Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Provinces in the West

I only see the online Canadian Encyclopedia's "Feature of the Day" from time to time, but it's growing on me. Seems to me it used to be mostly light "this happened today" notes, but lately I find some chewy historical arguments.

Like this one by Michael Payne, on the forming of new provinces in the west in 1904-05. New, nicely turned, and with a strong argument.

And I suspect, misleading. Every time I read a historian on how Alberta and Saskatchewan became separate provinces, I get a western-grievance account of how the territories were split so that Ottawa could screw the west. Payne sets it out well.

Now I have not done much work in the sources. But what little I've seen suggests the people who were hottest for splitting Alberta from Saskatchewan were the people who lived there. The foothills ranchers already felt they had nothing in common with the flatland farmers and they were determined not to go on being ruled by those easterners in Regina, the territorial capital.

I'm not saying there's nothing in the evil-Ottawa conspiracy theory. Still like to see more evidence put behind the bald statements about it.
Follow @CmedMoore