Happy Canada Day.

On this our 144th birthday, how united is our country?

Remember back in the seventies and eighties when two major areas of the country were so alientated there was even talk of seccession.  First, there was the West.  The West felt left out.  “The West wants in.”  Finally a political party in the West, the Reform party, developed to articulate the West’s grievances.  Some elements in the party were so angry they threatened to join the United States.

Then on the other side of the country in Quebec alienation was so strong that a pol itcal party – the Parti Quebecois – was formed under Rene Levesque to lead the province out of Confederation.  In a referendum in 1995, the PQ came within 50,000 votes of breaking up the country.

My, how the situation has changed.  Consider the West.  Boy is it in.  Prime Minister Harper is from the West and some of his most powerful ministers are too.  The West wants in has been accomplished in spades.

And Quebec?  Right  there is as much chance of Quebec separating as there is of the Pope joining the Church of England.  In May the separatist Bloc Quebecois was reduced from 47 seats to four in the House of Commons.  A huge number of  federal seats in QQuebec are now filled by federalists.

In June the separatist Parti Quebecois began to unravel.  Five sitting members left the party, four because Pauline Marois was not emphasizing sovereignty enough aand one because she was emphasizing it too much.

As the Globe and Mail wrote about this situation:  “The forces for drawing apart, for regionalization, have beensignificantly diminished.  On this Canada Day, the new oneness is something to be celebrated, the arrival of the royal newlyweds making it all the more splendid.

Is there another federal system in the whole world that is as united as Canada?

Is Canada now more u nited than ever?

What do you think?

Canada Day Test:

Maclean’s has just come out with its popularity survey of Canada’s prime ministers.  Accprding to the survey, Sir Wilfred Laurier is Canada’s greatest prime minister.  Then comes John A. Macdonald, who is followed by five Liberals in this order:Mackenzie King, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien and Louis St. Laurent.

Who do you think is Canada’s greatest prime minister?

My own answer is Mackenzie King because he served so long and because he kept Canada united during the perilous period the Second World War.


  1. 1

    Canada’s greatest PM? Why that’s easy.

    Paul Martin who not only balanced our budget but gave us 11 years of surplus.

    Some people, such as myself, are convinced that the United States will very soon self-inflict hyperinflation. It will occur because it is the only way to combat the incredible — and still growing! — national debt in the U.S. When that happens, Canadians won’t necessarily be sitting pretty — because so much of our economy is dependent upon the States and we still have a large debt to contend with — but we’ll be sitting much prettier than our American neighbours.

    And it will be all thanks to Martin.

    It’s very easy to be in power and to spend, spend, spend (after all, it isn’t your money!). Just ask Barack Obama who is spending like a drunken sailor; he has in two and a half years racked up more debt than even that spendthrift/borrower George W. Bush did in 8 years.

    Thank you, Paul Martin, for being Canada’s greatest Prime Minister.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Tony, most of what you credit Martin with – balancing the budget – was done when he was finance minister under Jean Chretien who gave him the green light to pursue sound fiscal policies. If there had been no Chretien, there would have been no Martin.

  3. 3


    Point well taken.

    However, if there had been no Chretien, chances are that there would have been 12 years of Martin instead of the 1 year we got. Regardless, I don’t think Chretien would have balanced the budget without Martin breathing down his neck.

  4. 4
    Evelyn D Says:

    One outstanding PM was P.E. Trudeau, a matinee idol turned brilliant strategist, especially in dealing with the separatists in the 1970s and 80s. He raised the stature of Canada during his tenure, and left an enormous legacy of books, articles, and favorite sayings. Like fuddle-duddle.
    It’s for sure Harper will never make Maclean’s list of best PMs, quite the opposite. Some of the worst stunts Harper has pulled is his stance on denying the listing of the dangers of asbestos to the detriment of underdeveloped countries, and his very poor record on the environment.

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