Canada

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Canada

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:44 pm

I'm tired of proving OT wrong ;) time after time and wanted to post something that I've been thinking about for awhile. I'm really not in position to know anything, just assumptions. I would appreciate anyone north of Texas view points.

I ran across this about Canada’s woes and one, not so serious, prediction about the future of Canada’s provinces.

The Next Failed State

” Here's a thumbnail sketch of that analysis: Say Quebec does become a separate European-style nation-state -- a "people" with cultural, linguistic, religious and historical identity (never mind the objections of Mohawk and Cree Indians living in Quebec). Quebec has the people and resources to make a go of it, though the economic price for its egotism will be stiff. British Columbia also has "nation-state" assets: Access to the sea, strong industrial base, raw materials and an educated population.

Oil-producing Alberta might join the United States and instantly find common political ground with Alaska, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Canada's struggling Atlantic Provinces might find statehood economically attractive and extend the New England coastline. A rump Canada consisting of "Greater Ontario" -- with remaining provinces as appendages -- might keep the maple-leaf flag aloft.

As for poor, isolated Newfoundland: Would Great Britain like to reacquire a North American colony?”


In the last few years I’ve learned more about Canada and Canada’s politics than I had in my previous 57 years and I’ve learned that most Americans don’t appreciate the tensions that exist in Canada.

Now our neighbors have “Adscam,” an ongoing scandal that many think will lead to the collapse of the current government of Canada. It has affected the government of Canada, and particularly the ruling Liberal Party of Canada, for a number of years, but rose to especially great prominence in 2004. The scandal involved the misuse and misdirection of at least $CN 250 million in funds that were intended to go to government advertising in Quebec over the preceding decade.

Adding fuel to the fire is a recent poll in Quebec indicating 54% of Quebecers now favor some form of separation.

I found this on a weblog Captain’s Quarters and while it seems to match my fears, I’d be interested in what others think, especially our neighbors to the North.

”Americans may not appreciate the tensions that exist within our Northern neighbor, and Adscam has inflamed them to record levels. The recent Quebec polls represent just one aspect of the interprovincial tensions. If readers take the time to read through the excellent comments left here by Canadian readers, it quickly becomes apparent that citizens of most Canadian provinces have their own issues with federation as well.

I for one don't find this instability encouraging. We may have our differences on international policy and other issues with Ottawa, but we have a long and treasured relationship with a united Canada. We share one of few demilitarized international borders based on centuries of friendship, trust, and a shared sense of mission, even if our cultures differ in small but significant ways. Dissolution will abruptly and sharply change that relationship, complicating not just our security situation but the nature of the North American continent altogether.

For this reason, I remain absolutely stumped about the lack of interest shown thus far by the American media in the Adscam scandal. Though a Liberal government collapse looks imminent and probably unavoidable, even a newspaper as close to Canada as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has barely mentioned it.

The lack of interest in Canadian politics will catch Americans with their pants down if Quebec goes its own way and precipitates a general collapse of the national system in Canada, an embarrassing development for a country that takes such an interest in global politics.”


Tempest / teapot?
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Canada

Postby piqaboo » Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:32 pm

Only someone who'd read about Hitler could ask such a question!

Im curious why the assumption of the author is that if Quebec goes, the rest of Canada will want to balkanize. I'd think it would stay a large (if a tad smaller) nation. Why am I wrong? What am I missing?
(go Angie, go Marye!)

But if it does balkanize, imagine the nation of Gorgeous Coastline: continuous from Alaska to 17 miles south of San Diego, where it abuts Baja California (Mex).
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Canada

Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:27 pm

Well, the idea of "Balkanization" was a theme written in 1991 and was mean more in jest than serious at the time, but recall the gradual break up of the former Soviet Union and the Czech Republic from Slovakia.

Without a sense of national identity (which some say the U.S. barely hangs on to) is there a greater or lesser chance that other political or nationalist entities might consider separation in the face of the separation of the initial group?

Look, I don’t even begin to understand California politics, much less Canada’s. I just threw the idea out there as a (to me) interesting point of discussion.

