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Friday, May 23, 2008

We Are Canada

As surely as the sun rises and sets, the Canadian federation is slowly devolving into a handful of separate and independent states.

The dissolution of the Canadian federation has been quietly advancing for decades but the timelines have suddenly become more compressed and gaining momentum. Few of us have even noticed.

The idea that there will come a time when Canada no longer exists as a Country may be laughable to some and frightening to others. Though many of us may no longer walk this land when it finally happens, the movement from a single National entity into several autonomous Countries has already begun.

Quebec has been on the cusp of separation since the 60’s. Though public sentiment there has eased on the issue it still exists and requires only some unknown spark to re-ignite and flourish.

Ontario has long bemoaned the unfairness of a federation that has seen its once great manufacturing sector contribute so much and, in the opinion of most Ontarians, recieve so little in return. Ask any Ontarian about this Country and they will likely tell you, “We ARE Canada”.

The vast majority of Canada’s population resides within the borders of these two Provincial giants. This means the federal government has always been hard pressed to do anything that might upset voters there, even when the best interests of the nation are in jeopardy.

As a result neither the East nor the West has ever been recognized as anything but a handy supplier of raw materials. A group of eight “lesser” provinces orbiting a black hole that swallows up all the oil, timber, fish, wheat, beef, iron, gold, potash and low cost workers the regions have to offer.

With no real voice in Canada's government the Atlantic Premiers have, for several years, held meetings and conferences designed to more closely align their direction. They continue to find ways to strengthen their economic ties, enhance their political clout and streamline their individual expenses, without Ottawa’s assistance.

In recent years the Western Provinces have also begun to follow the lead of their Atlantic counterparts by working together to address issues of mutual interest and strengthen their ties to one another.

Now, with manufacturing heavy Central Canada slowly being weakened by an impending recession, Ontario and Quebec, the two most powerful provinces in Canada, have decided the time has come for them to band together for self preservation.

To all appearances, the coalitions formed in the Western Provinces and those on the Atlantic Coast may have been fortuitous, in light of what is to come after this latest move by Ontario and Quebec. A move that could well put the final nail in Canada's coffin.

When Ontario or Quebec sneeze Ottawa reaches for the tissue box. It’s always been that way. Now that both Provinces are joining forces the likelihood that any federal government would dare deny them just about anything they want has never been lower.

This can only mean very dark days for the rest of the Country.

What Ontario wants Ontario gets.

What Quebec wants Quebec gets.

For years Ontario and Quebec have been enviously eying the oil and energy wealth of other Provinces and looking for ways to “access” it.

Now that Canada has shifted to an energy based economy oil and electricity are the new currency of the federation. Oil, electricity and cash are three things many parts of Canada have more of these days. They are also three things Ontario and Quebec desperately want.

Make no mistake, Ontario and Quebec intend to improve their lot and the rest of the Country can be damned.

When Ontario and Quebec band together the oil wealth of Eastern and Western Canada will be up for grabs. The electrical energy capacity of places like Newfoundland and Labrador will no longer be safe. And a federation that was extremely dysfunctional, even when Ontario and Quebec acted independently, will begin to spiral into collapse.

Either Alberta or Newfoundland and Labrador will likely be the first to see the full impact of this new reality as more and more of their dreams are crushed to satisfy the yearnings of the two larger provinces. They will also be the first to make a move toward independence.

Then, like a series of dominos, other Provinces or regions will follow. An Atlantic State will form, then one or two Western States, Quebec will finally achieve the independence it has so often talked of and, in the end, the people of Ontario will be able to say with all honesty, “We ARE Canada”.

It’s no longer a matter of “if “Canada will cease to exist as it does today but when. Perhaps within the next 20 years, perhaps the next 30 or 40 but it will happen, as surely as the sun rises and sets.

11 comments:

NL-ExPatriate said...

Truer words were never spoken!

What you spek of is sure to pass if and unless the canadian political system changes.

Everybody knows the canadian political system and it's harbingers the national parties change their raison d'etre which is power and due to our systemically flawed political system of per capita representation alone. With no equality anywhere in our system to represent the morals, ethics, values, concern, standards and concerns. Not in the Supreme court of canada, not in the Senate which is nothing more that an extension of the national party system which represents ON/QU and the best interests of the majority to get the national parties power, nowhere.
That is what Meech Lake and the Charlottetown accords were about.

