11.28.2005

low confidence

I'm excited about today's no-confidence vote. Only three months after moving here, we'll get to see a government fall, a campaign, and an election, in a system very different from what we're accustomed to. Even the expression "the government will fall" strikes us as oddly dramatic and revolutionary.

My sense of current Canadian politics, for what it's worth, tells me that very little will change from the upcoming election. I'd be surprised if the Liberals didn't win. So it's kind of cool to see this happening without a lot at stake.

On a semi-tangential note, have I mentioned I'm completely down with "Corner Gas"? Excellent show; I love the deadpan humour. (Great website, too; check it out.) So was that really Finance Minister Ralph Goodale ragging on Brent Butt's camera last Saturday night?

89 comments:

Beausejour said...

Haven't seen enough of Corner Gas to have an opinion -- but I have had a thing for Tara Spencer-Nairn since she was in New Waterford Girls ;) BTW, that's a great movie if you want to get an idea of what life in my end of Canada can be like (Hey it's still my end of Canada, even with a sojounr thru Washington Heights and San Francisco.)

Beausejour said...

...and minority governments tend to be short-lived. We seem do it every 15-20 years to shake things up (especially back when there were rally only 2 parties trading power and the NDP to keep check on them), but then get weary of the wrangling and give someone a majority. We haven't really had a lot of smaller parties in Parliament except since 1993 -- when that f***wit Brian Mulroney's enormously unpopular Conservative government went from a majority to having just 2 seats in the Commons (that's when the party split into the now-'old' Reform party and the Conservative party, and it's when the Bloc Quebecois really got some strength).

Hmmmm - Mulroney was a vain twit surrounded by toadies and petty crooks who didn't know when he was flying the country into the ground (...and he STILL doesn't get why he's still universally loathed. I think he's been taking Conrad Black lessons). Sound familiar? At least we can't really plan, sell and wage a war in a far-off foreign land on our own -- so that's something. I'm sure Brian would have tried it.

G said...

The political parties in this country, at the core, are not all that far apart save for a few issues such as (primarily) the direction of public health care and the growth of the private sector.

The general consensus seems to be another Liberal minority. There just isn't another party who's leader is seen as more qualified to run the country than Paul Martin, which is, at the end of the day, the bottom line for most Canadians. Martin's own political history is a positive one, and a recently-proven scandal-free one also.

Stephen Harper's done nothing to show he is a leader - many in Ontario who have voted PC/CPC for much of their lives are now seriously considering voting Liberal simply because they do not trust or respect Harper as a leader. He has yet to define a party platform for the CPCs, having done little other than whine, yell, and hurl insults like they were snowballs. Got news for you Stevie: not even the kids on the playground respect the bully - most of the time they're just afraid of him. Problem is, no one's afraid of you.

As for Jack Layton, it doesn't matter what he does. He's NDP, and they have a stigma of fiscal irresponsibility and deficit creation that is probably quite outdated. However, it does exist, and continues to hold them back.

Duceppe is pretty much in the same boat. He's Bloc, meaning he will get his votes almost entirely in Quebec, with precious few anyplace else. Too bad Duceppe isn't a member of one of the other Parties - on leadership skills alone, politics aside, he is bar none the most capable leader of all the candidates.

James said...

I dunno about the episode of Corner Gas, but it's not uncommon for Canadian politicians to show up on comedy shows. A few years ago Jean Chretien appeared on the Air Farce, getting into an argument with Roger Abbot (who plays Chretien in the show) on the correct pronunciation of "Poopoolar" (Chretien being known for this thick accent).

Beausejour said...

Wow -- how far have things fallen when Gilles "Hairnet" Duceppe is the best leadership material we have? And for Americans on the blog, we've had in the past the same fiscal issues you have now with Dubya and the GOP. The Tories under Mulroney ran up the worst debts in the country's history (and we were not trying to 'win' the Cold War either), just as the GOP does now. And yet they still tar the Democrats/Liberals with the "Tax and Spend" label -- successfully too.

Re; Corner Gas. Oh man -- didn't you ever see "This Hour has 22 Minutes" in its heyday? Every politician in the country wanted on that -- doesn't anyone remember the scene with Rick Mercer and Jean Chretien eating lunch at Harveys? You'll never see Dubya do that...

L-girl said...

but it's not uncommon for Canadian politicians to show up on comedy shows.

Similar to SNL in the US, I suppose, and a few other shows. It's not that I was shocked, but I did think it was funny.

doesn't anyone remember the scene with Rick Mercer and Jean Chretien eating lunch at Harveys? You'll never see Dubya do that...

You're comparing apples and oranges there. You would have seen Clinton do it, for sure.

RobfromAlberta said...

The Tories under Mulroney ran up the worst debts in the country's history (and we were not trying to 'win' the Cold War either), just as the GOP does now. And yet they still tar the Democrats/Liberals with the "Tax and Spend" label -- successfully too.

Mulroney had to deal with interest rates around 11%, Chretien/Martin have benefitted from interest rates around 4-5%. There is no comparison.

Beausejour said...

Yeah, Clinton would be great at it! I wish he'd gone down that talk show route...

Rob -- "Had to deal with" 11% interest rates? Come on now, the economic policy that has a hand in thoise rates doesn't come from nowhere. Admittedly, it was a more trying environment, but to ignore the fact the Tories still spent more on government than the Liberals since is something you can't deny. (and I know Trudeau loved to spend - I loved the guy as a leader but not as a 'governor' -- but between him and Frank McKenna, that's why i still vote Liberal)

James said...

And for Americans on the blog, we've had in the past the same fiscal issues you have now with Dubya and the GOP. The Tories under Mulroney ran up the worst debts in the country's history

he was more like the US with Reagan, who was also running up then-historical debt. Fortunately, we haven't had a followup like Dubya.

Re; Corner Gas. Oh man -- didn't you ever see "This Hour has 22 Minutes" in its heyday? Every politician in the country wanted on that

The Air Farce even got Preston Manning to come on and say the catch-phrase they'd assigned to him, "I love that word 'Refoooooorm'". I can't remember if it was the Farce or someone else who compared Manning's voice to "porcupines mating on a tin roof".

Mulroney had to deal with interest rates around 11%

Mulroney also had to deal with approval ratings around 11%, for that matter...

(Exaggerated for the joke... I think it was actually closer to 15%)

RobfromAlberta said...

Come on now, the economic policy that has a hand in thoise rates doesn't come from nowhere.

You're right, it comes from south of the border. The Bank of Canada does not have free reign to set interest rates, they are largely determined by economic forces beyond our borders.

RobfromAlberta said...

