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Disunity in transition : a comparative analysis of organizational, policy and leadership conflicts within… Nanson, David Hubert Geoffrey 1982

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DISUNITY IN TRANSITION:  A Comparative Analysis  of O r g a n i z a t i o n a l , P o l i c y and Leadership C o n f l i c t s w i t h i n Western Separatist Groups - - WestFed and WCC (February, 1980-August, 1982)  by  David Hubert Geoffrey Nanson B . A . , The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1980  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF • /  MASTER OF ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of P o l i t i c a l Science)  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1982 c*") David Hubert Geoffrey Nanson, 1982  In p r e s e n t i n g  this thesis  requirements  f o r an  of  British  it  freely available  for  understood that for  Library  s h a l l make  for reference  and  study.  I  for extensive copying of  h i s or  be  her  copying or  f i n a n c i a l gain  g r a n t e d by  publication  s h a l l not  be  Date  September 16,  1982  of  further this  Columbia  thesis  head o f  this  my  It is thesis  a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my  of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1Y3  the  representatives.  permission.  Department  University  the  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may by  the  the  I agree that  permission  department or  f u l f i l m e n t of  advanced degree at  Columbia,  agree t h a t  in partial  written  - ii  -  ABSTRACT  This paper i s a case study of West-Fed Association and Western Canada Concept.  As the two major s e p a r a t i s t  organizations i n western  Canada, operating i n t h e e a r l y 1980s, these two groups have received an abundance of curious a t t e n t i o n from the media and academics a l i k e .  Yet  l i t t l e of t h i s a t t e n t i o n has been focused on the i n t e r n a l structure and workings of the two a s s o c i a t i o n s .  This study's objective t h e r e f o r e ,  is  to gain a c l e a r e r understanding of how West-Fed and Western Canada Concept functioned as p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s .  More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the  paper w i l l h i g h l i g h t those internal c o n f l i c t s which severely weakened and dramatically a l t e r e d the two groups; of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t w i l l be the importance and scope of each a s s o c i a t i o n ' s o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c y and leadership components as contributors to the creation and development of the several c o n f l i c t s .  In the end, however, the essay w i l l argue that  neither West-Fed nor Western Canada Concept have suffered a greater degree of internal dissension than any other p o l i t i c a l  organization,  suggesting that the two groups can (or could have) decrease the s e v e r i t y of future c o n f l i c t s once they e s t a b l i s h a c l e a r sense of  priorities.  - iii  -  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chronology of Events Introduction Background:  i  • • • WCC and West-Fed  West-Fed: Organization Policy Leadership Western Canada Concept: Organization Policy Leadership  v  1 5 12 12 18 25 27 27 32 35  Discussion  40  Conclusions  52  Footnotes Bibliography  5 4  59  - iv -  CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS  1975  - V i c t o r i a lawyer, D o u g l a s . C h r i s t i e , writes l e t t e r to e d i t o r of c i t y ' s newspaper promoting western separatism - Committee f o r Western Independence (CWI) founded  1979  - CWI changes name to Western National A s s o c i a t i o n (WNA) - C h r i s t i e becomes leader of WNA  1980 (Feb.)  - Edmonton businessman Elmer Knutson writes l e t t e r to Edmonton Journal c r i t i c i z i n g Quebec-based, Francophonesupported L i b e r a l party  (May)  - West-Fed Association incorporated under Alberta S o c i e t i e s Act  (June)  - C h r i s t i e leaves WNA to found Western Canada Concept (WCC)  (July-Dec.) - Both C h r i s t i e and Knutson begin touring western Canada speaking on the i n e q u i t i e s of Confederation (Nov.) 1981 (Mar.)  - C h r i s t i e a t t r a c t s 2,700 people to Edmonton's J u b i l e e Auditorium - West-Fed Calgary executives voice t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with Knutson's c e n t r a l i z e d c o n t r o l ; Knutson's attempt to censure them r e s u l t s in the Calgary executives resigning "en masse"  (May)  - F i r s t " e l e c t e d " WCC executive takes o f f i c e  (June)  - WCC national executive confronts C h r i s t i e on his state p o l i c y  unitary  (July-Aug.) - C h r i s t i e tours western Canada (Aug.)  ' - West-Fed's annual convention r e s u l t s i n Knutson's move from the presidency to the l e a d e r s h i p , support for a motion from the Calgary r i d i n g associations to turn WestFed into an o u t r i g h t s e p a r a t i s t group, and a mandate to negotiate a merger or c o a l i t i o n with WCC.  (Sept.)  - WCC national executive meets to organize Alberta p r o v i n c i a l party - C h r i s t i e writes l e t t e r to members opposing the national e x e c u t i v e ' s move; he tenders his resignation  - V -  (Oct.)  - C h r i s t i e ' s resignation accepted through non-support; WCC's national o f f i c e ceases to e x i s t ; most former national o f f i c e r s assume positions i n new WCC (Alberta) party. WCC i s now two autonomous p r o v i n c i a l parties in B.C. and Alberta  (Dec.)  - West-Fed Calgary executives, d i s s a t i s f i e d with lack of progress on negotiations with WCC, decide to leave West-Fed to work for WCC.  1982 (Jan.)  (Feb.)  - Other West-Fed constituency organizations follow the Calgary l e a d ; soon a f t e r the e n t i r e B.C. contingent def e c t s to WCC; West-Fed e f f e c t i v e l y dead. - Gordon Kesler elected in Alberta r i d i n g of Olds-Didsbury in b y - e l e c t i o n under WCC banner; B.C. wing s t a r t s to take shape under pro-tern presidency of Don Munro.  (Mar.-Apr.) - Kesler adopts a moderate stance on the importance of a s e p a r a t i s t image for the party; ensuing confrontation with Maygard and Westmore (leader and president, respect i v e l y ) ; the two l a t t e r i n d i v i d u a l s r e s i g n ; Kesler appointed interim leader. (June)  - WCC (B.C.) annual convention; C h r i s t i e defeats Munro for the leadership  (Aug.)  - WCC (Alberta) annual convention; Kesler defeats long-time party organizer Howard Thompson for the leadership.  INTRODUCTION In any new p o l i t i c a l party or movement, the greatest threat to the continued existence of the organization i s from the members themselves. The d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t actions of the membership determine whether the emergent a s s o c i a t i o n w i l l survive the i n i t i a l stages of development. Internal c o n f l i c t , not external f a c t o r s , i s the f i r s t enemy.  Yet d i s s e n -  sion i s v i r t u a l l y i n e v i t a b l e i n any p o l i t i c a l organization as there are bound to be divergent opinions on matters when a disparate grouping of p o l i t i c a l l y - m o t i v a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s are brought  together.  C e r t a i n l y dissension i s not foreign to Canadian p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s and movements.  The Progressive Conservative party has a long h i s t o r y of i n -  ternal c o n f l i c t - - the most recent incident being the displeasure with the Joe Clark leadership voiced p u b l i c l y by a large number of party and caucus members.  The L i b e r a l s have also experienced i n t e r n a l unity problems as  witnessed by.the l e t t e r sent to Prime M i n i s t e r Trudeau by ten L i b e r a l Members of Parliament from Quebec questioning his high i n t e r e s t rates p o l i c y . As f o r p o l i t i c a l movements, the B r i t i s h Columbia a n t i - r a c i s t organizations are c u r r e n t l y embroiled i n a heated, and sometimes v i o l e n t debate over the best t a c t i c s to use in f u r t h e r i n g t h e i r cause.  S t i l l , these c o n f l i c t s ,  serious as they a r e , have not resulted in the wholesale destruction of the respective o r g a n i z a t i o n s .  One reason these groups have been able to survive  the disputes when a newer p o l i t i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n may not, l i e s i n the d i s t i n c t i o n between internal and external factors.'''  Established organizations  have the advantage of a c l e a r l y - d e f i n e d external t h r e a t ; i f the external  - 2 -  threat i s perceived by the members as being of greater import than i n t e r nal f a c t o r s , then internal disputes should not have grave d e b i l i t a t i n g consequences.  For the L i b e r a l s and the Conservatives the greater  threat  is from each other, not C l a r k ' s leadership or Trudeau's p o l i c i e s .  Simi-  l a r l y B.C. a n t i - r a c i s t groups are at one i n t h e i r perception of the common enemy being the r a c i s t s .  New p o l i t i c a l organizations often do not have the  benefit of unanimity as to the c o r r e c t external adversary, however. Invariably the people who j o i n newly-formed p o l i t i c a l groupings come with d i f f e r e n t opinions as to what c o n s t i t u t e s the greatest threat to them.  