April 28, 2004


The great divide: Can western Canada and Ottawa learn to love each other? (The Economist, Apr 1st 2004)

WHEN British Columbia joined the new Dominion of Canada in 1871, it was promised a transcontinental rail link to the Atlantic by 1883. The railway was built late, and only after the territory threatened to secede. Ever since, western Canada has tended to regard itself as a resource-rich colony, exploited by the more developed and populous east: over-taxed, and neglected by the federal parliament and its spending programmes. Notwithstanding the contempt with which westerners have historically viewed his Liberal Party, Paul Martin, prime minister since December, has vowed to address this rancour across the Rockies. Unfortunately for him, a scandal has endorsed the worst western fears about eastern politicians.

Easterners like Mr Martin often dismiss western grievances as the grumbling of fat-cat British Columbians and Albertans, or of glum Saskatchewan and Manitoba farmers. But the evidence for what sociologists call “western alienation” is compelling. The Canada West Foundation (CWF), a think-tank, last year reported a “deep-seated belief” among westerners that “the government of Canada doesn't listen [to them], doesn't understand, and doesn't care.” Last month a CWF poll found that 64.7% of westerners felt their province's interests were poorly or very poorly represented at the federal level.

Unusually for a Canadian prime minister, Mr Martin acknowledges that the syndrome exists.

How hard is the choice between being Ottawa's red-headed stepchild or New Hampshire's brother?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2004 9:42 AM

Amazing that I read the article below and thought of this very Canada East/West issue as I read it. Take a look.


One part:

Almad and thousands of other Muslims, taking advantage of a provision of the law in the province of Ontario, can now decide some civil disputes under sharia, including family disagreements and inheritance, business and divorce issues, using tribunals that include imams, Muslim elders and lawyers. While it is less than full implementation of sharia, local leaders consider it a significant step.

Muslim promoters of sharia arbitration said that no cases had been decided but that the process is set. Islamic leaders created an Islamic Court of Civil Justice last fall and that organization, in turn, has chosen arbitrators, who have undergone training in sharia and Canadian civil law, according to organizers and participants.

Basically, the left turns it's back for the 7,422nd time on something it has fought for for decades, namely "equality under the law". Now, the law you live under is determined by first establishing your "race" or "culture", THEN informing you of the proper set of laws.

The reprehensible destruction of our civilization continues apace. Will Western Canada be a part of that destruction, or at least try to be an impediment to it?

Interesting Times.

Posted by: Andrew X at April 28, 2004 10:34 AM

Not New Hampshire's brother, but Oregon's and Washington's.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 28, 2004 11:19 AM


Then you might choose Ottawa...

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2004 11:55 AM

Considering that B.C. is Canada's California in a lot of ways, they just might prefer the Upper Left to the Upper Right.

Alberta, on the other hand, would love to swap places with Nuevo Leon so it could snuggle up to Cousin Texas.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 28, 2004 12:46 PM

There you go, Orrin. You are joined at the hip forever with Quebec.

Posted by: Peter B at April 28, 2004 1:32 PM


Some we let join, some we'll just conquer later.

Posted by: oj at April 28, 2004 1:36 PM

Hey, that's going too far. There's at least some hope for a working government in Iraq, but Ontario? Right....

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 28, 2004 2:05 PM

You have to read "The Nine Nations of North America" by Garreau. Vancouver belongs to the shoestring area of coastline from San Francisco to Juneau called "Ecotopia". Quebec is a nation unto itself. Eastern BC and much of western Canada belongs to the "Empty Quarter", that area of North America that get's its income from mining and logging. The grain producing areas belong to the "Heartland" along with the northern and central Plains states. While we are dismembering Canada, we might as well re-jigger our own states.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 28, 2004 3:45 PM