On the day that the Wildrose Party appears to be on the verge of shaking things up big time in Alberta, Canadians would do well to consider what Janice Kennedy wrote over the weekend in The Ottawa Citizen:
Across the country, it seems, we Canadians are being drawn to the small, the narrow, the self-interested. Rejecting old notions of pan-Canadian equality, we have opted instead for regionalism, courting disintegration. And it no longer seems to bother us.
Some of the seeds were indeed sown in 1976 with the first Parti Québécois election, but others found fertile ground more recently. In 2004, there was Newfoundland premier Danny Williams yanking down the national flag in a fit of provincial political pique.
Three years earlier, there was Harper calling for the insulation of Alberta from the rest of Canada — which he had previously described as “a second-tier socialistic country.”
The people who were behind Stephen Harper are the same people who are behind Danielle Smith. Without the Meech Lake Accord, we have what that document promoted. Pierre Elliot Trudeau rightly foresaw what lay ahead if Canada's new Conservatives were allowed to have their way:
He thought it would be disastrous. Over and over, with crisp intellectual rigour, he dissected the accord’s constitutional failings and its self-destructive implications for Canada — the nation, that is, as opposed to some soulless conglomerate of squabbling satrapies.
And here we are -- one hundred and eighty degrees from the party and the nation which John A. MacDonald founded. The old man would not be happy.
Things are falling apart. The centre cannot hold if we continue down this path.