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No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Jack Layton Chooses Quebec

April 22nd, 2011 · 13 Comments

Before BC NDP suporters celebrate Jack Layton/NDP’s rise in the federal election polls too much, they should ask themselves a very serious question: are they British Columbians first, or NDPers?

Because the truth is Jack Layton’s climb in popularity back East, especially in Quebec, is partly based on his willingness to trumpet Quebec’s interests … and turn his back on justice and fairness for the West and, in particular,  British Columbia.

Surprised? That’s because the nature of most of our political reporting these days is largely compartmentalized: when leaders campaign, they deliver their national message du jour media clip on national issues, like health, jobs, and the economy ….   and then, for local consumption, they also toss out a couple of  regional issue references and platitudes.

But what doesn’t get much attention out here is what they say … and DO … in other regions of the country.  And if you believe action speaks louder than words, Layton has shown more than once, he’s ready and willing to sacrifice justice for BC and the West to win votes in Quebec.

I have already blogged how it was the NDP that introduced and pushed that terrible Bill setting new requirements that only fully bilingual judges be considered for all future Supreme Court appointments…. expert enough to be able to hear and question extremely technical and detailed legal argumeents without the need for translation.  It doesn’t take a judicial genius to understand that would exclude almost all of the best legal minds in BC (and the West) just by virture of that unreasonably high demand; and, of course, it would favour judicial appointments from Quebec, eastern Ontario, New Brunswick and a very small part of  Manitoba.

The rest of the country be damned ..under the NDP Bill!   But perfect to win increased  popularity in Quebec.  No wonder it was supported by the Bloc Quebecois, and, sensing the trap in opposing it, the Liberals as well: Michael Ignatieff reportedly ordered his MPs to support it, and BC’s Liberal lemmings went along without a tweet of dissent.   So it passed the Commons!!  And was only defeated by the oft-maligned Senate: in this case, the true guardian of Western Canadian interests.

Jack Layton sure didn’t stand up for BC on that one!

And it gets worse.

Have we forgotten the most grave basic injustice BC suffers in Ottawa: suppressed fair representation in the Senate and the House of Commons?

Now, admittedly, opening the Senate seat question is not something ANY of the major parties want to do … because of the hornet’s nest it would release in Constitutional wrangling…. not just for BC issues, but the preferential status of the Maritimes and Quebec based on population growth …or lack thereof.

But a year ago, the Tory government did move to bring a modicum of fairness, based on rising population, to the currently lopsided Commons.  Ontario would get 30 more seats, Alberta five and BC seven.  Is even that too much to ask for BC, with our huge population growth in recent decades?

Apparently for Layton, yes!

Because increasing the number of seats in BC, Alberta and Ontario based on growth, would PROPORTIONATELY reduce the voting power of the other provinces.  The Maritimes did not object, nor did Manitoba … but Quebec, already Constitutionally protected with 75 seats even as its population DROPS, would have nothing to do with giving Ontario, Alberta and BC their fair share.

And one of their top allies in Ottawa on the issue (apart from Gilles Duceppe) was Layton.

First, the NDP leader “called for calm” according to news reports last April.

“This is part of nation-building and I think a careful and thoughtful approach s what’s needed,” Layton explained. “That is why we are suggesting it go directly to a committee.”

To a committee, in a minority Parliament, with an election likely in a matter of months?  In other words …  death!!  The Bloc Quebecois would agree to that move; Liberals would be afraid to oppose it; Quebeckers would love it ….   and BC, Ont, and Alberta?  …. to hell with any justice or fair representation for us.

It’s just as former Liberal key campaign strategist Senator Keith Davie reportedly once said: “Screw the West; we’ll take the rest.”

Layton had apparently learned very well.

In fact, he even further.  Despite Quebec’s stagnant or, arguably, FALLING population as a percentage of Canada’s total, Layton was reported even arguing that QUEBEC should be given additional seats “because it is important to find a balance between adequate representation and ensuring the influence of a founding nation.

In other words, keep BC’s power in Ottawa down, even as it’s population grows and grows, by giving Quebec more and more seats, even as it size, in relation to the total population, dwindles.  Talk about the spoiled child of Confederation!

Incroyable!!  (As they say dans la belle province.)

And yes, there is more.

Layton and the NDP back East have also supported the Bloc Quebecois’ demand that Quebec’s repressive language law be extended to include all FEDERALLY regulated businesses in Quebec.  That would make French the ONLY official language of work … to hell with bilingualism!

