Preston Manning warns of ‘eastern alienation’
By Andy Radia | Canada Politics – Tue, 24 Jan, 2012http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-p ... 29187.html
The rallying cry of Preston Manning's Reform party was "the West wants in", referencing the long-standing belief Western Canada was excluded from mainstream political affairs of the country.
After the last federal election, the West is in and, according to Manning, the East is out.
"This will sound funny coming from me. I worry about Eastern alienation," Manning told The Globe and Mail.
"The different thing after this election is this shift in the political centre of gravity of the country. It's now an alignment between Ontario and the West, not an alignment between Ontario and Quebec. And that's got positive implications. It's got things to worry about, too."
Manning suggests that those east of the Ottawa River have a diminished voice in Canada's new political landscape.
Certainly, the last election taught us that parties no longer need seats in Quebec to win a majority government - even if the Conservatives had lost all of their seats in La Belle Provence, they would still enjoy a comfortable majority.
Before the next election, the net addition of an additional 24 seats in Ontario and the West could further diminish the East's voice in Ottawa.
But Manning, who now runs the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, isn't gloating over the west's gain and the east's pain.
"We kind of joke about this eastern alienation," he says.
"But then I usually sober them down and say, 'You remember how you felt when you thought you were out of it. ... Nobody in the country should ever feel out of it like that again."