Mulroney also had to deal with approval ratings around 11%, for that matter...

Well, at least conservatives punish their politicians when they screw up.

L-girl said...

Yeah, Clinton would be great at it! I wish he'd gone down that talk show route...

He did, that's why I mentioned it. Talk-show appearances became de rigeur during that campaign. The famous appearance was Clinton playing saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show. But there were several similar events on different shows.

James said...

Well, at least conservatives punish their politicians when they screw up.

How is it that Bush is still in power, and Reagan is still revered as near-divine, then?

(The last time I was in Washington DC there was a motion to build a Reagan Memorial on the Mall -- which would make him the only President other than Washington and Lincoln to be so honoured. One commentator suggested it should be in the shape of a giant cube made up of one trillion dollar bills.)

Beausejour said...

Hey now - Brian was the one pushing through free trade (the only thing he did right by my memory -- whether or not it was a 'good thing' for the average Canadian was immaterial, it was a necessity when one trading partner makes up 85% of your trade). And its up to the public to punish politicians, not their party. Mulroney wasnt forced out (like, say, the Brits do with their leaders - their party sinks them before the public gets a chance), he stuck around and stunk the place up, like old cheese in the sun. And what's worse was, he didnt't seem to care at all that it was happening. And the public gave him the old Tory party their answer.

PS - I kinda liked Presto!. We are likely far apart on social issues, but I think he tried to take the best of the Conservatives with him into Reform. Sadly, it became too split to form a real defense against thje Liberals, allowing their worst elements to come out. When you think you can hold on to power for good (witness GOPers down here rubbing their hands with glee after they won the Whote Hosue and control of both houses of congress) corruption is inevitable.

Beausejour said...

But wasn't there talk of him hosting his own talk show after he retired?

Lone Primate said...

Mulroney had to deal with interest rates around 11%, Chretien/Martin have benefitted from interest rates around 4-5%. There is no comparison.

From http://www3.sympatico.ca/dylan.reid/mulroney.htm

"...As for the defeat of inflation, there is simply nothing to boast about. Every industrialized nation defeated inflation at about the same time. Many of them did it with more liberal monetary policies than Canada. The defeat of inflation was primarily the result of changes in the global economy. On the other hand, the fact that Mulroney let John Crow hike up interest rates led directly to the severe unemployment which continues to haunt Canada. That these interest rates were excessive is easily demonstrated by the fact that the Canadian dollar climbed rapidly above its usual level (below 80 cents U.S) to almost 90 cents U.S. The result was a rapid increase in interest payments on the debt, and therefore in the deficit; an increase in unemployment, which became uncoupled from the U.S. rate for the first time; and low growth. All of this was completely unnecessary, since inflation was dying of its own accord. The legacy of Mulroney's monetary policy was a permanently disabled economy and high debt. This will show up clearly in the historical statistics, so he is likely to find himself condemned by historians on this count, not praised..."

L-girl said...

But wasn't there talk of him hosting his own talk show after he retired?

Oh maybe, I don't know. There's usually talk of everyone having a talk show in the US.

Lone Primate said...

The Bank of Canada does not have free reign to set interest rates

This simply isn't the case; it is, in fact, the very reason we maintain a separate currency from the United States. The use of that power can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how it's used. Mulroney boosted rates higher than most other Western countries in the late 80s, and we suffered for it: the corresponding rise in the dollar hampered one of our competitive edges, the limited money supply crippled growth, and the punishing interest rates sent defaults skyrocketing and raised unemployment. That was a made-in-Canada recipe. Today, our prime lending rate, and Europe's, are lower than that of the United States. Because of their insane spending, the US has to boost rates to attract foreign investment. Because our monetary policy is more sensible, we don't. And those are domestic decisions. We set our interest rates in our own best (or in Mulroney's case, worst) interests... pardon the pun.

RobfromAlberta said...

The legacy of Mulroney's monetary policy was a permanently disabled economy and high debt.

Wow lp, you picked a pretty reliable and unbiased source there, eh?

RobfromAlberta said...

Better yet, the article starts with this:

We just can't seem to escape Mulroney's sneeringly arrogant presence.

Excellent piece of objective analysis there.

Beausejour said...

Re: Talk show - LOL! That is true.

Lone Primate said...

Wow lp, you picked a pretty reliable and unbiased source there, eh?

I could have quoted you instead, I suppose... :) Frankly, I don't imagine you'd credit anyone who wasn't kissing Mulroney's ass as being free of bias, though.

Beausejour said...

And LP is right, the BoC can set whatever policy the govt sees fit. My only point was that Mulroney wasn't exactly putting the brakes on spending (as Conservatives always want to promise in elections).

As for the Canadian dollar vs. US. I used to be an FX/MM trader in Toronto, and this fascination has always seemed silly to me. For the average member of the public is always driven by how we 'look' compared to the US. Unless you happen to be buying a lot of US goods (definitely not the issue it used to be -- we've got a lot of other places to buy from even if we don't necessarily) or if you happen to want to vaction in Orlando or Hawaii) it's simply not all that important. And let's not forget that not too long ago *Nov 2001 i think) that some of Canada's biggest CEOs were taking out full-page ads in the Globe and Mail, imploring the govt to adopt to US dollar. We've been our own worst enemy more often that the US is :)

Mulroney's legacy isn't really monetary in the end -- after all, Liberals balanced the budget and started paying down the debt ;) -- his legacy was a divided country with absolutely destroyed faith or belief in their government. And that was for the better.

You may be looking at what could happen here in the US after this regime goes down in the flames it richly deserves.

RobfromAlberta said...

I've never claimed to be unbiased, but even I would never suggest that a Chretien or Martin policy would permanently disable the nation's economy. Eternity is a heck of a long time.

Beausejour said...

did i just give mulroney a backhanded compliment?!?

Mitch said...

Hey L-Girl,

In the spirit of the upcoming election, and also with the spirit of your website, I came across this the other day. I thought it was funny and I thought you'd appreciate it too...

Check it out here.

http://ontherantagain.blogspot.com/2005/11/something-funny.html

Lone Primate said...

The general consensus seems to be another Liberal minority.

I'd tend to agree, though nothing's certain. It wouldn't take much to sour that and promote the Tories to minority status.

