Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Vancouver Interviews: Ralph Goodale

At last month's Liberal "leadership" convention in Vancouver, I had a chance to sit down with a few Liberal MPs. Today, I present the first of these videos - long-time Liberal MP Ralph Goodale on the topic of western alienation, and on making the Liberal Party competitive in Western Canada.

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10 Comments:

  • The Liberals can begin by retiring the term "Western Canada".

    Vancouver is west of Calgary and Saskatoon yet lumping Vancouver in with later is stupid.
    It clear to anyone who has traveled in Canada that Toronto and Vancouver have a lot more in common than anywhere in Sask. Here a simple test you can do. Walk down Robson or Yonge street on a busy summer day and count the number of different languages and dialects you hear. Now do the same in downtown Regina or Saskatoon.

    Vancouver has the highest percentage of atheists in the country, support for SSM was strong here, Vancouver is the birth place of Green Peace and support for things such as insite and marijuana legalization is higher than it is in Calgary. There are some similarities, but Calgary and Vancouver are not two peas in pod. Gun registry and NEP are not on political radar screen Vancouver.

    By Blogger Koby, at 4:01 AM  

  • Wow, Ralph went over 5 minutes without attacking his opponents, that's amazing.

    Koby, did you even listen to the interview bud?

    Western Alienation does not include any suggestion that the provinces are similar, nor right-wing. Dan's first question even made it clear that Western Alienation was a regional issue, not a "right-wing" or "left-wing" issue. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the perceived diversity (or lack thereof) that you're alluding to.

    As Ralph Goodale explained, Western Alienation is about not feeling connected, and instead feeling devalued or left out of the political process. Essentially he explained that they haven't given Western Canadian's issues the same understanding, respect, recognition and priority as those of other Canadians, and there's a resulting sense of exclusion from the decision-making corridors and power centres.

    What he said is just as true in British Columbia as it is in Saskatchewan. Just as true in Calgary as in Vancouver. It has nothing to do with whether the ideas are right-wing or left-wing, or what language the individual speaks. Bottom line is the perception that their ideas are being shut out.

    On a personal note I might add that Western Alienation is not specifically targetted at the Liberal party, but rather how Canada's political system is set up.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:21 AM  

  • Yeah, it's not neccesarily a right/left thing. If Sask, Man, and BC can elect NDP governments and Edmonton can be dubbed "Redmonton" provincially, there's a way to have some success out west, without altering your core philosophy.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:31 AM  

  • I'm more to agree with my fellow British Columbian Kody, we're different than you but it rarely gets perceived in the prairie provinces. Yes, it does irk us that all too regularily the "West" is spoken in terms that may not represent us all. I would argue that the first step in avoiding anytime of new alienation is through dealing with the issues of western alienation with each region, not just a lump solution for all. We've got different challenges in BC than Alberta and Saskatchewan and I think that avoiding the lump categorization and cookie cutter solutions will do a lot more good than speaking as a homogenous identity that may not accurately represent our needs as provinces. It's not a left or right thing but a matter of recognition and at least listening to us. By equating Vancouver with Calgary or Saskatoon and saying it's the same isn't that much different from saying that Hamilton and Red Deer are the same because of selected demographics.

    By Blogger Gene Rayburn, at 1:43 PM  

  • Koby, silly you:

    Walk down Robson or Yonge street on a busy summer day and count the number of different languages and dialects you hear.

    And this is good how, exactly?

    I agree: when it comes to violent crime imported from other countries and cultures, there’s no difference between Toronto and Vancouver – except for the origins of the usual criminals (Toronto: Caribbean; Vancouver: Asian).

    To me, a city where it’s hard to go shopping or engage other people in conversation, using the country’s official language, is not something I’d praise or give as a laudable example. I moved away from Toronto because it had become impossible even to order a cup of coffee at the local shop. No one spoke or understood English anymore. This is Canada, and you either speak English/French or you get out!