For  example, in western s e p a r a t i s t organizations the members' views of the leading external foe range from Confederation i t s e l f to the L i b e r a l p a r t y , to Trudeau, to m e t r i f i c a t i o n or b i l i n g u a l i s m .  Hence, unless or u n t i l  there  i s a consensus on what poses the greatest threat to the freedom and l i b e r t y of a new a s s o c i a t i o n ' s members, they w i l l often turn t h e i r energies inwards, concentrating on internal issues i n s t e a d . The object of t h i s paper i s to come to a better understanding of the internal forces which caused the destruction of West-Fed and the near dest r u c t i o n of Western Canada Concept (WCC).  In a d d i t i o n , I want to t e s t the  assumption that one reason emergent p o l i t i c a l organizations are more prone to s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n by internal c o n f l i c t than more established groups i s because the former have yet to gain general agreement on what c o n s t i t u t e s the greatest external t h r e a t .  In t h i s sense i t w i l l be argued that the two  2  western s e p a r a t i s t  groups were the a c h i t e c t s of t h e i r own problems.  The  internal d i s u n i t y which severely weakened both organizations was not much d i f f e r e n t than that suffered o c c a s i o n a l l y by the established p o l i t i c a l  - 3 -  associations.  But, internal c o n f l i c t proved to have very serious conse-  quences for West-Fed and WCC, l a r g e l y because neither was able to  divert  the members' c o l l e c t i v e energies towards a generally accepted external threat.  Further, the paper attempts to discover the types of disputes - -  be they over o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c y or leadership - - which were the cause of l a r g e - s c a l e d i s u n i t y . It i s hoped that the paper w i l l western separatism l i t e r a t u r e ,  be a s i g n i f i c a n t addition to the  i f only because i t f i l l s a v o i d .  Much  attention has been granted t h i s recent phenomenon c a l l e d western separatism.  The t e l e v i s i o n and p r i n t media have reported the s i z e and tenor of  s e p a r a t i s t meetings, they have a i r e d the s e p a r a t i s t s grievances, conveyed t h e i r p o l i c i e s , and delighted i n unearthing t h e i r unity problems; the p o l l s t e r s have gauged the degree of support for secession; academics have endeavoured to discover the roots of s e p a r a t i s t sentiments, have systema t i c a l l y dismantled s e p a r a t i s t complaints t r y i n g to discern t h e i r or have analyzed the f e a s i b i l i t y of an independent west. not l i e in these areas.  My i n t e r e s t s do  Much of t h i s research on western separatism deals  with factors external to the two o r g a n i z a t i o n s . opposite:  validity,  My concern i s exactly the  I want to analyze the internal c o n s t i t u t i o n of the two groups,  paying p a r t i c u l a r attention to those areas which were sources of d i s u n i t y . Hence, the paper w i l l  be p r i m a r i l y a case-study of the two a s s o c i a t i o n s .  The format of the essay i s based on a b e l i e f that both parties and movements can be broken down into three component parts - - o r g a n i z a t i o n , 3  p o l i c i e s and l e a d e r s h i p .  These v a r i a b l e s w i l l be reviewed for each  organization so t h e i r s p e c i f i c c o n t r i b u t i o n to internal c o n f l i c t can be  - 4 -  ascertained.  It i s expected that each i s a potential source of d i s u n i t y .  If the organization of the decision-making process i s viewed as i l l e g i t i mate, i f the p o l i c i e s drafted are unrepresentative of the members' i n t e r e s t s , or i f the leadership i s not respected due to perceived incompetence or d i s i n t e r e s t , then dissension w i l l l i k e l y The f i r s t section  result.  of the paper i s a discussion of the background  of West-Fed and WCC, the main purpose of which i s to f a m i l i a r i z e the reader with the i n d i v i d u a l s , events, issues-, and decisions which played a major r o l e in the c o n f l i c t s to be discussed l a t e r .  The second and t h i r d sections  review the o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c y and leadership c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of West-Fed and WCC r e s p e c t i v e l y .  These parts w i l l expand on the background material  of the f i r s t s e c t i o n .  The segment on the organizational q u a l i t i e s of both  groups w i l l emphasize the decision-making structure and process as a cont r i b u t o r to d i s s e n s i o n .  The p o l i c y component i s designed to  highlight  those p o l i c i e s which produced the most controversy; leadership w i l l be delineated with the intention of constructing a composite of the l e a d e r s ' p o l i t i c a l q u a l i t i e s and d i s t i n c t i v e personality t r a i t s .  