Monday, April 02, 2018

Their Default Position?

In the last federal election, Justin Trudeau's Liberals swept Atlantic Canada. Daniel Savoie writes that Maritimers' support for Trudeau has not been reciprocated:

Consider the following. For the first time since the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency was established in 1987, a minister from outside the region is responsible for the the ACOA. The minister is from Mississauga and is also responsible for the two federal regional development agencies in Ontario, one in Quebec, one in Western Canada and another for the North.
It is not lost on Atlantic Canadians that the federal government now has a regional development agency for every postal code in Canada. Best to focus on regions with heavily populated postal codes when the goal is to win power. The recently tabled budget committed $920-million over six years to one of two federal regional development bodies for Ontario. When this agency was established in 2009, it was given a time-limited budget. No more. It now has core funding like all the other federal regional agencies.
It will be recalled that Mr. Trudeau, at one point, seriously contemplated taking away the one seat Atlantic Canada has on the Supreme Court. When tasked with replacing Thomas Cromwell from Nova Scotia on the court, Mr. Trudeau announced that the selection process would be open to “any qualified judge” from across the country. Atlantic Canadians believe that he would never do the same if it came to Quebec (the Constitution guarantees Quebec three seats) or Ontario and Western Canada (because here the political cost would be too high).
Many Atlantic Canadians remain unconvinced by Ottawa’s argument that the Energy East pipeline failed because of market conditions. Ottawa gave, at best, lukewarm support for the pipeline which was viewed by many in Western and Atlantic Canada as an important national unity project. They saw Ottawa changing the rules of the approval process on the fly, adding new requirements with some retroactively. Mr. Trudeau told supporters of Energy East to accept the decision and avoid “stoking regional divisions.” He said nothing to Montreal and Quebec politicians who labelled the decision “a great victory for Quebeckers.” It made the point once again that when it comes to national unity, it is a one-way street.

If Maritimers start feeling ignored, Trudeau's majority is in danger. And, if Canadians feel that the Liberals have returned to their default position -- arrogance -- they may soon find themselves in opposition.



The Mound of Sound said...

This is a game that can be played endlessly. Minuscule PEI has four senators, BC, the third most populous province, has just six. Vancouver Island, by itself, far larger in territory and population that any Maritime province has exactly 0. Ontario, Alberta and BC are under-represented in the House of Commons. Every Maritime province is heavily over-represented. They're feeling left out because they don't have a dilbit line? I've got one they can have. Yes, Trudeau scrapped Energy East because the political cost was too great. And that's why he's shoving Kinder-Morgan's pipeline through out here. For his party's political advantage. He never quite got to the point where he could properly fake sincerity. Maybe it's his Catholic conscience but you can always tell when he's lying.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Mound, Justin appears to be treading a path that has already been well trodden.

aweb said...

Nova Scotia has 200,000 more people than Vancouver Island. I'll go out on a limb and guess a few senators have hailed from the island in the past. Vancouver Island isn't a province so it isn't guaranteed representation.

Also, the Atlantic provinces lived through Harper's actively hostile government. We voted ndp when literally no one else did, have had generational conservative seats, etc. The "maritimes" aren't a consistent place you can generalize about politically. But killing a pipeline isn't a winning or losing issue here. Most didn't want one and more importantly didn't expect one.

Owen Gray said...

That's an interesting take, aweb. I take it that the death of the pipeline was not the issue Savoie thinks it was. Is Savoie out of touch?

Anonymous said...

As mentioned below, NS has a good 200,000 more people than Vancouver Island and has a much greater land area, 55,000sq kms versus 37,000.

Not for the first time I see fast and loose "facts" made up about the Maritimes from your aerie on the West coast. Your constant incorrect repetition of when the world's population hit 3 billion also irritates me. These small things are easy to google and get right.

New Brunswick is the main problem in the region. It is an Irving Oil/forest products fiefdom, quite literally. They run the place, provide most industrial jobs, and people are afraid to speak up against the constant pressure not to. NB is a company town writ large. Most Nova Scotians drive straight through the place, because it's depressing. Irving is not what you'd call a big community benefactor.

The only people upset with the demise of the Energy East pipeline were Irving. The public were NEVER informed the product was anything but normal crude, not by JT or CBC. Gigabarrels of dilbit for export, money for jam - the Irving refinery cannot process it. They built a now shuttered export terminal. Permissions? No cowed New Brunswicker was going to complain and stick their head above the parapet to get it cut off, as in loss of livelihood with tame lawyers adding to the fear of retribution. The place is so "owned" that outsiders don't believe it could actually be like that. But it is. The tentacles are everywhere.

Of course, your other observations mostly amount to lordly suppositions as well. It seems to be a case of don't confuse me with the facts, and it's becoming a real drag.

We in the progressive movement, and I certainly agree broadly with you on most points other than your reliance on US east coast media, need to not have some self-appointed on-high guru making incorrect statements on things that really matter to actual people who live here. You could and should do better, in my opinion.

As for the tiny prancer JT, he hasn't quite pissed off people enough round here to lose to a shiny faced Schear. If the NDP hadn't cut off its nose to spite its face since the 2015 election, I'd predict a rebound for them in the region. So JT is safe for now due to lack of alternatives. At least that idiot Hehr from Calgary is gone. The way he ran VA, you'd have sworn he was a Tory.


Owen Gray said...

I'll let Mound respond to your comment, BM. I suspect he will. As I asked in an earlier comment, Is Savoie out otf touch? His observations on the functioning of the federal government always struck me as pretty solid.

aweb said...

Savoie is out of touch, yes. Aside from Irving inc...I mean new brunswick, there simply isn't anyone who cares about a pipeline. We're tiny here and we know it, and most realize it's a nonstarter to run major infrastructure through here.

Politically, if any party focused on Atlantic Canada even a little they would quickly make major gains. But no party is paying us any attention. The liberals didn't really do that last election either, they just won by default.

Owen Gray said...

You folks must feel like the relative no one wants to talk about, aweb.