My feeling is that this election, coming as it does now, probably won't benefit the Tories much. If they top 110 seats, I'll be surprised. I think what's going to change is that the Liberals will lose about 15-20 seats to the NDP, and mostly to the Bloc. The only guys who stand to come out ahead in a big way in this election is the BQ: all they can win, all that's in contention for them, is the 75 seats Quebec has. They're bound to score big, and all that does is convince sceptical Quebecois that, gosh, everyone else is in favour of separatism, I guess this is it. We can lay this squarely at the feet of the opposition. Calling a federal election at this moment aids nothing but the separatist cause in Quebec. And I say it's the fault of the opposition because only they can cause this to happen. Constitutionally, legally, we don't have to have another election until the middle of 2009. There's no reason to drag us through it; the people responsible for the scandal are not now in office; the country is not fundamentally in crisis... but I think after this it's going to be.

The worst possible outcome would be a Tory miniority propped up the BQ. One more instance of the Conservatives pandering to a sovereigntist bloc, ignoring the people in the West who feel they put them in office and are getting short shrift -- exactly why they bolted to the Reform movment in the first place in the early 90s. That could lead to the fracturing of the oh-so-recently-reformed Conservative Party. And the things we'd wind up owing Quebec on the back of BQ support for the Tories don't bear imagining.

Canada seems to be waiting for two kinds of change. One is pressing the reset button and dumping the Liberals for a while -- for no more reason than that they've been in office for 12 years. The other, it seems quite clear to me, is waiting for the Tories to front someone who doesn't give most of the nation the creeps. So some good might come out of this. I think this is Harper's last kick; if he doesn't at least get a minority, I think the daggers are out. I'd love to see the federal Tories draft NB PC premier Bernard Lord. I think he's the kind of pre-Mulroney, Stanford/Clark kind of Tory the country could get behind. It's pretty clear that Canadians would like to turn the reins over for a while, but they don't want to hand them to Harper and they're waiting for someone else. I think more and more Conservatives realize that.

The Liberals could probably use some new blood too, but I'm at a loss at the moment to come up with anyone I'm enthusiastic about.

Lone Primate said...

I've never claimed to be unbiased, but even I would never suggest that a Chretien or Martin policy would permanently disable the nation's economy. Eternity is a heck of a long time.

I don't agree with the use of that term either. That was obvious overstatement. Mind you, it was written in 1997, only four years after Mulroney left office and only just after we begin balancing the budget, so things might have looked less palatable then. If you'd told me in 1995 we were about to have ten balanced budgets and no deficit, I wouldn't have believed you -- regardless of the fact the Liberals were in power.

RobfromAlberta said...

My only point was that Mulroney wasn't exactly putting the brakes on spending (as Conservatives always want to promise in elections).

I agree with that. Mulroney wanted to reprioritize spending, less on social programs, more on defense and security. The problem was, he usually caved when faced with any stiff resistance. He deserves a lot of criticism, but here in Canada, everything gets blamed on him. People don't like the GST, they blame it on Mulroney, yet the Liberals promised to get rid of it and never did. People hate NAFTA, they blame Mulroney, yet the Liberals continue to get credit for the prosperity NAFTA delivered. People blame Mulroney for Meech Lake, yet it was Pierre Trudeau, Clive Wells and Frank McKenna that killed it.

Mulroney was a crappy PM and he paid the price for it. When are we going to hold the Liberals to the same standards?

Wrye said...

And I say it's the fault of the opposition because only they can cause this to happen.

I disagree...I'd say it's the fault of the opposition because the Tories and NDP have effectively ceded Quebec to the BQ. Harper's conduct in this regard has been unforgivable.

RobfromAlberta said...

The worst possible outcome would be a Tory miniority propped up the BQ. One more instance of the Conservatives pandering to a sovereigntist bloc, ignoring the people in the West who feel they put them in office and are getting short shrift -- exactly why they bolted to the Reform movment in the first place in the early 90s.

Well, the worst possible outcome would be an NDP majority, but that's pretty unlikely. Barring that, a Conservative-BQ coalition would be an unfortunate state or affairs. The problem is, the Conservatives have no one else to work with. They are ideologically incompatible with the NDP and the Liberals will be as anxious to unseat the Tories as the Tories have been to unseat the Liberals. The two big dogs simply can't work together.

Beausejour said...

It'll be, within, 5-7 years, Frank McKenna as head of the Liberal party. He's waiting for this gang to beat itself out, until everyone is sick of them. This is why he's avoided becoming even an MP in the current parliament (I think anyway) -- no tainting at all. And being ambassador to the US lets him stay in the news and gives him a pulpit to do that one thing that will always get you votes in Canada not matter what your party affiliation -- pounding on Americans.

And I agree on Lord for the Tories -- and not just because it'll be an all NB showdown, like the country needs :) He's talented as a leader I think, and he's a post-Reform/Tory split mess leader, appealing to the right as McKenna would be to the center-left.

RobfromAlberta said...

Harper's conduct in this regard has been unforgivable.

How is it that a party which has not been in power for over a decade keeps getting blamed for things it has no control over? Need I remind you all that the sponsorship scandal is a Liberal scandal? The BQ is ascending because Quebecers are mad at the Liberals, not Stephen Harper.

L-girl said...

In the spirit of the upcoming election, and also with the spirit of your website, I came across this the other day. I thought it was funny and I thought you'd appreciate it too...

Hey Mitch, thanks! I almost lost your comment amid the political chatter.

Check this out. It also happens to be the name of a blog by a long-ago commenter who has just returned.

James said...

"The worst possible outcome would be a Tory miniority propped up the BQ."

Well, the worst possible outcome would be an NDP majority, but that's pretty unlikely.


I don't think an NDP majority falls under "possible".

Beausejour said...

Hey! I thought I copyrighted that! :) BTW, I am reinvigorating The 11th Province blog -- i'm just so livid at what's happening down here!

Mitch -- invasion really isn't needed. Much of New England would go willingly. Much of this coast would go too. And if California were to flip -- well, that immediately double the Canadian economy right there.

Hmmmm....

When I was still living in NYC, I almost finished a tongue in cheek piece on Toronto vs. New York. The premise is that Toronto (as a whole, and bear in mind I worked on Bay Street and lived downtown so its a different prism) always wanted to be New York -- but that under Guiliani, i was writing that it was too late, New York had already become Toronto.

Then 9/11 happened. And it just wasn't funny anymore. Like a lot of things.

Lone Primate said...

People don't like the GST, they blame it on Mulroney, yet the Liberals promised to get rid of it and never did.

I, for one, was disgusted when, after Sheila Copps was dragged screaming to a by-election, she was returned by the people of Hamilton. But it was signal that, by then, Canadians (or at least, Hamiltonians) had other concerns they felt better addressed by a Grit MP than any other.

People hate NAFTA, they blame Mulroney, yet the Liberals continue to get credit for the prosperity NAFTA delivered.

