Oh God, Right-Wing American Media Has Discovered Canadian Separatists

Despite the tiny Alberta separatist movement only really succeeding in selling bumper stickers, it made Fox News and Newsmax this week.

For years, there’s been a number of tiny groups on the fringe of politics of Alberta—Canada’s Texas, for American readers—pushing for the province to separate and become the 51st state in the United States of America.

They’re an often mocked, and they’ve really only accomplished making threats and, occasionally, renting out billboard space. They have been wildly unsuccessful in their goals, and the idea is rather unpopular even in Canada’s most conservative province. But that did not stop two right-wing U.S. outlets, Fox News and NewsMax, from taking the idea of a part of Canada separating and joining the U.S somewhat seriously. 


One particular separatist group, the Alberta 51 Project, was first profiled by Fox News Tuesday morning. Following this, the far-right news outlet NewsMax picked up on the story and rather than even explaining what a province is, just ran a news segment about a “push to make Canada the 51st State???.” The situation was broken down quite succinctly on Twitter by user @matttomic. 

The NewsMax segment essentially just regurgitates the Fox News articles but includes a few tweets showing some users cheerleading the idea. At the very least, NewsMax did provide some skepticism in the form of question marks in their chyron.

Essentially since Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015 there has been a small but loud group of Albertans doing their best to agitate the province’s exit from Canada. 

The prairie province is currently in the midst of an election. Sadly, no leader is running on a separation platform—although some members of the in-power United Conservative Party have expressed separatist sentiments. That said, the current premier, Danielle Smith, is no stranger to playing into the province’s grievance politics which fuel the separatist movement (not to mention COVID conspiracy theories). 


The idea of Alberta separating is profoundly unpopular in the province—79% of Albertans oppose the idea of joining the United States. Despite this, a separatist group, small even within the niche Alberta separatist movement, got a glowing writeup in Fox News. 

The Alberta 51 Project (AB5) has less than 70 members on Facebook at the time of writing. The Twitter account has less than 100 followers. 

“Had our first interview with Fox News,” wrote one member days before the article came out. “The AB51 Project is not just chatting on (Facebook). We are doing real world things to help all Albertans!”

However, despite the exposure by the United States’ biggest right-wing TV network, the group is no closer to its goals. 

While the group’s official page exists almost exclusively of a few dozen people chatting on Facebook, it has put out a 40-page platform outlining arguments for why Albertans should want to join the United States. Within the platform they float an idea of a sale for $1.8 trillion dollars, and dedicate a section to the “right to bare arms” [sic]. Sadly, the latter section is about how Albertans should be allowed to conceal and carry firearms, and not about how they should get their guns out.

The group seems convinced that American health care will be far superior to the largely free one available in Canada. Now while Canada’s health care system is far from ideal, the United States system is consistently rated as one of the worst in the Western world.  


Like with other modern right-wing political movements, the AB51 Project seemingly originated from a rather unwieldy public Facebook page that has over 9,000 members. 

Screen Shot 2023-05-17 at 9.11.22 AM.png

A small section of the Alberta 51 merch one can buy. Photo via screenshot.

The Alberta 51 project grew from a larger page that is an absolute cesspool for far-right ideas. The page exists primarily as a platform for moderators to hawk merchandise—like “Alberta, USA” hats, wristbands, and magnets—to its audience. On its website, before you are even introduced to the group's platform, the AB51 Project tries to sell you bumper stickers. 

The larger page is steeped in right-wing conspiracies and it's not hard to find disturbing talk of killing trans people. One moderator has even written multiple lengthy posts reminding the group's followers to not threaten to kill the prime minister and about how exhausted he was at removing death threats. 

“I have personally removed possibly dozens of the death threats. I am not paid, by the way. It is volunteer work,” he wrote. In another post, he warned that other people in other Alberta separatist groups were “already UNDER INVESTIGATION by the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] for making death threats.”

The beating heart of the modern Alberta separatist movement is, unsurprisingly, a deep and visceral hatred of the Trudeaus, both the current prime minister, and his father Pierre, who was prime minister from the late 60s to the early 80s (with a brief time out during the late 70s) and famously pissed Alberta off (something to do with energy, it’s very old news) . When the younger Trudeau first came to power in 2015, the once nascent Alberta separatist movement got another shot at life. Within weeks of Trudeau's election some began to organize and started jockeying for power within the fledgling movement. Subsects formed and within those was “why don’t we just join the United States?” movement, which hit its zenith when Donald Trump was president but fell off when Joe Biden beat him in 2020. 

The vast majority of these separatist groups accomplish little other than riling people up on Facebook pages. At most, they'll crowdfund a billboard or two and have a member be arrested for threats. Just earlier this month a group called the Alberta Statehood Party, which has over ten times as many followers as the Alberta 51 project, announced they were shutting down due to lack of support.

“Ultimately, the decision was based on the lack of physical and financial support required to form a Statehood Party in Alberta,” the spokesperson wrote.