Canada Divided Too, eh?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Never Mind Quebec - Canada's Divide Is East-West in These Election Days By Tom Cohen Associated Press Writer
TORONTO (AP) - Vast and diverse, its 30 million people spread across a sea-to-sea landscape, Canada heads toward a third federal election in seven years as a deeply divided nation lacking one true national party.
The familiar split between French- and English-speakers has become overshadowed by a new dynamic, in which the Ontario-Manitoba border serves as an unofficial divide between a citified, liberal east and a more rural, conservative west - something like the Republican-Democrat split in the United States.
In this evolving scenario, Prime Minister Jean Chretien looks set to win a third straight term Nov. 27 without making more than a dent in the west, which belongs to the recently formed conservative Canadian Alliance.
Nelson Wiseman, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, calls the regional split "more pronounced than it's ever been," while Globe and Mail columnist Ed Greenspon recently wrote: "There are no national parties left."
The geographic division feeds broad, simplistic stereotypes.
Easterners get labeled out west as arrogant bleeding-hearts squandering the prosperity of the plains on social welfare and bailing out struggling provinces. Back east, Westerners are caricatured as selfish, gun-toting rednecks.
In the Calgary Sun newspaper, David Taras, a communications professor at the University of Calgary, sees a danger of the west remaining stuck in "some form of second-class status" if Chretien's Liberals win again.
Curiously, stereotypes that hold true at the federal level are often confounded lower down the chain. Ontario votes heavily for the liberal Chretien in national elections, but it prefers conservatives to run its provincial government. In British Columbia in the far west, more than two-thirds of the federal legislators are from the conservative Alliance, but the provincial government is run by the leftist New Democratic Party.
Recent polls for the Nov. 27 election indicate the Liberals hold a solid lead that would likely translate to a majority in the 301-seat House of Commons. One poll, by the Ipsos-Reid group, gave the Liberals 40 percent to the Alliance's 28 percent, the rest being shared roughly equally among the Bloc Quebecois, the New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservatives. Margin of error was put at 2 percent.
By the count of The Globe and Mail newspaper, that result would give the Liberals more than the 151 seats needed for a Parliament majority. In 1997, the Liberals won 155 seats with 38 percent of the popular vote, mostly in Ontario and points east, home to roughly two-thirds of the population.
Wiseman, the political scientist, cited evidence of Canada's political change such as Chretien having stronger support in English-speaking Ontario than in his native French-speaking Quebec.
The separatist Bloc Quebecois doesn't even field candidates outside the province, but the political rift is rooted in the collapse a decade ago of the Meech Lake accord, which would have given Quebec special status under a new federal framework.
The agreement's failure to win ratification spawned the strong Quebec separatist movement of the 1990s, and the collapse of the then-ruling Progressive Conservative Party, which fell from 155 seats to just two in the 1993 national election.
In this reshaped Canadian political landscape, the Progressive Conservatives' voters shifted to three parties - the Liberals in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, the separatists in Quebec, and the Western-based Reform Party, a neo-conservative protest movement seeking equal treatment for the west from the federal government.
The Reform Party grew to be the main opposition after the 1997 election, despite holding no seats east of Manitoba. This year it became the Alliance, hoping to attract disgruntled Progressive Conservatives into a nationwide center-right bloc capable of toppling the Liberals.
It hasn't worked so far. The Alliance's bedrock conservative roots hurt it in Ontario, the most populous province, where the Liberals won 101 of the 103 seats in the last election.
Wiseman noted Liberal policies appeal more to "cosmopolitan elements" of Ontario, the most urbanized province, and its 25 percent immigrant population. The Alliance and its leader, Stockwell Day, are perceived by some as conservative westerners pushing an anti-welfare, anti-gay and even anti-eastern agenda, he said.
A former preacher who believes in creation theory and refuses to campaign on Sundays, Day has faced protesters at some appearances in Ontario over abortion and gay rights.
"It's like asking why does a guy like Bush not do well in New York?" Wiseman said. "That's the nature of New York."
-- Canucks have Same Problems! (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 2000
Looks like it was written by someone who hasn't stepped foot in the country. The only similarity I can see is that the NRA funds the socred/reform/ccrap.
and how government by referendum would work
-- viewer (email@example.com), November 17, 2000.
Hasn't changed that much over the years. Canada , like the US, is a great country; beautiful; nice people. I remember, one time in 69. I stopped in Revelstoke. The lady running the Inn lectured me on how lucky I was being a citizen of the US. A guy on the street told me how I was the devil's child. Much like here.
I doubt that it has changed. I haven't seen it.
-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), November 17, 2000.