MICHAELS: Wascally Wexiters are raising some interesting points - InfoNews

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MICHAELS: Wascally Wexiters are raising some interesting points

October 23, 2019 - 2:00 PM

 


OPINION


“Anyone got that number to that truck driving school, Truck Master I think it is? I’ll be needing that,” Stephen Fuhr, the unseated Liberal MP for Kelowna Lake Country tweeted first thing Tuesday morning.

The lighthearted Top Gun reference spoke both to his election loss the night before and his former life as a pilot.

It also highlighted that for all that’s happened, Fuhr — unlike Goose in this moment of pop culture history — will go on. 

The question for the rest of those who enjoy an actual political race is whether federal Liberals (or any other party) will one day return to the Okanagan, or if this region will always be swept away in a tide of blue when Alberta gets angry.

“(Okanagan voters) have the propensity to be progressive and I think the Liberals will be elected here again,” Fuhr said when asked about his party’s future in the Okanagan on election night.

He really couldn’t say anything other than that, but if you prefer to use history rather than progressiveness as a guide, it might actually be best for those who look best in red to wait a couple of decades to run another candidate in the local race. Then one of the prime minister’s offspring may be ready for their political debut and B.C.’s hot and cold relationship with the country’s first family can unfurl once more.

For all the talk of changing demographics, the political pattern that played out in 2015 and 2019 matches so closely what happened in 1968 and 1972 it almost looks more like the script of a time travel movie than Top Gun.

In 1968 Liberal Bruce Howard was swept up in a wave of Trudeaumania. He, like Fuhr, lost the follow-up election when the prime minister fell out of favour with western voters and conservatism was back in B.C.

The lesson? Western alienation is back, baby.

Or, worse yet, it never went anywhere, which means it’s time to start talking about what that means in B.C., a province that's changed greatly, in terms of its economy and diversity in the last 50 years. Our closest neighbours are now raising some disquieting conversations in the darkest corners of the interweb — you know, the places where bad things lurk, potentially spread and tend to ruin a good thing.  Because if you don’t believe this is where things start to go wrong just ask all those people who are about to leave the European Union against their will and become part of not so Great Britain, again.

On Oct. 20, the Facebook group VoteWexit.com had just over 2,000 members. Within a day, the group’s membership had skyrocketed to more than 165,000 members.

The group is calling for the separation of western Canada (they only include Saskatchewan and Alberta in this scenario) from the rest of the country.

“We’re going to be free from the blood-sucking, parasitic relationship we have with eastern Canada right now,” Wexit Alberta founder Peter Downing said in an interview. 

On the less colourfully stated side of things, there was a Change.org petition in favour of Alberta separation that was created Monday night that had close to 28,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. No word yet if these people are all willing to forsake their CPP, OAP, medicare and various other Canadian benefits. The truly devout among them obviously would.

Neither mention where the real west — B.C.— belongs.

Back to the point, though, things get kind of tense after an election, especially with the side that didn't win. But rising anti-Canadian sentiments are a real step in the wrong direction for a well-functioning country.

Maybe, fingers crossed, a minority government will be just the ticket. It will mean the Liberals have to work with the other colours of the political rainbow and potentially quell the concerns of those who are so upset with the country because, I need to believe most of us share the same social values and want Canada to be a place where we can all thrive.

If I am wrong, and something direr is on the horizon, there will be a lot of British Columbians who simply have to hitch a ride on Fuhr’s new semi, which is presumably headed east.


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