Pushing the West OUT of Canada
Don’t think it couldn’t happen! People out here in the West may not yet be mad as hell, but we are confident enough in ourselves these days that we’re not going to take it anymore if NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair (and any other Central Canada political leaders) tie their pursuit of power to policies pumping up Eastern Canada by knocking down the West’s economy.
Mulcair had better understand the days of a weak–and compliant and complacent–West that allowed the National Energy Program rape us of our wealth and rights for the benefit of the colonial powers in Ontario and Quebec are long gone!
And if pushed too far, if denied our rightful powers, if asked to spread our economic legs once more so Ontario and Quebec can benefit at our expense, I believe there are enough Western Canadians who would stand up and say: Let’s go!
It will all start , not in BC, but in Alberta.
But the issues at stake in Mulcair’s dream of lowering the value of the Canadian dollar to boost Eastern manufacturing goes well beyond any resulting damage to the Alberta oil sands projects, developments and revenues.
The West’s economy IS still massively resource based: whether it’s potash or uranium in Saskatchewan; or forestry, mining and gas in BC … all very, very costly to explore, develop, produce and export … and the high Canadian dollar is our reward in revenues for a job well done: a benefit all of us enjoy in our spending, our travel and our investments.
But Mulcair and the federal NDP think we should be robbed of all that to lower the value of the Canadian dollar to give the inefficient, ill-equipped, backward Eastern manufacturers an artificially boosted market.
At the expense of Western economic development and the pain and exploitation of Western voters.
I can actually understand Mulcair’s thinking: screwing the West to benefit voters (and win seats) in Eastern Canada is a long-held political tradition of both the Liberals under Trudeau and Chretien and the Tories under Mulroney. And it has worked in the past!
That lesson finally sunk into Jack Layton and the federal NDP and, as I repeatedly pointed out on this blog before the last election, became part of the NDP’s active vote-seeking policies: whether it came to opposing fair representation for BC in the House of Commons; trying to force new bilingualism rules on Supreme Court appointments that would have substantially benefited Quebec and New Brunswick at the COST of Western Canada (only the much-maligned Senate saved us from that!); and a host of other Quebec-pandering promises in the election campaign.
It worked–and Mulcair knows that and clearly believes now the path to power in Canada is by catering to Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes…and turning your back to–and your guns on–the West, shooting down our economy and even our rights to take our fair share of Canada’s wealth and hand it over back East.
And through it all, BC’s NDP MPs say nothing, do nothing and in fact, go along …. a kind of “fifth column” in our midst, with loyalty clearly aimed at achieving perks of power for themselves, rather than defending or achieving fairness and justice or representing the interests of their constituents or province.
At the very least, Mulcair and his willing NDP federal cohorts will push more of the West to the RIGHT … a gift to Harper; and, at the worst, Mulcair is playing a highly dangerous game that underestimates the potential consequences for the NDP in the West ..and for Canada as a whole.
The sooner he and his Quebec-loaded caucus (and BC sycophants) understand the West today is NOT the West of the NEP days …the safer Canada’s future will be as a united single nation.
Because, UNLIKE Quebec today, we DO have legitimate grievances!
And many, many have just about had enough!
Harvey Oberfeld is a retired broadcaster and journalist. This column originally appeared in his blog, Keeping It Real.