Friday, December 05, 2008

Irresponsible III

Building on Noni Mausa's last post, a scenario from Robert Paterson:

Here is how it could line up;

  • In reality, Alberta is Harper's base. They have a Serb like memory of past slights. They feel hard done by the rest of Canada. They feel better than the rest of Canada. It's economy is based on oil. It's people share the culture of the midwest in the US. They feel that power is concentrated in the east. They have had the east have a grab at "their" oil wealth in the 1970's. They suspect that the rest of Canada wants their money now. They despise the values of urban places such as Montreal and Toronto. They tend to be religious. They don't like "foreigners". The Harper government is their government. This is the first time that they have been so well represented.
  • Harper will go strongly to this base and to the rural vote. Their deep feelings of alienation and lack of self confidence will be brought to the surface.
  • He will accuse the Bloq of being traitors and those that do not agree with him of not being real Canadians. He will do his best to make French Canadians look like Muslims in Yugoslavia. This of course will cause many Francophones to react and open up the breach that has been closing for 25 years. Many Quebecers may also have their own feelings of alienation rekindled.
  • Urban Canadians - the vast majority of the people who are of course under represented in parliament - will be accused of being dissolute and sinners whose failure in manufacturing and services has caused the economy to fail and now have their hand out - seeking to grab Alberta's inheritance. Many in Ontario will feel that they too have been let down by the idea of Canada. For most of the modern period, Ontario has paid more than its share to support the weaker parts. Now they have problems, Alberta doesn't want to play.
  • Any chance of civility in Parliament will be finished. All trust will be lost. There will be no way that any opposition member can work with Mr Harper. Anyone who shows moderation will look like a mug. The middle ground will get squeezed into nothing.
  • The country will be split like Yugoslavia - we will be a tinder box waiting for the spark.
  • Then it only takes one event - a murder, a bomb, whatever and the possible disintegration of our country is set in train - for some rabble rouser will use the event to gain his advantage

It's quite extraordinary how fragile we really are. Who would have thought at the winter Olympics at Sarajevo that in a few years that city would be under siege? The context of the worsening economy and the fight for scarce resources will deepen the tension.

It is sad that the GG did not take this possibility into account. Was she bullied? It's a strang role. Most of the time, it's ceremonial. But like war itself, there can be moments of great tension. The 2 1/2 hour long meeting suggest to me that she was turned. The meeting should have taken minutes. Yes or no. There should be no debating. The GG should make the call and then send the PM on his way. To debate the topic means tha the GG has given up her power.

Let's hope I am wrong on both counts.

To paraphrase Doctor Who, Canadian unity may be in flux, and the future, uncertain. For whatever reason, Stephen Harper has demonstrated he is willing to tear the country apart to save his political hide. This must not come to pass.

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