What’s new?

Times don’t change, much. Case in point: western attitudes toward a Trudeau in Ottawa. Or Trudeau attitudes toward Alberta, for that matter.

This came up recently when somebody showed up at The Leader with a collection of old political cartoons. He pointed out that Albertans’ views of the current Trudeau are pretty much identical to those of a previous generation. The cartoons are annual compilations by the Edmonton Journal, called ‘The World of Uluschak.’

Edd Uluschak was the chief editorial page cartoonist for The Journal for many years starting in 1968. He had a knack for skewering middle class pretentions, political nonsense and had a particular fondness for highlighting the inanities of the rich and powerful. He was merciless with the senior Trudeau, who was Prime Minister at the time. Western alienation was prevalent then – very much as it is now – and Uluschak was all over it.

There’s a cartoon showing (exaggerating, in other words) the notion that prisoners are treated better than seniors. There’s another with Trudeau as a mouse, eyeing a big piece of cheese shaped like Alberta.

What’s behind all the antipathy toward Ottawa in general and the Trudeaus in particular, we think, is the idea in Alberta that Quebec interests will always trump ours. Hence the secessionist sentiment back then and in resurgence now. The sense is we’re getting a raw deal and it isn’t going to change, so we’d be better off going it alone.

That’s an understandable conclusion. But in our view, as flawed as the confederation is – as unfair as it may be – the alternatives are probably worse. Which isn’t to say there isn’t a better deal for Alberta to be had. But chances are good we’re always going to play second fiddle to Central Canada. And political cartoonists like Uluschak will not be short of work.

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