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The legacy of Preston Manning


 

Don Newman posits his theory as to where everything went sideways.

The fraying was not — it might surprise some I’m sure — the fault of the Bloc Québécois who, while preaching their own view of both history and the future, always treated Parliament with respect.

Rather it came from the Reform party led by Preston Manning. Reformers came to Ottawa with the argument that everything in the Nation’s Capital was corrupt. In fact, Reform MPs were ordered at one point not to stay in Ottawa over the weekends in case they became corrupted by this latter day Babylon…

Manning, of course, is long gone. Replaced first by Stockwell Day, then by one of the original Reformers, Stephen Harper, the current prime minister. But while Harper lives at 24 Sussex and seems to enjoy all the trappings of the prime minister’s office, as indeed he should, he seems to maintain the Reformer’s deep suspicion of Ottawa and all other political parties.

I arrived too late in Ottawa to witness the Reform party in its original form. And aside from interviewing Chuck Strahl and having pleasant phone conversations with Monte Solberg and Deb Grey, I’ve had little interaction with its founding figures. But it seems to me to be the most intriguing Canadian political phenomenon of the last decade. And the University of Calgary’s archive of related documents is probably worth a long look through.


 

The legacy of Preston Manning

  1. Posts like this serve to remind how young and inexperienced Mr. Wherry is, and why so much of his blogging (his columns, to be fair, are more serious) seem so naiive. I'm sure with time will come perspective.

    • Comments like this remind me of how some people have way too much time on their hands.

      Anyway, how many more variations of Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics do we need to understand the dual threat of religious fundamentalism and populism that Preston Manning infected Canadian politics with?

    • You are so right Mike R. Mr Wherry should get out more. There are still many former Reformers worth interviewing. It may help the young man to understand the world better.

      • What is with Reformatories and personal attacks? Is it the paranoia and the suspicion that cause you all to lash out like that?

        • They think of it as turning the tables.

          I suppose I should feel sorry for them.

          • "I suppose I should feel sorry for them. "

            I think that just makes them angrier. I don't feel pity for them. I despise them. Mostly because they're so dishonest.

        • I'm sure the paaranoid, suspicious "Reformatories" will, in time, learn from your stellar example and begin to avoid personal attacks.

          • I don't start of with personal attacks. But I'll respond in kind.

        • What personal attacks? I was just pointing out that Mr. Wherry is young, as his post noted, and that may explain why he is astonished at bad behaviour in politics. Someone who has been around a bit longer (to see the Rat Pack in the eighties for example) would know that is not a new invention, nor the exclusive purview of the Tories.

          • Sorry. I thought the point of this post was Don Newman's article, not Aaron Wherry's distressing naivety.

          • Well, Newman's article is interesting enough, so I'll withdraw my remarks concerning Mr. Wherry, if anyone finds them offensive. I do find it odd that anyone could consider themselves a commentator on politics and not be familiar with the nature of Reform or its predecessors. There is a constant cycle of establishmentarianism versus populism in Canadian politics that goes back to before the War of 1812.

        • Dogma is too arbitrary to be debated in a reasonable or logical fashion.

      • Is Two Yen the same as that John Chapin (sp) character that Baird keeps quoting and who popped up on CBC to attack Colvin i.e. is Two Yen part of LSOT?

          • Who cares? Obviously the rest of your handle is "two yen short of dim sum"…

    • These comments are just the kind of arrogant clap trap that irks me right down to the bone. This unrelenting paranoia of the youth is just so unbecoming.

  2. Grey, Strahl, Solberg = pleasant

    Myron Thompson, Bob Ringma, Darryl Stinson = not so pleasant.

    You missed quite a circus, Aaron.

    PS. If your wondering why most former PCs such as myself want nothing to do with today's Conservative Party, look no further than the people Stephen Harper was comfortable sitting with from 1993 to 1997.

    • Speak for yourself Mr. Zampreli. The vast majority of former pCs are happily supporting the current government.

      • "Speak for yourself Mr. Zampreli. The vast majority of former PCs are happily supporting the current government."

        Vast majority? Is that based on Harper's winning last year's election on 22% of the eligible electorate?

        I think Reform, all by itself, did better than that.

