Wheels west

FTLComm - Tisdale - December 21, 2005

When John A. MacDonald and his gang were putting this country together the vast open prairies, the
great central plains were unihabited and in their minds a kind of desert suitable for nomades and desparate dirt farmers. The problem was that to establish British Columbia and the access to the Pacific Ocean there had to be a link from Central Canada to Vancouver.

The problem was solved by working out a deal for some of that landed to be handed over to a Montreal based company, Canadian Pacific, who with the help of the federal government would build a rail line across the desert. It was clear that a single line was just not going to be what was needed and a second line was planned from Winnipeg to Edmonton then down to Vancouver. This second project was to be carried out by The Great Northern Railroad which it was soon discovered simply did not have enough capital for the venture and the Canadian National, a crown corporation was created to do the job.

But to sustain those two rail lines across the empty land there was a need for a railway maintenance post about every seven miles and that meant people. The solution was to import settlers, offering land cheap to poor Europeans who it was thought would produce enough agricultural products to pay for the upkeep of the rail line. Seemed like a good idea and by 1920 there were 2,000,000 people in the plains area of Saskatchewan, a homestead on nearly every quarter section of land and with that churches, villages, and schools to serve this population.

With the passage of time and the altering of circumstances the ground link to the West Coast was no longer vital to the interests of the nation and when I was just about to become a teenager the decision to abandon the prairies was made. It wasn't something a politician decided as one Western Prime Minister set out to reverse the concept and the economic lords of the land kicked him out of power. Canadian voters, (Ontario and Quebec) could see no need to maintain special transportation policies to allow the prairies to continue to exist and the Crow's Nest agreement was ended and rail line abandonment moved forward. The CP rail line company diversified and the crown owned CN was donated to the private sector.

There is no political or economic reason for Quebec, Ontario or BC voters to want to see a population on the vast Great Central Plains. There really are not enough other voters to matter and the consequences are now self evident.

National Unity is a term that only means keeping Quebec people willing to accept an unequal share of the wealth of the country. So in this present federal election for once the simple truth is out where it can be discussed. Canada includes Quebec (beg, beg) and the Liberal Party which for most of the history of this country has enjoyed the support of Quebec voters is in dire trouble in that province because of the scandal in which it was involved in attempting to bribe those Quebec voters to be federalist supporters.

The Conservatives, lead by an avowed Alberta separatist with his chief advisers, Alberta separatists is using the slogan that they "stand up for Canada."

Interestingly, the map at the top of the page, is just one of many confused renditions of what Canada means to various people and various groups. It would seem that our multicultural country is extremely fractured and despite their bleating, it is really hard to find anyone in this election who really and truly stands up for Canada.

Timothy W. Shire

Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot for his Railroad Trilogy, now there's a guy who stands up for Canada, I wonder if he could be encouraged to run for Prime Minister.


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
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306 873 2004