But for the sake of discussion (or, probably argument in the case of OT :D ) let’s assume that only Quebec separates, what will be the relationship between the U.S. Quebec and Canada??
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Canada

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:40 pm

Originally posted by Haggis@wk:
... what will be the relationship between the U.S. Quebec and Canada??
The Quebeqois will look down their long, civilized noses at the rest of us. The Canadians will politely pretend that they don't notice. The US will really not notice. Activists in Berkeley will picket the French consulate.
>^..^<
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Re: Canada

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:51 pm

I .........................agree...........................it defies reason that the U.S. MSM doesn't give Canada and its problems the attention it seems to deserve, especially if the MSM is so liberally biased as some(glares at Haggis) would have us believe. (I contend the MSM is nothing more than a spineless bunch of money-grubbing corporate hacks, myself.)
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Re: Canada

Postby haggis » Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:54 pm

There's a French Consulate in Berkeley!?!?!? What was mud now becomes clear!
Haggis

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Re: Canada

Postby dai bread » Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:07 pm

Quebecois have been making noises about separation for years, at least since Charles de Gaulle's time. ("Vive le Quebec libre!", he said on a state visit).

We don't hear much about Canadian politics here either, and I will await comments from our Canadian friends, but I don't think separatist talk is anything more than talk. There's always somebody trying to inflate his own status via compliant and lazy news media.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Canada

Postby Angie Parkes » Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:42 am

Sorry folks, to chime in here so late. I was busy on a major project and figured you folks were still debating the changes to bankruptcy laws.

Some points from a left-wing nut, bleeding-heart, "small 'l' liberal" (as we say up here, as opposed to someone who supports the Liberal Party of Canada; I need to make my political leanings clear because a lot of Canadians are slightly to the right of Shapley and would disagree vociferously, but politely):

Bringing down the government

This is much easier to do in Canada than it is in the US, and doesn't have the same connotation of blood running in the streets, although as OT suggested, table manners may be compromised. :D If a government loses a vote in Parliament on ANY major bill (a budget is typical) or a vote of non-confidence (which can be moved at any time), an election must be called.

There is a budget before Parliament right now, and our last election was a squeaker so we have a minority government -- that is, the party in power, the Liberal Party, has more seats than any other single party, but not the majority of seats. If the other parties gang up on the Liberals, the Liberals will lose the vote on the budget, and the government will fall.

Adscam

The threat of Quebec separation is at least a couple of generations old. It was present before De Gaulle's visit, but was certainly ramped up. The French/English duality is a deep part of Canada and has been since even before Confederation in 1867.

Quebec sees herself as one of two: Canada made up of English and French peoples, with Quebec representing the French people -- a distinct society. (We had a true consitutional crisis over that phrase, by the way, just in case you missed it.) Many, probably most, other Canadians see Quebec as one of 10 provinces, special, unique, but no more so than the other provinces are special and unique. This is a vast oversimplification and ignores 200 years of historical grievances, but I think is the core of the separatist issue.

In 1995 there was a referendum in Quebec about whether to pursue sovereignty for the province (and there is some debate as to how sovereign a state Quebec wants to be). The federalist side (wanting to keep Quebec in Canada) won by the very slimmest of margins over the separatist side.

The federal government -- Liberal as it happens -- felt it needed to do something to "win the hearts and minds" of Quebecers, so it poured a ton of federal money into a marketing campaign in Quebec. Remember, politicans made this decision, so no wonder they came up with something as stupid and insulting as thinking they could "brand" Canada.

Surprise, surprise, most of that money was wasted (this whole thing broke out because our federal Auditor-General found some inexplciable accounting in the program and reported it to Parliament). It seems a good deal of it made its way to the Liberal Party (the party itself, not the government) through what amounted to shady laundering schemes.

This is all coming out in a public inquiry headed up by Mr. Justice John H. Gomery. The Gomery Inquiry is expected to table its final report in November/December of this year. Criminal proceedings are already underway against two key individuals (our Moutines got their men!).

Current Crisis

The opposition parties want to bring down the government because they want to be in power, naturally. There's lots of media sound bites about the Liberal Party having lost the moral authority to govern. The Liberals have said they should stay in power because there's lots of good stuff in the budget (the bill that, if defeated, would bring down the government), and the Prime Minister has said he will call an election 30 days after the Gomery report is tabled so that he and his party can be judged on the findings of the report. The opposition doesn't want to wait.

What if Quebec separates?

Separatist feeling is running high in Quebec again because they feel insulted by the marketing campaign from 1995. This assumes Quebec could go it alone. That's not a certainty. Quebec has many natural resources, but is a net recipient of federal transfer payments (Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario are the only net payers of transfer payments).

