Silent treatment

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PM ignores devastating poll results supporting western separation

Well, shiver me timbers, but ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ Paul Martin appears to have been struck dumb by opinion polls showing support for an independent Western Canada is at an all-time high.

Despite a barrage of telephone calls and e-mails from readers asking when I intended to pen a column on the Western Standard magazine polls, I’d been holding off pending the Shipping Tycoon’s own response.

After all, this flustered-faced individual is the man who swore he would consider his prime ministership an absolute failure if he couldn’t resolve western alienation.

That was the last word we heard from Mr. Tax Haven Specialist on this inflammatory issue.

Oh, sure—he and his Liberal cohorts made a point of kicking Albertans in the teeth by doing an end-run around the likes of our elected senators, Bert Brown and Link Byfield, and poured some fawning individuals of his own choice to ‘represent’ our interests in the Upper House.

Right now, his termites are busy using the Kyoto Accord to stick it to our energy-based industries and fine-tuning in their usual sneaky way the equalization and transfer payment schedules.

On oil and natural gas, Martin daren’t pull off another National Energy Program (NEP) as did one of his predecessors, the unlamented Pierre Trudeau, but he can craft something akin to ‘green taxes’ to haul in the dough.

On equalization and transfer payments, he can also manipulate the process to make a grab for the loot in our provincial coffers.

OK, OK—perhaps he was too busy on these endeavours to pay much attention to the poll showing more than 34% of Canadians under the age of 30 in the four western provinces think the idea of separation should at least be explored on a cost-benefit basis. In Alberta, the number of respondents who feel sovereignty is worth looking into topped 40%.

The polls were conducted by a colleague, Prof. Faron Ellis, of Lethbridge Community College, who has developed a sharp-edged polling system that asks firm, rather than shaded questions on political, social and cultural issues.

Hence, the answers Ellis gets tend to reflect the gut feelings of individuals and huge segments of the population.

Now, if a reputable pollster—with no axe to grind, and paid neither by the federal government, a political party or some outfit with a vested interest in getting the answer they wanted—revealed 36-40% of Quebecers were inching towards separation the alarm bells would go off in the PMO.

Remember AdScam?

A quick $250 million to fly the Maple Leaf flag a little higher and sponsor (or supposedly sponsor) all kinds of feel-good Canadian events.

Yet, when separatist fever rises in Western Canada, nothing.

One would at least expect some slight reaction from Martin and his dredged up aides—and don’t you just love these maritime allusions?

But, not a touch of exasperation. Seemingly, just a yawn from the fellow who holds the steering wheel of our increasingly rudderless country.

Coincidentally, Ellis noted that these frighteningly high statistics—or inspiring numbers, from the viewpoints of many of my colleagues—come not at a time when residents are going through a recession with high jobless rates, high interest rates and a crashing housing market.

Destitution tends to spur resentment and thoughts turn to radical ideas and extremism.

But when life is bouncing along and all is buoyant folk usually tend to be content with their lot and the status quo.

That we are not, that the glue that is holding us to the rest of Canada, is cracking, shows a deep resentment of Martin, his government and the ruthless Liberal apparatus.

Just imagine how those pro-separatist numbers would soar—and harden—if Martin and his cronies made an overt grab for our energy resources, or when his covert manoeuvrings actually sink into the public’s consciousness.

The guess is the public’s realization of just how perfidious Martin and his Grit operatives are will become increasingly obvious, and the numbers will rise, or at least harden.

Fortunately, by the time Martin starts to get rattled by what’s happening out here, it will be far, far too late for him to start soft-soaping us with platitudes and trying the old confidence trick of holding out a hand in pseudo-friendship or holding some, ‘Let’s Listen to the West’ charade of a conference.

Basically, the PM appears to be a fool, and way, way out of his depth.

Latest posts by Paul Jackson (see all)

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