5.17.2005

not so fast

Not everyone thinks the Conservative government is a lock.
Canada's opposition Conservative Party, which is set to bring down the minority Liberal government later this week, was hit by a new opinion poll on Monday that showed it was trailing in the country's most vote-rich region.

The Leger Marketing poll for the Sun chain of newspapers put support for the Liberals in the powerful central province of Ontario at 43 percent compared with 31 percent for the Conservatives.

Ontario, a Liberal stronghold at the federal level for the past 12 years, accounts for 106 of the 308 seats in House of Commons, and no party can hope to form a government without doing well there. . . .

Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals have been badly hurt by a corruption scandal and Conservative leader Stephen Harper says the government must be defeated as soon as possible. The Leger figures, however, suggest there is no guarantee Harper can end 12 years of Liberal rule.
Thanks, ALPF! I must say, I'm finding this Parliamentary system fascinating. I still don't have a very clear understanding of it, but a lot seems to be seeping in through osmosis.

61 comments:

RobfromAlberta said...

Actually, I don't think anyone feels a Conservative win is a sure thing. Ontario voters have to balance their anger at the Liberals with their fear of the Conservatives. I have been arguing all along that pushing an early vote is bad strategy for the Tories. It makes people think they are too obsessed with power and less concerned with making government work. Of course, I will still vote for them since the Liberals must be punished for the sponsorship scandal, but I wish the Tories were more circumspect.

RobfromAlberta said...

Well, if the Conservative party was showing signs of weakness in Ontario, Belinda Stronach just put them out of their misery completely. Ms. Stronach decided to cross the floor and join the Liberal crime family. This not only costs the Tories an all-important Ontario seat, but the loss of such a high-profile Ontario Conservative will surely erode support in the province.

Lone Primate said...

That's exactly the take people I know around here have on it. Pardon my French, but it's like Harper can barely keep his zipper closed, waiting to get his paws on the knobs of power. Doesn't matter the reason. Doesn't matter if Canadians want the inquiry to conclude first. Doesn't matter what deals with what devils will be required. There's musk in the air, and he's mindlessly driven to mount. Or maybe blood in the water's the better analogy.

I'm reminded of the Mulroney years, during which time the Tory agenda, backed by less than 45% of the people, was forced on the country thanks to deals Mulroney made with separatists in Quebec, managing, for a time, to bring them into the PCs, till they bolted to become the BQ. It looks like we're headed back to exactly those same dirty old days where the Tories hijack Canada by offering Quebec separatists things that the vast majority of Canadians are not prepared to surrender. And once again, Quebec will be "humilitated" by the fact we didn't haul down the moon, label it in French and hand it over, and they'll use it as the excuse for yet another referendum... which, this time, they'll likely win.

A friend of mine lamented this in recent e-mail, contrasting the kind of Tories we had in the Diefenbaker years with the ones we've had since 1983. The country means nothing; it's an economic philosophy that trumps with them now. They will gamble the nation to further their aims. With reference to the slimy co-operation already evident between the Tories and the Bloc, my friend said it seemed clear that Stephen Harper would 'rather be Prime Minister of 2/3 of Canada than Leader of the Opposition of the whole thing.'

Maybe it is up to Ontario. Again. :/

RobfromAlberta said...

"they'll use as the excuse for yet another referendum... which, this time, they'll likely win."

Given the willingness of Ontario to vote Liberal under any and all circumstances, I would likely vote for separation myself if I still lived in Quebec. I will certainly be looking hard at the Alberta independence movement from now on. There is no such thing as Canada, there is only Ontario and its uncomfortable vassals.

Lone Primate said...

I'm sorry that your experience of Canada is as shallow and narrow as it seems to be, wishing to see the nation dissolved for, apparently, no other reason that than relative ability of one part of it to draw immigration and raise its population... seeing this as an Ontarian advantage alone, rather than a Canadian one.

Like you, I'm not from Ontario; not originally. But I have lived here for 25 years now, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that Ontario is hardly safe Liberal territory. Up until the mid-80s, Ontario was run by the Tories for 42 years without interruption. Since then, it has had a Liberal government, an NDP government, another long Tory government, and only recently re-elected the Liberals.

Federally, Ontario is highly variable. You seem to forget that Mulroney had a large base here. Metro Toronto proper may have been Grit/NDP in complexion, but I can tell you that the 905 Belt where I lived all those years was SOLIDLY Tory in the late 80s, until even those people were so thoroughly repulsed by the Mulroney government that by 1993 they could only muster two seats in the entire country.

If we're going to talk about provinces that seem psychologically incapable of voting outside the box, however, I might suggest you pull the beam out of your own eye before pointing out mote in Ontario's. Stop and look at the people you're proposing to put in office, even as you openly acknowledge they are capable of. You would honestly rather elect people who have the capacity to gamble the dissolution of this country, simply to further some one-sided grudge match with Ontario?

