[Reid] The time has come for a new Western Canadian Party to succeed where Reform failed

[Reid] The time has come for a new Western Canadian Party to succeed where Reform failed

Opinion
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[Prince George News] I’m a child of Western Canada. Born in Regina after the Second World War, raised in Winnipeg, now a resident of BC and half of my six siblings live in Alberta. I’ve come to know this part of Canada through the dual lens of personal experience and thousands of polls. And I’ve spent enough time in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal to discover the many myths and misconceptions about this vast region.

VIDEO: [Rebel News] Angus Reid poll reveals the majority of Alberta, Saskatchewan now either strongly in favour (31%) or moderately in favour (29%) of a western separatist movement [Feb 7, 2019].


I have witnessed a massive change in the role of the West, largely driven by demographic forces.  In the early 50’s the Canadian population fulcrum, with Ontario in the middle, was decidedly tilted east. Western Canada had barely a quarter of the then-total population of 14 million. Quebec and the Atlantic provinces hosted slightly more than forty percent of the country.

When I started my polling company in the late ‘70s the eastward tilt was slightly less pronounced but still left the west in third place.

Starting in the ‘80s with the Alberta oil boom and the influx of immigrants to BC, things began to shift. Today the population of the four Western provinces is just under a third of the country and according to projections from Statistics Canada will grow to about 35 per cent by 2036. The share Quebec and Atlantic Canada will drop to under 30 per cent.

Clearly the west (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC) is a more dominant player in Canada than ever.  But what does this mean? Will the scales of Canadian politics be upended, the economy transformed and our identity forever altered? Anecdotally, there is a stirring in parts of the west that hasn’t been seen since the 80s when the double whammy of the National Energy Program and the decision to bypass Winnipeg in favour of Montreal for CF-18 military jet maintenance, served to put Western Canada firmly in its place as a junior player in confederation.

The result of this was the launch of the Reform Party, which, despite its best intentions did little to reform the perceived institutional bias – especially from Ottawa where the Laurentian elites from Toronto and Montreal remained firmly in control – against Western interests.

Today Alberta and its energy-rich neighbour, Saskatchewan, are mad as hell because they can’t get their products to market.  BC is suffering a different kind of hell as young couples decamp from Vancouver in the face of unattainably expensive housing costs.

This article continues at [Prince George News] The future of western Canada

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