So while the rest of the country takes the effort and pays the enormous cost of bilingualism …  from providing services to packaging cookies … in both official languages, Layton sees nothing wrong with REQUIRING BY LAW that federally-regulated businesses in Quebec to use French as the language of  work… not just bilingualism.

Still cheering, my BC NDP friends?

Well, you should answer my question: are you a British Columbian or NDPer first?

It is not an unfair request to make.  Quebeckers have boldly and loudly answered that question for decades: they are Quebeckers first, second, and even third.  And they have unabashedly voted federally for parties that have stood up for their interests; protected their power; and, brought billions of “extra” bucks and boondoggle federal contracts to them. And damn the rest.

For a long time it was the Liberals, then the Tories under Mulroney, then the Bloc Quebecois  …and now, it’s the Nouveau Partie Democratique, the NDP.  No wonder they’re doing so well in the polls back there.

But who stands up for BC?

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media · National

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Western Alliance // Apr 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    It is time for the four Western Provinces and the Westerern Northern Territories to start thinking about looking after our own business. I have always been a proud Canadian, but these last few Federal elections have really made me look at the big picture and change my allegiance. Central Canada will never allow the power base to shift, even alittle bit to more reflex our growing population base in the West. All the Federal Parties only look at how they can convince Central Canada to vote for them. We need in the West to start thinking like the Bloc. and use our collective power and influence to make meaningful changes FOR Western Canada.
    Word of advice to all four of the Federal Leaders, go ahead and form your coalitions, and go against the will of the people and you will all unleash a back lash that you will not recover from. I know many people who are starting to think the same way as me. Time to form the Western Alliance Movement, something to think about.

    (Response: Kind of a Bloc West? In a minority government, they actually could hold the balance of power…. but I don’t think Western Canadians are as united as so many Quebeckers by language,culture and common values to stand united. h.o)

  • 2 ron wilton // Apr 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Perhaps if the younger voters of BC would actually get out and vote, they may discover that someone actually will stand up for BC.

    Our self defeating mindset that the old Tory blue differential is too great to overcome is what keeps us out of contention.

    What has any party done specifically for BC?

    The Tories certainly aren’t helping us with their shilling for foreign fish farms, or their refusal to ban giant oil tankers in our northern waters, or their duplicity and complicity with their HST.

    Who does stand up for BC, when we don’t even do it ourselves?

    (Response: Well said …and scary. h.o)

  • 3 Henri // Apr 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    But who stands up for BC?
    ———————-
    I Recall Doug Christie of “The Western Canada Concept” standing up for BC,but the local eastern loving media would not support him.

    (Response: I think Christie had too much other baggage and, as I recall, a rather rank public persona, to be taken seriously as a political leader. h.o)

  • 4 D.M. Johnston // Apr 23, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Sadly, I think it is time for BC to go. Certainly in 3 or 4 generations, BC will split from Canada and maybe take the Yukon and Alberta with it.

    Layton, Harper and Iggy do not care one damn about BC and if the Liberal/PC/NDP voters had any balls they would vote Green, or for an independent or just put some rude comment on their polling card.

    The sad fact is, Harper is going to get a majority and do to Canada what Gordo did to BC and when average Canadians awake from their collective stupor, there will be almost nothing left of this once great country.

    We live in evil days and historians will write, Canada, the country that faded away because no one cared.

    (Response: I’m actually thinking of voting Green …not because I’d want them to form government …but as a protest vote, and in the belief it would just be good for them to get a few seats anyway. As for BC going, the huge immigration numbers from Asia and South America will make that pretty well impossible for generations. New Canadians are not good fodder for separatists …either here or in Quebec. h.o)

  • 5 Julie // Apr 23, 2011 at 1:34 am

    No-one has ever stood up for BC. We don’t have the population, to win concessions. The east has grabbed every cent they could squeeze out of the west. Campbell even gave the greedy east, our BC HST, which has been shifted onto the BC people’s backs, to pay for big businesses, that Harper and Campbell still work for.

    Western people don’t realize, how much better off the west would be, if we separated from the east. Alberta had said, we would be 40% better off, if we separated. The Territoties, I believe wanted to join the west. The west’s tax dollars would stay in the west. The west has an abundance of natural resources, which has always benefited Ottawa. BC people reap none of the gains. The east has always been their own country. Quebec has wanted to separate for absolute decades. I would feel sorry for the Maritime provinces, they also get shafted by Ottawa too.