Really?

RobfromAlberta said...

It has nothing to do with population, it has to do with the willingness of Ontario voters to repeatedly and slavishly reward the most corrupt government this country has seen in recent memory. The Liberal Party is not a national party despite their claims to the contrary. It is an Ontario party. Now, I don't blame Ontarions for voting for their party, but their party is not our party. Since we will never have our priorities addressed in this country, it doesn't seem unreasonable that we should have our own country. That way, everyone gets the government they want.

Lone Primate said...

I'm going to blunt here. No one from Alberta has the right to call the voting habits of anyone in any other province "slavish". When was the last time Alberta even pretended to be anything other an a one-party state, federally or provincially? Even when you couldn't stomach Mulroney anymore, you didn't do what the rest of the country did and give the Liberals a fair go... you simply took the most reactionary elements of the PCs and invented the Reform Party. Now THAT is slavish.

So what exactly are the "priorities" Alberta has that aren't being addressed in Canada? I'm curious; what would they be?

RobfromAlberta said...

Western priorities would be fiscal responsibility (how many billions have Martin thrown around in the last two weeks propping up his government?), military spending, senate reform, government accountability and tax relief.

In '93, Westerners may have made a choice you don't like, but at least they punished Mulroney's government. To even suggest that westerners (especially Albertans) should have voted for a government led by Jean Chretien, the architect of the National Energy Program is simply absurd.

Lone Primate said...

It's interesting that "fiscal responsibility" and "military spending" usually do wind up in such close proximity in such statements... I've noticed that trend since Reagan was elected. It's funny how the latter always seems to knock the former on the head, though, whenever you elect anyone who suggests they form a nexus. Just an observation. I do have to wonder what happened to "fiscal responsiblity" under the Mulroney government so championed out west in 1984.

I'm in favour in senate reform myself, and I don't think I know anyone personally who's opposed to it. I've heard a few people whose preference was to get rid of it, but that's not really the same thing as saying the unequal status quo should be maintained. Of course, one of the sticking points is that the idea is unpopular in Quebec, where it smacks of losing influence at the federal level. So if it isn't undertaken, Alberta is alienated; if it is, then Quebec is alienated. There's the rub.

I have to be honest. I have never understood the animosity with which Albertans greeted the NEP. The only possible objections come down to mean-spirited greed. It was formulated at a time when petroleum costs were spiraling, and keeping the price of energy to Canada's industries and transportation sectors low meant that those industries would be more competitive. In some cases, that advantage meant the difference between staying afloat and going under, particularly in Atlantic Canada where I originally hail from. But a lot of Albertans refused to see it as sharing a Canadian advantage, and instead seemed to see it as a plot to keep them from being able to eat the whole pie, and still do. Between Quebec and Alberta, it's hard to decide which place houses the more selfish polity.

The ironic thing is that when the world price of oil collapsed in the mid 80s (after Mulroney killed the NEP), Alberta actually stood to gain because the NEP guaranteed price was higher than the world price; in which case it would have been the rest of Canada kicking something back to support flagging Albertan industries.

RobfromAlberta said...

I didn't live here during the time of the NEP, but among the people who did, not a single one views it positively. There was a massive flight of investment capital and thousands of job losses. That'll piss a lot of people off. It's interesting to note that no one was suggesting Ontario should sell its manufactured goods at a lower price for "the good of the country".

The Liberals have starved the military for decades and yet, still send our troops on one peacekeeping mission after another to show what good global citizens we are. We aren't suggesting turning Canada into a military superpower, but we do believe they should be given the resources they need to do the jobs we demand of them. Just once in awhile, we would like to see some money go to upgrading defense and security instead of yet another wasteful Liberal pet project.

RobfromAlberta said...

Oh, by the way, I was also born and raised in Atlantic Canada.

Lone Primate said...

It's interesting to note that no one was suggesting Ontario should sell its manufactured goods at a lower price for "the good of the country".

Yeah, I must have heard that one a hundred times by now. I guess it never gets old out West. But you know what's really interesting is that this is, in fact, exactly what Canada suggests Ontario do. It's called the transfer payments program, and by means of it, every third dollar Ontario generates by means of its industry, its economic advantages of location and proximity to markets, and the size and expertise of its population, is taken from it and given to someone else. This has been going on for decades now, and oddly enough, I don't hear Ontarians screaming bloody murder about it, even though it's obvious that Ontario would be vastly better off if this were not the case.

Oh, by the way, I was also born and raised in Atlantic Canada.

