Let me see, Harpo was born and raised in Toronto. That would make him an Upper Canadian.
And yet, even people of seemingly reasonable intelligence, like Montreal-born columnists Norman Spector and Barbara Yaffe refer to Harpo as a "westerner" as he is apparently perceived as such in both the Canadas.
Putting aside the argument that there really is no such thing as a "westerner", Harpo doesn't qualify anyway.
Now, its one thing when people in the Canadas see him as such, they cultivate an ignorance of we colonials, so that's typical, but when people in the colonies, such as BC, do and see him therefore as perhaps yet another prairie-bred "hope to save Canada" that's just plain ridiculous. Fortunately, this seems a shrinking minority.
So in the interests of furthering such shrinkage if I might, and since I do get tired of repeating myself (honestly, I do), allow me to dig into the archives from August 2005 and present, by request yet:
The Folly of the "New Reformers"
What part of "futile" do some people not understand?
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness…. when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience."
Santayana, George - The Life of Reason, vol. 1, chapter 12, p. 284 (1905).
There are at least three parties on BC's political landscape today who are peddling variations on the by now all-too-familiar and discredited platform of "renewing federalism".
One has to wonder whether some people have been on another planet for at least the last 35 years, or if they are simply too attached to Canada through some misplaced sentimentality, not unlike someone in an abusive relationship, who figures "they'll change' and "we can work it out", contrary to all evidence and experience.
The Progressives were going to work it out in the 1920s. They wound up instead being thoroughly Ottawashed, their left wing absorbed into the CCF, and the rest becoming a hood ornament on the Conservative Party, an incongruous prefix (“Forward-Backward Party”?), their populist roots and dreams of reform forgotten.
Undaunted, Manning and his Reform “hordes” stormed Canada’s western gate in the 80’s only to wind up just as Ottawashed as their Progressive forerunners had been.
Their mutant/hybrid offspring, the current Conservatives, are so far along the well-worn path by now, that one of their first actions upon Harper becoming Leader was to email their members west of the Lakehead to “help me (Harper, the purported author) build support in the province of Quebec” by urging all their family and friends there to vote Conservative. No mention of going to bat for, oh, say, a Triple E Senate or such, no, let’s woo Quebec.
Wooing Ontario has, of course, also proven a tough task indeed.
Not that it matters to BC anyway, since the Conservatives, especially once they replace Harper with someone untainted by having lived west of the Lakehead, will be Mulroney’s PCs all over again.
Despite any precedent however, here come groups like the BC Independence Party “This does not necessarily mean independence from Canada”
Then, why call it that? Why not the Empty Threat Party?
“an altered relationship between the bureaucracy in Ottawa on the one hand and the provinces on the other hand, and especially the province of British Columbia. RefedBC will make two fundamental changes to the rules of the outdated Canadian "confederation". These changes will adjust the balance of power between Ottawa and BC, and will free this province to achieve its huge potential. All without the need for BC to leave the "confederation".”
I wonder where they got their magic wand.
And The Emerged Democracy Party of British Columbia whose leader, Tony Luck, “was involved with the Federal Reform Party in its fledgling years.” and should know better already.
All make a point of holding separation out as an option as if it were something new, but in BC’s case at least, its been there since day one, when we were at best reluctant, and at worst, “railroaded”. Hmm, railroad?
It was mainstream enough in the thirties for this to appear in the Vancouver Sun:
“…If we are forced to it by Eastern Canada, we can separate and pay our own way and go it alone;
… There must be a more equitable sharing among Canadians of things Canadian, or else this province must look about in self- defense to find ways and means to federate these parts into a DOMINION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA."
It was mainstream enough for Don Braid and Sydney Sharpe to publish Breakup : why the West feels left out of Canada in 1990.
It was mainstream enough during the“Fat Pat” Uprising of the late ‘90s.
And its certainly mainstream enough today.
“An exclusive Western Standard poll shows more than a third of westerners are thinking of separating from Canada.
Kevin Steel August 22, 2005”
So, while a Rafe Mair backpedals, a Link Byfield stalls, and this party and that come out of the woodwork intent on 'saving Canada' somehow this time, those who have learned the lessons of history by now, need to tell them to lead, follow, or get out of the way.
And with the Clarity Act in place, a party or parties to pilot BC to independence is far less important anyway than grassroots support for a referendum and a citizens assembly to begin work on designing an independent BC.