OTTAWA _ Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien scoffs at the notion that Canada’s national unity is threatened by Indigenous protests and western alienation, as the country has managed to survive all other crises and contentious issues over the years.

Chretien says the unity of the country was in much greater peril back in the 1960s and 70s, when radical Quebec separatists were setting off bombs, kidnapped the British high commissioner and killed a Quebec cabinet minister.

The former Liberal prime minister says the country survived that episode and he says Canadians are still together and more united than ever.

Chretien says Canada won’t break up over the blockades that paralyzed train traffic across the country in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs fighting a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Nor does it make sense, in his view, for Alberta to separate over its inability to get crude oil to coastal waters for export overseas.

Separation, Chretien notes, won’t move Alberta any closer to the Pacific.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2020.