I'm sure you can remember, then, that a vague resentment of the economic success of Central Canada was a facet of life there alongside foggy mornings, hail in May, and John Allen Cameron music. You moved to another part of the country with the same attitude. I moved here. And what I found was that Ontarians were just the same as Maritimers; they were just Canadians living in a place that happened to have more opportunities. Here, there's a common sentiment that that means there's something owed to the rest of the country, though lately, especially with Newfoundland's recent attitude, it's beginning to wear thin. But I find it peculiar that Alberta, which has managed to balance its budget and get ahead pretty much solely based on the increasing scarcity of one import world commodity, resents the rest of country its relative poverty... and then turns around and suggests it's Central Canada that's arrogant. I suppose the real test will come when dependence on oil becomes enough of a liability that the world finally turns to other sources and Alberta (in all likelihood) becomes a have-not province again. It will be interesting to see if there's a sea change in attitudes on the prairies then.

L-girl said...

Well, this has been interesting! I don't understand all the nuances, but I'm learning a lot.

"It's interesting that "fiscal responsibility" and "military spending" usually do wind up in such close proximity in such statements... I've noticed that trend since Reagan was elected. It's funny how the latter always seems to knock the former on the head, though, whenever you elect anyone who suggests they form a nexus."

Oh yes. It's one of those ridiculous paradoxes of the American right. They claim fiscal responsibility to destroy social programs, then fork over the welfare to the military industry.

Pardon my igorance, but what is NEP?

RobfromAlberta said...

It's called the transfer payments program, and by means of it, every third dollar Ontario generates by means of its industry, its economic advantages of location and proximity to markets, and the size and expertise of its population, is taken from it and given to someone else.

Do you think this argument about transfer payments has legs in Alberta?

I will say, however, that Albertans don't resent the rest of Canada. In fact, Ralph Klein has been one of the strongest supporters of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in their efforts to keep more of their offshore revenues.

RobfromAlberta said...

The NEP or National Energy Program was an effort by the Liberals in the early '80s to nationalise the oil and gas industry in order to ensure that Canadians would pay a stable (and artificially low) price for our own oil. It caused a huge depression in the Alberta oil industry and has been a source of resentment here ever since. The one remaining legacy of the NEP is Petro-Canada. At the time, Petro-Canada was a fully government-owned oil company. It's now largely private.

Lone Primate said...

Do you think this argument about transfer payments has legs in Alberta?

Do you think that reflects in any way on the validity of the point?

I will say, however, that Albertans don't resent the rest of Canada.

What's all the talk of "looking hard at the Alberta independence movement from now" in aid of then? After all, it's not Ontario your balance payments are going to; it's virtually everyone else. It's not Ontario that objects to senate reform; it's essentially Quebec. Even when you talk of military issues, it isn't Ontario that gets the contracts to build the RCN's new frigates, much less the money to house and supply them. Taken together... that's resenting Canada, isn't it?

Ralph Klein has been one of the strongest supporters of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in their efforts to keep more of their offshore revenues.

Given the nature of Alberta's economy, this would pretty much go without saying, after all. It would have been a little surprising if he hadn't championed his own means to bread and butter. I don't think anyone in Canada doesn't want to see Atlantic Canada get ahead. But there are some who, probably not illegitimately, would like to see transfer payments to them stepped down at least to some extent.

RobfromAlberta said...

Looking at Alberta independence doesn't mean resentment of Canada, simply a recognition that Alberta is not a good fit within Greater Ontario. Just as those poor Blue States are saddled with Red States that don't see the world in the same way, Alberta and Ontario do not and will not agree on fundamental issues. Since Ontario has all the power, it is Alberta that has to go its own way. Besides, as you pointed out, our oil is not going to last forever and you certainly don't want yet another have-not province hanging off your heavily-burdened shoulders.

Lone Primate said...

The NEP or National Energy Program was an effort by the Liberals in the early '80s to nationalise the oil and gas industry in order to ensure that Canadians would pay a stable (and artificially low) price for our own oil.

Yes, and to thereby offset the cost of production and transportation for industries from St. John's to Vancouver Island. Fisheries, farms, factories, electical production, and distribution of everything they produced (not to mention the heating of Canadian homes). The cumulative savings and benefits in jobs in times of scarcity, in Alberta as well as elsewhere, and a boon to Alberta in times of low-priced glut. But again, the thinking that prevailed was why scatter seed corn to a neighbour's field when you can just guzzle the bag yourself?

Lone Primate said...

Besides, as you pointed out, our oil is not going to last forever and you certainly don't want yet another have-not province hanging off your heavily-burdened shoulders.

The difference is that Ontario's always been there with those heavily-burdened shoulders, instead of always complaining how heavy it would be to have to carry anyone else.

And remember, I'm not from here either. But I've seen the difference in attitudes here and there.

L-girl said...

Thanks for the dual perspectives on the NEP. Three guesses which I'd support. Not that you asked.

RobfromAlberta said...

The difference is that Ontario's always been there with those heavily-burdened shoulders, instead of always complaining how heavy it would be to have to carry anyone else.

