Ontario, as numerous others have pointed out, has historically seen its interests as a province and the interests of Canada as a whole as being virtually one and the same. We are the the biggest province in population and our manufacturing sector was long seen as driving this country’s economy.
We have had it very good from an economic stand point. We weren’t laid low by the collapse of the cod fishery nor were our major industries subject to the meddling of something like the National Energy Program. If smaller provinces wanted equalization or better representation in the House of Commons, we were inclined to go along.
This is starting to change. Peter Van Loan’s insult to Ontario was only the beginning. As the high dollar helps Alberta and hurts Ontario, this province is going to become more focused in its demands of Ottawa. For a long time politicians would fight over Ontario seats without offering up much that was explicitly directed towards Ontario – this is going to change I suspect. We’ve been something a silent partner in confederation for far too long.