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How many countries are in Canada?

August 9 2005 at 5:57 PM
BigE  (no login)
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Just as I've been saying, and just as Central Canadians continue naivley deny, Western separatism is alive and well. The irony is, part of what feeds Western alienation is Quebec ass-kissing in order to prevent their separatist factions from succeeding. Then their is Ontario's "centre of the universe" mentality towards the rest of the country, and that province's electoral prowess; also, most Westerners believe Atlantic Canada wastes tax dollars with handouts (in a sense it is true, but also a result of policies throughout history meant to pad the pockets of Central Canada). So approximately 35% of Westerners think it would be worthwhile to explore the possibility of separating, 41% in Alberta. Also, 60% said they would be more willing to explore separation if the Liberal Party wins the next election.

Atlantic Canadians are just too damn loyal to ever give a scare similar to this, with 3 of the 4 provinces being an integral part of forming the country. I can see Newfoundland wanting out, after just 56 years as part of Canada. There was a series of documentaries out last winter that compared Newfoundland's history with Iceland's, arguing the province would have been better off to keep to themselves, and has some compelling evidence to support that. However, I've heard theories that if Quebec ever separated, Atlantic Canada (or at least the Maritimes) would likely form some sort of colony, adopting American currency and some other things that would make ties stronger with the Northeastern US than whatever would be left of Canada.

Time will tell.


The West's separatist warning
Poll finds 35% of Westerners think splitting from Canada should be explored

Cathy Gulli
National Post

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More than one-third of Westerners younger than 30 think their provinces should consider quitting Canada, showing the strongest support for sovereignty among all ages, a recent poll reveals.

Fully 36.4% of people between 18 and 29 in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba agree "Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country."

The sentiment is not exclusive to youth.

Across all age groups, 35.6% of Westerners favour debating sovereignty.

Albertans lead with 41.9% support, compared to 31.9% in Saskatchewan, 30.8% in British Columbia, and 27.5% in Manitoba.

"Westerners are very frustrated with their position in Confederation," said Faron Ellis, a political science professor at Lethbridge Community College, who conducted the poll for Western Standard magazine.

He warns that, at a time when Canada is not facing a major national crisis, this level of dissatisfaction could be a sign of worse things to come.

''There's really nothing aside from the ongoing institutionalized grievances to be angry about, and for the most part in all four provinces the economy is going fairly well,'' Mr. Ellis said.

''Canadians across the country should be aware that if these are the bedrock levels of frustration without a crisis, the next crisis [will have] Westerners at least debating the concept,'' he added.

Even though most young people were not alive during divisive political crises such as the National Energy Program, "they register among the highest levels of support for discussing independence," Mr. Ellis said.

Mr. Ellis believes young people are aware of both modern and historical difficulties affecting the West.

"They hear from their parents. They hear it daily on the streets. They know about current injustices. When federal issues come up, this group sees themselves outside of the debate, their opinions marginalized," Mr. Ellis said.

Gerald Baier, a University of British Columbia professor of political science, said young people are more likely to support the idea of sovereignty because they are often more open-minded than older generations.

"The question doesn't ask them to state support for the idea of sovereignty but for the idea of exploring it. Why shouldn't you look into all ideas? It might even be a matter of idealism," Mr. Baier added.

The poll also shows 64% of Westerners think Prime Minister Paul Martin is doing a poor job of ending Western alienation.

Another 40.4% say that if the Liberal party wins the next election they will be more in favour of exploring independence.

Mr. Ellis believes these Westerners feel they have exhausted every possible solution to improve their standing in Ottawa, citing the failures of the Reform and Canadian Alliance parties to gain power.

"It's hard for any new party in Canada to do well," Mr. Baier said.

The Western Canada Concept Party registered with Elections Canada 25 years ago with a platform calling for separation of the four Western provinces, but never came close to electing an MP.

Neither have the Separation Party of Alberta or the Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan managed to win more than marginal popular votes in recent years.

Doug Christie, the free speech lawyer for Holocaust deniers Jim Keegstra and Ernst Zundel who co-founded the Western Canada Concept, announced in January the formation of yet another separatist party, the Western Block. Anne McLellan, deputy prime minister at the time, disputed any hopes for this federal party, saying, "I don't think Mr. Christie will find a very welcoming audience in this province, in Newfoundland or anywhere else for his separatist rhetoric," she said.

Bruce Hutton, leader of the Alberta separatist party, told the Western Standard: "One of the things that makes separation a hard sell is that we have to get people to think of the future, not the present, to sell our message."

Despite Western frustration, Mr. Baier said, to voters there "these parties have been perceived as fringe parties."

Mr. Ellis said the dissatisfaction felt among residents of these provinces runs deep, and should be taken seriously.

The poll was conducted by telephone between June 29 and July 5, 2005, and involved 1,448 randomly selected Western residents.

The margin of error was plus or minus 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

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