Like what? Point out one ten-cent item we've sold Stateside in the past 15 years we wouldn't have sold, didn't sell, prior to giving up our rights to control inbound investment, legislate in favour of home industries, or oblige ourselves to willingly offer throats to NATFA arbitration every time we had an issue? Fat lot of good it's done even when we've won. On the other hand, no one over the age of twenty will have a hard time remembering the flood of factories that deserted Canada for union-busting, tax-cutting jurisdictions in the US in the wake of the agreement.

Neither the FTA or NAFTA has earned us one red cent. What has operated in our favour all these years is lower production costs due to the lower dollar and Medicare. And that's it. Those are the reasons foreign plants move here. The Americans would have been buying the things they bought from us because they wanted/needed them, and they were less expensive. That's the bottom line, and that's it. NAFTA's done nothing but tie our hands to a bunch of rules the Americans ignore every time they don't get their way.

People blame Mulroney for Meech Lake, yet it was Pierre Trudeau, Clive Wells and Frank McKenna that killed it.

I seem to recall a referendum in which the entire country turned the thing down -- including Quebec. As I said before, Mulroney had no conception of how Canada worked. He charged ahead and damaged an already shaky set of arrangements and offered up a vision of the country that no one recognized and few were eager to emulate. Naturally, Quebec conveniently forgets they were just as unenthusiastic and it's been magically transformed into one more "humiliation" in their minds. Trudeau did no more than patriate the constitution we'd been using for 115 years without tacking on whatever might possibly have appealed to Quebec's separatist government of the day... find fault with that if you like. Mulroney promised one part of the country things the rest couldn't back. That's not Trudeau's fault, it's not Clyde Wells's fault, it's not Frank McKenna's fault, or Elijah Harper's, or even Lucien Bouchard's. It's Mulroney's.

Mulroney was a crappy PM and he paid the price for it. When are we going to hold the Liberals to the same standards?

Whenever one of them works up a laundry list as jaw-droppingly grievous as Mulroney's, I guess. From the attitude of Canadians, it's obvious none has so far.

L-girl said...

Much of New England would go willingly. Much of this coast would go too.

I think you have an overly optimistic view of New England (which includes New Hampshire and Connecticut, don't forget) and California, which elected the Governator.

There's a secession movement in Vermont, however. Lone Primate found it: Second Vermont Republic. And then there's the movement to let Vermont join Canada.

RobfromAlberta said...

I seem to recall a referendum in which the entire country turned the thing down

No, what you recall is a referendum on the Charlottetown Accord and by that time, the process had been so poisoned that no one wanted anything more to do with constitutional amendment. Remember, at one time, every single provincial government agreed to ratify Meech Lake. It was only after provincial governments began to renege on promises their predecessors had made that ugly constitutional wrangling began.

Lone Primate said...

Well, the worst possible outcome would be an NDP majority, but that's pretty unlikely.

I dunno. Your province notwithstanding, it would probably suit the west pretty well. After all, aside from Ontario's one-time, accidental experiment with NDP governance, the western provinces are the only ones regularly happy to rotate the NDP into power. I'd rather have a party running the show who were spending more on health care and daycare centres than one blowing our money on court challenges to make sure gay guys can't hold hands in public and the Charter only counts when it doesn't contradict the attitudes of people who remember life during the Depression.

The BQ is ascending because Quebecers are mad at the Liberals, not Stephen Harper.

Like he's giving them a viable federalist alternative. Maybe you didn't hear him sucking up to Quebec sovereigntists in that nauseating speech he gave last spring in the wake of losing the non-confidence vote, but I did. And so everyone in Quebec who's mad at the Liberals but doesn't want to quit Canada. Again, the utter destruction of the Conservative Party in Quebec is something we can attribute to Brian Mulroney.

Lone Primate said...

Mitch -- invasion really isn't needed. Much of New England would go willingly. Much of this coast would go too. And if California were to flip -- well, that immediately double the Canadian economy right there.

So would the murder rate. I don't want California. No way. I mean, the whole question is academic, but... I'd welcome the New England states and Washington and Oregon... but I'd be reluctant to welcome much of the rest into Confederation.

RobfromAlberta said...

Like he's giving them a viable federalist alternative.

The Conservatives have never gotten much traction in Quebec. Mulroney did it by consorting with separatists and that was his biggest mistake. Harper knows the Tories have no realistic chance to win even a single seat in Quebec so there's not much point in wasting resources better spent in Ontario. No sense risking your base on a pipe dream.

Lone Primate said...

No, what you recall is a referendum on the Charlottetown Accord and by that time, the process had been so poisoned that no one wanted anything more to do with constitutional amendment.

Who said we wanted anything to do with it in the first place? All I remember was Mulroney shooting his mouth off in 1983, repeatedly telling Quebec "hey, you got the shitty end!" over and over, working them up, confirming their worst suspicions, and telling them he'd turn the stick around. None of the rest of us particularly cared to get hauled into it. The only thing English Canada "wanted" was Alberta's Triple-E Senate. But then here's 1984, and Mulroney gets elected with a huge block of soft sovereigntist from Quebec, and suddenly we're obliged by all the wind he's blown into their sails to slice open the Constituion and start operating. And why? Because some little separatist SOB didn't sign on in 1981.

Remember those bakery segments at the end of "Just Like Mom" where the kids would subject their mothers to the most hideous confections? Well that's what Mulroney's constitutional rounds were, on a national scale. And the country made a face and spat it out. It's a bit much for you to blame all of Canada for that, and not the guy who dropped the whole half-baked mess into our laps.

Remember, at one time, every single provincial government agreed to ratify Meech Lake. It was only after provincial governments began to renege on promises their predecessors had made that ugly constitutional wrangling began.

Yeah, because the country hated it. The polls showed it. And these guys suddenly realized they'd never get re-elected if they saddled us with it. And then everyone and their nephew wanted this added, that removed, the other thing changed. Our Constitution isn't perfect but it works. The minute you open it up, everyone expects their favourite dessert, and no one ever gets what they wanted. It's always a recipe for disaster. And now Haper's hinting he'd drag us through it all over again. Never mind separating; next time Quebec's going to launch the nukes.

L-girl said...

I mean, the whole question is academic, but... I'd welcome the New England states and Washington and Oregon... but I'd be reluctant to welcome much of the rest into Confederation.

Please take NYC! Please??

Hey, in the previous discussion thread, the one that took place mostly while I was out of town, I asked a question. Can anyone answer it, either here or there? You'll excuse my ignorance, but I need some basic definitions.

RobfromAlberta said...