    However, there is hope. The internet is running for Prime Minister, and doing very well. The net, would certainly kick the, biased media in the butt, what a disgrace to their professions the media are. The net would do an excellent job, of governing Canada. Their first move, would be to get rid of all of the rotten corruption, in this country. BC is the most corrupt province in Canada. Hopefully, they would dung out BC first.

  • 6 CGHZD // Apr 23, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Are we talking the same judiciary that brought us the BC Rail debacle, the Kash Heed joke, the former mayor of Chilliwack land cover up and the BC Liebrel MLA that who was caught driving drunk and was let off on a technicality? and much more that would fill volumes of books.
    Are we talking the same stinking corrupt judiciary that has been sliming out law courts for the last 50 years or more.
    Please Harvey, the other two parties are and have screwed over the west for over one hundred years and your worrying about some French in the corrupt supreme court of Canada.
    Let’s sterilize the rot in our complete judicial system before we whine about these morons blabbing off in French.
    Get your credit card out if you get sick Harvey, you can pay or die in French and English.

    (Response: And you think the judges in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are any better? Remember these days the SC not only rules on civil or criminal appeal cases…but through its interpretive powers, shapes law and yes, policy, in Canada. And you’re content to let all that be done by an overwhelming Eastern bench, with its Eastern biases, Eastern cultural background? And you want me to vote IN FAVOUR of the guy whose party introduced that? Not to mention denying us even a fair number of Commons seats. Mais non, monsieur! Pas moi! h.o)

  • 7 seth // Apr 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Unfortunately Harvey it is not policy but the attack ad that wins Canadian voters. A tightly scripted series of one liners on debate night making a leader appear leaderish or better cool is also a big help. Harper at Karaoke or Clinton on the horn are the tickets.

    Nope with a bunch of of traitorous halfwits for Canadian voters, results so far show that the only successful political technique is
    20 second attack ad on America’s Greatest Weight Loss Contest in the fascist media that controls the half-wits big screen teevee. All those who died in the World War’s so fascism would stay over there, are crying so much in despair that their tears are extending La Nina.

    Perhaps the Aussie’s policy of forcing people to vote and mandatory 1 hour a day in the middle of prime time TV all channels all politics would be the approach needed.

    The uninformed “they are all a buncha crooks” drooling voter is just another soldier for fascism.

    (Response: What worries me about mandatory voting is you would get milloins of voters who dont know ANYTHING about any of the candidates or parties and are just going to vote to avoid a fine. Of course, having to go might make many more pay attention. And I’m afraid you’re correct on the attack ads ..they DO work. By the way, I’m amazed at how few ads overall the Libs seem to have, running the same ones over and over… gets really boring, not a winner. Harper’s are stiff … cold, too plastic: I think the NDP ads are the best … if only they hadn’t sacrificed BC/West so blatantly to pander to Quebec, even on basic rights issues. h.o)

  • 8 13 // Apr 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Layton isnt moving up in the poles because he is popular in the West. He is a sell out that will do anything to creep up in the poles. Creep is the operative word when talking about Layton.
    Aside from dreaming about Western seperation , which is at best a dream the best chance for any fairness is the conservative Harper gov. The Conservative party has always been the Wests only hope for some recognition for the western provinces. If you move away from the blogasphere you will not find to many people that endorse western seperation.

    (Response: I would agree that the Tories under Harper (NOT Mulroney!) have paid more attention to Western issues/BC rights (Commons seats, Supreme Court) than the Libs and NDP. But I can’t ever endorse Harper’s dictatorial style, disrespect for Parliament, the right to ask questions and even the right for any Canadian to attend a “public” adress, without putting their names on a list for advance approval. And by the way, that has NOTHING to do with RCMP security …just Tory disrespect for anythnig they cant absolutely articificially control. Yech! h.o)

  • 9 Henri // Apr 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Re my Apr 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm comment.
    —————–
    Not sure of what you infer to in regards to Doug Christie,but, you must admit that he was correct in predicting this pending out come in regards to a eastern dominance and control by eastern politics over the west.