This is at least the third time you've presented this straw man argument. It is not the tax revenue Alberta pays to Ottawa that is the source of discontent, it is the lack of any say in how the money is spent.

I would also like to point out that, unlike McGuinty, our premier has not been sniffing around Parliament Hill trying to leverage a better deal out of the Liberals.

RobfromAlberta said...

Three guesses which I'd support. Not that you asked.,

I suppose you would agree with the NEP, but remember, a lot of people lost their jobs because of it and we're not talking managers and executives, we're talking working class people; roughnecks, secretaries, geologists, truck drivers, tradespeople.

RobfromAlberta said...

a boon to Alberta in times of low-priced glut

It would have been very easy to adjust the price to reflect the new reality. Nobody believes for one second that Alberta ever would have benefited from the NEP, no matter what the world price was.

L-girl said...

My guess is other people were probably able to keep their jobs, or heat their homes, or run their businesses because of it. Though it would be best not to have to make those trade-offs, they crop up in almost every social bargain.

RobfromAlberta said...

My guess is other people were probably able to keep their jobs, or heat their homes, or run their businesses because of it.

Yes, people in Alberta lost their jobs so that people in other parts of the Canada could keep theirs. Playing provinces off against each other is a favourite Liberal tactic and Alberta doesn't want to play the game anymore.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Wow, this has been an exchange.

L-Girl: I'll sort of explain the whole Alberta/Ontario divide that's going on here.

As mentioned, the NEP came around (actually I think it was in the late '70s, not the 80s as Rob said). If it's not obvious by Rob's comments, it was very, very unpopular in the west. At the time, the phrase was "let those Eastern bastards freeze in the dark". From that time, the Liberal party as been anathema to the west, especially in oil-rich Alberta.

In the mid 80s and early 90s, the Tories (Conservative) came into power. The Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, became synonymous with corruption at the end to people in Ontario. They put a new leader, Kim Campbell in place and she briefly placated the voters. Then her (American) campaign team ran a T.V. ad that showed a picture of Jean Chretien's disfigured face (he has some condition I can't remember the name of) which was the straw that broke the camel's back. In the '93 election, the Tories lost all but 2 seats, and the Western conservatives split off and formed a new party that has become the new Conservative party today. The new Conservative party is seen by Ontarians as a creature of the western provinces.

Anyway, because of all this history, Albertans won't vote liberal at all, and Ontarians have severe reservations about voting Conservative. However, since Ontario has the balance of power due to population, it makes the divide even worse since Ontario always wins.

Until the Bloc Quebequois came along in the 90's, Quebec used to be the other major player due to its large population. But now, it's almost irrelevant since it won't vote anymore for either Liberal or Conservative.

L-girl said...

I don't know anything about what happened, but it seems like nationalising the oil industry is a much bigger undertaking, potentially more important, with wider ramifications, than a political strategy of playing provinces off each other.

I'm off to make dinner and get away from this computer for the night. Enjoy your evenings, you guys. Play nice.

L-girl said...

"Wow, this has been an exchange."

Sure has! My last post overlapped with yours. It was in response to Rob's...

"L-Girl: I'll sort of explain the whole Alberta/Ontario divide that's going on here."

Thank you Kyle! It's about time someone did!

I'm kidding. I've picked up a lot as it's gone along. I'll read more tomorrow.

Buenas noches.

RobfromAlberta said...

As mentioned, the NEP came around (actually I think it was in the late '70s, not the 80s as Rob said).

I stand corrected.

I don't know anything about what happened, but it seems like nationalising the oil industry is a much bigger undertaking, potentially more important, with wider ramifications, than a political strategy of playing provinces off each other.

Ultimately it was about making Canada's manufacturing sector more competitive. Trudeau figured if Canadian manufacturers had an advantage on energy prices, they would be more competitive in foreign markets. Of course, Ontario is the province with the heavy manufacturing base, so the NEP was a way to take money from a small province (with few votes) and give it to a large province (with many votes).

Play nice.

Always.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Oh, and should mention how the seats break down.

They vary from election to election (they're readjusted every census), but here's the last one:

The west - 92 seats
The northern territories - 3 seats
Ontario - 106 seats
Atlantic - 32 seats
Quebec - 75 seats

Here's a hypothetical election example.

So, if Quebec votes all Bloc, the West votes all Conservative, Atlantic votes all Conservative, and Ontario votes all Liberal, you'd have

Liberals: 106
Conservatives: 124
Bloc: 75

This is a minority government, because the Bloc and the Liberals outnumber the conservatives.

If the governing Conservatives lose a major piece of legislation or the budget, it's considered a vote of no-confidence in the government and the PM must ask the Governor General to dissolve parliament and call an election.

As you'll note, if every province other than Ontario and Quebec votes Conservative, it's still not enough to form a majority government. Hence the Conservatives dilema (and frustration).