The Night of the Long Knives was Nov.4, 1981. It was during the negotiations associated with the repatriation of the constitution. Prior to this, the Queen held final authority on our constitutional amendment process. The federal government and the provinces were negotiating various aspects of the constitution, such as the amendment procedure. Now, at the time, the separatist Parti Quebecois led by its founder, Rene Levesque, was in power in Quebec and he came to the table with a large list of demands that would have to be met in order to satisfy Quebec. Since many of the other provinces agreed with Quebec on the devolution of powers, a coalition of sorts was established. However, a series of backroom deals between Trudeau and the other provinces left Levesque isolated and he left without signing on to the deal which would become the Constitution Act of 1982. That perceived betrayal is called the night of the Long Knives. Quebec is still not a signatory to the constitution.

the Meech lake Accord was an attempt by Brian Mulroney to get Quebec signed on. By this time, the federalist Liberal Party led by Robert Bourassa, was in power and the list of demands was far less onerous. The primary point was constitutional recognition of Quebec as a "distinct society", giving some leeway with regards to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly when it came to Quebec's language laws. It was initially agreed upon by all the provinces and it looked, for awhile at least, like the separtists would be beaten down. However, before some of the provinces, namely New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Manitoba, could ratify the agreement, there were changes in the governments and the new parties in power decided not to ratify. This led to a second round of negotiations and a new agreement called the Charlottetown Accord. It was put to a national referendum and defeated.

RobfromAlberta said...

Because some little separatist SOB didn't sign on in 1981.

That "little separatist SOB" is the most influential political figure in modern Quebec history. He is revered by nationalists and respected by federalists.

Wrye said...

>How is it that a party which has not been in power for over a decade keeps getting blamed for things it has no control over?

So the Liberals are to blame for the Conservatives effectively disbanding their Quebec wing? The fiends!

Parties wanting to form a national government must form a credible alternative in all regions. Not 2 out of four. Liberals have nothing to do with that.

Lone Primate said...

Prior to this, the Queen held final authority on our constitutional amendment process.

Well, the Queen still does, actually. What you mean to say is the British Parliament has been removed from the process, not the sovereign.

However, a series of backroom deals between Trudeau and the other provinces left Levesque isolated and he left without signing on to the deal which would become the Constitution Act of 1982.

...Which came about after Levesque broke ranks by agreeing to Trudeau's offer of a referendum on the patriation; with Levesque's support, Trudeau was able to go to the other seven hold-outs with the numbers he needed to patriate the Constitution. Seeing their cause was lost, they got the best deal they could. Rob and most of Quebec conveniently omit this inconvenient little fact in their retelling of events.

Quebec is still not a signatory to the constitution.

Technically, no province is. Until the BNA Act was actually patriated, the provinces had no formal role in amending it whatsoever, only a tradition consultant role. There are only four signatures on the document that patriated the BNA Act. One is the Queen's. The other three were all federal officers. And they were all from Quebec.

That "little separatist SOB" is the most influential political figure in modern Quebec history.

If that were the case, it wouldn't be a province now. I rather think Trudeau was, ohh... 50% more influencial, given the 60-40 split in the 1980 referendum.

Wrye said...

Re: l-girl's question

It goes without saying that the meaning, labelling, and interpretation of those events are open to ferocious dispute--oddly enough, it usally depends on whether you approve or disapprove of Pierre Trudeau's vision of Canada and Quebec's place in it.

Trudeau, for the record, stands as the most influential Quebecois of modern history. He and Levesque were both titans, granted, but Trudeau's influence was much more widely felt. There is more to Quebec than merely the purlaine francophone population, after all...

Lone Primate said...

Oops, make that influential. Must be the influenza. :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Which came about after Levesque broke ranks by agreeing to Trudeau's offer of a referendum on the patriation

Which Levesque did because he didn't want to be the lone holdout or to be viewed as anti-democratic. Levesque didn't go into those negotiations in bad faith. He was portrayed that way afterwards.

RobfromAlberta said...

I rather think Trudeau was, ohh... 50% more influencial, given the 60-40 split in the 1980 referendum.

Spurious logic. By that reckoning, Chretien was 0.1% more influential than Bouchard or maybe Bouchard was 10% more influential than Levesque. People vote for a variety of reasons, not merely because of their admiration of the personalities involved. Levesque is the most recognizable symbol of Quebec nationalism and many people who voted "No" still have a great deal of respect for him. But he was a pioneer and Quebecers were not ready to follow where he was leading them. Eventually, they will and it will be Levesque's face on their currency.

RobfromAlberta said...

So the Liberals are to blame for the Conservatives effectively disbanding their Quebec wing? The fiends!

There is no such thing as the Quebec wing of the Conservative Party. What Mulroney created was a political alliance of convenience with no long-term prospects. Even if the Meech Lake Accord passed, the Tories would have eventually lost an election and the "Quebec wing" would have once again melted away. There are no Quebec conservatives, hence, no Quebec Conservatives.

RobfromAlberta said...

Well, the Queen still does, actually. What you mean to say is the British Parliament has been removed from the process, not the sovereign.

Right you are, I stand corrected.

nataleo said...

"Mulroney was a crappy PM and he paid the price for it. When are we going to hold the Liberals to the same standards?"

-when the Conservatives provide a palatable option. LP is completely right about Harper and Conservative supporters. For once I would like to hear Harper discuss himself as an alternative to the current government with plans to change things instead of "child pornography" and "organized crime" comments being thrown about. I think that many people are skeptical of his motives as well (see www.stephenharpersaid.ca).

RobfromAlberta said...

Re: stephenharpersaid.ca

Albertans should "build firewalls around Alberta"

Amen, brother.

There's unfortunately a view of too many people in Atlantic Canada that it's only through government favours that there's going to be economic progress

I was born in Nova Scotia and I have no argument with this at all. Just research the saga of Sysco Steel.

...we support the war effort and believe we should be supporting our troops and our allies and be there with them doing everything necessary to win.

Hindsight is 20-20.

Canada appears content to become a second-teir, socialist country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-tier status

Which part is controversial, "second-tier" or "socialistic"?

West of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada

I don't know if that's true or not, but the ridings he refers to are all predominently urban so his demographic description is probably pretty accurate in most cases. I guess the truth hurts.

L-girl said...

God Rob, I know you disagree with much of what people write here, but how on earth can you defend that nitwit Harper? (What is it about conservative thought that makes fellow conservatives stick up for each other no matter what dreck comes out of their mouths?) Harper is simply beneath your intelligence and broad world view. I must say, I'm glad he's around, so there's little chance of a Conservative majority government, since voters find him so distasteful.

L-girl said...

