Monday, August 13, 2007

Is Ontario coming back?

This is very interesting. Harper and Quebec are getting cozy about formal limits to the federal spending power. McGuinty responds: "I'm proud of Ontario, proud to lead this province, but I'm a Canadian first. At the end of the day, we need a strong federal government that reminds us that we're all in this together."

How long has it been since we've had this sort of statement from Ontario? I've always been proud to be Ontarian--in the sense that we could count on Ontario to do what was right for Canada, not just for Ontario. I don't think we've seen much of that in the last few years (see, e.g., that idiot "Council of the Federation" which is a club to get together to bash Ottawa), but perhaps McGuinty, with an election breathing down his neck, is realizing that most Ontarians do actually like the idea of Ontario being the strong helpful fixer in the federation.

After all, my experience is that most Ontarians don't really have a sense of an "Ontario identity" (cynical view: that's because Ontarians think of Canada and Ontario as one in the same and of Canada as Ontario writ large). Everyone likes the idea of their province having more powers, sure, but I think Ontarians are confident enough that they can step back and realize that a weak federal government is bad.

Of course, I write this as an unreconstructed Trudeauvian centrist . . .

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