Doug Christie on The John Gormley Show on NewsTalk 650
Saskatoon and NewsTalk 980 in Regina July 31 at
12 pm MDT
Or listen live anywhere at NewsTalk650.com
Doug Christie On The Lesley Primeau Show 630 CHED Radio
Edmonton August 1 At 6 pm MDT
Or listen live anywhere at
Western Canada Concept
255 Menzies Street
THE WESTERN CANADA CONCEPT
What is Western Canadian culture?
As is typical of the media, they hit Cory Morgan, the interim leader of the Alberta Independence Party, on the occasion of its founding convention, with a difficult question, expecting an immediate and short answer. He responded quite clearly that he couldn't give the type of "sound bite" answer they needed.
The question was "What is Western Canadian culture?" This we need to answer, and it is not a short, tidy sound bite of an answer.
First, we believe, it is the common language, English, which 95% of us speak without difficulty. That is a powerful unifying force.
Then, it is love of individual freedom, which most people have learned from the experience of our pioneers who came here for just that. This is commonly the pattern in westward migration, throughout the world. Many people have come here, today, seeking freedom.
Then there is the obvious love of our land and environment, which we cherish as our sacred heritage and which gives us our wealth in our farms, forests, lakes, rivers and resources. We have been traditionally (and this is imbued in our being as a people) a resource-based economy. Although our economy is always changing and developing new productive outlets, our nature as resource-based is fundamental, and forms a basic element of our consciousness.
Then there is our sense of justice and fairness, which makes most people rankle under Ottawa's rule, with no voice in its political decisions and perpetually being elected in Ontario where our voice just doesn't count. In a large measure, Western Canadian culture has been created by the political structure of Canada, which has not changed and will not change, despite our best attempts at reform.
Christian values are a large part of our culture which collectivism and the negative aspects of multiculturalism is trying to suppress.
There is much, much more to our culture but Canada is hostile to the farm culture, the forestry culture, even the oil patch culture and mostly it portrays Western Canadians as redneck bigots or worse.
We are a people with strong individual values, devoted to a close relationship with nature and a desire for direct democracy, which places a high priority on individual freedom and less on delegated authority.
One major Western Canadian cultural marker is the way we all (for generations!) keep voting for parties who seek change, like the Social Credit, United Farmers of Alberta, CCF, NDP, Reform, Alliance, Western Canada Concept and the Progressives.
The West is where all new political movements in favour of change have emerged and then died when they tried to take their message east. The west is innovative, imaginative, restless, creative and democratic. The east, in contrast, is collectivist, reactionary, conservative/liberal, not willing to change and believes apparently in a ruling elite who are entrusted to decide everything. (There are, naturally, exceptions, as our mail has recently borne out, but the general principle holds true otherwise Canada would have changed its fundamental inequalities long ago.)
The Charlottetown Accord was only defeated in the referendum in two places: Quebec and the West, particularly British Columbia. This clearly demonstrates that the east trust government. The Western people believe they know better. The special status based on collectivism has always been rejected in the West. The West is where a person counts, and a group is less important.
What about my pension?
There is a litany of standard questions of federalists and fearmongers, designed to make Westerners too afraid to contemplate the option of Independence. Top of the list is "what about my pension?" The simple answer is that it could be increased in Alberta and British Columbia, without increasing taxes. Alberta and B.C. give billions to Ottawa every year, which goes into Ottawa general revenue to be paid to other provinces and may never even return West. Your Alberta or B.C. tax dollar pays all your own pensions and pensions in other provinces as well. After Independence, your tax dollars will just pay the pensions of tax-payers here rather than sending them to Ottawa with only a portion coming back.
What is included in a "new nation of Western Canada"?
How is it possible for the West, or any portion of it, to legally separate?
What would the country be called?
Where would the capital be?
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