In these sections  the discussion i s geared towards providing answers to questions of why dissension surfaced and from where i t emerged.  In l a t e r sections the s i m i -  l a r i t i e s and differences between West-Fed and WCC with respect to organizat i o n a l , p o l i c y and leadership c o n f l i c t s w i l l  be compared.  As well  the  i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p among the three v a r i a b l e s operating w i t h i n the i n d i v i d u a l organizations w i l l  be analyzed.  Finally, it will  be argued that the  internal d i s u n i t y suffered by the western s e p a r a t i s t groups was not charact e r i s t i c a l l y different  from that experienced by other p o l i t i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n s ;  - 5 -  i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t can thus be relegated to a p o s i t i o n of secondary importance, e s p e c i a l l y i f the members can d i r e c t t h e i r attention to external concerns. BACKGROUND:  WCC AND WEST-FED  Although West-Fed A s s o c i a t i o n of Alberta (West-Fed) and Western Canada Concept sprang i n t o public view at approximately the same time ( F a l l , 1980) and, although both were founded as a response to the Liberal e l e c t i o n v i c t o r y of February 1980, the background of the two groups format i o n are quite d i s t i n c t .  WCC enjoys the longer h i s t o r y .  It was i n 1975  that twenty-nine year old V i c t o r i a lawyer Douglas C h r i s t i e wrote a l e t t e r to the e d i t o r of the c i t y ' s newspaper explaining the necessity and merits 4  of western Canadian independence.  The number of encouraging responses  prompted a few meetings o f the interested p a r t i e s ; from these informal discussion groups the Committee for Western Independence (CWI) was formed. Later incorporated under the B r i t i s h Columbia S o c i e t i e s A c t , CWI was a p o l i t i c a l movement a s p i r i n g towards separation by educating the B.C. public as to the i n e q u i t i e s of Confederation.  From 1975 to 1979 CWI l i m i t e d  their  a c t i v i t i e s to B.C. and r e s t r i c t e d themselves to a study group format — there was no attempt to e s t a b l i s h a p o l i t i c a l  party.  The year 1979 saw the fortunes of Doug C h r i s t i e and CWI s h i f t .  First,  in the spring the executive changed the name of CWI to the Western National Association (WNA) - - a move designed to broaden the group's support base 5 by d e l e t i n g the s e p a r a t i s t connotation.  A few months l a t e r C h r i s t i e emerged  as leader of what was formally a p o l i t i c a l party (but which retained more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a movement^).  C h r i s t i e ' s incumbency as leader proved to  - 6 -  be temporary however, as he held the p o s i t i o n f o r only three months. June, 1980 he l e f t WNA to form his own p a r t y .  In  7  The reasons for C h r i s t i e ' s departure from WNA are twofold - - both r e l a t i n g to p o l i c y differences between the leader and the executive.  First,  C h r i s t i e favoured the expansion of operations into A l b e r t a , while most of the executive o f f i c e r s were determined to confine party energies to B.C. Second, Stan Bennett and several other prominent members were pressuring the executive to adopt an immigration platform of r a c i a l e q u a l i t y in eng  trance quotas — a programme C h r i s t i e was not prepared to accept.  The  departure of C h r i s t i e also marked the beginning of a lengthy court  battle  between C h r i s t i e and WNA over party records, e s p e c i a l l y membership l i s t s . It was w i t h i n days of his r e j e c t i o n of WNA that C h r i s t i e founded Western Canada Concept; i t was within weeks that WCC was incorporated under 9  the B.C. S o c i e t i e s A c t .  C h r i s t i e claimed (perhaps i n c o r r e c t l y ) that a few  months l a t e r - - Summer, 1980 - - WCC was registered as a p o l i t i c a l party in B.C. and A l b e r t a .  Therefore, well before the establishment of WCC, Doug  C h r i s t i e was a c t i v e l y involved in western s e p a r a t i s t endeavours.  And not  s u r p r i s i n g l y , events which had marred C h r i s t i e ' s short tenure in WNA ( p o l i c y d i s p u t e s , leadership c o n f l i c t s ) would also become the nemesis of WCC. With the founding of his new p a r t y , C h r i s t i e focused most of his energies on ensuring WCC would become a p o l i t i c a l force in western. Canada. He spoke in any c i t y or town in B.C. and Alberta where a meeting could be organized.  