The Western Independence Party (WIP), whose manifesto mirrors that of the Bloc Québécois, had its inaugural meeting in 2001 in Yorkton. It was here that one of its founding members, Walter Hrappsted, joined the political arena, and this year he is looking to win the Kelvington-Wadena Constituency seat in the provincial election on April 4.
Hrappsted was born, raised, and farms at Wadena, and he has seen the effect of the eastern “totalitarian regime” on his farming business. He believes that if Quebec can make a case to split from Canada, so can Western Canada. Only time and votes will tell if that is what the people of Western Canada want and, if they do, they can voice their opinions through the Western Independence Party.
For the last three years, Hrappsted has been president of the WIP. He would like to see the party attain at least one seat, in order to “at least put the brakes on Ottawa,” and to show the public that the WIP is capable of forming a worthy opposition. Even though the party’s express manifesto is to become independent from Eastern Canada, the WIP would bring a referendum to the people. Hrappsted believes that if the split was possible and amiable, with the resources we have in our province we would be better off financially if independent from Ottawa.
The WIP has been laying dormant during the Harper years, thinking the West had a good ally in Harper. But as Hrappsted puts it, “Trudeau is the East and for the East, and the brakes need to be put on his spending so we, the West, do not have to pay for the East’s mistakes.”
By Andy Labdon