We are on the eve of a new year, a year which should prove interesting in terms of the political landscape.
It was only a dozen days ago a small group gathered to protest the performance of the federal government, mimicking the efforts of the so-called ‘yellow vest’ movement in France.
One might not call a gathering of about a dozen protestors as a ground swell of disenchantment with Ottawa, but the dissatisfaction certainly runs deeper than a few protestors.
There is not a day goes by that someone local is not lamenting our federal government’s performance on social media. The comments generally hammer directly on Prime Minister Trudeau who is being blamed for numerous perceived ills.
That too is not exactly ground breaking news. Social media was busy with vitriol regarding the actions of Prime Minister Stephen Harper too, with suggestions he was about to ruin the fabric of our country.
The only difference this time on social media is that the complaints come from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
That of course is the problem with social media in general, it is often hijacked by the extremes of any issue. In the case of politics the extreme not in power lobs verbal bombs at the government, most often comments filled with rhetoric and limited suggestions to address the problems.
An example is the suggestion of a few about western separation. That is not a solution, and even if it was it would be a Gordian Knot of red tape, referendums, court challenges, negotiations, and years of time before it could occur.
Of course western separatists on social media may be little more than those suggesting a flat earth either. It is to be hoped the vast majority still see our nation as better than the alternative.
But all that said, there is obviously increased dissatisfaction in the west in regards to the federal government 10 months in front of a federal election in October.
The frustrations seem to be focused on three areas, two with merit, the third making less sense.
The issue that is being over blown is the decision for Canada to be a signatory to the United Nations Immigration Pact. There is a fear the flood gates will open to immigration and that apparently scares some even though their own family would have originally immigrated. The Pact is non-binding, and is about creating a framework for reasonable migration of people, a goal that should be a reasonable one.
The first issue that has greater merit is equalization payments, with concerns with the money flowing to Quebec, who are blocking a pipeline east, which is also a huge issue out west.
Equalization has been part of Canada from day one in one form, or another, being formalized in 1957, and included in our constitution in 1982. It may not always seem fair, but it is something no government has suggested changing in recent memory.
The carbon tax is the other huge issue, in part in Saskatchewan because the provincial government has used it as the great bugaboo to deflect attention from its own issues.
The new tax is certainly an unknown, which the federal government should be criticized for. It is hard for an individual to know what the tax will mean for them and their family, and unknowns create apprehension and fear. There is a need to protect our planet moving forward, but the approach should be understood, and the timing needs to be right. The carbon tax is failing in both counts.
With a list of issues already being debated the months ahead will certainly be heated in terms of federal politics in our province.