        • I think most objective analysts would support the conclusion that almost all former PC supporters are happy to support the Conservative party. There are, of course, some who won't, for any number of reasons. But political allegiances are not always easy to predict. Many former Reform Party supporters in British Columbia, for example, came from the NDP. The blue-collar anti-establishment base of the NDP was always more populist than left-wing. When Reform became more centrist, first as the Canadian Alliance, and then returning to the Conservatives, many of their supporters returned to their NDP/CCF roots.

      • In 2000, the CA got over 25% of the vote while the PCs got over 12%, for a total of just under 38%. In the next election, the new Conservative Party got just 29% of the vote, and I'm pretty sure the alliance votes didn't go anywhere else..

        You might suggest that all the PCs have now returned given that the Cons are now sitting in the high 30's, poll-wise. But that would imply that exactly zero Liberal voters from 2000 moved to the Cons (despite the sponsorship scandal), and that exactly zero Bloc votes have moved to the Cons since 2000 (despite heavy courting).

        For my money, the PC votes from 2000 are probably about evenly split between the Cons, Libs, and NDP, with a smattering to the Greens (more in 2004 when a former PC was Green leader).

        No "vast majority" of the Charest/Clark PC party I remember would be conformable with Harper's gang, or their horrendous foreign policy, or the GST cut, or their hate-on for the Senate, or their stand on gay marriage, or their sabotaging of committee work, or their behavior in the House… Oh, and we didn't condone torture either.

        • Well, as I noted above, in BC anyway, many CA voters returned to their NDP roots in 2004, That accounts for some of the difference in support. Of course, there are always drifts from one party to another – and not always predictably – people vote for all sorts of reasons, not only on the basis of ideology by any means.
          But as a former PCer in BC (a small and select group in the nineties) I'd be pretty sure the vast majority of our former members are now happy Conservative Party supporters. There are those who left because of their concern over the stereotyped issues you note – but most of those left before they realized just how "normal" the party was going to become – despite the Reform Roots of some of its members.

          • Maybe there's an East/West divide on where former PC support lies today. I wish someone would do a study on this…now I'm curious.

          • It is an interesting, and not- very-well understood issue. I don't think the Reform people understood it much themselves, certainly they didn't think they had to do anything to try and retain that vote (they weren't big on organization in any conventional sense anyway).
            Certainly there are vast differences between Reform in BC and Alberta, where it simply, for the most part, absorbed the Tory establishment and became the defacto establishment party, albeit with a populist face. That was typical of Alberta's provincial politics, with its massive shifts of allegiance from Liberal to United Farmers to Social Credit, to Conservative (and, perhaps – to Wild Rose) every generation or so. Ontario – with its rural PC/Progressive vote, versus the Toronto Tory vote is another matter – and I don't, I admit, have a good handle on how that vote split – other than the Joe Huegelins going off on their own.

          • As a native British Columbian myself I think Mike R makes some good points about populsts in BC who supported Reform and then went back to the NDP.

            There are also former Liberals who have moved to the CPC as it has become the only party left in the middle while the Liberals moved away from the centre to become a party of the far left (indeed I am one of those former Liberals myself).

            As for some of the posters above who claim that the Conservatives don't represent the views of most former supporters of the Progressive Conservative Party I suggest they read some of the books by Bob Plamondom. He makes a very persuasive case that the CPC is in the mainstream of the party founded by Macdonald. Sure there will be dissenters.There always are. Joe Clark is an example. But there is no doubt in my mind that the present Conservative party has very successfully returned t its roots.

          • Ah well, I wasn't around for Macdonald so I don't know how I would have reacted to him, but I do know I am a Joe Clark PCer.

          • Well, me too. But I don't see a contradiction between that and supporting the current Conservative Party. I'm sorry Mr. Clark doesn't see it the same way.

          • Well, I wasn't around for Macdonald, but I did campaign for Mike Pearson against Dief. I have no doubt Pearson would support Harper if he were alive today.

          • Now you're pulling BS out of your hat. You can make that statement without having to have Lester B. laugh in your face, so let me do it for you. Hahahah.

          • Well, it is possible he would have changed his opinions with time – but his version of small "l" liberalism – which included the acquisition of nuclear weapons – would be seen to be pretty right wing by current standards. I don't recall his position on same-sex marriage, but I doubt, if asked, if he would have been comfortable endorsing it, do you? It's sort of like considering where Barak Obama would fit in the Canadian spectrum. He may be left-wing in American terms but he would fit into the farther right wing of the Conservative Party in this country – if he kept the same opinions.