Would BC and Alberta join the US? Frankly, I don't think so. I think Americans underestimate the differences between our countries. BC is the most leftist of any province. Anti-American sentiment is fairly high right now across the country because of the current US administration's policies and attitudes, but would be most noticeable in BC.

Alberta has the most in common with the US but the current trade disputes have eroded much goodwill towards the US. Besides, we have water, oil, and good farmland -- the Alberta impulse would be for sovereignty, not federation with the US.

The Atlantic provinces are desperately poor. I can't imagine a federal US government being nearly as generous with them as the Canadian government is. In less than a decade they would go from having decent education and health care to being Arkansas. The Atlantic provinces have been historically suspicious of their Yankee (and I use the term as it was meant originally) neighbours and I think that is still the case.

Ontario has the resources to go it alone.

The American assessment above also misses two very large provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They're net receivers of transfer payments but they are the socialist hotbed of Canada (socialized medicine was born in Saskatchewan). They would have no interest in joining the US but would go with either Alberta or Ontario -- probably Alberta.

I've got more to say, but must get to a meeting. Canadian civics class dismissed for the moment!
Cheers,
Angie
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Re: Canada

Postby zlosin » Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:54 pm

The separation of Québec would be a serious economic and cultural loss to civilization. I cannot imagine the fine residents of Québec, when understanding the impact of this, would vote for separation. I am speaking of their leading export, Table / Lap Dancers. There would be import / export restrictions, embargos, duties and a whole host of sanctions that would cripple the industry.
I for one would be very upset by this.
We must work to save jobs and civilization.
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Re: Canada

Postby rwcrooks » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:18 pm

Angie,

I thought that Nunavut made the number 13. Or is there that big of a difference between provinces and territories?
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Re: Canada

Postby rwcrooks » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:21 pm

One observation on the differences between Canada and the US.

Almost anywhere you go in Canada, you can pay for your purchases in American currency and you will get the right amount of change back in Canadian Currency.

But just try to pay for anything in the US with Canadian currency.

What does that say about how Canadians and Americans view each other?

<small>[ 04-29-2005, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: RichC ]</small>
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Re: Canada

Postby Angie Parkes » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:45 pm

Originally posted by RichC:
Angie,

I thought that Nunavut made the number 13. Or is there that big of a difference between provinces and territories?
There is considerable difference between provinces and territories. The federal government has much greater involvement in the day-to-day operations of territories. We have only 10 provinces, but you're right Rich, there are now 3 territories (there used to be only 2).
Cheers,
Angie
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Re: Canada

Postby Angie Parkes » Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:08 pm

Okay, back to civics class.

The danger of balkanization of Canada if Quebec separates is because Quebec is, by land mass, anyway, the largest province in Canada and it's in the middle of the country (well, sort of). Perhaps Americans tend to think of provinces as the size of American states. They're much bigger. Quebec is nearly 600,000 square miles. That's a big hole to have in the middle of the country.

As for the lack of attention paid to this country by our southern neighbours, it's a fact of Canadian life and when we're not totally ticked off about it, we find it funny. A Canadian comedian named Rick Mercer launched a massive April Fool's joke on the US a couple of years ago and it was broadcast on the CBC. He visited politicians and ordinary people and told them the most outlandish stories about Canada and was completely believed. One of the special howlers was when he shoved a microphone into GWB's face and said, "The Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Poutine, sends you congratulations from the Canadian people." GWB smiled and said how pleased he was to have Prime Minister Poutine's support. Our Prime Minister at the time was Jean Chretien. Poutine is a snack popular in Quebec, but available most places, consisting of french fries, gravy, and cheese curd (I think it's disgusting, but many, many people disagree with me).

Many Americans, perhaps most, are unaware that Canada is the US's largest trading partner, and our trade relationship is in fact, the largest in the world, accounting for $1.2 billion every single day. Even in Canadian dollars that's a lot of money. You'd think the President would know the Prime Minister's name.

David Wilkins, speaker of the South Carolina legislature, was appointed US ambassador to Canada yesterday. On the CBC last night, Mr. Wilkins said that he has visited Canada once, 30 years ago, "somewhere in the Niagra region" which he managed to locate "west of Indiana". This isn't quite as funny any more.