L-girl said...

Ah-ha! Kyle, I thank you. It all makes more sense now.

The Canadian system is so much more interesting! Or maybe it just seems that way to me b/c it's different.

I think I'm fooling myself by insisting (outwardly) that I might remain an American citizen and not apply for Canadian citizenship. How am I going to live where I can't vote??

G said...

Great exchange, guys. Informative, and frankly, fun to read.

But here we are, nearly at the no-confidence motion. The post-Stronach-era stats:

Liberal/NDP: 152 votes
CPC/Bloc: 152 votes
Independent: 2 votes

If the indies split, and it looks more and more each day that they may, then the Speaker decides it. And he just so happens to be a Liberal. Not good for CPCers.

Furthering the dilemma is where public opinion of the CPCs will go from here, now that Harper is supporting the budget after all his tirades against it. Rather than vote against it, he will instead seek to topple a motion to increase spending on Housing Programs and the Environment. I wish him the best of luck explaining the benefits of that one to the public.

Add to it the many members of the CPC party's insult-laden attacks on Belinda Stronach's decision to leave. No high road there. Far too often these guys sound like they belong in the playground - every day they prove themselves to be mere boys among men with the personal attacks that are anything but issue-related. And Canadians will not respect that in their votes.

Oh, and by the way Rob, in what way, exactly, are the CPCs exacting "fiscal responsibility"??? It is their constant whining that turns Parliament into a den of ineffective squabbling, they staged the recent walkouts that wasted taxpayer money and ensured nothing would get done last week. I'm sorry, bud, but I'm paying for a government that will actually get something done besides name-calling in Parliament.

The best part of all that? The NDP is the one party that actually looks sensible in all this - they are the only ones arguing to get something done besides squabbling in Parliament! Would you have thought that 6 months back? I guaran-damn-tee you, they have upped their seats substantially in the next election with their approach during this whole fucking unnecessary mess.

Julia B said...

L-Girl: love the blog! I don't blog myself, but do read many. Glad I came across yours!

LonePrimate: I agree wholeheartedly.

Rob: You make some good points also, but I disagree that the Conservatives are our best option. I have no interest in a leader who spends more time firing insults than promoting a platform, and no respect for a party whose members refer to a departing member (no matter the circumstance) publically as a "dipstick" and a "whore".

G: You're right. Harper did himself in on multiple accounts. Even if he manages to win the no-confidence, he is toast in an election. I have a feeling my views, especially re his and his party members' comments, are widely shared. I actually got here from your blog - great post on this whole mess - I especially like your 8 Acts Of Bugetry Buffoonery! (I left this comment there also)

RobfromAlberta said...

Actually, what I said is that the Conservatives are our best option, meaning western Canadians. If Ontario wants a corrupt government that will spend billions of taxpayers dollars to hold on to power, so be it. East and West really have nothing more to say to each other.

RobfromAlberta said...

"Oh, and by the way Rob, in what way, exactly, are the CPCs exacting "fiscal responsibility"??? It is their constant whining that turns Parliament into a den of ineffective squabbling, they staged the recent walkouts that wasted taxpayer money and ensured nothing would get done last week."

You're kidding, right? In the last month, the Liberals have made deals with the NDP and several provinces in the tens of billions of dollars all in an effort to hold on to power. A few days of Parliamentary paralysis versus tens of billions of dollars in new spending. Suddenly, the sponsorship scandal looks like chump change.

L-girl said...

Welcome, Julia B! I've read your comments over on G's "LB" blog. Nice to have you on board the good ship wmtc.

"Far too often these guys sound like they belong in the playground - every day they prove themselves to be mere boys among men with the personal attacks that are anything but issue-related. And Canadians will not respect that in their votes."

Julia B alluded to this, too. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Canadians?

"The best part of all that? The NDP is the one party that actually looks sensible in all this . . . I guaran-damn-tee you, they have upped their seats substantially in the next election with their approach during this whole fucking unnecessary mess."

Whoo-hoo!

G said...

Not kidding at all, Rob.

First of all, you've got no argument to stand on with the deal-brokering ... the PC deal with the Bloc differs how from the Liberal/NDP deal? The Libs want to hang onto power, the PCs want desperately to grab it. Like LonePrimate said, it's beginning to look a lot like Mulroney.

The Lib/NDP deal furthered the already-lacking housing program, and sets the stage for Canada to become an environmental leader. 4.6 billion. If that's where that money goes, hey, I'm happy to have that spent. Clean air/water and housing for the poor - those are initiatives that I can get behind.

And as far as the Ontario money? That was a Liberal promise that never was fulfilled, like most Chretien promises. Nice to see Martin actually following through and fulfilling one. The money's there ... Canada is in no desparate fiscal crisis at the moment. We have debt? Hey, name me a country that doesn't. Ours is quite manageable compared to most.

