Oh, What A Friend We Have In Dion

Edmonton - Monday, February 24, 2003 - by: Ron Thornton

about us

Ooooweeee, doesn't that Stephane Dion write a pretty letter. I was just saying to my wife, who is not my cousin, that it isn't often a suit in Ottawa takes such an interest in us hillbillies out in these parts. While digging in the snow searching for a nice stalk of straw to chew on, I couldn't help but give thanks to our boy, Ralph Klein, for letting us all see how much that federal Intergovernmental Affairs fella worries about us. Then again, I reckon I should also give thanks for the education made available to me by Premier Ernest Manning that even allowed me to decipher just what was said. Of course, I didn't get the fancy pants book learning one might get in Laval or Paris, like Mr. Dion, but I don't think I missed much by being deprived of the lessons taught in Snobbery 101.



live in

I like reading about history and politics and such. Maybe it has a bit to do with the fact my own roots lie deep in this country. Being a direct descendant of a Métis named Modeste Cantara, as well as an Indian guide named Peechee, I would reckon my folks have pretty good claim to this land where the buffalo once roamed. Any stake we might have to this land comes from living here, not through some English king who figured all the lands that drained into the Hudson's Bay were his to give. It kind of made for tense relations some time later when some ignorant Scottish lord sent a bunch of folks into the bush to try and settle what was already settled. Then again, outsiders sticking their condescending noses in our businesses, treating us like a band of half-wits and morons, all the while proving the opposite to be true, is something to which we've long become accustomed.



things to
the hicks

"I am sure you will agree that nothing justifies secession, or the threat of secession, in Canada,"
our cultured benefactor scribed to our boy in Edmonton. Then again, he could have uttered the same thing about divorce, but you might be surprised at how many good folks might argue the point. Dion went on to enlighten our Alberta-raised Premier, who didn't go to school in Laval or Paris either, that secession is "a very grave act." I wonder if Ralph knew this? It would seem that if one succeeds, then an international border pops up
"between fellow citizens who thus cease to be fellow citizens."
My God, I wonder if our guy Ralph knew about that? I mean, if Alberta was part of a territory that seceded from Canada, then no longer would we be fellow citizens of Stephane Dion or Celine Dion, for that matter. We would have to sacrifice our ties to Jean Chretien, Sheila Copps, Adrienne Clarkson, and Margaret Atwood, to name just a few. We would be forced to establish our own democratic system of governance, one more attuned to providing fair institutional representation. Funny, now that I think on it, Mr. Dion seems to be on to something. I know that I may be seen as just some banjo-picking, overall wearing, Heinz 57 mixed-breed of aboriginal, Scottish, German, and English blood hick living out here in the boonies, but I think if he was hoping to paint secession in a negative light, Mr. Dion should have kept that little revelation under his hat.




Mr. Dion's grip on history seems about on par with that of Defense Minister John McCallum, the economist turned military guru whose own education seems to have missed the infamous 1942 Dieppe raid on Nazi-held France that resulted in 3000 Canadian casualties. Dion wrote that since the end of the Second World War, "whenever secession has occurred" it has been where fundamental rights have been violated. While we can chew the fat as to whether the complete dominance of one section of a nation over others might constitute a violation of fundamental democratic rights, Dion's comments left me wondering as to what violation caused the division of Czechoslovakia? Though my literacy is due to an Alberta, not French, education, my understanding is that in 1990 the Czech region elected a party that ran on a platform of economic and democratic reform. The Slovak region elected one that called for a redefining of the Czech-Slovak relationship. They failed to reach agreement as to their mutual concerns, partly due to many Czechs failing to recognize or address the grievances held by Slovaks regarding their role within the nation. In 1993 the country divided. I wonder if Mr. Dion might put down his quill and parchment for a moment to ponder if there might be a lesson to be learned here?




Mr. Dion says that he has lived in France and the United States and never met anyone who, in disagreeing with the policies of their national governments, questioned
"their belonging and attachment to their country."
I wonder if Stephane reads? Has he ever heard of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, or the Confederacy for that matter? Then again, in worrying about the welfare of us rubes, Dion probably forgot that in Quebec, the province he was born, raised, and that sent him off to Parliament, more than a couple of folks over the years have indicated a less than impassioned desire to remain within the confederation. Maybe he just doesn't get out much.




Albertans can abide by having differences of opinion with our fellow Canadians. Albertans continue to strive, within confederation, to influence reform of a system that continues to treat us like outsiders. However, Albertans have no patience in the pretentiousness of fools who are blinded by their own misguided delusions of grandeur to the point that they fail to recognize their own ignorance and stupidity. It is like being ruled by cattle. They may appear well groomed, they may even be nice to look at, but they certainly are not all that bright.



a better

Unfortunately, these critters sometimes jump the fence and wander over to mess up our yard. We are reminded that maybe what we need is a better fence. For this, we thank Stephane Dion for his contribution to the debate.




Ron Thornton

  Dion, Stephane, letter to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, February 21, 2003
  Cheadle, Bruce, Dion sends Klein letter to 'dismiss' alberta separatism 'misunderstanding' (PDF) February 20, 2003, CP
  Olsen, Tom, You're not listening, Klein tells Ottawa, Dion gets earful after calling for explanation on separatist talk (PDF) February 21, 2003, Edmonton Journal
  Biography of Stephane Dion from the Unity, Diversity, Dialogue web site
  Hudson Bay Company Charer (Salon Law Archive)
  Raid on Dieppe (Veterans Affairs, Canada)
  Garneau, Dick, Metis Nation History, Metis Culture 1869, February 9, 2003, Metis Web site
  Hrobsky, Martin, A closer look at the division of Czechoslovakia, December 20, 2002, Radio Prague
  Reid, Mark, Albertans avoid separation anxiety, (PDF) February 24, 2003, Calgary Herald



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