Attendance at the meetings was less than encouraging however,  (averaging about f i f t y people with some a t t r a c t i n g less than ten) as i t  - 7 -  appeared attendance was dependent on federal government a c t i o n s .  The  h i g h l i g h t of C h r i s t i e ' s speaking tours was thus the November 28, 1980 r a l l y in Edmonton attended by 2,700 Albertans seeking ways to protest the recently-enacted National Energy Program.  C h r i s t i e was p u b l i c l y undaunted  by the low attendance f i g u r e s , which continued through his J u l y , 1981 tour of the two westernmost provinces.  Instead he emphasized the internal  strength of the o r g a n i z a t i o n . Western Canada Concept's internal unity was not as s o l i d as C h r i s t i e l i k e d to c l a i m , however.  It was p r e c i s e l y at the time C h r i s t i e was conduc-  t i n g his 1981 tour that the foundation of WCC began to crack and the framework to bend.  Problems s i m i l a r to those C h r i s t i e experienced while with  WNA came to the f o r e .  F i r s t , C h r i s t i e ' s long-standing adherence to a p o l i c y  of creating a unitary state a f t e r independence was questioned by the A l b e r t a dominated national executive in June, 1981.  He was coerced into accepting  a p o l i c y which allowed f o r a post-independence referendum to decide i f a unitary or federal state was preferred by the p u b l i c .  Then, on September  12, 1981, the Alberta members of the national executive, under the d i r e c t i o n of president Al Maygard, held a membership meeting in Edmonton to discuss the p o s s i b i l i t y of organizing an Alberta wing of WCC. By the time the small meeting ( l e s s than 100 members attended) had been adjourned, not only had a pro-tern  p r o v i n c i a l executive been e l e c t e d , but a p o l i c y had been  r a t i f i e d r e j e c t i n g any concept of a unitary s t a t e , r e s t r i c t i n g the spending of a l l Alberta-derived funds to A l b e r t a , and most important, refusing to recognize Doug C h r i s t i e as having any control over the Alberta members. P e r s o n a l i t y and p o l i c i e s were c i t e d as the cause of C h r i s t i e ' s r e j e c t i o n . " ^ '  - 8 -  The following day C h r i s t i e wrote a l e t t e r to a l l WCC members claiming the Albertans had acted undemocratically, had f a i l e d to properly n o t i f y members of the meeting, and had established an Alberta executive when there was no need.  He then c a l l e d on a l l members to support him i n his opposition  to the move, threatening to resign w i t h i n a month i f the support was not forthcoming.  Due in part to an aggressive campaign i n defense of the  Alberta i n i t i a t i v e made by the party newspaper (by t h i s time, c o n t r o l l e d by 11 a n t i - C h r i s t i e d i s s i d e n t s ) , C h r i s t i e never received his support.  By  November, 1981 the national o f f i c e of WCC, depleted by the defections of the Alberta executives to the p r o v i n c i a l wing and the t a c i t acceptance of C h r i s t i e ' s resignation by the membership, ceased to operate. Devoid of a national executive, WCC became two autonomous p r o v i n c i a l 12 grouping: one i n A l b e r t a , the other in B.C.  Yet, the move to form an  Alberta branch did not save the party from further d i s s e n s i o n .  Only months  a f t e r the Albertans s p l i t from the national a s s o c i a t i o n , they had entangled themselves in another power s t r u g g l e .  The three major actors in the dispute  were Maygard (now leader of WCC A l b e r t a ) , Wes Westmore ( p r o v i n c i a l  president),  and Gordon Kesler (deputy leader and r e c e n t l y - e l e c t e d MLA for Olds-Didsbury). Maygard and Westmore had long advocated that independence was the f i r s t and 13 foremost i s s u e , a l l other concerns being secondary.  I n i t i a l l y Kesler did  not oppose the independence-first stand, then, his p o s i t i o n strengthened by his new-found support base from the February 17, 1982 b y - e l e c t i o n , he made his view known.  He was of the a t t i t u d e that the highest p r i o r i t y of a party  was to see i t s candidates were e l e c t e d ; the goal should be t h e r e f o r e ,  to  appeal to a greater portion of the electorate than was presently the case.  - 9 -  As such the party should c u r t a i l the s e p a r a t i s t r h e t o r i c , concentrating instead on addressing p r o v i n c i a l matters and d i s c r e d i t i n g the Lougheed government.  This i s not to say Kesler i s not a s e p a r a t i s t , rather he  believed the party could not succeed in a p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaign by carrying only a s e p a r a t i s t banner.  The dispute came to a head in May,  1982 with both Maygard and Westmore, apparently r e a l i z i n g they were in the m i n o r i t y , tendering t h e i r r e s i g n a t i o n s .  