    (Response: From Wikipedia: “He is the founder and general counsel of the Canadian Free Speech League and is best known for defending individuals accused of Nazi war crimes or racist, anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi activity.” Now, I well understand that as a lawyer, Christie, can/should represent anyone (even the worst of our society, accused on any crimes, deserve legal defense) but clearly that didn’t help him with many Canadians in promoting his political activities or message. h.o)

  • 10 Buddy Vancouver // Apr 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    You ask whether we are BC first or NDP? My answer…I am Canadian first! The regionalism you decry for Quebec is the same you advocate for BC. Time to stop the pattern and start thinking of the country. I agree with many of your points and it is easy to look at all the problems. Where are the solutions? Especially in this election? I would be interested in your views on that.

    (Response: The title of this blog is Keeping it Real ..not Ideal. I wish you were right: what a wonderful country that would be. BUT while people in other Canadian provinces have shown time and time again their acceptance of the bilingual reality, even held rallies across the country decalring their love of Quebeckers (remember that?) the people of Quebec couldn’t give a damn about any other province or people of the country. They have developed self-interest into a national passion …and vote that way EVERY time. And, looking at the results …and the reality of what it achieves for them …I see nothing wrong with those of us in the West learning …and playing the same game. h.o.)

  • 11 Gloria // Apr 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    That the east dictates to the west, has always been. In BC we have abundant natural resources. Do the BC people benefit? No we don’t.

    Our government allows, giant wealthy corporations, who make trillions off this country, to take their money out of Canada, and put their funds into tax free country’s. How stupid is that? The money was made in Canada, it should stay in Canada.

    Our governments, thieve from the citizens at every opportunity, to give to those greedy company’s. Banks, mines, large corporations gas and oil company’s, are given billions of our tax dollars. I watched that motion pass, on the House of Commons TV channel. They also are given, huge tax reductions. Harper just gave these greedy big businesses, another tax reduction, to come off Canadians paychecks.

    Why does Harper, give the wealthiest corporations in the world our tax dollars? Our tax dollars belong to us, not to Harper to feed these huge, bloated rich outfits.

    You damned right the west should separate. The west needs to become our own country, to stop the thieving of our assets and natural resources. Campbell works for Harper. They even colluded on the HST, which was also designed for big business, and the bill for that stupid move, fell onto the BC people’s backs to pay. BC is a province of natural resources. The HST does nothing for the BC people, what-so-ever. The HST has killed jobs, put the cost of living through the roof. We sure in the hell, haven’t saved money, by the HST as promised. All the HST has done is, drive costs up. If the west and the territories, were our own country, crap like that wouldn’t happen. Nor would we have to be forced to contend, with the BC Liberal crime family.

  • 12 Crankypants // Apr 24, 2011 at 7:37 am

    The title of this article should really read “No candidate can serve two masters”. That is the reality of our political system as it sits.

    Only the voters that have a party leader running in their riding get to vote for a potential Prime Minister. The rest of us get to choose amongst candidates that have about as much say in the governance of Canada as I do.

    As for what any leader says to any particular province during a campaign, you can consider it as nothing more than verbal diarrhea and flush it. They just tailor their message to the great unwashed in order to get their vote, then develop a case of amnesia once they have gotten it.

    Until such time as each MP has the right to vote on an issue based on its merit regardless of which party they represent, we will just keep on sending neutered robots to Ottawa. At present, BC is represented by 36 MPs who will side with their leader whether it is in the best interest of BC or not. There is not much point boosting that number to 43.

    (Response: I was playing on the Easter timing with the title … but candidate would technically be more correct. Because what’s even worse than the leaders foresaking us for political seats in the larger markets is the SILENCE of our local MPs …especially the Liberals and NDP when their leaders turned their backs on us even in terms of very basic justice. And very worst? Voters out here who actually vote for those who have betrayed them. h.o)

  • 13 SharingIsGood // Apr 27, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Hi Harve,
    I heard Layton say that if he got a majority and they reject the HST in the referendum, he would not make the BC voters pay back the $1.6 billion. That sounds like something specific to me. I heard a BC MP candidate say, he will not support oil tankers on our northern coast. Those are 2 BC specific items.

    (Response: It’s easy to say all kinds of things if you have no REALISTIC hope at all of forming government, whether as leader or ordinary MP. But if Layton becomes Opposition Leader, he will find things much tougher: the media will hang on his every word coast to coast and he will ber unable to speak to BC about getting our fair share of seats and power and then go to Quebec and say he wants to constitutionally protect their favored position in Canada without having it WIDELY reported, questionned and criticized.. h.o)