Secession: Western Canada's not so new buzz word
By Scott Carpenter
Last month's federal election only confirmed what westerners have known all along: that Canadian politics are preordained, unalterable and the result of over one hundred years of liberal meddling, power brokering and fear mongering.
Did we have hope for the Canadian Alliance? Yes. We'd be lying if we said we didn't. The weeks leading up to the election produced a certain confident static in the air - a hope that our somewhat less than democratic system might at last have a chance at some constructive change. We hoped that the CA had what it might take to break the liberal/conservative grip on the better part of Ontario. We hoped that the maritime provinces would be swayed by promises of less government, less taxes and less tyranny. Instead, they opted - as usual - for the proverbial handout.
Of course it was good to hear support for the CA had grown substantially in almost all of the provinces but somehow this seems to have brought little comfort to those living outside of mainstream political life.
While politicians from the Alliance and their direct supporters look forward to the next election westerners are left with the stark realization that we must endure another four (and possibly eight) years of crushing taxation and creeping despotism under a Liberal majority. For the most part we can't decide whether the light at the end of the tunnel got brighter (as CA Leader Stockwell Day would assert), whether it got fainter or indeed - if it simply went out altogether.
What is undeniable is that which has traditionally gone undiscussed in the mainstream press, even in the west, is finally being given some serious air time.
What am I talking about you ask?
What once was the topic of debate amongst "radical anarchists" has now become commonplace discussion amongst ordinary and upstanding Canadian citizens.
In a recent Calgary Sun article, Paul Jackson writes about a meeting he had with businessman and former Liberal assistant Ted Matthews.
Jackson writes: "Matthews figures the West should tell Ontario and Quebec to keep what they have and we should go it alone. That's the frame of mind the Nov. 27. vote put him in. Ted is no wild-eyed radical... but he is angry."
"It's time for the West to forget about the East. Our four provinces should come together with a Western Bill of Rights and thumb our nose at the East. We can do it, too," states Matthews.
Jackson replies: "I sit back, ponder Matthews' assessments, and think, Ted, more and more Westerners are thinking like you."
More and more indeed.
But these sentiments are not new in the west - just suddenly (very suddenly) more popular.
Western secession movements have been around for decades. The "Western Canada Concept" has been here in one shape or form since about 1975. It's founder and primary advocate, Doug Christie writes about its origins:
"The Committee for Western Independence in early 1975 gained members from around the province of B.C... In July of 1978, amid fanfare from the media and people in 27 cars, the first Independence Caravan set out on a tour of the West.... By doing this, I developed an awareness of the common bonds of Western Canadians, and built up a network of contacts which had the same goal of Independence for the West."
The "concept" has grown and faltered many times since its birth in the mid 70's. Perhaps the timing for such an idea was not right. As Mr. Christie notes the movement all but disappeared during the Mulroney years and later suffered because of vicious but false attacks from much of the mainstream media.
But, like anything else - everything does have its time. A lot has changed since the late seventies and early eighties. In some sense at least - revolutionaries such as Doug Christie are no longer as alone as they once were. The Internet - for all its garbage and trash has made the communication of ideas an almost elementary exercise. you are sitting here reading these words on this screen is a testament to fact.
Like the fax machine helped to pulverize the Soviet empire the net has the capability to help bring down one of the most corrupt regimes to ever exist in Canadian history.
Indeed, as quickly as Mr. Jackson's article was written it was e-mailed to thousands of westerners who were suddenly joined in the desire for one simple concept: political liberty.
There is little doubt left in my mind the ball is rolling, The big question is: where will it take us?
Scott Carpenter is the editor of Liberty Free Press and a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right.
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