Seven days have now passed since an explosion of discontent towards Canada’s confederation was unleashed by Justin Trudeau’s reelection. In Quebec, a once buried Bloc Quebecois shattered their meagre expectations, winning the third most seats in the House of Commons; a testament to our electoral system, as well as the NDP’s incompetency.
A robust Bloc Quebecois evidently poses a direct risk to the health of Canadian unity. This, however, will cause little panic in Ottawa’s bureaucracies. Canada has survived far more intimidating threats from Quebec City— and we currently have a Bloc Quebecois who could not be less confident in their founding principle of sovereignty at all cost.
Despite Quebec’s independence being as distant as it may have ever been, the Prime Minister’s Office may be trembling at the idea of Wexit. It is, of course, difficult to ascertain whether Alberta, Saskatchewan, and northern British Columbia are sober with their threats, or whether it is just empty browbeating for a better deal within Canada’s economic union, taking a page out of Quebec’s playbook.
Whatever the case, despite there being no serious politician who has yet taken up the separatist mantle, they are ready to do so, particularly the seasoned politician Jason Kenney. The Alberta Premier looks ready to capitalize on the visceral frustration that western Canada now has for Laurentian Canada; seen through the proposed equalization referendum.
Unlike the conception of other separatist movements, the Wexit movement was founded after the advent of social media. It has been worrying to see the frustration of western Canadians grow, without any signs of dissipation. Although the Wexit movement has become synonymous with Alberta’s exit, even the traditionally moderate British Columbians have expressed their irritation: As one B.C.Conservative put it, “people in Northern British Columbia are pissed, and they’re ready to leave too.”
Like most mobilizing political discontent, the sheer scale of this unrest derives largely from a stagnating economy that has shadowed the prairies. The Conservative Party, for instance, performed overwhelmingly in Cariboo-Prince George (winning 53% of the votes) and Peace River (where they won 70% of the popular vote). In these ridings lie towns and cities devastated by the atrophy of the lumber industry.
Likewise in Alberta, an artificial, and entirely avoidable recession was triggered through the uncertainty over the TMX pipeline’s construction, created directly by an unapologetic Ottawa. It must seem additionally offensive, then, that Alberta has sent $476 billion to Quebec in the past 58 years. Due to this, it is hardly surprising that Alberta voted with such force for Scheer’s Conservatives. As Jason Kenney noted in his post-election press conference, “Many Albertans feel betrayed… we are tired.”
It is difficult to gauge where all this is going. The 2019 election made clear that only a calamitous error from the Liberal’s will allow the Conservatives to govern again. The coalition Scheer formed between westerners and middle-class Canadians will continue to strain so long as the Conservatives continue to neglect environmentalism.
It is starkly obvious that the Tories are due a full reinvention in order to win, similar to what Harper achieved in 2006. If this occurs it will almost certainly require a move away from the support of pro-oil legislation, rather than towards it, which would further alienate the western provinces.
Perhaps we are indeed on the verge of a sovereign western Canada. Capitulation is not in their blood: especially if this forfeit would invoke poverty for their natural resource-rich economy. If this is to be diverted, Ottawa must pay serious attention to the province otherwise the very unity of Canada is at stake.
Quebec Premier François Legault has called Don Cherry “a clown” after he was fired for his poppy comments. Speaking to a Quebec City radio station, Legault told listeners that he was “very happy” that Cherry had been booted.
The premier went on to say that “He’s a bit of a clown … I’ve often seen him whining against francophones. Now he’s doing it against immigrants.”
It is unsurprising that Legault is celebrating Cherry’s ousting. The Hockey icon often takes every opportunity to insult the Quebecois. In the past, Cherry has made televised comments about the Quebecois, accusing them of being effeminate for wearing visors, and ruining the Canadian game.
On Twitter, French Canadians also expressed their support of Sportsnet’s decision to fire Cherry. The general sentiment was that this decision was a long time coming. Some users expressed irritation that Cherry was fired for an alleged derogatory comment about immigrants, and not the comments he made about Quebecois for years.
Finance Minister Eric Girard celebrated on Twitter today, for what he proclaimed to be a milestone in Quebec’s credit rating.
According to Girard, the DBRS Morningstar global credit rating agency officially upgraded Quebec’s rating from A (high), where it has remained since 2006, to AA (low), thus raising La Belle Province’s economic outlook from stable to positive.
“Excellent news! The rating agency DBRS raises Quebec’s credit rating to AA “low.” A first for Quebec! The agency highlights the remarkable performance of the Québec economy and the responsible management of public finances,” said Girard in a tweet translated by Google.
The announcement from Morningstar came on Tuesday, only days following the Coalition Avenir Quebec government (CAQ) government leader Premier Francois Legault unveiling of a provincial “economic update,” which will run a $4.8 billion surplus for the province until March 2020.
Quebec expects to run a $1.4 billion surplus at the end of this fiscal year, which according to Morningstar, puts the province in a good position, as the improved credit rating means Quebec will generally have lower borrowing costs for the province.
The former Wild Rose leader, Brian Jean, has encouraged all Albertans to boycott Quebec beer in reaction to the province’s stance on Albertan oil. In particular, Jean asked Albertans to boycott Molson Canadian, the brewing goliath, which was originally from Montreal, Quebec.
Despite the Molson’s relationship with Quebec, their company has become a global organization over the last century. It is headquartered, in the United States and has an international distribution network. As such, it is difficult to ascertain just how successful Jean’s boycott would be.
This is the most recent escalation in a series of incidents that have arrived since Justin Trudeau’s election as Prime Minister. The Liberals were swept in western Canada, without winning a single seat in Saskatchewan or Alberta.
This voting was indicative of the extent to which western Canada was frustrated with Ottawa. This was made clear when the premiers Scott Moe and Jason Kenney, threatened a referendum on the controversial equalization payments, as well as their opposition to the carbon tax.
Disaffected Canadian regions have often used protectionist trade sanctions to state their disapproval or influence other regions. Last year, Jean again called on Albertans to boycott products from Quebec. As well as this, the Albertan government has previously sanctioned all wine produced in British Columbia after they delayed an oil pipeline.
Montreal has been subject to a spree of organized crime shootings. In this year alone, there have been 17 murders in the greater Montreal area, according to Global News. These shootings have become increasingly brutal and audacious.
Despite this, the police have, so far, declined to comment on whether Montreal has experienced a disproportionate amount of crime this year. This doesn’t just pertain to organized crime, however, as sporadic crime is also on the up in the city.
The Montreal police have been criticized for their lack of transparency in reporting these crimes to the general public. In Toronto, for instance, the police will publish crime statistics every month. This does not happen in Montreal, and the level and growth of crime remains opaque.
The only method available to the press and the general public is to file a freedom of information request—a process that is painfully slow and tedious. When the Montreal newspaper, La Presse, attempted to compile a list of the number of murders, attempted murders, and shootings, they were unable to do so due to the lack of statistics.
Many crime experts have blamed the increase of organized crime on a power vacuum within the mafia underworld.