The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Love Thy Torontonian As Thy Self
In the words of former Ontario Premier David Peterson, who hailed from London, Canadian unity work this way:
The thing that keeps this great country together is that everyone hates Ontario; and the thing that keeps Ontario together is that everyone hates Toronto; and the thing that keeps Toronto together is that everyone hates Bay Street.
Toronto hating is an established Canadian tradition. Even back in the day when Montreal was Canada's commercial capital, it could never prudence Hogtown level bile. Montrealers were just too much fun. That unique Toronto combination of smugness and earnestness - we're better than you, just watch us be better than you - only exacerbated the envy of Toronto's astonishing economic pre-eminence. If you can't see the CN Tower on a good day, well buddy, you're nowhere that matters.
The Greater Toronto Area has a population equal to all three prairie provinces. Most of the major insurance companies, all the big banks and the critical mass of head offices are in Toronto, or within short driving distance. Unlike New York, which Torontonians subconsciously compare themselves to, Canada's Imperial Capital hasn't generated a strong element of cultural alienation. New York isn't America, generations of midwestern populists have cried. There is no doubt that Toronto is Canada, however much Canadians and Torontonians may regret that fact. We have seen the enemy, and the enemy is kinda like us.
Some of the gripping is the old whine of the displaced. Regional honchos being pushed aside by the big honcho calling the shots from his Bay Street office and Yorkville condo. Case in point, Iggy and his battle with the Dennis "Who you lookin' at" Coderre.
The now-former Quebec lieutenant in the party, Denis Coderre, threw that grenade into his own party when he held a news conference Monday to denounce the way he'd been overruled by Ignatieff's inner circle. Or, as Coderre put it: "Toronto advisers who know nothing about the social and political realities of Quebec."
Ah, yes. The "social and political realities of Quebec." You just don't know what it's like being Quebecois. Back in the bad old days, when communism existed outside of university professors imaginations, attempts to challenge the Red Menace were sniffy dismissed as ignorance or propaganda. When at last the cries of being in the pay of the CIA had died down, the defenders of history's worst governments would claim that communism could not be understood by us bourgeoisie types.
Communism worked according to proletarian logic, which was allegedly superior to the sort that Aristotle was peddling on the sidewalks of Athens. Whenever the absurdity of Quebec's demands for special treatment are challenged the same process occurs. First the challenger is denounced as trying to steal Quebec's "fair" share of Canada's national wealth, then as the number counting progresses the argument becomes Quebec's uniqueness. Us non-Quebecois cannot understand Quebec logic. Certainly no mere Torontonian could. Quebec logic is superior to Toronto logic. The latter is unable to grasp the rich and vibrant cultural tradition that cannot survive without massive government grants. Why should Torontonians, or Albertans, or Manitobans subsidize all this uniqueness? That's something which Canadian logic will never understand.
Posted by Richard Anderson on October 7, 2009 | Permalink
Instead of Quebec or Alberta seceding, how about expelling Ontario from Confederation?
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-10-07 8:29:38 AM
Yeah, they might actually have to work at what they do and pay the going rate, without generous subsidies and regional distorions on trade in commodities. Hmmmm. I pay CWB imposed prices on the grains that are produced out west, shipped east to pasta plants and then shipped back to me to eat. How about dairy products? Hmmm force consumers to buy from the "dairy cartel" located at...Saputo, Loblaws, Weston Foods? Whree are their plants located?
How come I don't see NADP dairy products on my western grocery shelves, we don't have dairy farms out here? McCains moved out here from the maritimes, we can't manufacture agri stuff ourselves? WTF? Hey, Special Ed you're farming stock, where's your head?
Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2009-10-07 9:49:11 AM
How come I don't see NADP dairy products on my western grocery shelves, we don't have dairy farms out here?
Odd; we have dairy farms in B.C.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-10-07 10:00:20 AM
Don't see their products on our grocery shelves here in Calgary. The big butter seller is Nielsens, made in N. Dakota.
Posted by: po'ed in AB | 2009-10-07 3:36:29 PM
Zeb, Is that a lighter in your pocket or are you just glad to see this?
Are you still there?
Posted by: Ontario Firefighters | 2009-10-07 3:57:52 PM
Dunno, I never hated Toronto till recent times. I actually admired their British heritage and decore mixed with American philosophies.
It wasn't till CBC started leaning leftish (80's?) and everything was from a TO perspective that irked me.
Posted by: tomax7 | 2009-10-10 3:15:36 PM
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