For many years western Canada has complained about being out of the loop when it comes to national politics. Formerly the best their politicians could do was win an election by banding up with Quebec (see the Mulroney government). But for the longest time it seemed that Ontario was the area of Canada that decided elections.
Not so, this time. The west has been growing with population and combined with more rural Ontario ridings, last year Stephen Harper managed to win a majority with a definite western bent. It now looks like the west is the power of the country.
As an Ontarian this has taken quite a bit of getting used to. It is only now that I see the country in a more western light.
First of all Alberta is by far the most loyal province of the sitting government. Harper’s insistence on getting the Keystone XL pipeline (which would go to the US) done or maybe a pipeline to BC (to ship oil to China) seems to be his priority. Might I suggest a third option? Perhaps he could build the pipeline to have not part of the country like northern Ontario and have Canadians doing the value added jobs of refining and processing here. Then we could ship finished product to the US or elsewhere. If only Ontario voted in a bloc enough to remind Harper that he is the prime minister of the rest of the country, too.
Indeed, now that there is a western centrism in Canadian politics I think Ontario should reposition itself. Thunder Bay, the port that links the west to the Atlantic via the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway should become more important, shipping grain and potash and oil products and minerals from the west to Europe and other markets. In fact, Thunder Bay is so important to western Canada that maybe Ontario could make it the new capital.
And the name Ontario chose for itself was that of the first great lake you would encounter from approaching from the east. Now the approach from the west is more important so the first lake you encounter is Lake Superior. Perhaps Ontario should change its name to Superior. I like that. I can say that I come from the province of Superior.
Of course if things digress like some think it might, Superior might become a have not province. It’s hard to coax other provinces, however big and western their hearts might be, to give transfer payments to a province whose name belittles you. Ah well. So it might not last.
Maybe we could split the difference and say that we’re the Erie province. Maybe we could all become goth. I know the youngins might like this what with the recent successes of vampires and werewolves.
Still, as long as I live in Ontario, it will always be the province Superior to me.