rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Shifting tides in Canadian federal politics

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Canadian politics have been shaped by the Quebec-Western Canada dynamic since the 1980s because Quebec separation from Canada was the number one issue confronting the country as we knew it.

I don't think Quebec separation, while still an important and contentious issue has the same priority as it once did, even in Quebec, and this may change the power dynamic between the two solitudes as we have come to know it.

The looming threat of Quebec independence was always enough to raise the priority of Quebec voices in the Federal house. However, due to containment, unfeasibility, or the almost incestuous relationship between the long-time Quebec Provincial government and their Ottawa Federal counterparts - today western Canadians in particular and Canadians in general, no longer feel that a serious threat of Quebec separation any longer exists.
 
Kim Campbell remains, to date, the only woman and BC native to be Canadian Prime Minister - although her run was brief and she did inherit Mulroney's Quebec-heavy cabinet. When she beat (guess who?) Jean Charest in the bid to succeed Brian Mulroney as head of the PC Party in 1993 and become sitting Canadian Prime Minister, she did appoint Charest as deputy Prime Minister.

Charest used this appointment as his stepping stone to a Quebec Premiership where he is still reigning and has been a major part of the taming of Quebec Separatism, no longer able to be used as a political tool or threat in bargaining power with Ottawa.
 
So, for a country conditioned to wait for Quebec to make its demands of provincial autonomy from Ottawa and then chime in "we want that too!", that paradigm no longer exists; because the demands of an obedient and controlled Quebec are no longer the most urgent priority for Ottawa. If the rest of the country still wants to wait for Quebec to make demands and then say "us too!", Ottawa is 100% fine with that because it means less demands overall on the Federal.
 
As Mulroney's Conservatives fractured and split into the Reform Party in the West and the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec, the entrenchment of the Quebec electorate within a Separation-mandated party did two things:

1) it put Quebec on "the political sidelines" with regards to Canadian national policy and objectives; and 2) because it continued and prolonged the threat of Quebec separation, it forced the rest of Canada to see past their regional differences and learn how to work together in the face of their shared, rebellious provincal peer - this was to the rest of Canada's immeasurable advantage.

How that advantage will play out, either for the rest of Canada or Quebec, will be what defines Ottawa between now and the next Federal election.

-30-

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.