Hey all, thanks so much for this amazing conversation. I've learned so much. Much remains mysterious, but the process continues. Now I'm off to make dinner so we can watch the vote on CBC! G'night.

RobfromAlberta said...

I don't know, when I hear a legitimate criticism of Harper, I agree with it. However, Harper has lately been equated with some sort of demonic figure, when really he's just another politician representing a constituency. He doesn't inspire me nor does he impress me, but at least I know he has the best interests of the West at heart. Conservatives are on the defensive in this country. It's hard enough fending off the Liberals and the New Democrats without turning on our own.

You know, even saying that sounds funny, because I've never really considered myself a card-carrying Conservative. I guess it's the siege mentality. When you are portrayed as evil and degenerate often enough, you start to find common cause with others who are similarly demonized. Hell, I've even found myself defending Ralph Klein on occasion and he's an idiot.

Beausejour said...

I'm actually listening to it live on CBC Radio One online as we speak!

Re: Rob's comment (or quoting of Harper) on Nova Scotia. Sadly this is true. It's one of the most frustrating things about where I'm from. I would allow, though, that my generation is leaving trying to leave this mindset behind, and in cities like Moncton and Halifax, it is very different. Of course, the Maritimes also includes Cape Breton and other less progressive places, where handouts are considered 'income' - it took a generation and half to ingrain into us, it'll take that long at least to remove. Until then though, there will be a lot of us Maritimers living in 'economic exile'.

Wrye said...

In the name of all that's holy, go check G the Library Bitch's latest post. Though I suppose it loses something if you've never seen Les Mis...

sharonapple said...

I don't think Harper's a demonic figure, but I think he makes a poor political leader. He lets comments fly out of his mouth that just make you wonder where the heck his head is -- the child porn accusation; his comments that if he won a second term he would consider tabling abortion laws; the rumour that he kicked a chair during the Conservative convention when he was talking to a collegue; the criminal organization accusations... the time he went to a kindergarten and told a child not to touch him (granted the child had paint covered hands... okay, this one is more funny than anything else, but still, I don't think he handled that situation well).

Oh, and my favourite Ralph Klein comment -- to the farmer who found the cow with BSE (not exact): "You should have shot, shovelled, and shut-up."

And I don't think that any federal party can afford to ignore Quebec, especially the Conservatives. I dislike the idea that the Bloc and the Conservatives unconsciously divide up the country into territories that neither side will challenge the other on. Of course they'll be willing to work together, but it would be better if more parties challenged the Bloc, a party whose main purpose is the dissolution of the country.

sharonapple said...

G the Library Bitch's Les Miz parody is brilliant. The casting is inspired.

James said...

"Mulroney was a crappy PM and he paid the price for it. When are we going to hold the Liberals to the same standards?"

-when the Conservatives provide a palatable option.


Exactly. You can't punish a party for wrongdoing if you're convinced that the only available replacement will be worse.

"Canada appears content to become a second-teir, socialist country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-tier status"

Which part is controversial, "second-tier" or "socialistic"?


I'm not sure why Harper thinks its bad to be second-tier. I'd much rather live in a well-run second-tier country than in a first-tier one that's a mess.

L-girl said...

I guess it's the siege mentality. When you are portrayed as evil and degenerate often enough, you start to find common cause with others who are similarly demonized. Hell, I've even found myself defending Ralph Klein on occasion and he's an idiot.

I know what you're saying. I used to find myself in that position in the US. I'd catch myself defending idiotic lefties, just because I felt so outnumbered and defensive. And only later would I realize how silly it was.

I don't think Harper's a demonic figure, but I think he makes a poor political leader.

Demonic, no. Idiotic, yes. The list of "comments that fly out of his mouth" can only get so long before you have to figure he means what he says.

I'm not sure why Harper thinks its bad to be second-tier. I'd much rather live in a well-run second-tier country than in a first-tier one that's a mess.

Amen and Hallelujah.

Wrye said...

Hot Dog! CalgaryGrit has started the elction prognostication!:

...I'll make my election predictions sometime this week but here's my bold predictions for Alberta:
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative

I haven't included riding names so, as a contest, let's see who the first reader can be to link the result to the riding!

Lone Primate said...

Please take NYC! Please??

You know something... I have this weird feeling that NYS on its own, if it seceded, would somehow be a big enough place for NYC. But a Canada that included NYS would somehow be "too small" a place for the likes of NYC. It's inexplicable, but it's just the sense I get. :)

Lone Primate said...

I'll make my election predictions sometime this week but here's my bold predictions for Alberta:
Conservative
Conservative
Conservative


Imagine CalgaryGrit having the temerity to suggest Alberta is a one-party state. As if there were ample evidence for the charge or something. The nerve! :)

Lone Primate said...

Which Levesque did because he didn't want to be the lone holdout or to be viewed as anti-democratic. Levesque didn't go into those negotiations in bad faith.

Boy, I've seen some obfuscation in my time, but this a doozy. A Conservative from Alberta dredging up street cred for a Quebec separatist whose naked ambition was to destroy the country as we knew it.

Levesque did not at all cave in out of some angelic sense of democracy. He broke ranks from the majority, in fact; he did because it was the first clear means offered him to despoil the project. Levesque knew no matter what precious constitution al child was brought back from London, he could deem it a monster and drown in the cold bathwater of the Quebec electorate in Trudeau's proposed refendum. He did not at all do it to be a democrat. He did it to hamper the effort to patriate the BNA Act. The longer Canada remained locked in a colonial relationship with Britain -- and the fact that the premier of Quebec had been the cause would have been conveniently lobotamized from the communal memory of Quebec as their every other fault has ever been -- could only have served to suit his purposes. Again, there was no deal he could have gone home to Quebec City and endorsed, no matter how strong it made Quebec in Canada, because at the end of the day his party wanted nothing to do with any deal that would have made the idea of Quebec staying in Canada MORE attractive to the voters. Levesque was there disingenuously from the start. His whole raison d'etre demanded it of him.

I rather think Trudeau was, ohh... 50% more influencial, given the 60-40 split in the 1980 referendum.

Spurious logic.


Obviously I was being facetious in quantifying the scope. But I believe the point stands as valid and demonstrated in the general sense. Bottom line is, had Levesque been what you suggest, Quebec would not now be a part of Canada.

There is no such thing as the Quebec wing of the Conservative Party.

Federally? There certainly was and still is. But its status since about 1990 has been that of a horse trader at the trackside of the Indy 500. The only problem with your statement is the source... uttered by a Conservative apologist, it's a whitewash. Uttered by just about anyone else, it would be searing indictment of Mulroney's miscalculations. The Tories will, almost without a doubt, be fielding candidates in all of Quebec's ridings. The fact of their utter unelectability in the past 15 years is an entirely separate (pardon the pun) matter.