And a few days of paralysis equals my money wasted by Harper. And that impression he left, the one that says loudly he cares not for our tax dollars, is the one that will fuck him over royally in Ontario. No kidding, right?

RobfromAlberta said...

the PC deal with the Bloc differs how from the Liberal/NDP deal?

The difference being that there is no deal between the CPC and the BQ. Every time two parties are on the same side of a vote, does that mean there is some kind of backroom deal? The NDP got a tangible reward for supporting the Liberals. The BQ have gotten nothing from the CPC.

Lone Primate said...

This is at least the third time you've presented this straw man argument. It is not the tax revenue Alberta pays to Ottawa that is the source of discontent, it is the lack of any say in how the money is spent.

The lack of any say? You get every bit as much say as everyone else. Pardon us if the three million of you don't cumulatively equal the 29 million of the rest of the country. Sorry, but that's democracy.

In truth, you get more say, person per person. I read recently that given the disparity of percentage of population to percentage of seats in the Commons (roughly 39% vs. 34% respectively), Ontario is short 13-14 seats; it has 106 when it deserves about 120. When you slice it up, the opinion of the average Canadian, person for person, counts nowhere for less than it does in Ontario. So, again, I don't see where you have any call to say this.

I would also like to point out that, unlike McGuinty, our premier has not been sniffing around Parliament Hill trying to leverage a better deal out of the Liberals.

Yeah? Give us the $50US-a-barrel oil for a few years. Maybe then we won't be $26B in the hole either.

In the mid 80s and early 90s, the Tories (Conservative) came into power. The Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, became synonymous with corruption at the end to people in Ontario.

Ah, again, the archdemon Ontario. Sorry, Rob, it wasn't just "people in Ontario". Your province dumped them wholesale too. In fact, so did every province, except Quebec and Nova Scotia... who each elected just one Tory. I think saying they were synonymous with corruption in Ontario kind of glosses over the point they were also synonymous with corruption in British Columbia... Alberta... Saskatchewan... etc., etc., etc. And again, we have a Tory leader willing to cut deals with Quebec separatists because it's the only way he can muster enough support to form a government for an platfrom that can't muster enough support west of the Rockies or east of Regina to fly... which is Brenda Stronach gives for crossing the floor:

"...the decision to leave the party was agonizing, but necessary because her former leader, Stephen Harper, fails to understand the complexities of Canada and is joining forces with the Bloc for his own partisan purposes - not the good of the country."

I said something to that effect yesterday, but before I heard what her justification was. To me, it's a matter of bigger issues. Yeah, I'm sickened by the Gomery Inquiry's revelations and the headache it's stirring up in Quebec, but to me, that's small beer compared with gambling the country's future making deals with people who quiet openly plot to unravel the nation. If that's the only way Harper could possibly come to power... good God, should he?

RobfromAlberta said...

Ah, again, the archdemon Ontario. Sorry, Rob, it wasn't just "people in Ontario". Your province dumped them wholesale too. In fact, so did every province, except Quebec and Nova Scotia

Your volleys are going a little off target. You are responding to someone else's post. The Mulroney government was corrupt and they needed to be removed from power. I applaud Ontario for voting them out. Now it's time for Ontario to do the same with another hopelessly corrupt government.

RobfromAlberta said...

Yeah, I'm sickened by the Gomery Inquiry's revelations and the headache it's stirring up in Quebec, but to me, that's small beer compared with gambling the country's future making deals with people who quiet openly plot to unravel the nation.

The resurgence of the separatists is the direct result of the sponsorship scandal. It has nothing to do with non-existent deals between the Conservatives and the Bloc. If Canada falls apart, it is not Stephen Harper who is to blame.

Lone Primate said...

I think I'm fooling myself by insisting (outwardly) that I might remain an American citizen and not apply for Canadian citizenship. How am I going to live where I can't vote??

Not an issue, Laura. As I suggested earlier, acquiring a second citizenship no longer abrogates US citizenship. Have a look here (see "The Kindness of Strangers):

Q. If I gain Canadian status, will I lose my American citizenship?

A. No, both Canada and the United States recognize multi-citizenship, so you do not have to give up your American citizenship unless you choose to. You can even continue to be active in and vote in future U.S. elections. Don’t look at it as losing a daughter but rather as gaining a son-in-law. Now, don’t you feel better already?

RobfromAlberta said...

The lack of any say? You get every bit as much say as everyone else. Pardon us if the three million of you don't cumulatively equal the 29 million of the rest of the country. Sorry, but that's democracy.

That is democracy, and it doesn't change the argument one bit. Alberta has no say in government. Our 28 seats will never match the 106 of Ontario. It's not Ontario's fault, but it's a fact nonetheless. Since Alberta can't get its voice heard within Canada, maybe it's time to leave.

L-girl said...

