Wednesday Night #784

The main focus of the evening was to guide Simon Potter, president of the Westmount Liberal Association in advising the Honorable Lucienne Robillard, Liberal candidate here, on the particular needs and desires of Westmounters.

Introduction
Diana opened the evening with an invitation to a preview of the Mountain Lake TV art auction at the McCord Museum on March 20 at 5 p.m. A number of Westmounters have donated works to this fund raiser for Educational Television wcfe Channel 57.
A note from John Baggely was acknowledged, congratulating David on the Website.

The main topic
More than twenty guests were present, including presidents of two Liberal Riding Associations. The stage was set by Mr. Potter who explained that this would not normally be the role of a riding association president; rather it would be the role of her staff to keep in contact with the constituents and express their views to their representative. This has not happened, perhaps as Mme. Robillard is perceived as an outsider parachuted into this riding without a clear understanding of how different Westmounters are. It was suggested that a staff more courteous to callers might improve the situation.
The view was expressed that the only valid issue is Canadian unity; if not the only issue then certainly the most important, because if the country falls apart, the other issues will automatically lose all importance. Some guests expressed the view that national unity is the role of the individual, not of government. It was suggested that unless the rest of Canada, especially the west, recognizes the importance of a united Canada including Quebec, they will be absorbed by the United States following the disintegration of Canada. The forces tearing Canada apart are in reality, very weak, but bring into sharp focus the even weaker forces working for unity.
This view was not universally held. Some guests refused to accept the premise that Quebec will separate, and expressed the belief that if such an unlikely event were to take place, it would serve to unify the country. Some believed that whereas Francophones constitute a nation with a sense of purpose, the rest of Canada is in its outlook more a colony than a nation.
Other guests believed that Canada’s greatness lay in the absence of national symbols. The flag program ($23 million) has done nothing to instill national pride. The federal government should formulate a policy on post-separation Canadian citizenship.
A prominent member of the group defined the problem as that of focusing on national unity on a short-term basis. We should be thinking of the Canada we want to see in twenty years. Those favoring the separation of Quebec from Canada have a lot of myth and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Federalists simply don’t think in those terms.
At the risk of losing some Québec support, the federal government should send a clear and unequivocal message that Canada is a great country, and a great place in which to live (and state our feeling that the French Quebecer is a first-rate member ….a most important part…and that all are so …).
There was some discussion on the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the constitutional right of Quebec to separate. This, it was felt is an error for two reasons; Supreme Court decisions are unpredictable, and even if it were to condemn Québec separation as illegal, the decision would have little effect because the federally appointed Supreme Court is viewed here as being biased towards federalism. The government of Canada should not look to judges to solve their problems, but would do well to look to other people.
What right do they have to tells us what to do with OUR lives … We can’t make love by LAW!
The discussion then turned to the economy. The opinion was expressed that largely thanks to the hands-off approach on the part of the prime minister, the policies of the Bank of Canada and the federal minister of finance have enabled us to reduce the deficit to the point that we are on the verge of being in a position to pay down the national debt. The continuing weak Canadian dollar was blamed upon the political uncertainty that exists here. Without this factor, it was believed that the Canadian dollar would rise to eighty cents American.
A brief discussion followed on legislation relating to gun control (a cost of $300 million or more to save not one life) and tobacco advertising (to kill many jobs and save not one smoker). The view was expressed that gun control was an unnecessary expense, and that the government has painted itself into a corner with the tobacco advertising ban. Tobacco smoking is an emotional issue not really viewed objectively. (Useless Laws to make Liberals look good and accomplish nothing)

The evening ended at midnight with the arrival of the pumpkin chariots.

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