...we support the war effort and believe we should be supporting our troops and our allies and be there with them doing everything necessary to win.

Hindsight is 20-20.


Some of us didn't need glasses in the first place to see what was plainly in front of everyone's nose. How many Canadian young men would be dead today, for nothing, had this man been prime minister? How many will die if he is when the US decides to deplete its dwindling future further wading into Syria, or God help us, Iran?

Canada appears content to become a second-teir, socialist country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-tier status

Which part is controversial, "second-tier" or "socialistic"?


Another example. Has this guy lifted his head out of his own ass in the last ten years? He would have noticed unemployment's the lowest it's been in his lifetime, interest rates are affordable, the GNP is growing nicely, the deficit's gone, the debt's down, places like Saskatoon are so hungry for labour they're calling for a rise in immigration... where does he get off shoveling this unsubstantiated manure, these baseless ipse dixits? And why are certain people so willfully credulous that they'll buy these empty garbage bags without so much as a QED and not the evidence all around them everyday? Bluntly: what exact rot are these otherwise encouraging facts supposedly papering over?

West of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada

Did Harper actually say this? Please tell me he was just quoting Jacques "Apartheid Jack" Parizeau for the purposes of condemnation when he did...

Re: Rob's comment (or quoting of Harper) on Nova Scotia. Sadly this is true. It's one of the most frustrating things about where I'm from.

This mindset never fails to make me shake my head. The Maritimes are what they are; they are where they are. They lack certain geographical and resource advantages. But if they were on their own, boys in Halifax and Fredericton would not be leading cows through the streets today. They would be a little less well-off, but not in the Third World.

But they're in Canada. They have a right to a share of the prosperity of the nation. That's what equalization payments are all about. It's not a goddamn handout; it's their dividend! Not everyplace in Canada can be -- or should have to be -- Toronto, or Calgary, or Vancouver. Those places BELONG to every kid in Yarmouth and Come-By-Chance. We're not giving them anything they don't deserve; we're giving them their share of what they already OWN.

...Boy, you go to sleep for a few hours around here and you miss so much. :D

L-girl said...

I haven't included riding names so, as a contest, let's see who the first reader can be to link the result to the riding!

LOL!! Thanks for sharing, Wrye, this is great.

But a Canada that included NYS would somehow be "too small" a place for the likes of NYC. It's inexplicable, but it's just the sense I get. :)

Hee hee, I like this too. :)

L-girl said...

...Boy, you go to sleep for a few hours around here and you miss so much. :D

I know how you feel!

LP, once again I am indebted to you for my continuing political and social education in all things Canadian. This, for example --

But they're in Canada. They have a right to a share of the prosperity of the nation. That's what equalization payments are all about. It's not a goddamn handout; it's their dividend!

-- answers a question that nags at me all the time. I'm inching - nay, striding briskly - into your corner regarding all this regionalism, be it from Alberta or Quebec.

RobfromAlberta said...

Imagine CalgaryGrit having the temerity to suggest Alberta is a one-party state.

Has anyone ever suggested otherwise?

Having said that, I do think Anne McLellan will hold on to her seat, although David Kilgour's old seat will probably revert back to the Tories now that he is leaving politics. So, by my count it will be 27 to 1 for the Conservatives in Alberta.

RobfromAlberta said...

I'm inching - nay, striding briskly - into your corner regarding all this regionalism, be it from Alberta or Quebec.

Speaking of regionalism, L-g, you should be aware that all parties use it as leverage in politics. The Conservatives use the political domination of Ontario and Quebec to gain political traction in the West. The Liberals use negative stereotypes of westerners (especially Albertans) to frighten people in the East. It's wrong, no matter who does it, but as with all things, a double standard is applied. When Chretien says "dose people (i.e westerners), dey're differen' from us", the media gets a good chuckle. When Stephen Harper says Alberta should build firewalls around the province (something Quebec has been doing for decades), it's a major scandal.

I'll be honest with you, the evil side of my nature hopes for a big win for the Liberals. Alberta needs a strong separatist voice like the one in Quebec and that will only happen if the East rejects the Conservatives (and by extension, Alberta) in a big, dramatic fashion.

Lone Primate said...

Alberta needs a strong separatist voice

Why?

L-girl said...

Speaking of regionalism, L-g, you should be aware that all parties use it as leverage in politics.

As they use everything else. That's what politics is about. But politics itself don't interest me very much - the deal-making, the machinations, the mutual accusations.

Alberta needs a strong separatist voice like the one in Quebec

This speaks volume. From what I see, that strong separatist voice in Quebec is used only as a political tool or weapon, and not to better the lives of Quebeckers or - goddess forbid - of Canadians. It's a damn shame.

Lone Primate said...

Alberta needs a strong separatist voice like the one in Quebec

This speaks volume.


Indeed. I believe it was Caligula who reputedly snarled at the people of Rome, "If you only had one neck, I'd hack it through..." Well, here we see it: a province with one neck, and one head. A remarkable irony: a place where ballots need only one circle to X accuses the rest of us of being intractable opponents of change. Threatens to blackmail the nation with death if 30 million of us don't endorse the choice of 3 million of them to head the country. Isn't it amazing the hubris fifty years of easy living on the black manna from Hell builds in a place? I mean really.

Rob may well hope the people of Alberta are stupid enough to equate the reluctance of the rest of the country to promote Harper to top spot as being a personal snub of their province, but I'd like to think their memories are better than that. They'll recall the country elected Mulroney, and Clark, and Diefenbaker during the lifetimes of many of them... the latter two representing Albertan constituencies. It's just that neither of them gave most Canadians the creeps when they imagined them moving into 24 Sussex Drive.

RobfromAlberta said...

Alberta needs a strong separatist voice

Why?


Because as the example of Quebec has demonstrated, Ottawa only pays attention when there is a crisis. Quebec has controlled the national agenda for pretty much as long as I can remember. So, if Alberta is ever going to get any of its own concerns acknowledged, a similar strategy seems to be the only way.


They'll recall the country elected Mulroney, and Clark, and Diefenbaker during the lifetimes of many of them

They remember, but I'm not sure you necessarily want to use those examples to make political hay in Alberta. Mulroney and Clark are not held in high regard here (and, of course, Clark was unceremoniously rejected less than a year later). So, then we have to go all the way back to Diefenbaker to find another example. That means in the last 42 years, a western conservative has held the top office in the country for all of nine months.

RobfromAlberta said...