I appreciate that! I'm not sure it's still true, though. I think that may have changed, and may only apply to people who have a parent who is a citizen of one of the other country. Either way, it's not something I have to decide yet.

I will check out that link, though - thank you.

G said...

Oh, please, drop the woe-is-me argument. Ontario splits nearly 50-50 on just about every vote on government, Rob. It's the larger population factor: increase your numbers and your probability for a split will rise accordingly. And Ontario proves that consistently. You read polls and watch elections; you should know that.

Given that split (or near-split if you want to be particular), the other provinces (Alberta's seats included) have actually quite a bit of say.

You feel your boys have no say? Hey, join the club. Those of us who support the NDP have been fighting that battle for years. Drop the "we have no say" act and take your place in line.

Lone Primate said...

Your volleys are going a little off target. You are responding to someone else's post.

Not everything's addressed directly to you, Rob... it's just a grabbag of points that caught my eye. :)

The resurgence of the separatists is the direct result of the sponsorship scandal. It has nothing to do with non-existent deals between the Conservatives and the Bloc. If Canada falls apart, it is not Stephen Harper who is to blame.

Let's be plain here. The reason we have a BQ federally in the first place was that the Tories offered their Bouchard and their shakey Quebec caucus the Canadian equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge, and, of course, couldn't deliver because the rest of us didn't play along. Bouchard broke, took his caucus with him, and formed the BQ. Around the same time, Western Tories jumped ship -- partly because of all the pandering to Quebec -- and formed the Reform Party. We have the Tories to thank for both these phenomena, because their gamble was playing both ends against the middle, and their just desserts was the implosion that hit them in 1993 when those ends turned away. It was Mulroney's constantly reminding Quebec they got the sh*tty end of the stick in 1982 but that he could do better that led to both failed Meech rounds of constitutional wrangling and ultimately led to the 1995 referendum in Quebec. All of this can be laid at the door of Tory brinksmanship.

Now there is almost no way Stephen Harper can hope to form a stable goverment that lasts past Thanksgiving if he does not have the support of the BQ. Let's face it, he's not going to get support from the Grits or the NDP, so what's left? Making deals with separatists, again. Only people too young to remember the late 80s could, or should, be possibly fooled by this. The rest of us know where it's going to lead us.

Lone Primate said...

Since Alberta can't get its voice heard within Canada, maybe it's time to leave.

And how much of Alberta will those who don't want to separate receive? I mean, we've heard it before about Quebec... if Canada is divisible against the will of some, surely so are the provinces. It will be nice if the Canadian remnant has some of the oil...

RobfromAlberta said...

Not everything's addressed directly to you, Rob... it's just a grabbag of points that caught my eye. :)

Perhaps not, but you mentioned me in your response, so you can understand my confusion.

Now there is almost no way Stephen Harper can hope to form a stable goverment that lasts past Thanksgiving if he does not have the support of the BQ. Let's face it, he's not going to get support from the Grits or the NDP, so what's left?

This is probably true and is part of the reason I wish the Tories would be a bit more patient right now. However, I do not believe there will be any deals with the BQ, there is no common ground. The Conservatives have nothing to offer and the Liberals will engage in the same disruptive tactics as the Conservatives to oust the government. I expect we are going through a transition right now where there will be several short-lived minority governments. How we will come out on the other side is anyone's guess, but dissolution of the country is a definite possibility. There is too much dissatisfaction.

RobfromAlberta said...

And how much of Alberta will those who don't want to separate receive? I mean, we've heard it before about Quebec... if Canada is divisible against the will of some, surely so are the provinces. It will be nice if the Canadian remnant has some of the oil...

I don't know how it will happen. I'm sure Quebec will lead the way and whatever deal they make will be emulated by Alberta.

RobfromAlberta said...

Drop the "we have no say" act and take your place in line.

Thanks for the advice. What was I thinking.

G said...

Oh, I love great sarcasm when I see it. We're standing in the same line, so I'm sure I'll see you there, bud.

;-)

On another note ...

51 comments. Holy discussion, Batman! Talk about tapping into a Canadian nerve!!!

Lone Primate said...

I don't know how it will happen. I'm sure Quebec will lead the way and whatever deal they make will be emulated by Alberta.

That may well happen. I personally am of the opinion that the Canadian tradition is for cooler heads to prevail, realize that "this too shall pass", and reflect that, when you look around the world, we ain't hardly got much to complain about, and realize what a real crime it would be to ruin that, and create so many things lesser than the sum of the whole. That's my feeling on how Canadians react. I may be proven wrong... Quebec came dangerously close in 1995.