          • I’m not sure myself where Obama would fit into the political spectrum of this country…but one thing ido know, there’s no way on god’s green earth he’d fit into the far far reaches of the CPoC, despite his religious views. Clearly he wouldn’t be a comfortable fit with the lberals either…at least not these liberals. Perhaps the liberal party of 20/30 years ago. Essentially Obama’s a pragmatist. 30 years ago the lberal party still had room for pragmatists with religious views…i wish it still did.

          • It is a great mistake to equate the views of most supporters of the Conservative Party with the views of the so-called religious right. A brief examination of the policies adopted by the current government demonstrate that clearly.

          • I've met and talked to Pearson. I stand by my statement.

          • "a party of the far left"

            Gimme a friggin' break.

          • Tow Yen, if you want to be taking seriously in a political discussion you might want to avoid saying things like "while the Liberals moved away from the centre to becme a party of the far left."

          • I don't care if I'm taken seriously or not. I believe that the Liberals Party has moved too far left for many Canadian voters who used to vote for the party. Don't take my word for it. Look at the results of recent elections.

          • No, you sais the liberals have become a party of the far left. That’s why you are being mocked. It’s completely absurd.

      • The real PCs left when MacKay the oathbreaker stacked the membership list to fix the unification vote.

      • This former Progressive Conservative won't support Stephen Harper at any cost for nostalgia reasons or otherwise. Why would I support a three time loser who is yet to obtain a majority? Harper has abandoned every ideal that put him in power in 2006.

        • Hmm. so which PC leader had more success than Mr. Harper? Mr. Clark? Mr. Charest? Mr. Stanfield? Ms. Campbell? Is the only requirement for your support is that the leader win a majority? That's a bit ex post facto isn't it? Don't policy and principles mean anything?

          I didn't think Mr. Harper was really cut out for opposition leader, and he wasn't my first choice for leader of the unified party (I came from the PC side). But he has grown admirably as PM.

    • Come over here and say that you son of a b1tch!

      • I'm sorry, I don't have the fortitude or the gonads.

        • Poor Darrel. But was he really any different than Jack Horner?

      • Yeah, that's a breach of proper parliamentary etiquette. Calling someone a racist to his face… that's hunky dory.

  3. "Reformers came to Ottawa with the argument that everything in the Nation's Capital was corrupt…."

    Whether or not Newman is right or wrong to blame Reform for the particular present parliamentary situation, his attack on them seems a little of – if revealing – insofar as his characterizations of them, in the vein quoted above, are not really characteristic of Reform so much as of the tradition of western-based populist political parties which have been a feature of Canadian politics for as long as the Western provinces have been part of the country. For instance, anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Progressive Party would know that Newman's characterization of Reform apply in spades to their predecessors. So, again, whether or not Newman is right to blame Reform for the present predicament – and his analysis on this point seems more than little superficial – he is certainly wrong to allege that Reform introduced something truly new into the Canadian political tradition.

    • Ditto for Social Credit.

    • For instance, anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Progressive Party would know that Newman's characterization of Reform apply in spades to their predecessors.

      It surprising to see its resurgence at the height of modernity though. But I think that's probably what helped it along. As a civilization becomes more complex and difficult to understand, the more a certain type of people will retreat to suspicion and paranoia.

    • True enough, the zealotry of Reform was pretty much simply another manifestation of the populist strain of Canadian politics that gave birth to the Progressives, United Farmers, Social Credit/Creditistes, and CCF as well as Reform.

      All of those went through the same general cycle of anger and contempt for entrenched interests gradually giving way to recognition that compromise is not an inherently evil concept. Those movements that would not adapt to the necessity of becoming "normal" organizations with structure and an understanding of how to work with structures, rather than rail against them, simply disappeared, like the Progressives. Those that adapted, like the CCF, continued (although one might wonder to what purpose – federally anyway).
      The re-absorbtion of the populist wing of the PC party back into the re-branded Conservative party was just another variant of an old story, albeit a somewhat stressful one for those of us who endured it.

    • That's a pretty good point. Regionalism will always be our greatest divide.

  4. "he seems to maintain the Reformer's deep suspicion of Ottawa and all other political parties."

    It goes beyond deep suspicion. Contempt is a more appropriate word, I'd argue.

    • The contempt goes beyond Ottawa and other political parties too. It extends to all Canadians who aren't likely to vote Conservative.

