Yesterday, Canada's premiers gathered in Mississauga. Martin Regg Cohn writes that it was a strange meeting:
For a moment in time Monday, Canada’s premiers all pledged fealty to national unity.
No more disunity, not until further notice. They put their best faces forward collectively even if, as a country, we’re not much further ahead.
How did they achieve their new-found harmony? By putting their old discord on hold.
Pharmacare? Not ready.
Pipelines? Not really.
Pricing carbon? Not in this or that province.
Preventing religious discrimination? None of your business (if Quebec bans articles of faith for some, it’s not for others to weigh in).
They did, however, agree on one thing. They all needed more money from the feds:
Ahead of a first ministers’ summit next month with Justin Trudeau, it called for more money from Ottawa for provinces in need, notably Alberta and Saskatchewan. More money from Ottawa for health care. More money for infrastructure. You get the idea.
And that, Ford says, is a sign of national unity. But Cohn is sceptical:
Never mind. “What’s good for Ontario is good for Canada, and what’s good for Canada is good for Ontario,” Ford keeps saying, revelling in the role of Captain Canada.
It’s an interesting saying. But it only means something if the premier of Ontario has something interesting to say.
Without a voice, or a vision, the premier’s musings on national unity mean everything and nothing.
As Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, California, "There's no there there."
Image: The Toronto Star