Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Just Asking ...

... should Ontario Want In?


Bear with me please. Although I am not a terribly political animal, as a citizen, I do attempt to stay aware and more or less in touch with goings on. And so, I make another feeble attempt to post about politics. But this is more of an exploratory and questioning post rather than a highly opinionated one. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I have my questions.


We have heard quite a lot this election that "The West wants in." Now that an Albertan has won and is about to become prime minister, I have heard it expressed that "The West is in" — from his own lips, I believe.


The majority of Canadians who drop by Raindrops for the occasional visit seem to be Westerners; some are Albertans. For whatever reason, they outnumber Ontario visitors, and there is nobody east of Ontario who visits. And so, I have questions for you about that particular phrase, not necessarily pointed questions that I can articulate well but rather a general puzzlement about it all.


Does "getting in" have to do with electing a Westerner or Albertan? If so, how am I, an Ontarion, supposed to feel? The last PM from this province was ... hmm ... Lester B Pearson if I recall correctly. Is that a long time ago or what? Since then, two Westerners, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, have assumed the PM's mantle — yes, I know that both runs were very extremely brief but nevertheless ... And now, another Westerner, assumes the leader's reigns. But nobody from Ontario. Frankly, I don't give a *&^% fig, but it gives me pause.


Then, I consider the so-called fiscal imbalance. If any province pays more than Ontario's fair share to keep the good, old confederation rolling, it's news to me. But I don't hear many complaints. Sure, we feel that the scales have tilted rather much and should be adjusted, but we don't moan prodigiously over it like they seem to in the province to the east, for example: a province that I have always understood receives more than it contributes. But perhaps I am wrong.


Something else while I puzzle over these things: I am trying to think if we would expect the whole country to instantly hop on board if we divided the Liberal party, for example, into two schisms and managed to have the splinter group take over the original faction after ten years of bitter wrangling. I can't credit that I would feel miffed that those from other regions weren't clambering on board with great gusto.


The comment section is open for those who would like to contribute civilly towards my education in these matters. Thanks.


 

10 comments:

Turtle Guy said...

Firstly, thank you for acknowledging your Albertan visitors - nothing whatsoever to do with politics, but it's interesting that you have more visitors from "the west" than from "the east" (of Ontario). I have noticed that the only local visitor to MY page is the one who is largely responsible for sparking my interest in blogging!

On the political front, perhaps I'm not the best person to answer your question - mostly because I'm so "blah" about the whole Canadian political scene. It seems we cycle: We embrace the Liberal party until they screw up, then we embrace the Conservative party - until they screw up. I admit full-on that I really don't follow politics in Canada all that much because the past has demonstrated to me that no matter who is in power, my basic way of life doesn't change all that much. Sure, I'm affected by the misuse of public funds, but I can't remember the last time I actually felt upset paying a tax bill. My rambling here is off topic to your question, so in short I will say I have only a question in reply to your question. Whenever I DO talk politics, it's been my understanding that by the number of votes in Ontario, Alberta doesn't have as large a voice. Could it be that by having a leader who's roots are in the West, Alberta’s voice might be a wee bit stronger? Forgive my political ignorance...

PBS said...

Very interesting, but I have no valid opinion for an intelligent comment!

Turtle Guy said...

AC - Some thoughts over at Bast's that may be of interest here...

http://bastsbest.blogspot.com/2006/01/did-you-feel-it-i-have-it-on-rather.html

Loren said...

Speaking as a non-stereotypical Albertan, I'd agree with turtle guy and say that the whole "the West wants in" thing mainly stems from the fact that in the past, whichever party Ontario and Quebec (before the BQ anyway) voted for would form the government. Ontario has tended to vote Liberal over the past 10-12 years (as have I, though it doesn't make much difference in Alberta :)) so the average redneck Albertan has had it in their head that it doesn't matter who they vote for, it'll be whoever Ontario and Quebec vote for that form a government (and thus have their interests represented better than Alberta's).

I didn't say it was logical.. just slightly different from what you're thinking, I believe. :)

Anyway, I hope Albertans are happy. I think anyone who honestly believes that the Conservatives will be any different than the Liberals in the end is kidding themselves - power corrupts and all that. I fear for our country with Stephen Harper at the helm as I seriously doubt his agenda has changed much, more like he's hidden the more right-wing and religious aspects of it in order to curry favour with a greater number of voters. At least it's a minority government; that eases my mind somewhat.

Personally, my ideologies lean towards the NDP, but having seen how they govern at the provincial level, I can't imagine electing them at the federal level. So I continue to vote Liberal in spite of the money scandals, because social issues matter a whole lot more to me, and I've been very pleased with the inroads the Liberals made (same sex marriage, possible decriminalization of marijuana, etc.)

madcapmum said...

I'm going to venture a guess here. Historically, say in the first 4 decades of the last century before the oil industry came into force, Alberta was really a have-not province. Times were pretty hard, and the west looked to the east with quite a lot of envy for the cities, jobs, and of course the bigger population that resulted in a much larger piece of the pie politically.

The situation has changed quite a bit, but the politicians are still riding the same old hobby-horse. And I guess there are people out here who still like to hear it.

But, that said, I'm not all that interested in politics either, and it could be I'm completely off in my own little universe.

gemmak said...

Love the profile pic :o)

Bast said...

Hi Anvilcloud, and thanks for visiting my blog!

I guess I have an interesting perspective, as I've lived about half my life in Ontario and half my life in Alberta. I understand Ontario's importance in our federation, and in some ways, I understand Alberta's frustration. That being said, there are 3 million people in Alberta (always with the numbers, me) and that equates roughly to the size of Metro Toronto. So I think Alberta needs to get over the whole "Western alienation" thing. There are more people living "out East" (with appropriate apologies to my Maritime friends) and if Alberta really wants an equal say, then either start having babies or coaxing people to move.

I would prefer it if we in Alberta started talking about Western leadership and nation-building. There are some really neat things about our province, and let's play our strengths. Let's help build Canada. Let's help share that pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit that built Alberta, and that can help move Canada into the 21st century in an ever-globalizing economy.

I'm doubtful, however, that with Stephen Harper we have right Albertan for the job.

Dale said...

Gosh I love this country! The West wants in. Quebec wants out. And the only ones glad to be here are the immigrants. I agree with Bast. Why can't we be proud of the contributions each region has made, and work together to build a strong and successful nation, one that could be the envy of the world?
Sorry, AC. That doesn't answer your question, I know. I'll step down now from my soapbox.
Er, yes. Thanks.

Simply Coll said...

Living in Manitoba I know many farmers, both cattle and grain. Many feel that their voices and concerns are not truly heard or appreciated in Ottawa, especially by leaders from the East. I get the impression that they are hoping that Steven Harper may have a better understanding of their unique issues.
But at the same time.. I have yet to meet a farmer that supported the Conservatives. The majority that I know are stanch NDP.

madcapmum said...

Oh my gosh, are you serious?! I live in rural Alberta, and I have yet to meet a farmer hear who can pronounce the name NDP without a smirk and rolling his eyes! What a difference only a couple provinces down the road!