Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Western Canadian's Perspective

On a political discussion forum a battle between two fellows got rather heated when one, a Westerner, suggested that separation is the only logical course of action for the West. The other fellow got quite angry and started talking about sending in the military to put that to rest. To this latter fellow I wrote this:
I'm not going to get into the middle of your personal battle with the other fellow but may I ask what part of Canada you live? Might it be Ontario?

I currently live in Vancouver and was born & raised here. But I've also spent years each living in Manitoba, Ontario, & Quebec. Through it all I think I have a pretty good perspective on the regional differences of various Canadians.

One thing I understand for sure is that if a given geographic group of people feel disenfranchised for too long a period of time then they feel no particular loyalty toward their central government. And frankly, why should they?

The separatists that we now call "Americans" had very good reason to break off from Britain. The different peoples of Yugoslavia had good reason to split apart too. And so did the various former Eastern Bloc countries have solid reasons for gaining their independence.

I look at Canada's Confederation much like a marriage, although perhaps it's more of a polygamous marriage with one husband and 10 wives! :-) Anyhow, many here in the West have very legitimate and sincere reasons for feeling that Ontario & Quebec have taken them for granted for much too long.

For you, perhaps this current situation is strictly about 3 parties fighting a battle with 1 other party. There is that, of course. But it has not escaped the attention of all of us in the West with small-c or large-C conservative leanings that the current actions are set to remove a democratically elected Western PM by 3 fellows solely from Ontario & Quebec. And even the 2 "backup" Liberals are strictly Toronto-centric.

If you'd like a hockey analogy, imagine that all of the referees in the NHL hailed from the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. Every time the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, & Edmonton Oilers played one of their eastern counterparts they would lose and the officiating was always suspect. If you were a supporter of one of the Western teams, it surely wouldn't be too long until you cried foul!

So I'm hoping you'll be able to have a little more empathy and understanding that we in the West very much feel that we are being kicked in the teeth by all of this and our votes have been taken away on a whim. What kind of sane person wouldn't be very upset about that? Sentiments of Western Separation will only grow & grow the longer the perception of unfairness continues.


Anonymous said...

"Sentiments of Western Separation will only grow & grow the longer the perception of unfairness continues."

Its more than a "perception" of unfairness and it didn't just start now.
The West Wants Out!

Walter Schultz said...

I agree the west will feel maligned by eastern politicians. After all, there were only 7 federal liberals and 14 New Democrats elected west of Ontario in the recent federal election.

At the same time 71 conservatives were elected for a 71% majority of all the seats in the west. If you want to piss off western Canadians then be my guest and bring on your little coalition of the unholy trinity of eastern politicians!

But beware the consequences.