This essay Western Canada Concept has a total of 2148 words and 11 pages.
Western Canada Concept
The Western Canada Concept
The Western Canada Concept is a separatist party led by Alberta lawyer Doug Christie. The party is devoted to a peaceful secession of the four Western provinces and the two territories from Canada. By means of four referenda held in each respective western province, the Western Canada Concept would establish an independent nation. A wide spectrum of reasons, encompassing political, economic, and cultural issues, fuels the group’s drive for a sovereign, united, West. The Western Canada Concept, through referenda and economic stability, insists that a sovereign West would better serve the needs of Western Canadians, which have been ignored by governments of the recent past.
Reasons for Western Independence
According to David Christie, leader of the Western Canada Concept, reasons for western separation abound, touching each area of Western Canadians’ lives. Many of these stem from a deep-rooted feeling of western alienation. During the Trudeau era, the majority of Liberal seats in the House of Commons was heavily concentrated east of the Manitoba border. Through unpopular government decisions, such as the management of Alberta’s petroleum industry, some westerners began to feel that the government did not serve their needs. Manipulating a famous Abraham Lincoln quote illustrates this belief perfectly - since the government was elected by Central Canada, it must be a government of Central Canada, for Central Canada.
This distribution of power in the House of Commons, a primary reason for Western Independence, has become a platform for many western politicians. One concern is that there is little or no checks on the Prime Minister’s agenda where regional equality is concerned. The Prime Minister is from one province, can be elected into power with only the support of a single region, and can run the entire country accordingly. Christie believes that the only way to keep Central Canada, the primary source of power for most recent governments, in check is to amend the Senate. The system by which Canada should model their Senate is the American system, in which the President is kept in check by equally distributed Senators. Such wishes for Senate reform have long been embraced by western parties of the past such as the Progressives, Social Credit, the CCF, the United Farmers of Alberta, and most recently, the Reform Party of Canada. Since the Reform Party merged with splinter Conservatives to form the Canadian Alliance Party, its agenda, according to Christie, has become more national. If the Alliance, once a defender of western ideals, wishes to come to power, support from Central Canada is necessary. Thus, they seemingly have abandoned their fight for Senate reforms to appear more palatable to Ontario voters. If Western Canadians want these reforms, they cannot expect a national party desperate for Central Canadian support to act on their behalf. Rather, secession is seen as the only way to draw attention to our concerns. As Christie put it, “The major reason the political power of Ontario and Quebec has never been challenged is simply because the West has never considered the option of independence.”
In addition to the aforementioned political reasons, the Western Canada Concept has put forward economic reasons for Western Independence. In light of the fact that the West produces 52% of the Gross National Product in primary sector industries such as fishery, forestry, mining, and agriculture, and 90% of the petroleum production with only 27% of the population, the West should be able to sustain itself economically. Furthermore, the West fares well on the international market. Of the provinces, only British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan export more than they import. Although the West seems to make a profit internationally, it is, according to Christie, being robbed from home. A “colonial economy”, where Central Canada produces 80% of the country’s manufactured goods, and where tariffs prevent the other provinces from buying elsewhere, is preventing the West from flourishing economically. Again, since national parties with an interest in staying in power cannot effect any change in policy that might anger Central Canadians, the only answer is independence.
The most difficult to defend, but most important reasons for independence, according to Christie, are cultural reasons. It is tricky for Western Canadian Concept members to air their views on culture as they contrast starkly with present Canadian values. The Western Canada Concept
Topics Related to Western Canada Concept
Western Canada, Canada, Doug Christie, Canadian identity, Pierre Trudeau, Alberta, Canadians, Secession, Western Independence Party, Western Block Party
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