Threatens to blackmail the nation with death if 30 million of us don't endorse the choice of 3 million of them to head the country.

Death? What death? If we choose to secede, why does that equate with death? As you have correctly pointed out on numerous occasions, Alberta is nothing in Canada. A mere 10% of the population, barely worth the trouble it causes. You should welcome our departure. One less whiny child to deal with.

RobfromAlberta said...

That means in the last 42 years, a western conservative has held the top office in the country for all of nine months.

Whoops, I forgot Kim Campbell, make that 13 months.

L-girl said...

Quebec has controlled the national agenda for pretty much as long as I can remember. So, if Alberta is ever going to get any of its own concerns acknowledged, a similar strategy seems to be the only way.

What an incredibly childish, selfish, divisive direction to choose to emulate.

You should welcome our departure. One less whiny child to deal with.

But first we all have to move there, so "your" oil can be "our" oil. Because apparently, all you have to do is have an Alberta address, and the riches of oil wealth are yours and yours alone, and fuck the rest of the country, that's their problem for not living where the money is.

Can you remind me, what are these "concerns" that Albertans are so desperate to have "acknowledged"? You may have detailed them elsewhere, but I can't remember. Transfer payments? Supporting freeloaders in the Martimes, or daycare in Ontario? An oil-industry reorganization from 30 years ago?

I'm not being sarcastic, I truly don't remember.

RobfromAlberta said...

But first we all have to move there, so "your" oil can be "our" oil. Because apparently, all you have to do is have an Alberta address, and the riches of oil wealth are yours and yours alone,

There's the rub, isn't it. Canada doesn't want Alberta, just Alberta's oil. Hand over the oil and then go burn in hell.

Can you remind me, what are these "concerns" that Albertans are so desperate to have "acknowledged"?

I suspect I've already said too much.

L-girl said...

Hand over the oil and then go burn in hell.

Um, no. Just be citizens, like everyone else. No one's suggesting otherwise, as far as I can tell.

Can you remind me, what are these "concerns" that Albertans are so desperate to have "acknowledged"?

I suspect I've already said too much.


No, you haven't said enough. Seriously. Because for all your talk of Alberta secession, I don't understand what it would take to keep Alberta happily in Canada.

I remember you compared it to my wanting to leave the US. Makes sense. I could give you a list of what it would take for me to have wanted to stay in the country. It would be impossible to achieve - the US would be an entirely different country - but I could draw up the fantasy list of, say, the top 20 changes I'd want to see.

Rob, what would your list look like?

I'll be out for a while, but I'll be happy to see it later. Really.

RobfromAlberta said...

The most concrete thing that most Albertans want is the Triple E senate that I have elaborated on in the past. Of course, I'm not foolish enough to think that will ever happen.

More intangible would be recognition that Alberta really is a very generous province. Any discussion of Alberta's wealth inevitably revolves around how rich we are, but no one acknowledges how much we already contribute. The average Albertan contributes more in tax revenue to the coffers of other provinces than three Ontarians. Did you know that Alberta's transfer payments to other provinces exceeds the total of our oil and gas royalties? Sure, we get other benefits such as tax revenue and low unemployment, but every cent of the actual oil and gas revenue is redistributed to other provinces. Right now, Alberta is doing well, but this ain't Saudi Arabia. Our standard of living is not significantly better than people in most other provinces and any further cash grab is going to bite hard. We know we are fortunate to have our oil wealth, but we simply feel we are already doing enough. Maybe it's time for certain other provinces to tighten their belts a little bit instead of always looking to us for yet more money.

L-girl said...

Thanks. You're right, you have explained it in the past, and I forgot.

I guess it's worse than it sounds. It doesn't sound dire enough to actually break up a country over, but that's easy for me to say. Certainly people said it all the time about my leaving the US.

RobfromAlberta said...

Oh, I don't want to break up the country, I just think some leverage would be good for the province. Quebec has, unfortunately, set the bar so high that civil discourse and a buck-fifty will get you a small double-double at Tim Horton's.

L-girl said...

Oh, I don't want to break up the country,

AH-HA!! I'm going to quote you, I'm going to quote you, nyah nyah... :D

Lone Primate said...

So, if Alberta is ever going to get any of its own concerns acknowledged

Like what?

I'm not sure you necessarily want to use those examples to make political hay in Alberta. Mulroney and Clark are not held in high regard here

I think you've kind of hit the nail on the head here. Who is?

That means in the last 42 years, a western conservative has held the top office in the country for all of nine months.

Funny, the Maritimers can't even boast that, and they don't carry on like you do. An Albertan MP's been PM more recently than an Ontarian, but you don't hear us stomping around.

As you have correctly pointed out on numerous occasions, Alberta is nothing in Canada. A mere 10% of the population, barely worth the trouble it causes.

You're learning from Quebec, alright. Nothing like convincing yourself everyone hates you to justify your own hatred of them.

Alberta is 10% of Canada. It's no shame, it's no honour. It's just a fact. Deal with it.

There's the rub, isn't it. Canada doesn't want Alberta, just Alberta's oil. Hand over the oil and then go burn in hell.

See? Nevermind we spent millions building a railroad that enabled the prairies to be populated in the first place, millions to attract immigration from the US, Britain, Germany, and Ukraine to build communities there, milions policing and securing the districts of Athabaska, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and founded the province of Alberta over forty years before there was even a hint it might one day be anything other than ranches and farms -- nevermind all that; apparently "we" don't "want" Alberta. Just its oil.

Now, I seem to recall some people saying "let the EASTERN bastards freeze in the dark", and getting quite a charge out of it when they did so. Who was that again? I'm trying to remember... funny, if we're looking for evidence of hatred, jealousy, and cold-bloodedness, I don't remember any such slogan about Alberta...

"Hate" always seems to come down to the rest of Canada assuming they deserve a share of the good times in Alberta... the same way Alberta will when the oil runs out and some other part of the country's riding high on some other commodity the world needs. There's just something magic about oil, though. It's the thing that seems to destroy amity, generosity, civility, the democratic urge the closer you live to it... Calgary, Houston, Iraq, Saudi Arabia; take your pick. :/

James said...

Any discussion of Alberta's wealth inevitably revolves around how rich we are

Wouldn't a discussion of anyone's wealth revolve around how rich they are? I would think that that's what "discussion of X's wealth" means in the first place... :)

Beausejour said...

Wouldn't a discussion of anyone's wealth revolve around how rich they are? I would think that that's what "discussion of X's wealth" means in the first place... :)

Good point -- i don't think we ever had discussions about our 'wealth' in the Maritimes. :)