    • Was Reformer contempt there at the beginning, or was it something that developed over time?

      • it was an essential part of their philosophy from the beginning (although Mr. Manning was never as rabid about such things as his followers). The whole point of a populist movement is to denounce the establishment and existing order as corrupt and beneath contempt. That is why populism has to challenge it from the outside, rather fhan by working within. Hence the refusal of the Progressives to accept the role of "Loyal Opposition" even when they qualified for it by the number of seats. That would have been an admission they were a party like any other. The Reform fundamentalists felt much the same way. As the party matured and people like Strahl and Solberg came to the fore, and idiots like Christie were pushed out, tensions developed between those who, like Mr. Harper, who recognized the value of institutions and tradition, and those who simply wanted to be angry all the time.

        • Harper has nothing but contempt for institutions and tradition, and is angry all the time.

          • Hardly. The new brochure on Citizenship is a very nice illustration of the respect Mr. Harper actually does have for this country and its insitutions. He may have been a little intemperate in his youth as a politician, but that's a fault of many people in politics at a young age. He certainly has matured in his views and in his approach to matters of substance. He was never very happy with the anti-intellectual side of Reform.

          • The new brochure on Citizenship is a very nice illustration of the respect Mr. Harper actually does have for this country and its insitutions.

            You mean the one he denounced just few years ago as second rate? The one the majority of which (women and minorities) he called "fringe" just a few months ago?

            Harper's contempt is matched only by his cynicism, demonstrated by such gestures as a reformulated citizenship guide (which no one cares about and won't make any difference anyway), which is something that doesn't arise from Reform populism, from the Eastern Conservative elite. As with the Republicans, the marriage of both strains in the current Conservative Party has been toxic for Canadian politics.

          • Both strains were always present in the Progressive Conservative Party – hence the challenges it faced in government in the eighties when Mr. Mulroney, bravely, tried to create an even larger coalition of western populits, Ontario and Atlantic traditional blue Tories, urban Red Tories and small "n" Quebec nationalists. All political parties larger than a membership of one are, of course, going to have differences of philosopy. The Tory party tradition, since Sir John A's collaboration with Cartier, has been to try and accomodate various philosophies within a larger tradition of conservatism. The current version of that is moving, I think, in the right direction. Compromise and collaboration aren't evidence of cynicism – just intelligence and growth.

          • "Compromise and collaboration aren't evidence of cynicism"

            I didn't assert that it was. And I don't see "compromise and collaboration," given that this government is supposed to represent all Canadians.

          • Oh come on. I agree with everything you said, except I think we should give some slack for the citizenship guide, which (although I've yet to read it myself) I hear is fairly good and a great improvement over the old one. Hey, even the Harper government has to do something right every once in a while, and I think it does a disservice to the discussion when we don't admit and even praise a good job.

    • It was always gratifying that John Diefenbaker who represented western populism as an outsider to some extent in the Progressive Conservative Party deeply respected even adored and worshiped the history and traditions of Parliament. To him no greater compliment could be offered than "He was a House of Commons' man".
      Western Reformers obviously didn't continue in that vein, but really I can't, off the top of my head, think of a single member of the governing party who embodies that tradition. I wonder how the operation, traditions, and role of Parliament will change under a Harper/Reform majority?

  5. I'll speak for him to then. As a former supporter of the PC's I don't want anything to do with the current Party.

    • Ditto!

    • I'm with Zamprelli here, myself.

  6. Surprise, surprise. CBC says it's all the Cons fault!

    I think much of Newman's argument is eye of beholder. I think Parliament has gone wrong because the generation before the boomers has been retiring for the past fifteen years or there abouts and boomers don't know how to behave. They wanted to shake society up, get rid of tradition, year 0 stuff – and this is what we get. It's like our MPs all want to cock a snook at authority but they don't realize that they are 'the man' now.

  7. Don Newman is a CBC hack. The CBCers always blame the Conservatives, it's in their blood. Ordinary Canadians? Do they agree with Newman? Why don't we look at Angus Reid's poll results out today. Remember folks, Angus Reid called the election last year.

    The Liberals and the NDP sullied themselves by encouraging the ill-fated, ill-advised and ultimately politically illegitimate Coalition with the Bloc Quebecois, who by the way, has at Article one of the their party's constitution the goal of Quebec independence. Newman would wave this off by saying details, details.

