Many Westerners Think Prairie Provinces Should Continue to Function Separately
THE EDMONTON JOURNAL
IN THE February 1 number of Maclean’s Hon. W. F. A. Turgeon gave a number of reasons why he thought the three prairie provinces should be united. Other Westerners hold that such an amalgamation would be a mistake. The Edmonton Journal upholds the latter contention as follows: “To put it (the proposed amalgamation) into effect woüld be folly, and certainly it can expect to receive no large measure of support in Alberta. Here we have developed a very distinctive provincial life, as have Manitoba and Saskatchewan. To seek to put an end to our basic governmental arrangements, to which we have adjusted ourselves over a lengthy period of time, simply because of temporary conditions, would be foolish and shortsighted in the extreme.
“It is not at all likely that any large present savings could be made by the merger. Heavy investments have been made by each province in its governmental plant, the interest on which would still have to be met. Efficiency would be impaired and travelling costs greatly increased by an attempt to administer the affairs of so vast an area as is included in the provinces from the one centre.
“Before Alberta and Saskatchewan were given their autonomy the question as to whether there should be one or two governments was thoroughly discussed. Two were decided upon because it was felt that though the population was then sparse it was certain to grow rapidly.
“It is the counsel of despair to put forward such a suggestion, and Alberta at least has no reason for any slackening of faith in what is in store for it in the coming years. Even under the unfavorable conditions that prevailed for the greater part of the last decade its population increased by 23.63 per cent.
“There are plenty of ways in which economies can be instituted without resort to the union scheme, to which there is so much valid objection.”
The Journal quotes Professor A. B. Clark, of the University of Manitoba, as having said:
“Industrial depressions have their day, and the time will come when the population of each of the prairie provinces will amply justify separate legislatures. Until then chief hope of economy seems to lie in reducing membership of the legislators to a level more nearly in accord with existing populations.”
The Journal remarks that this opinion must be shared by the great majority of Westerners. It admits that Premier Bracken of Manitoba favors the idea, but adds:
“The largest measure of support is likely to come from Saskatchewan which, being at the centre of the new province, would naturally find the arrangement more attractive than the others.”
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