewan, and only four in the western province of Manitoba, leaving those provinces feeling isolated from the rest of the country.

With the idea of separation at historic highs, a separatist group that wants Alberta to break from the rest of the country is being formed in the province and has begun the process to be certified as a federal election party.

Alberta and Saskatchewan rely on oil for prosperity and with the demand for crude at low ebb, both are suffering economically. This comes after years of helping Canada thrive.

“This is really a story of two oil provinces that feel that they made substantial contribution to the Canadian economy during the boom years and now feel that when things are not going as well, they feel isolated, underappreciated, misunderstood by the rest of the country,” said Ipsos poll senior vice president Kyle Braid.

The poll surveyed 1,516 Canadians of voting age, between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, and included residents from all 10 provinces.

It asked if questions like, whether “Canada is more divided than ever” and “my province would be better off separating from Canada.”

Respondents said Canada was more divided, ranging from 54% and up, with the strongest feelings of division in Alberta (79 %) and Saskatchewan (77%).

“The most striking thing is that the entire country thinks that Canada’s more divided than ever,” said Braid. Support for separation was 33 percent in Alberta and 27 percent in Saskatchewan.

Previous polls show the separation sentiment is definitely on the rise. A poll in September of 2018 the Alberta separation movement was at 25%, and only 19% in a 2001 poll.

“The challenge for the federal government and others is to start dealing with the issues that Alberta and Saskatchewan find as important to make sure that disappointment among the overall population doesn’t turn into anger,” said Braid.

That anger would add more fuel to the separation movement.
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