Wexit Canada, the federal party created to advocate for western separatism, is undergoing a makeover. And it’s taking the highway to the danger zone to do it with a new name:
The Maverick Party.
Interim leader Jay Hill confirmed the party registered its new name with elections Canada Thursday. In messaging to members, leader Hill said the name change is meant to give the party its own identity separate from other similarly named movements like Brexit.
“Wexit is the movement that gave birth to our party, but the party has evolved and needs to establish its own identity,” he said.
WATCH: Kenney rebukes would-be separatists. Story continues below.
Various political parties associated with western separatism have popped up over the years, particularly in Alberta, but the “Wexit” — short for “western exit” — movement gained steam following the 2019 federal election, which saw Justin Trudeau’s Liberals form government despite not taking a single seat in Alberta or Saskatchewan. However, the original movement and its leader Peter Downing were marred in various controversies, including associations with far-right conspiracy theory movements and white nationalism.
Hill, a former MP and House Leader under Stephen Harper, was named interim leader of the federal party earlier this summer when Downing said he was moving on to other projects. The party says a new leader will be elected at the party convention at a later date.
According to Hill, a poll of Wexit Canada members earlier this summer two thirds wanted a name change. The new name was picked and approved by the party’s board.
But is it as obvious of a “Top Gun” reference as everyone thinks it is? That’s classified, Hill told the CBC.
“It’s not an intentional connection,” he said. “What has transpired, obviously, is people do reflect on where they’ve heard the name before.”
But Hill is hoping the name gives the party wings.
“And the name will come into the forefront soon with the release of the next ‘Top Gun’ movie with Tom Cruise’s character of course being called ’Maverick,” Hill told right-win outlet the Western Standard.
It’s not an intentional connection.Maverick Party Leader Jay Hill on the party's name connection to "Top Gun"
No word on if he’s worried about Iceman coming to steal his thunder.
Provincial wings of the Wexit movement will remain intact with their current names. If you’re keeping track at home, that means there are now four different names for what a year ago was Wexit, adding the Maverick Party to the Wildrose Independence Party (Alberta), Wexit BC (B.C.) and the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan).
No western separatist party currently has any elected officials in parliament or provincial legislatures.
Canadians had mixed reviews for the new federal party name.
University of Calgary professor Aritha van Herk, whose Twitter handle is @maverickCalgary said the party does not stand for her definition of “maverick.”
Peoples’ Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier claimed he was “the only Maverick politician in Canada.”
And yes, there were “Top Gun” jokes. Lots and lots and lots of “Top Gun” jokes.
Anyway, if we’re naming federal parties after ’80s movies now, someone get me a “Heathers” Party ASAP.