    By Anonymous Werner Patels, at 3:18 PM  

  • I presume, Werner Patels, that you're just being provocative. If you're sincere, let me know what party you belong to, 'coz there's no way I would want to be part of it.

    Equating violent crime rates directly to recent immigrants is nonsense. This simplistic canard has been voiced ever since people started immigrating to Canada; I'm sure the Huron and Iroquois people blamed the French and English for the increase in violent crime as well! Every other immigrant group has also faced this, from the Ukrainians, the Irish, the Chinese, the East Indians, the Italians, the Lebanese, and yes, even the Germans.

    There IS a connection between poverty and crime, however. Not all that surprisingly, "most" recent immigrants are not plugged into the social and economic networks that exist amongst the more established immigrants, and in fact, are often pointedly excluded from them by people who voice the same attitude that Mr. Patels has.

    Given the exclusion from the "mainstream", it is actually "rational" for immigrant youth to join gangs- many of which, incidentally, are actually run by more established Canadians. If one is going to be excluded or mistrusted just because of the colour of one's skin, or one's mother tongue, it makes sense to join with others in a similar situation.

    By treating people with undue suspicion and ignorance, we actually foster a climate where crime will thrive. By not ordering coffee (really? I could pantomine a cup of coffee if I tried!), we isolate those we should be integrating.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 5:16 PM  

  • A more democratic and accountable senate can help balance regional disparity and alienation. This imbalance is entrenched within the current structure, where ontario and quebec centric programs will always overrule other regional concerns due to electoral reality. If accountable rep by pop is balanced with accountable rep by region some better balance should be achieved.
    It has nothing to do with likeness, or diversity, but with numbers and accountability measures.

    By OpenID darcymeyers, at 5:54 PM  

  • I have lived in Edmonton, Toronto, and Halifax and I have not had any trouble ordering coffee in any of those places. FOr that matter, while Toronto has a rather large immigrant community, all of the communities above have large immigrant communities - when I go downtown I hear diverse languages spoken and so forth.

    Werner Patels is an idiot. Also, the crime rate in Toronto isn't all that high. Higher in Halifax, I am sure.

    By Blogger Nitangae, at 6:49 PM  

  • I presume, Werner Patels, that you're just being provocative. If you're sincere, let me know what party you belong to, 'coz there's no way I would want to be part of it.

    That might limit your options quite a bit. In the past few years, Patels (or one of his alter egos) has alternated between supporting the Conservatives and calling them Nazis (largely correlated with whatever the polls were saying that month), as well as endorsing (off the top of my head) Gerard Kennedy, Jim Dinning, Fred Thompson, Barack Obama, UK Labour, and UK Liberal Democrats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 AM  

  • "As Ralph Goodale explained, Western Alienation is about not feeling connected, and instead feeling devalued or left out of the political process."

    Yes I did listen to the interview and what Goodale said was a lot of fluff. Sask and Alberta have never voted Liberal. I mean never. BC on the other hand has. Between 1962 to 1974, the Liberals took more seats in BC than the PCs did. In 1968 the Liberals and NDP took 76% of the vote and all 23 seats in BC. So the question is why did BC abanadon the Liberals between 1979 and 1993. The reason is this. The Liberals abanadoned social liberalism and policies aimed at expanding the social safety net in favor a set of promises and policies aimed at Quebec. The Tories went even further than Liberals and nowhere were Mulroney's two accords less popular than in BC. One can not talking about Western Alienation without talking about Quebec.



    Werner: "I agree: when it comes to violent crime imported from other countries and cultures, there’s no difference between Toronto and Vancouver – except for the origins of the usual criminals (Toronto: Caribbean; Vancouver: Asian)."

    Christ Werner, you are dolt. Regina and Saskatoon have been one two in terms of crime for the last decade and they do not exactly have huge immigrant communities. Toronto and Montreal have the lowest crime rates of any major cities in North America.

    By Blogger Koby, at 6:12 PM  

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