Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Traitor? No, I’m a patriotic British Columbian

Every now and then, someone will call me (and by extension at least one in five British Columbians) “traitor”.
Presumably, they are referring to our lacking a feeling of allegiance to what R. W. W. Carrall (a Canadian in BC, sort of John A. Macdonald's version of today's Mr. Christie Clark) alluded to when he told BC's Legislative Council in 1870 of his vision of British Columbia as a "solitary outlying colony" handing Canada the "keys of the Pacific",
becoming an "integral part" of the "great and glorious Empire" Canada would become.1

That’s exactly how its been, a “colony” getting screwed by an “Empire”; and that’s not acceptable, that’s not what BC (reluctantly) signed on for.

Try reading the record of proceedings of BC's Legislative Assembly during the confounderation debates. You will notice the point of the deliberations: whether the move would be to the “pecuniary benefit” of BC; you’ll also notice members referring to British Columbia as their "country", "the country" and "our country*".
For example:
“The only bond of union outside of force- and force the Dominion has not-will be the material advantage of the country* and pecuniary benefit of the inhabitants. Love for Canada has to be acquired by the prosperity of the country*, and from our children.2 (emphasis added)

Canada has operated under the apparent assumption that, for example, removing BC’s shipbuilding industry to Quebec (as they previously did with that of the Maritimes) or “managing” our salmon stocks to the edge of extinction for us, would somehow be to our “pecuniary benefit” or engender “love for Canada”.
And some people wonder why we call it “canerduh”. The only surprise is that this current arrangement has lasted since 1871.

So there it is, I’m a patriotic British Columbian, one of many who seek an end to our country’s exploitation by the Empire of the Canadians. Referendum under the Clarity Act and all that.
Name calling from imperialists just comes with the territory.

1 British Columbia Legislative Council, Debate on the Subject of Confederation with Canada Government Gazette Extraordinary of March 1870, Victoria.

2British Columbia, Legislative Council, Debates on Confederation with Canada, pg.11, 1870
Its interesting to note that, while there was no referendum held prior, the confederationists were tossed out to a man at the next election.
One of them, Helmcken noted his "disappointment" at the lack of public interest when the confederation delegation to Ottawa he was part of returned to Victoria;
"No notice was taken of the delegates- no vote of thanks even given them- positively nothing. It is true some half a dozen bankers and so forth gave Trutch a dinner, but neither Carral nor I were invited."
Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol. V, p103

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