    Canadians, not so much. With the Angus Reid poll out today showing,…

    Voting Intention:

    Con. 38%,
    Lib. 23%,
    NDP17%,
    BQ 11%,
    Grn. 10%

    Approval Rating:

    Harper 34%,
    Layton 24%,
    Ignatieff 12%,

    Momentum:

    Harper -9,
    Layton -10,
    Ignatieff -41

    … still anyone thing the coalition with the Bloc was a good thing?

    That's a 15 point lead for the Conservatives and Iggy's momentum rating would scare young children.

    • Get Jarrid back on Kinsella. He's ruining a decent discussion with his paste-and-post medicated musings…

      • I totally agree. Was actually enjoying the good discussion and analysis of CPC, and actually thought of how pleasant it was that there were only minute jabs and stabs.

        No No No says Jarrid – this will not do!
        I insist that I must be able to walk amongst you and play with my penis! ;)

  8. From Newman't post:

    "The fraying was not — it might surprise some I'm sure — the fault of the Bloc Québécois who, while preaching their own view of both history and the future, always treated Parliament with respect."

    "Preaching their own view of… the future". The clause in the Bloc's Constitution is Quebec independance. CBC creates its own Orwellian language to hide the obvious. Another word that has been excised in CBC lingo is the word "coalition". Notice that Newman dares not utter the word. Ed Broadbent should never have supported the Coalition with the Bloc.

    You have to know that it must have made Jean Chretien noxious to support it, I'd like to think so anyway, but the lust for power was more than he could bear. If anything has characterized the Liberal strategy since being dumped from power in 2006 has been the lust for power, the means justify the ends. Even if it means signing a deal with Duceppe and band of separatists.

  9. I might add that I believe that most of those people claiming that the Conservative party does not represent the views of former PC supporters are probably Liberal or NDP supporters.

    • That's possible, although there certainly were some who left at the time of the merger of the CA and PC parties. A few of those were Orchardites, of course, who weren't really at home with the PCs either. But some, such as Mr. Clark, Brison, Borotsik, and a few I know in BC, thought there would be a shift in directions they couldn't support, and, wrongly I think, didn't think their voices would be heard in a merged party. Others I think just had too many scars from what had been, naturally, an adversarial relationship, made somewhat more difficult because the Reform/PC dispute was in many cases fought between old friends or at least comrades. Sometimes those type of scars are just too hard to overcome.
      Still, I was at a memorial service on Saturday for a party organizer who had served the PC, CA and Conservative party and had retained friendship with people from all sides. Those who turned out were a pretty good representation of the old PC party in BC as well as the new Conservative Party. The amount of defection, in the west anyway, has been exagerrated.

  10. There's a book from back in the 90's called Hard Right Turn by (I think) Brooke Jeffrey.

    It has an obvious bias but because it's obvious the bias can be largely discounted.

    It gives a good outline of Reform's development and the early years in Ottawa.

    My recollection tells me that Newman ( I'm not a fan ) has his facts right.

    • In general terms, yes, the Reform party had an antagonistic approach to parliament and that has not been a healthy development. I'm not sure they poisoned parliament more than the Grit "rat pack", but they may have. But they were not the first populist party to move to Ottawa with that attitude. They probably won't be the last. It is a recurring theme in Canadian politics.

  11. Nothing that happened in the last year angered ordinary Canadians more in the last year than the outrageous grab for political power by the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois.

    Mr. Newman doesn't even mention it in his article. That was an outrageous power grab and Canadians saw it for what it was, and it made them plenty angry.

    One of the untold stories was how Jean Chretien came to support it.

    You know Pierre Trudeau never would have done it. Pierre Trudeau had principles. Back then, the Liberal Party had principles. It wasn't always about getting power for power's sake like it is now with them.

    • Hmmm, well, I think the Liberal Party never had any principles other than the principle that the purpose of politics is to achieve power. Certainly since the accession of Laurier they pretty consistently demonstrated that their only constancy was to change positions to do what was both expedient and popular – no matter how inconsistent any position might be with their past behaviour. I suppose they would argue that pragmatism can be a principle. But to claim the Liberal Party (the one that imprisoned Japanese Canadians, for example) was ever uniquely principled, seems an odd view of the historic record.

