Danny Williams, Bill Casey, and now Rodney MacDonald seem to have stumbled on something unpleasant about the new Conservative party – it’s really just the old Reform party inhabiting a somewhat more electable brand-name. The contempt for Eastern Canada is still there in myriad ways. Oh sure, they talk nicely to Maritimers or even people in urban parts of Ontario when they want our votes, but deep down this is a party that caters to a certain strain of Western alienation. This is the only conclusion that I can draw about the ongoing saga of the disappearing oil revenue agreements.
Actually, I don’t even know if it’s alienation as much as it is contempt that the Reformists cater to, but whatever it is, the new colours and the new name don’t do away with it. Why do I say contempt? Well the issue here is not so much that there are disagreements on equalization – hell, I’ll admit that I’m not certain what constitutes a fair deal here, what is at issue is that the Conservatives seem to have simply torn up the old agreement. No negotiation, no consultation, nothing.
*Note to Western Canadian readers: Please don’t misconstrue this as a tarring of all Westerners, I’m just talking about the Reformers among you. There are alienated, parochial right-wingers in Ontario too, they just haven’t had the organization to start a protest party yet.