That's because where Old Canada was Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant,
New Canada is "pluralistic," meaning apparently that it dare not state what it
believes in, and consequently doesn't have a clue where it ought to go.
Now the foundational fact of our current politics is this: The West has never
embraced the New Canada. For 30 years it has been in open rebellion against it.
That's why we had a Reform party. That's why we have a Canadian Alliance, and
the core issue in the next federal election centres on the question: Will Ontario
join in the West's rebellion?
Because the West rejected the new society it saw taking shape, it rejected
Pierre Trudeau. He epitomized the New Canada. Moreover, he thoroughly
destroyed the mystique that had once bound the West so fervently to the
Canada that had been.
He was forever the Smart Ass. "Just watch me," he said. So we did. We
watched him as he made it blatantly clear that provincial control of resources
meant nothing, that the West and the Atlantic region are generally irrelevant to
the real Canadian power structure, that how we voted was inconsequential since
elections are won in Ontario and Quebec, and that our duty as Canadians was to
shut up and do as we were told.
As an individual we admired him. He was courageous, innovative, resourceful,
determined, all virtues dear to the West. But as a prime minister he was an
unmitigated disaster. In a true sense he cost us our country. When he was alive
we blamed him for that. Now that he's dead, we still blame him for that.
Ted Byfield is founder of The Report magazine.