Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

December 4, 2000 at 12 PM

When it comes to analyzing

When it comes to analyzing Canadian politics, I sometimes hesitate to put faith in our own media. And of course subscribing to the National Post has made me particularly suspicious of editorial motives. I once wrote a paper comparing French and English media coverage of a politically contentious issue in Quebec and found both to be severely biased.

Which is why I enjoy reading foreign coverage of Canadian affairs. Finding it is difficult of course, which reminds us just how stable Canada really is in the end; no one elsewhere seriously thinks we have big problems.

Still, the one issue that does garner some attention is naturally Quebec's continued chain-rattling over sovereignty and political power.

In the NY Times yesterday, their Canadian correspondent noted that the separatists are losing ground. Not so remarkable in itself, but one thing he did say struck me as interesting, if only because it reflects an opinion I've had for some time:

In the past, a strong separatist movement has forced the federal government to channel a disproportionate amount of aid and attention to Quebec. Now, with the movement weakened, some commentators say that attention should be redirected to the west, where the Canadian Alliance swept most of the seats.

Precisely! I don't have a big problem with tax in Canada (I know, I know: then why do I read the Post?), but I do think the dollars could be more equitably distributed. Living in Montreal, it's easy to see where the dollars go. For each of the 567 festivals a week in Montreal in the summer, the federal government's logo is painted in big, bold letters, and Chrétien wouldn't have it any other way. And in the pre-election madness, the Liberals promised to build bridges, attract jobs, and generally spend, spend, spend to make Quebec a happy place.

I support spending on social infrastructure, but when will the federal government offer to help Vancouver fund badly-needed public transit, so the city might avoid a serious revolt? When BC threatens to separate?

If ever there seemed to be a time when Quebec and Ontario agreed, it is now: together, they provided the Liberals with almost 140 of their 170+ seats. But what about the West? For a so-called national party, the Liberals remain amazingly unconcerned about their own failure there. In the end, of course, they don't need BC's votes to win, as the last, oh, 18 elections have proven, where BC voters knew the result before the polls even closed. Hypocrisy is a party that preaches a strong nation but ignores half of its federation.

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Previously: You might have heard how

Subsequently: “Maybe,” he thinks sheepishly, “I

December 2000
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