A history from our activist beginnings to where we are now
The MAVERICK Party evolved from the WEXIT Movement which was initiated by a small group of disenchanted Western Canadians that wanted to produce positive and lasting change for the future of the West.
In October 21, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau led the Liberal party to a second term as government even though the Conservatives swept Alberta and Saskatchewan with a strong showing in BC and Manitoba. It became clear to the newly formed WEXIT Movement that the West could do nothing to protect itself against the abuse of the federal government and the existing Canadian Constitution which has always been biased against the West.
Almost overnight, WEXIT leader, Peter Downing experienced a groundswell of support from frustrated Albertans and other Western Canadians. Early in 2019, the movement hosted several meetings, starting with 100 supporters at a small summer gathering in Calgary’s beltline area 3 , growing to over 1,700 supporters just months later 4 . Following the October federal election, WEXIT’s Facebook followers soared to 250,000.
The movement continued to gain attention and support across western Canada while the Liberals showed no support for the West’s energy sector as tens of thousands lost their jobs and homes. Even as parliament’s official opposition, federal Conservatives were powerless to protect the West against the newly legislated Carbon Tax 5 and other measures that targeted the West.
The Wexit Movement endeavoured to create four provincial parties that would push for independence, with the federal flagship party, leading the way. Parties were formed in all four western provinces as the movement’s leadership focused more on provincial levels
WEXIT leader, Peter Downing continued to fan the flames of discontent while the group aggressively attacked the Federal and Provincial governments on social media. His sole focus was separation with no consideration to amending the Canadian Constitution to represent the best interests of those western Canadians not yet prepared to support western independence.
Several provincial separation parties ran in the 2019 Alberta provincial election, losing to a landslide UCP majority. WEXIT Alberta then began negotiations to merge with the Freedom Conservative party to become the Wildrose Independence party of Alberta (WIPA) 6 7 . The PPC of Alberta party also merged with WIPA to further grow the newly formed provincial independence party 8 .
WEXIT Saskatchewan proposed a name change to their members who overwhelmingly approved The Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan 9 10 leading up to the 2020 provincial election. The newly formed party had a very respectable showing, coming in second in four ridings, despite only running candidates in 17 of the 61 11.
WEXIT British Columbia 12 was formed in late 2019 to field candidates in the 2020 provincial election. After the election was called their leader stepped down and amongst the resultant turmoil only a few candidates chose to continue with no leadership and few resources to support them 13 14. The current status of WEXIT BC remains unclear with some previous supporters’ intent upon creating a new provincial party in BC that they plan to announce in the spring of 2021.
While WEXIT Manitoba never got off the ground, there is still interest in some regions of the province for a provincial separatist party.
WEXIT Canada was originally formed15 to be the federal shield while provincial parties led the charge towards independence. However, as a party, it was faltering due to a lack of focus. In June of 2020, the founder, Peter Downing 16 stepped down as leader and the Honourable Jay Hill, PC, former MP with 17 years experience in Canada’s parliament with the Reform Party, Canadian Alliance and as a Cabinet Minister in the Conservative Party of Canada government, volunteered to assume the role of Interim Leader 17. A small Board of committed volunteers joined him as they began building the Party’s base and credibility across the West.
Shortly after the new Board joined, the WEXIT Movement founders, who had trademarked 18 the name, wanted to focus on political activism rather than be tied to a federal political party. With this shift in priorities, the group wanted to preserve the WEXIT name for their exclusive use.
Since then, WEXIT has had no involvement or affiliation with the federal party that went on to become the MAVERICK Party.
With all the confusion surrounding the WEXIT brand, its mission and priorities, the new Board of Directors met face-to-face in July 2020 to address a multitude of issues including the name of the new party. Following considerable debate involving a number of alternatives, with one abstention, they unanimously agreed on the MAVERICK Party. Clearly the new name represents the willingness to take risks, strong work ethic, resilience, integrity, and spirit of the West. 19 20
The next step was for the MAVERICK Party to establish a mission statement and guiding principles. While many western Canadians want to be free of federal interference and abuse, not everyone is currently ready to cut their ties with Canada. So, true to their western and political roots, the Board developed a mission statement that appeals to both groups: those who still believe Canada can be “saved” if constitutional amendments are adopted, and those who believe independence is the only realistic choice.
This twin-track approach, done concurrently, has attracted growing support for the party, providing an alternate voting option for western Canadians who want to give Ottawa one last opportunity to change, as well as those who want to form an independent western nation. The west has always fought for fairness and self determination and the MAVERICK Party will continue that struggle to create the change the west needs and deserves.
As support for the MAVERICK Party continues to grow, our team is working hard to establish EDAs (Electoral District Associations) and preparing candidates to run in the next federal election, expected sometime in 2021.