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Who owns Canada? (Part Five)

By Mark Wegierski
web posted April 27, 2015

Stephen Harper's Conservatives won minority governments (a plurality of seats in Parliament) in Ottawa in 2006 and 2008, and a majority government in 2011.

Stephen Harper is often considered to be emphatically a Western Canadian. He is also certainly a person of great political skill – who does not lack what are considered the major attributes for the Prime Ministership in Canada (such as being fluently bilingual, and being friendly to Quebec). Although Joe Clark was geographically from Western Canada, most Western Canadians increasingly came to view him as playing the role of a "collaborator" with the "Eastern" elites.

It can be predicted that the now abeyant Western Canadian alienation will reach a boiling point, if it is seen in the upcoming federal election, that Stephen Harper has been "done in" by the hostile, "Eastern" [1] media and intellectual elites.

Western Canada has waited for a very long time for a so-called "place at the table" in Ottawa, and if there are widespread feelings in the West that Harper has been unfairly savaged, it will indeed be the hour of fury in Western Canada, and especially in Alberta.

Another possible scenario is that Harper himself will come to be seen by considerable numbers of Western Canadians as betraying them to "Eastern" interests. Although this issue cannot really be laid at the doorstep of "Eastern" malevolence, there was some time ago a considerable revolt in Saskatchewan over equalization payments. It's certainly possible that the New Democratic Party in Saskatchewan and Manitoba – which is perceived as more sensible and less radical than on "the Left Coast" or in Ontario – will be able to draw on substantially increased support in those two Prairie provinces. If Alberta, or the more conservative-tending parts of British Columbia, begin to feel betrayed by Harper, they really have no current major party to conceivably vote for.

Indeed, once a large portion of the federal Conservative caucus was elected from Ontario seats (which obviously was a precondition for Harper winning a parliamentary majority in 2011), the influence and representation of Western Canada in the Conservative Party – it could be argued – diminished somewhat.

It may also be unfortunate that Harper delivered so little of what so-called "small-c conservatives" might have expected from a "big-C Conservative" majority government. Harper continued with policies that were, in many cases, not substantially different from those of the more centrist Liberals. Indeed, were it not for the various penumbra of longstanding, inflamed partisanship, and longstanding historical voting patterns, it could be argued that probably close to eighty percent of Canadians could support Harper's rather moderate and centrist policies.

The Wildrose Alliance was a more decidedly right-wing party (that existed only at the provincial level in Alberta), that indeed achieved considerable electoral successes, but it appeared to have mostly folded, with most of its elected members in the provincial parliament, going over to the provincial Progressive Conservatives.

But in the current provincial election campaign in Alberta, the Wildrose Alliance was polling first, with the NDP very unexpectedly second, and the P.C.s a close third.

To be continued. ESR

Footnotes:

[1] In Western Canada, the terms "Eastern" or "Easterner" or "Eastern Canada" refer mainly to Ontario and Quebec. Such terms frequently have a pejorative feel. In Ontario, the terms "Eastern Canada" or "from the East", are usually a reference to the Atlantic provinces. They are not considered pejorative.

Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.

 

 

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