Skip to comments.Ottawa: Westerners Need Not Apply (Quebec's Stranglehold On Federal Canadian Politics Alert)
Posted on 06/24/2005 10:14:27 PM PDT by goldstategop
The ritual media evisceration of Conservative leader Stephen Harper began last week after the polls showed that disclosures of rampant Liberal graft, collusion and party pilfering of government money had failed to significantly diminish public support for the Liberals.
The frequently but undependably supportive National Post, after enumerating Harper's awesome inventory of accomplishments united the country's right-wing parties into a solidified body, developed a comprehensive, formidable and intelligent policy platform, ended chronic feuding in the caucus, paid off the party's debts and reduced the supposedly unassailable Liberal government to minority status after less than six months as party leader decided that this wasn't enough. Harper had a flaw. He was "glum." He wasn't cheerful enough.
That, apparently, was the sum-total of the criticism, but it was advanced as grievous nonetheless. Harper must learn to smile more, exude joy, get out and show the people what a happy fellow he really is. Otherwise he should quit. The Post did not suggest a successor, and the fact that there is not a single equivalent to Harper anywhere on the party's most remote horizon was a point it did not undertake to discuss.
Meanwhile, the Conservative head office planned for Harper what was described as a summer on the "barbecue circuit." He was to get out and meet people, become more human, shake more hands, kiss more babies. This triggered another avalanche of criticism. Reshaping the leader's image had helped kill off Harper's two predecessors, Preston Manning and Stockwell Day, lectured the Globe and Mail and the Sun Media's Ottawa columnist. Reshaping reflects weakness, demonstrates the leader as irresolute, over-sensitive to media criticism, etc. So perhaps it's time for Harper to go.
All of which evidenced more about Canada's print media than it did about Harper. Every one of these writers well knew and understood Harper's real deficiency, but they were too discreet meaning gutless to mention it. They knew it would have brought down upon the writer a general and virulent denunciation and probably cost him his job.
Harper's most crucial deficiency has nothing to do with his being glum and will not be cured by any number of backyard barbecues. It consists in one crucially decisive fact. He does not come from Quebec. That the prime minister of Canada must come from that province has become the unvariable rule of Canadian politics unvariable and unmentionable.
For 35 of the last 37 years, Canada's prime ministers have come from one province. Quebec's Pierre Trudeau, a Liberal, ruled in total for 15 years and two months; Quebec's Brian Mulroney, a Conservative, for eight years and nine months; Quebec's Jean Chretien, a Liberal, for 10 years and one month; Quebec's Paul Martin, a Liberal, for one year and six months.
The reason for this Quebec domination is not a mystery. It's the fear in English Canada that Quebec may secede unless it has command in Ottawa. But to allude even obliquely to this self-evident fact brings upon the writer charges of bigotry and anti-French "racism," not only from Quebec, but chiefly from English Canada.
Since 1968, there have been three non-Quebec prime ministers: Joe Clark of Alberta, a Conservative, who ruled for eight months and 30 days, then was defeated; John Turner, from Vancouver, a Liberal, ruled for two months and 17 days, then was defeated; Kim Campbell of Vancouver, a Conservative, ruled for four months and nine days, then was defeated. All three short-term and swiftly defeated prime ministers came from western constituencies. So does Harper. He is also glum. He can do nothing about either of these two disabilities.
My column last week on the Alberta-based movement for an elected Canadian Senate brought 14 letters from Americans, all with the same warning. The American experience has shown that an elected Senate will not diminish central federal control because the electoral process makes the senator far more Washington-centered than focused on the concerns of his state. Prior to 1913, when a constitutional amendment required that U.S. senators be elected, the state legislatures appointed the senators and they much more dependably represented the interests of their states.
The advice is appreciated and will be passed on. Three points need be noted, however. An elected Canadian Senate will be a hard sell; a proposal that the senators be named by the provincial legislatures would be a much harder one. Second, the Alberta proposal calls for the senators to be elected at provincial, not federal, elections, to mitigate just this hazard. Third, to envision the present Canadian situation, Americans must imagine all U.S. senators being appointed by the White House with no requirement of congressional ratification or even review, and all serving until age 75. Such an arrangement is so incomprehensibly baffling to Americans that many can scarcely believe it exists. Thus even an elected Senate would be drastically revolutionary in Canada.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
I wish Alberta would seceede from Canada. That would not just wound the pride of leftists in Ottawa and Quebec, it would hurt them in the pocketbook, because the Canadian government steals Alberta's mineral wealth to redistribute to poorer provinces.
"disclosures of rampant Liberal graft, collusion and party pilfering of government money had failed to significantly diminish public support for the Liberals."
I guess it's the same in Canada as it is here. Liberals never hold their politicians accountable for personal failings - if anything, their approval ratings go up.
Conservatives, on the other hand, are more than ready to chop someone's head off and throw them out. If he cheated on his wife, or stole money, he's gone.
One of the great political surprises to me was NJ threw out Torricelli. Like Alcee Hastings, corruption just seems to endear Dem politicians to their base. While Gov Rowland is gone.
If you know your early American history, then you have a very good idea of who and what these English Canadians are.
I do feel sorry for the real Canadians in the west. Being captives of the crazy socialist frogs in Ottowa sucks.
I do feel sorry for the real Canadians in the west. Being captives of the crazy socialist frogs in Ottawa sucks.
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