Tuesday, April 06, 2010

New States and Ontario

I am still digging away at demographic stats. In addition, the Sydney Government is reported to be due to release new population projections for NSW today.

In the meantime, I thought that I would report on the problems that have emerged in the Canadian province of Ontario. Ontario has an area of  1,076,395 km2 (415,598 sq mi) with a population of something over 13 million.

According to a report by Randy McDonald, the growth of Toronto, Ontario's biggest city, is now causing real problems of governance within Ontario with growing dissatisfaction in other parts of the province who see their needs being ignored. Sound familiar?

Given the difficulty of creating new provinces, one suggestion that has been made is that the provincial government should devolve power to a series of provincial assemblies within Ontario.

In rejecting the idea of new states in 1924, the NSW Cohen Commission concluded that the needs identified by those supporting new states could be better met by regional councils. The problem since is that  the Government in Sydney has always refused to create councils with the size and power required to have any chance of effectiveness. Its failure here during the Australian post second world war reconstruction period led to the regional councils movement turning into a renewed New State movement.

My advice to those living in Ontario would be to go for provincial separation with devolved powers to regional assemblies as a fall-back. You see, even though either may be hard to achieve, the act of campaigning forces attention to be paid to regional problems.

What was insufficiently recognised by those opposing the New England separation case in 1967 was that the existence of the New England New State Movement was the single biggest weapon providing a degree of unity in the North, while also forcing attention to be paid to Northern problems.

This has gone now. Those such as the lower Hunter dairy farmers who feared loss of preferential access to the Sydney market lost it anyway without gaining anything in return.       


Anonymous said...

Jim, the mood in Newcastle and the Hunter is one of anger and resentment. Whereas the Hunter was the stumbling block for New England in 1967, it could now be the springboard. It is the jewel in the New England crown that would guarantee the instant success of the new state.

I for one am looking for a new state movement to be reborn and would join it an support it with enthusiasm. We are overdue for it. Perhaps we could start with an unofficial referendum throughout the north with the next council elections. A strong YES vote would give us the platform to push for a new secession referendum.

bluedtf said...

I am a born & bred Novocastrian & have been "over politicians" for years.All parties are Sydney centric & the regions that earn the money that they spend are ignored.
A separate state north of the Hawksbury would be my dream for the future. I don't care where the Government is based, as long as it is not Sydney.

Jim Belshaw said...

Well said, bluedtf!