Downing Makes a Bold Statement | Tony Peters
On November 2nd, 2019, Peter Downing, founder of the Wexit Movement, held a Wexit rally in Edmonton. Many people have expressed concerns brought to light by this rally. Leadership seems to be a concern, as well as direction. These concerns came about by the lack of focus the rally held and how the speakers did not seem to be on point and were somewhat scattered in their approaches. Peter Downing himself had been drinking beer before, during, and after his speech, which raised more than a few eyebrows, according to some of the people in attendance. It drew comments like, “Makes us look like drunk rednecks.” An indication at how it solidifies the view many Easterners already have. A professional representation is important for a movement to be successful and to be taken seriously. Especially when said movement has their sights on a federal party. If a federal party is formed, then they will need a strong leader, who is able to show responsibility, be taken seriously, and command respect from the voting population.
This part of the article is meant to be as balanced as possible, not meant to stir up anger, but to show that the impact of your words needs to be thought out before speaking. Now take a look at Peter Downing’s statement that also raised the eyebrows of those in attendance, those who were watching, and of course the already-biased media. The statement being referred to is, “Someone called us the Bloc Rednecois and that’s okay. That’s our term for ourselves. If you’re not from here, you’re just an Alberta-phobic racist anti-western bigot. That’s all you are.” A statement like the one referred to ruffled feathers, as it was intended to. The question is, did it ruffle more feathers than was intended? Although the statement may have been intended for those in the East, it is logical that it would be taken as offensive to people in Western Provinces who are not in Alberta. Logic aside, what were the reactions of fellow Westerners?
One person who was born in Saskatchewan, and worked across many Western provinces over the years, but has been an Alberta resident most of their life, had the following to say about Peter Downing’s statement, “The fact that he wants to create a federal party, with a system that federally already fails. We tried with the reform party and the response we get from the east is always the same. As for his anti-other provinces about Alberta statement, its representative of a feeling in Alberta. Although I think that most Albertans see Saskatchewanians on our side today, in the past this hasn’t been the case. When rural Albertans look at the other western provinces, often people see out of province workers who only want our money and don’t give two shits about Alberta. That if the money runs out, they leave and go back to the province they came from. Although I think it mostly comes from the eastern provinces, it does splash on BC and Saskatchewan as well. I think that most Albertans who want freedom from Ottawa, see this as a fight Alberta will have to win by itself and expects the other provinces to sit on the sidelines until the hard work is done, then will probably join once it looks good.”
An Albertan living in BC had a bit of a different take on it. “My initial thoughts about Peter Downing’s comment during his Edmonton rally was, “Oh well that’s great. The other western provinces come together to show support and solidarity to Alberta, and Downing shits on us for it”. This comment shows the public that Alberta is narrow minded, and doesn’t give a second thought to the other provinces who are not only hurting in their own way, but standing with Alberta through it. Which if you talk to Albertans, is untrue. Albertans love the support they have been getting from the neighbouring provinces and it’s with this support that has helped build Alberta up and helped Alberta share it’s voice. It seems to me that the head of this movement is trying to eat the body of this movement. The Bloc hates on the rest of Canada and still gets seats in Quebec, this being said, hating on the rest of Canada will never get the Bloc a PM. If Downing ever has dreams of becoming PM, calling people (especially your allies) names is NOT the way to do it. While we are on the topic of running for PM, this is NOT what Alberta or any of the west want. We do not want to fight for Wexit party to become the ruling government in Canada, the west wants action or the west wants out. Personally, as an Albertan living in BC, I want a unified west. A unified whole west. Alberta can’t and doesn’t want to do this alone. Downing might want to be all alone in his Alberta, but the rest of us don’t think that BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are “Alberta-phobic racist anti-Western bigot(s).”
A Saskatchewan resident had this to say, “That’s a little extreme and I don’t appreciate that someone had the audacity to say something like that. This tells me that they don’t actual care about my opinions and are only thinking of themselves. Something that right now is not what we need in an already divided country. It definitely makes me lose respect for that person and also if he’s supposed to be representing Alberta or the WEXIT movement than I have lost some of my respect and agreement in what they stand for.”
A statement like Peter Downing’s needs to be considered carefully. How can it be taken or construed? Questions like this one need to be asked before making any speech. Did he have his speech written or did he just “wing it”? Writing a speech down and having someone review the content is vitally important, to avoid statements like this from slipping out. It is felt that the speech was not written down. If it had been written down a comment like this one, that reveals a person’s true feelings in this regard, would not squeeze their way in, even though they may not have wanted it revealed. If the speech was written down, did Peter go off-script? When having ambitions for politics, off-script is not a wise way to go. Or was this line written down, and he fully intended to use it? No matter what, the intent behind the comment itself must be looked at.
When garnering support to make a run at a federal party position, the power of words is something that needs to be taken into serious consideration. These words are a political career-killer. No thought went into this statement of Peter’s, if he had thought about his words, they never would have been uttered. Speaking out against the very provinces you are looking to gain the support of, calling them “Alberta-phobic” and “racist” will only work to shove them farther away. These statements of hate only work to further widen the gap, not unite. The power of these words is that of division.
The term racist is over-used in today’s society, and used in this particular manner is not accurate. Racism, is acts/words of hate against a race of people, whereas discrimination is the word he is actually wanting to use, as it is acts/words of hate against someone based upon location, religion, lifestyle choice, etc. Even if this actually applied to the way the other western provinces felt towards Alberta, correct terms are important. The truth though is, other western provinces do not hate Alberta, they want to see Alberta succeed. They want to help Alberta in their battle against an Eastern government that actually does hate the province of Alberta, but also hates the rest of the west. The only western portion that this claim could apply to is the Vancouver-Victoria region. The rest of the western provinces deserve to be treated with respect, especially when the support of those provinces, means a united West, instead of being trapped on an island all alone. Alberta is not alone in this fight, at times it may feel that way, but at some point, in everyone’s life, they will feel alone, even if it is just something the human brain tricks itself into believing.
The purpose then, becomes choose words carefully. Think about them. Words have the power to divide, the power to encourage, the power to destroy, but they also have the power to heal, the power to show love, the power to reach out an olive branch. A branch of forgiveness. Western Canada may have had their differences over the years, but none that should make Alberta doubt how much the rest of the West wishes them to succeed and become prosperous again. Put aside angry words. Put away divisive words. Family forgives, family moves beyond problems, and family works together. Though Peter’s words are not appropriate and do not show the foresight of a true leader, that does not mean that provinces need to let this wedge grow. Put it aside, join in the battle for a better tomorrow. Work together to make changes, save our Nation. Find a leader who has the skills to guide, the foresight to think about their words, their actions, and their reactions. Most importantly think, always think. Think before you speak, think before you type, think before you act. Educate yourself, so as to make informed decisions. Learning, and an open mind while learning, are what will lead to positive change. Change the West fights for together, as one. By working together, these provinces can fix what Trudeau and his Liberal Party, with the support of much of the East, the UN, and clandestine American organizations, has set out to destroy. Stick together, just use caution when choosing whom to follow. Pay attention to the words chosen, the actions taken, and how much respect they show for those around them.
Forgiveness is here. Move forward. Make tomorrow a better future for the next generations.”