      • Mike R
        Stick to what you do know. The Conservative history lesson was interesting – for me anyway. But you clearly know nothing about Liberalism. The fact that there was a Liberal govt in during the war years is coincidental. Are you seriously claiming that a conservative govt in the 1940s would “not” have interned japanese Canadians?Give your head a shake man. Trudeau, for instance, didn’t last for 16 years because Canadians were stupid, In fact i’d say you just pretty much demonstrated Newman’s main point – paranoia’s a hard habit for many conservatives to give up…rather like liberals and their sense of entitilement.

        • Hmmm, maybe paranoia’s not quite the right term to describe your analysis of Liberal principles. It’s perhaps closer to being too quick to buy into stereo-types without considering that that’s all stero-types do…conveniently label people, things ideas and even political movements. Intellectual laziness in short.

          • Bearing in mind this is a blog discussion, not a treatise on politics. Sorry if I've offended any principled Liberals. I know there are people of sincerity in that party – and you might admit there are people of equal sincerity in the Conservative Party (as there were in Reform – however misguided). Of course, the jibe about Mackenzie King is a stereotype – but one that has a substantial ring of truth. And it is hardly lazy to point out the inconsistencies between Liberal Party propaganda about itself as the font of civil liberties in Canada and its actual record in office. I don't think the Liberal party is the source of all evil, any more than the Reform Party was. But its days in power were not the halcyon beacon of justice and democracy that some would suggest either, were they?

        • Of course, another party in office in WWII may have behaved as badly as the Liberals. FDR's government behaved as badly, despite his left-wing credentials. My point is simply that the rhetoric about Liberal party principles has seldom been ,matched by practice. Just as Laurier claimed to be the defender of Francophone interests while selling out Manitoba's Francophone catholics, Trudeau's use of the War Measures Act is an odd action for a civil libertarian. The history of the Liberal party has been generally to follow Mackenzie King's doctrine of never doing by halves anything that could be done by quarters. And only showing leadership when public opinion said it was safe to do so.

          • Mike R
            orry if i jumped on you. Your reply was thoughtful and tend to agree with much of it. Laurier i can’t honestly speak to [ i’m certainly not an expert on the liberal party]
            As to Trudeau, I guess he’s my bias. I grew up i his time and credit him with turning a young self absorbed guy onto politcs. I don’t know if he gets enough credit for this at all. I understand Dieff had a similar effect on many young people.
            I don’t agree that T was a MK clone. But you might well be right about most lib leaders following his half by quarter act. The fact that T was prepared to enact the WM’s act illustrates just how different he was – he disappointed a lot of hippies that day – and won the respect of a lot of Tories too. We could argue all day about his economic policies that 30 years on don’t look very good – odd for a guy who did have a pretty good education in economics for his time. The prevailing view was that it bored him, which isn’t a point in his favour at all. To wrap…Trudeau broke the mould of politics in this country, and indeed for his party…those of us who saw him, love him or not, mostly agree we never saw his like before, and probably never will again. As for the liberal party, it seems to be back to doing things by quarters yet again.

  12. I'm sorry, I remember the Reform party coming to Ottawa and being accused unfairly of being racists and extremists and every other vile thing in the book by the Liberals and the NDP. Much of the deep seated hate we have now for the left comes from that contemptuous dismissal and outright slander of the representatives we sent to the commons.

    So now the left wants to rewrite history to say we're the problem of why relations are so bad?

    • Accused unfairly like when Bob Ringma said that employers should be free to move ethnics and gays to the back of the shop in the context of commenting on a discrimination case? What was unfair, to quote him defending discrimation based on racism and homophobia? Unfair to think the shoe fits when its already well worn?

      I think you're the own who is trying to rewrite history.

      • Oop, there's crosses burning on your lawn at this very moment.

  13. There is a segment of the population in the West who support separation. Do they vote in federal elections? Do they vote for the LPC, NDP, Conservative…

    At least the bloquistes now in the House have the courage to identify themselves clearly as separatists.

    There must be at least one minister of this Conservative government who is a separatist. Western Canada Concept?

    As for the coalition, the Conservatives have no problem welcoming separatists in their ranks and in the cabinet. I think the anti-coalition feelings had a lot more to do with the anti-frenchie sentiments that have always permeated Canadian politics

    • There must be at least one minister of this Conservative government who is a separatist.

      Judging by previous speeches and statements, there is a "Prime" suspect…

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