Sunday, 14 February 2010

Shifting Sands and Winds of Change in Western Canada

Well, happy valentine's day everyone. I'm glad to see I've had exactly zero comments in this unexpected week off I've had to take looking for real work, among other things. With things like this you have to take inspiration when it comes; hence why people like newspaper columnists who have to produce constantly write the occasional dud. Although this is probably a collection of duds, I nonetheless have thought of a subject to plough forward on.

There is more encouragement than usual right now from the media establishment to forget about all of our finicky stomachaches as a nation. The message is unanimous: Canadians need to chill out, turn their brains off, and get behind our athletes and our olympics. It's amusing to watch the ubiquitous coverage, fine, but I can't allow myself be ordered around like that, when considering the irony of Mickey Ds, coca cola, high liner fish sticks et al bringing the games to us. We want the youth to be more competitive and athletic, but we also want them to buy crappy synthetic food from monopolies that no serious athlete (I would think) could waste their time with. I digress.

It's ironic because while editorials and columns to this effect have been numerous, our media is not shy about continuing to air out our country's regional dirty laundry while we've got the whole world visiting in vancouver (not that the world has time to read the navel gazing and cat calling from the sources inside our few venerable media monopolies I'm posting here today).

If you read what it says in the Toronto liberal media, which it clearly is but is referred to as such pejoratively by its western rivals, the West's booming economy is entirely based on resources with wildly fluctuating prices that have been poorly managed and largely squandered up until now. The analysis I've chosen to post is pragmatic and logical enough. If you read the roundtable Maclean's discussion with the provocative title "The West is in. Now what?", referencing the famous Reform Party conference where Steve Harper met his wife, however, an entirely different picture is painted. The West, according to Andrew Coyne, is where the future and the action is: where people are having babies, relocating to, and a tidal wave of companies will splash on when Ontario and Quebec are inevitably forced to raise taxes to cope with their own tidal waves, of the senior citizen demographic variety.

I tend to side with the former view, but not wanting to discredit myself entirely with an eastern bias and in doing so get drawn into this ridiculous debate, I will give some credence to Coyne, who's no slouch after all. Being newer the Western provinces don't face the same challenges as the east. But they also lack the character, appeal, and accessibility of the east, which is probably just a combination of personal preference and my own silly deep rooted regionalism. I think Alberta is devoted to a free-market, low tax approach but they still love their government and corporate handouts. It's the kind of hypocrisy that has gutted America and paralyzed its system with Bush. Worse for Alberta though, like America, the large portion of uneducated citizenry will send more reckless and extreme ideologues to power (aka Palin + Wildrose) whose message and hopes are really pinned upon lying to people by telling they can have their cake and eat it too.

I've long deplored my countries' division along religious lines, political lines, language lines. During the olympics and on valentine's day, I want to personally express my love from coast to coast. Now if only westerners could only reciprocate keep their smirks and snide remarks about Toronto to themselves for a day. And if the media could stop reporting on the Tea Party with such hype-fuelled gusto, though I understand they have to sell papers. Tabatha Southey in the Globe really put it into perspective


The postings may have to be spread thinner as I've just found work, and this one itself is four days late (It was half done and I just finished it.) Look forward to writing a special one on monday about one of my fave topics :)

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