No national party has as it's party line to build a nation but rather due to the system they are forced to have a party line of continuing to build the Empires of ON/QU if they know what is good for them.

By supporting the NL-First party I personally have as a first priority to do what's in the best interest of NL, second the federation known as canada and third the world as a whole. Because if you don't take care of your own no one else will.

If all else fails Equality or Exit is my motto because without Equality in this federation you are nothing more than a colony.

Without Equality this federation is definitely doomed the sooner the two bully's of confederation figure that out the better off canada will be. Otherwise we may as well get out while we still can.

Anonymous said...

Will Halifax or St.John's be the capital of this new Atlantic state? The larger populations in the other Atlantic provinces would act no differntly than the Ontario and Quebec governments do now toward our resources.

Michael Williams said...

So said the bourgeois bump on a log.

Anonymous said...

Myles I think your prophecies predicting what will happen to the Canadian Federation are right on, but the time span is way off.

I cannot see how a Federation which was supposed to consist of 10 equal provinces can survive with the inequalities that have evolved.

I, too, see the country of Canada dissolving into a territory which exists solely of Ontario, but far sooner than you predicted.

How can it be any other way, since there is no movement afoot to make things more equal? Matter of fact, the only movement I see from the Canadian Parliament is to move things further apart. The end is nigh! Myles I think your prediction of 30 or 40 years in the future is way off. I think it could be as precipitous as the time span that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken to move from being 'have not' to 'have' with aid of monies from the sale of its Oil resource.

I muse every day on what could have been for this province within the type of country that we thought we were entering. All 10 provinces could have lived in a country which was as near to a Utopia as could be, with equality, if they were willing to have shared, the way that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was willing to do so and did share.

Newfoundland and Labrador could have evolved into a strong entity if Ottawa had planned out things properly on how Newfoundland and Labrador's raw natural resources would be utilized to see that happen, instead of seeing that the other provinces became the beneficiary of our raw natural resources, and thus they created the industries and resulting real market economies. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador should never ever had to take on the scourge title of "have not" status.


For God's sake we are taking on "have" status through monies received from just the sale of our Oil resource and we do not even have an equity position, or refine the oil. So that alone can tell the story.

We didn't even need Federal largesse in the form of free money. With our raw natural resources, we could have gotten the Capital Markets to lend us the money, money which could have been paid back with little effort and, of course, we needed advice and permits from Ottawa to have created smelters, refineries and processing plants to have smelted, refined and processed our natural resources. After which, we could have then created thriving manufacturing industries here with those refined resources? And with our prime location being situated on the Trans-Atlantic Ocean trade routes, we could have shipped everything by ocean cargo ships, the way most goods are shipped in the world

We had the wool pulled over our eyes very tightly and very securely for nearly 60 years. We were blind for all that time. Now that we do see, we will never turn back. But I do hope Ottawa/Canada comes to its senses, because underneath all of our anger and disgust there is still a loving child in the name of Newfoundland and Labrador. We just want respect and equality!

Anonymous said...

Myles,

This is a very well reasoned piece of work and I happen to agree with your insightful analysis of current stresses in the country. However, I'm not sure if it will necessary unfold as you predict....but that's ok, such is the nature of forecasts. For example, something bad for the western provinces and for Newfoundland and Labrador is going to happen for the reasons that you outline. Today, it's all about energy and the divide will between the energy 'haves" and the "havenots". But whereas the three western provinces all have surplus power this is not the case with the Atlantic Provinces as NL sits alone in that regard (and significantly so). As well, the historical and cultural divide between the Atlantic Provinces is greater than exists between the western provinces who are much closer (ok, maybe BC is a little more "unique") in those regards. So, while I can see the three western provinces forming their own country, I really cannot see the Atlantic provinces doing the same. Which will mean NL will probably have to either sink or swim on its own. And that is not necessarily a bad thing because if energy remains as important as it is, would you encourage NL to be closer to the other Atlantic provinces?

Patriot said...

In response to a couple of comments:

No, Nova Scotia (or Halifax) will no be the capital and no, I do not encourage any closer relationship between the Atlantic provnices, beyond what it takes for survival.

In all honesty, I see a place like NL, which was independent long before Confederation, becoming once again seperate and autonomous.

