Friday, January 20, 2006

Stampeding Calgary

Paul Martin's latest comments, when added to Buzz Hargrove's, demonstrate a palpable hatred in Liberal ranks for Alberta, its people, and its values:

Nova Scotians can’t trust Peter MacKay to look after their interests in a Conservative government, says Paul Martin, because scary right-wing Albertans will be running the show.

"Peter MacKay doesn’t really count," the prime minister said in a phone interview from Ontario on Thursday.

"All of Stephen Harper’s advisers come from Calgary. They come from where he is. Peter MacKay is not going to be the person who’s going to be deciding."

Mr. Martin is a desperate man saying desperate things at the end of a losing battle, says Mr. MacKay.

"It’s more of the same fear-mongering, diminishing, insulting, distracting behaviour that has become the hallmark of Mr. Martin in this campaign," he said.

The hatred of Alberta arises out of fear. Fear that the Upper Canadian establishment's hammerlock on power might be weakened, if not broken entirely. Fear that the cozy arrangement between Ontario and Quebec elites that constitutes the so-called Canadian political consensus might be eroding. Fear that the economic centre of Canada might be shifting from Toronto to Calgary as surely as it once did from Montreal to Toronto.

Paul Martin is very much a man of the establishment, from his pedigree to his business success. Stephen Harper represents a threat to that establishment.

The nobility has always feared and loathed the rising bourgeoisie, mocking it for its driving ambitions, its unseemly pursuit of material wealth, and its refusal to extend proper deference to its social betters.

What is unfolding in Canada is not unlike the decline of the British landed aristocracy, living off its legacy and rents, in the face of an energetic new class empowered by its industrial and commercial wealth.

The ugliest class struggles are never between the rich and poor, but between a declining nobility and a rising bourgeoisie.


Canadi-anna said...

Except in Canada, I wouldn't say it's a rising bourgeoisie- the bougeoisie has pretty much flatlined.

Barley said...

It's a bit of a stretch calling the central Canadian establishment a "nobility". I don't see anything noble about it.

And I think that Ontario's hatred of Alberta stems more from low resentment and envy than from fear. Apart from being wealthy, Alberta also happens to be the most progressive, forward-looking, and dynamic part of the country, and Ontarians can't stomach that. So in their cognitively dissonanced minds they compensate by inventing all sorts of insults for Alberta: Racists! Americans! Selfish! Dangerous!

I think that Albertans are increasingly seeing Ontario as irrelevant to them. You hate us? Whatever.

(And by the way, no offence whatsoever intended to decent Ontarians. Why don't you move out here and join us? Together I think we really could have the greatest country in the world)