Adieu Canada, Hello Cascadia!
So much for peace, order, and good governmentThe late Rafe Mair was right when he suggested BC must set shop on its own. When he made this suggestion I did not agree with him. Now I am a convert. The passage of the Kinder Morgan pipeline is the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back. Passed by a National Energy Board fully loaded with Harper’s political hacks, totally immune to any environmental considerations, is pure criminality.
First there was Harper, now Trudeau. A country called Canada has gone from colony to nation to colony in a mere 150 years. Our political elites gave up some time ago. Now two astoundingly bad governments in a row have finished the country off. When a border-hugging-nation straddles the girth of the world’s greatest empire it cannot afford too many bad governments. Not content with selling out to one world power, the Chinese get to clean up the left overs. Then again it will be interesting if the US intervenes and puts limits on the Chinese “occupation” of Canada. America may not allow tampering in its captive colony.
Over half a century ago George Grant saw Liberal governments were more than happy to preside over Canada’s demise. They have been agents for Toronto’s Bay Street corporate welfare bums and the Business Council of Canada. Now they cater to the Chinese.
Grant also predicted there could be future events accelerating Canada’s demise. Here again he was right. Along came neoliberalism-the great wrecking ball of nation states-and both Liberals and Conservatives were more than happy to oblige.
As I have mentioned in earlier blogs the Liberals and Conservatives are a throwback to the Family Compact. The Compact was an anti-democratic power clique running the colony to its liking; until it was disassembled by the rebellion of 1837. Old habits die-hard. Today it exists again as a codependent power clique, offering no real political alternatives. To make matters worse both parties are neoliberal and flying under the radar of indifferent voters.
When Canada became a nation in 1867 under the BNA, we were supposed to receive “peace, order and good government.” It is highly contentious we are receiving anyone of the three, especially the latter. Especially so, when governments everywhere have yielded too much sway to the corporate warfare state dominating the globe.
Secession in Canada
Secession is part of our history from day one from coast to coast. British Columbia only came into Confederation on the condition the CPR was completed to the Pacific. Much later premier WAC Bennett threatened to take BC out of Confederation if Ottawa did not go ahead with the Columbia River Treaty.
The most notable secession movement has been in Quebec as its desire to separate has been ongoing. Had the Meech Lake Accord (or the subsequent Charlottetown Accord) passed a referendum we would be seeing a very different Canada today. Had it passed the maritimes would have been isolated and tempted to join the US. On the prairies, Saskatchewan premiers, Blakeney and Romanow, prepared contingency plans should Quebec win its referendum. The three prairie provinces could form a cohesive and logical political union of their own. Ontario could revert to again being “Upper Canada” with its colonized mentality it never out grew.
During the tenure of Pierre Trudeau Western alienation was present. Under Brian Mulroney it came into full blossom. Several separation parties sprang up in the prairie provinces. This movement culminated in the formation of the now defunct Reform Party.
Pierre Trudeau came out of retirement to actively oppose the Meech Lake Accord(1987). He did so because he realized if Quebec was granted “sovereignty association” it would only lead to similar demands from other provinces. Mulroney’s constitutional tampering could have resulted in an already highly de-centralized country being completely balkanized. Canada has a very asymmetrical, disjointed federalism that defies geography and political cohesion: A federalism easily threatened by regional tensions. For his part Brian Mulroney’s mismanagement of this fragile federalism was so blatant he saw his government and the Progressive Conservative Party destroyed with the election of 1993.
The Charlottetown Referendum was a rare expression of solidarity by Canadians for Canada. Today there are more insidious forces tearing Canada apart as our present government is letting transnational forces overrun the country. Trudeau the younger has called Canada the “first post-national state” which is an absurd concept. Nationalism is what defines a states existence, where it is absent the state doesn’t exist. You don’t have a country, just an amorphous appendage that stands for nothing and is nothing. Where the father was a federalist and defended federalism; the son is the anti-federalist.
Justin Trudeau plays neo-colonialist. He sees the provinces of Confederation as his “empire” dishing out favors to one and all without regard for consequences. When you exercise “post-nationalism” on the border of the world’s greatest empire it might be considered treason-but treason can only occur where a country sees itself as a nation-state.
