Thread: O Canada!
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Old Wed, 23rd May '12, 4:19pm   #78
LKD
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That pic TOTALLY cheered me up!

Back to the protestors, there's something else. Ofelix is going to hate me for it, and Beren will likely do a facepalm, but it exists and should be discussed.

Canada is a federation of provinces. Like the United States, there is often an issue of provincial (state) rights/jurisdiction vs. federal rights / jurisdiction. This can get dicey. In addition, the country spans a continent. This results in economic disparity between regions as time goes on. Cultures also tend to drift in different directions, as well as languages -- think of the differences between a New Englander's speech compared to that of a Louisiana resident's speech. Of course, Canada has an extra hassle in terms of having two official languages, and anglophones have been in a love/hate relationship with the francophones for centuries, literally centuries!

Now the country is unofficially split into "have" provinces and "have not" provinces. This is a crude way of saying that some provinces are doing well economically and others are suffering. The Maritime provinces* ran into some serious trouble a few decades ago when the fisheries bottomed out. They have been "have not" for decades. So of course, the Federal government decided to take a hand and help out. They helped out via transfer payments.

A transfer payment is basically a way of saying to the "have" provinces that they should help out those who are struggling. Now despite accusations of redneck selfishness, Albertans don't mind helping out those who are down on their luck -- for a short term. But we have been paying through the nose for fricking decades, sending out literally billions of dollars to the "less fortunate" provinces and getting nothing but contempt and ignorance from the rest of the country. Quebec, which has a higher population, decent natural resources, and a much more established industrial base, always manages to get itself classified as a "have not" province, and they cheerfully suck money out of Alberta and the other "have" provinces**. Quebec is a pretty great place to live***, with some of the best social programs in the country, including, as Beren mentioned, the lowest post-secondary tuition in the country, even after the proposed pay hike. Alberta lags behind because we don't have the money for that stuff -- it's all going to the "have nots"!

The question often asked is "why is Alberta paying for Cadillac levels of service in Quebec when we ourselves have only Toyota levels?" It's ridiculous, and just plain unfair. Of course the answer is that the Federal government is paying for votes from the more populous Quebec.

The fact is, though, that people with morals who want to work tend to come to Alberta, as opportunities for employment are pretty good here. Lots of Maritimers come to work in our oil patch****. It's a pretty place, and many settle here. So many come, in fact, that neutral mathematicians and enumerators have determined that we should get more seats in the Federal government, based off the idea of representation by population -- you know, one man, one vote kind of thing? You can imagine how Quebec reacts to that. The Idea of having fair representation is anathema to them. They would lose their perks if the country were actually, you know, democratic. They act like Albertan's desire to have fair electoral districts is an "assault of Francophone culture". We are not out to hurt the Francophone culture, we just want fairness. But fairness is a foreign concept to these people, who see Albertans as merely one step up from slaves, hewing wood and drawing water to support their indolent, self-indulgent snobbery. Not that I'm judgemental.

This explains the reaction of the rest of Canada, particularily Albertans, to these pampered little douchebags complaining in Quebec.

* This refers to the provinces on the East coast of the country: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. They kinda overfished and what was their prime industry is now but a pale shadow of what it used to be.

**Alberta and Ontario are "have" provinces. I think sometimes BC is, too. Saskatchewan should be, but it's been mismanaged since it joined Confederation.

*** If you are a Francophone, that is. They do have quite high taxes, much of which goes to unconstitutional laws that "prtect" the French language and culture from the big, bad Anglos. English speakers in Quebec face a great degree of social stigma.

****The city that is at the centre of the Oil Sands is a disaster called Fort McMurray. The disaster is that far too many people have moved in and services have not kept up with the exploding population. Fort McMurray is often called the second largest city in Newfoundland (look at a map, you'll get the joke) in that so many Newfoundlanders go there to work, as unemployment in the Maritimes is so high. I don't begrudge them the work, I just wish the municipal and provincial government would use the tax revenue they are getting from the place to build adequate infrastructure.
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