As for the timeline, I can only hope is is short but I suspect, like most things political, it will be a long and winding road.

Anonymous said...

It will be a long winding road because it will be much more difficult to get out of Canada than it was to enter. After all we were dragged in at Ottawa's insistence. There were two referendums. Canada dreamt of obtaining us for 80 years at our point of entry.

Can you imagine the obstacles which will be thrown into the path of that particular journey?

Please remember that a lot of Newfoundland and Labrador's resources are encumbered, by being either owned by Ottawa or utilized under contract by some of the other 9 provinces.

What a journey it will be! It is too difficult and mind-boggling to even think of. It will be easier to ask Ottawa to put the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on an equal footing, and I am sure they would probably be only too happy to oblige.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that NL and the Atlantic provinces are seen as the provinces that Canada has to support with equalization when, from a 13 billion dollar pot, Quebec takes 8 billion.

If over half goes to Quebec, why are we always the bad guys?

NL announced a couple of weeks ago that we will only take 18 million out of that 13 billion, yet we are still the "poor cousin" while Quebec gets respect.

What a crock...

Anonymous said...

Anon of May 23, 2008 8:03 PM- Your question - Why is it that NL and the Atlantic provinces are seen as the provinces that Canada has to support with equalization when, from a 13 billion dollar pot, Quebec takes 8 billion?.......


I ask myself the same question every day, especially when I see comments to articles, referencing the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and especially referencing Premier Williams, made in the Globe and Mail where this province is constantly accused of being the most prolific user of equalization.

Never do these commentators take into consideration or mention the raw natural resources that are exported out of Newfoundland and Labrador to keep smelters and refineries percolating in other provinces and, as in the case of the Upper Churchill Hydroelectric energy, the energy is simply transferred to Quebec, the beneficiary of the energy in a 72 years contract, to be sold by Quebec to the markets requiring the energy, while the province of Newfoundland and Labrador the owner of the energy barely gets enough to run the project.

Canadians don't seem to know what the province of Newfoundland and Labrador contributes and they don't seem to care. Keeping Quebec in Canada seems to be their sole interest.

But why should they believe something as stupid as a province giving up its raw resources for the benefit of the other provinces, without first having created a real market economy for itself? It is such an unheard of far out idea and a hard sell for those of us in Newfoundland and Labrador who want to tell the story.

If things hadn't been kept so non-transparent by Ottawa, and if through the years a subtle Thank You was sent from time to time to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadians would have known.

After all these years of Canadians not knowing, it is hard for them to believe and it is impossible to convince them that a province would give up its lifeblood, namely raw natural resources, so that other provinces could grow economies.

We have been told by one Premier of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that he was going to take the message across the country and apprise Canadians firsthand. He didn't, he got as far as the Laurier Club in Ottawa and preached to the people who already knew what we gave, the politicians and bureaucrats of Ottawa and the industrialists.

I wonder if that Premier was convinced by the same people to whom he orated at the Laurier Club that he should shut up. Maybe the politicians and bureaucrats of Ottawa felt that there would be an apology in order if all of Canadians found out that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was contributing so much to the country.

With an apology, of course, retribution might also have to be made.

Anonymous said...

Energy importance is here to stay and so is our high petro dollar. The other elephant in the room is the Carbon Tax idea floated by the pointy headed Dion. This "new" tax is to be revenue neutral. A cut in personal income taxes, which would benefit central Canada the most, and an increase in the carbon emitters, producers of Carbon, the West and NL would see more of their money forfeited to Ottawa.

Net result, ON and Que receive more money from Ottawa while NL and the West would send even more money to Ottawa. National energy program 2!

Your scenario Myles may occur faster than anticipated because of this, especially if central Canada sees this as a way of knocking the outlanders down a few pegs. Republic of NL or Republic of Ab would both seem like a good home for me.

Greg: "Equality or Exit" very good.

Cheers,
Glenn




OT:
Calvin, on previous post you said I was a CPC supporter. Not true. I am a capitalist-libertarian, I believe in the individual over the state. No where to park my vote as of yet. Both JS Mills Classical Liberalism and William JH Boetcker Conservativism both appeal to me. It's complicated (:>}

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._H._Boetcker

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mills

Patriot said...

Well said.