Trudeau, like Harper before him, continues the denigration of Canada.
When a nation-state is dismantled by its elites, secession becomes an appealing option. Nation states are “living” organisms they must adapt or die. Canada is a debilitated option, so it’s back to the drawing board.
Going back to the time of Thomas Jefferson there have been those who envisioned a republic bordering on the Pacific coast called Cascadia. Cascadia exists as a movement, an idea, brought into actuality it would include what is now British Columbia, the states of Washington and Oregon. It might also include the Yukon.
The compelling argument for Cascadia is that it is a homogeneous ecosystem where its geography define its borders. Canada is a hodgepodge of provinces and regions thrown together in what is a patch job. Cascadia has territorial integrity and the history of the area reinforces its legitimacy dating back to our indigenous peoples who ran it as an interdependent region.
Nation states as congruent ecosystems, as is Cascadia, is worthy of serious consideration.
The Middle East today exists as an arbitrary carving up of the Ottoman Empire by British and French imperialists. It is generally conceded this arbitrary destruction is a root cause of the strife afflicting the region to this day. The ME today exists as baleful testimony of the ravages of imperialism and the ill-considered drawing of borders.
Canada might be redrawn into three or four sovereign states with regard to ecosystems more easily and effectively governed. Quebec separatists desire to have their society recognized as distinct and autonomous. It may also tacitly demonstrate Canada in its present form is untenable. We have devolved into Trudeau’s “post-national state,” where sovereignty is virtual; what is Canada escapes definition by his own admission. A country cannot survive as a nation-state when it is willing to blindly cater to transnational interests continually assaulting our institutions and values. Nationalism is a shared value system, where this collapses there is no country.
Our “neoliberal democracy” is not democracy. Where neoliberalism prevails democracy is a dead letter; here and in the USA.
A Modest Proposal
It is worth considering Canada should be reconstituted as four sovereign states..
These states would have a stunning advantage. They would only have two levels of levels of government, eliminating the present federal level which has proven itself redundant and untrustworthy.
On the West Coast, Cascadia will be revived. In the East, Quebec and the maritime provinces might form a sovereign block. This is a tidy option as former prime minister Harper declared Quebec a nation within a nation in 2006. The three prairie provinces would in turn form their own sovereign alliance, restating their desire to do so dating back to the Mulroney era. As For Ottawa and Ontario it can revert to its original colony status or simply apply for statehood, as has been its latent desire for the past 150 years.
Ottawa might also consider renaming itself, to the more appropriate appellation of “Blunderburg on the Rideau.” It can honestly revert to being the “provincial” capital it has always been and won’t be able to treat its provinces like fiefdoms. It won’t walk away from pressing national issues . It won’t be able to sell off the country and its resources to every two-bit snake oil salesman who shows up at a Ottawa pay-to-play dinner party.
Meanwhile back in Cascadia, we must get on with stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline and nailing John Horgan to the wall for passing the passing the Site C Dam. Cascadia, like all other regions of the former Canada cannot tolerate neoliberals turning our great legacy into a waste land of broken promises and ecological destruction.
Cascadia is of course a virtual state. It does not have a formal existence. It is spiritual, a set of values by which to live, to conserve and foster a greater humanity. Where as Canada is “post-national,” Cascadia is pre-national. With time it might be actualized as a sovereign state -as old orders die back new ones emerge. Where Canada has become a soulless entity, Cascadia is the wave of the future by virtue of the values it embodies. Many of these values are those of our First Nations, who like Quebecois, are acknowledged as a nation with a nation.
Canada’s frivolous political elites by their ineptitude force us to move on to explore other options. Politicians fail us busily catering to vested interests when they should be addressing the real needs of our societies and ecosystems.
I am now a hyphenated Canadian. Cascadia has promise. Canada is about broken promises and betrayal.
The tragedy of Canada is that having been blessed with so much good fortune, we have allowed inept political leadership,and manipulative, greedy, and selfish corporate leaders to destroy the labours and accomplishments of generations-the work and dreams of many millions of Canadians from every political background and from every part of Canada. –The Betrayal of Canada, Mel Hurtig , 1992