Anyway, it's very nice to be taken seriously by good friends here!
Cheers,
Angie
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Re: Canada

Postby barfle » Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:26 pm

Back in the days of dinosaurs, my dad thought he could make big bucks by buying cattle ranches in BC. He didn't realize that there were good reasons the ranches were for sale. Anyway, I spent two summers in the 1960s on those ranches, up in the Vanderhoof vicinity. :(

My wife and I had planned a rail journey through BC, but my boss wouldn't approve the vacation time (the beginning of the end for that job), and I've always wished we could give it another shot. :o
--I know what I like--
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Re: Canada

Postby Angie Parkes » Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:43 pm

Originally posted by barfle:
The company I used to work for in California had an office in Toronto, and I spent a year there one February. I can't recall when I've experienced such bitterly cold weather
Toronto's weather is considered mild! You need to go to Winnipeg or Regina for cold in February. At least in cities with a symphony orchestra -- we'll leave truly cold places like Flin Flon and Fort McMurrary out of the discussion.

An earlier job had me visit Victoria for a day. Unfortunately, I only had a few hours to enjoy a truly charming place. :(
Agreed. Lovely city. They grow roses there in January. Elsewhere in Canada all you can grow in January is cold.

My wife and I had planned a rail journey through BC, but my boss wouldn't approve the vacation time ... and I've always wished we could give it another shot.
Our first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, a notorious drunkard, had the idea that a railway should be built from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was mostly built to lure BC into Confederation, but Sir John and Lady MacDonald tooK the train through the Rockies to the coast and marvelled at the scenery. "If we can't export the scenery," Sir John is reported to have said, we'll have to import the tourists." And so Canada's national park system was born in Banff along with the tradition of superb railway hotels out in the middle of nowhere. It's still an incredible trip. I've never done it, but my mum did.

I would have liked to see some of Vancouver.
Stunning city.

...if I were quizzed about the name of the Canadian PM, I would have come up with Mulrooney, knowing it was out of date, but as close as I could come.
That most American's don't know the name of the Cdn PM doesn't surprise me (it's Paul Martin now; we'll see how long he lasts). That the President doesn't know the name of the government leader of America's largest trading partner is a cause for concern.

Anyway, I think Mr. Wilkins's appointment should be rejected and Barfle should become the next US ambassador! :D :D (Ottawa is ever so much nicer now than it was in the 50's!)
Cheers,
Angie
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Re: Canada

Postby dai bread » Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:58 am

Thanks for the update, Angie.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Canada

Postby Angie Parkes » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:52 pm

Dai bread, do New Zealanders have the same problems with Australia as we have with the USA?
Cheers,
Angie
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Re: Canada

Postby Nannerl » Sun May 01, 2005 6:23 pm

hi angie! i am also a canadian, although from quite a different area. i watched that episode with rick mercer (hilarious... attacking moose with timbits), and although i do not support GWB, i think that that was a special situation, in that he couldn't quite hear what mercer was saying. i don't think he said he gave greetings to mr. poutine, actually i don't think he mentioned his name! but i think there was another political figure that (a representative of GWB's party?) that did say mr. poutine. well, of course i could be wrong. what i found funny was when mercer told american citizens that a new african-canadian or chinese-canadian prime minister had been elected, by the name of john christian or john chung.. something like that, and he was believed. it made me realize that here we pay a lot more attention to america's politics (the recent election) than they do to our politics. that's it. cheers.
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Re: Canada

Postby dai bread » Sun May 01, 2005 6:34 pm

Quote from Angie above: "Dai bread, do New Zealanders have the same problems with Australia as we have with the USA?"

Yes, very much so. There's a huge difference in scale of course; after all, Australia has about only 5 times the population of NZ, whereas the U.S., if I have it right, is about 14 times the size of Canada.

Something which is beginning to differentiate us & the Aussies is the much more dominant Polynesian influence here. It gives us a more laid-back attitude, and yes, it does rub off on those of us of European ethnicity. It also means we deal better with the other Pacific islands. At least, we do these days. It wasn't always so.

Australia is seen, usually unjustly, as a bully. That doesn't stop several thousand Maori & other Polynesians from living there though.

Just as an aside, and purely as a matter of curiosity, I didn't know the name of your Prime Minister; do you know the name of mine?

<small>[ 05-01-2005, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: dai bread ]</small>
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Re: Canada

Postby Nannerl » Sun May 01, 2005 7:11 pm

i know the question was directed towards angie, but i'll answer too: no, unfortunately i don't know the name of your prime minister. i was wondering if you knew the name of america's president (probably, but just wondering).
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