But the fact of the matter is, if Quebec does opt to leave, they're in for a big surprise if they are expecting this country to just wave them through the gates for Auld Lang Syne. It's not going to be like that. Negotiations are going to be hard, onerous, and in the full gaze of international partners who will expect Quebec to take its share of the load, not just skip off into a golden sunrise in a field of glorious fleurs-de-lis. We are all bound to come out poorer for it, but no one moreso than Quebec. They will not automatically be in NAFTA, and they will be negotiating with, along with Mexico and the US, an embittered Canada with the right to veto their application, or at least place pretty heavy conditions on it. They will not automatically be members of NATO, NORAD, the UN, the OAS, or any other organization to which the Canadian government is a signatory, but the Quebec government is not. They will no longer have a voice in G8 meetings, no matter what they do. These are all the things they risk in simply not having to share a government with people who don't happen to speak French. This needs to be impressed upon them... not as threats, but to remind them of the singular advantages that accrue to them as members of this federation, and how pigheaded and selfish it would be of them to destroy all that for themselves, others, and generations of Canadians yet unborn.

RobfromAlberta said...

Loneprimate, all your statements are no doubt true. I lived in Quebec during the last referendum. I made many of those same arguments to my friends who planned to vote yes. It didn't make an iota of difference to any of them. Quebec separatism is an emotional issue, not an intellectual one. They do not "feel" Canadian, they are Quebecois. Most of them know things would be difficult and it's a sacrifice they are willing to make to be masters in their own house. I didn't agree with them, but I came away with a newfound respect for their position.

L-girl said...

"51 comments. Holy discussion, Batman! Talk about tapping into a Canadian nerve!!!"

Well said. :)

Loneprimate's and Rob's recent posts about secession help me understand the Quebec (and, I suppose, Alberta?) secession issue more fully.

A long time ago, I wrote a post asking, why not just let them leave, if that's what they want? This answers the question from many angles.

I'm feeling a bit sorry for Rob here - my natural inclination to root for an underdog. Rob, you manage to be both tenacious and polite. It's very admirable, more than I could do in a similar situation.

L-girl said...

Rob, you manage to be both tenacious and polite. It's very admirable, more than I could do in a similar situation.

That is, I am incredibly tenacious, but often lose my cool in the process.

Bad form, quoting myself.

Lone Primate said...

Quebec separatism is an emotional issue, not an intellectual one.

No question of that. But so's murder. Lots of people plan or desire to do dire things but are dissuaded by a complete, adult knowledge of the consequences. We can't do just whatever we feel like because it feels good, particularly where there are ramifications for others.

I don't really bear Quebec any ill will. There's a part of me that would be good-naturedly interested in seeing what Quebec would make of itself. But deep down, it's not an idle wish, for them or us. It has consequences. Big, serious consequences. Saying it's an emotional issue doesn't change that, and if they're immature enough to cave into it, they're going to find that out. And no apologies for saying that. Not being able to compromise or live harmoniously with others who are not, let's face it, behaving in any manner seriously inimical to you or your interests, but simply because they speak, behave, or act differently from you, is a form of personal and cultural immaturity. It's xenophobia, to put it bluntly.

With the exception of having their own embassies and a little flag on a desk at the UN, there's virtually nothing within the cultural aspirations of the Quebecois that cannot be realized while sharing a wider citizenship, currency, and government with the rest of us. What it comes down to is a perverse determination not to, and that's unfortunate. I understand it, and to some extent, I even sympathize with it. But the doesn't change the realities or the enormity of what they're proposing to do.

Lone Primate said...

Forgive me for continuing, but I meant to sum up:

If pointing these things out, which are true, to Quebeckers seems like interference or threats, I'm less concerned with how it's perceived as I am with will it make a difference. If reminding them of their deeper, more pedantic, work-a-day interests means the difference between a 51% oui vote and a 51% non vote again, so be it.

G said...

"That is, I am incredibly tenacious, but often lose my cool in the process."

Yeah, my bleeding heart (yes, librarians have one!) gets in the way on occasion.

It's why I make fun of myself halfway through nearly everything I write, as above. A little laughter always cools me off.

The tenacity is welcomed, Rob ... your passion for what you believe in always makes for a more lively and interesting discussion. And thank you for your insights - whether or not I agree with it all, I learn from it either way, we all do, which I do appreciate.

RobfromAlberta said...

G and Laura, thanks for your kind words. I do feel strongly about the direction this country is taking and despite what I may say at times, I really love Canada. But like any love affair, when the object of your affection wounds you, the pain is deeper. Having said that, civility is the Canadian way and I am nothing if not Canadian.

So bring it on, lefties. There's plenty more where that came from. :P

L-girl said...

"But like any love affair, when the object of your affection wounds you, the pain is deeper."

I know well how that feels. I've given up on my country, but only after a lot of pain, for a long time.

"So bring it on, lefties. There's plenty more where that came from. :P "

LOL :>)

Anonymous said...

Wow L-Girl !!
60 Comments from one little link.

I wonder how many you will get from my next link?
I'm almost afraid to send another one.
ALPF