They were accepted s h o r t l y there-  after. Hence, WCC has endured two rather major c o n f l i c t s in i t s history.  short  The f i r s t saw C h r i s t i e rejected as national leader by the Alberta  wing of the party (undoubtedly the l a r g e s t f a c t i o n ) as well as the formation of an Alberta p r o v i n c i a l WCC party.  The other c o n f l i c t involved a p o l i c y  dispute between Kesler and Maygard and Westmore over the emphasis to be placed on the s e p a r a t i s t i s s u e . West-Fed's roots do not reach back as far as those of WCC; nor was West-Fed able to survive as long as WCC has.  Whereas the l a t t e r i s  still  p o l i t i c a l l y - a c t i v e , the former i s e f f e c t i v e l y dead — a spent p o l i t i c a l force.  Rocked by dissension and dismantled by mass d e f e c t i o n s , West-Fed  i s not even a shadow of i t s former s e l f .  Yet i t merits a t t e n t i o n here i f  only because i t s demise was due l a r g e l y to internal  disunity.  The o r i g i n s of West-Fed can be traced to the Liberal e l e c t i o n v i c t o r y of February 18, 1980.  The v i c t o r y prompted Edmonton businessman Elmer  Knutson to write a l e t t e r to the Edmonton Journal severely c r i t i c i z i n g the Quebec-based and Francophone-supported party.  According to Knutson, the  p o s i t i v e response to his l e t t e r was so overwhelming he f e l t compelled to  - 10 -  organize the d i s a f f e c t e d respondents.  For the next y e a r , Elmer Knutson  and his West-Fed Association were to command the curious attention of the majority of western Canadians.  Knutson's message was straightforward:  westerners must gain greater input into Confederation; since they could not do so  v i a the e l e c t o r a l route, they must band together to form a western  federation thus enabling them to speak to "the easterners" with one, u n i fied voice.  West-Fed rejected the p o s s i b i l i t y of forming a p o l i t i c a l  party  because " i t was slow process and westerners d i d n ' t want another p o l i t i c a l 14 party."  So Knutson toured the western provinces (confining his speaking  engagements to the major c i t i e s ) encouraging the public to become p o l i t i c a l l y active. On the surface West-Fed seemed to be a reasonably s t a b l e , u n i t e d organization.  They had a l a r g e r membership than WCC (approximately 20,000  as opposed to WCC's 3,000) and more money ($30,000 of which was Knutson's own).  So too were they more successful in a t t r a c t i n g people to t h e i r  meetings.  But much of t h i s apparent s t a b i l i t y was due only to the f a c t  West-Fed was a p o l i t i c a l movement and not a party.  As a movement, western  Canadians were more w i l l i n g to voice t h e i r grievances with the federal government by j o i n i n g a protest group, rather than a party.  Membership i n  a party i s considered a more serious and involved commitment than supporting a movement.  Hence f o r one y e a r , Knutson was able to convince himself that  he headed a strongly-supported movement. By the f a l l of 1981, however, internal events proved that West-Fed was not the homogeneous a s s o c i a t i o n Knutson portrayed.  At that time some  of the sub-groups under Knutson's umbrella leadership began to r e b e l ; they  - 11 -  c i t e d p o l i c y differences and l a c k - o f input into the decision-making 15 process as t h e i r main complaints.  Unable to come to terms with  Knutson, some of the Calgary c o n s t i t u t i n g organizations decided to encourage t h e i r members to j o i n WCC. Very q u i c k l y , other Alberta r i d i n g executives followed s u i t , then the e n t i r e B.C. f a c t i o n of West-Fed o f f i 16 c i a l l y declared they were disbanding to move i n t o the WCC camp. March,  1982  West-Fed was non-existent.  an a s s o c i a t i o n in Alberta and s t i l l dues.  Although s t i l l  By  registered as  the r e c i p i e n t of some members' annual  West-Fed today i s no longer a p o l i t i c a l force in any region of  western Canada. F i n a l l y , both organizations membership figures should be discussed briefly.  As noted West-Fed had the larger membership, due p r i m a r i l y to  being a movement.  it  Throughout i t s h i s t o r y , West-Fed executives' claims as to  the number of members ranged between 15,000 and 40,000.  This l a t t e r  figure  i s highly i n f l a t e d ; i t was derived from an i n c o r r e c t c a l c u l a t i o n by the Calgary o f f i c e r s who had added the members in the Calgary area to national l i s t - - thus counting Calgary members twice.  A c l o s e r f i g u r e would be  the one of 21,183 Knutson made public in December, 1 9 8 1 . T h i s number i s l i k e l y an exaggeration as w e l l , for at that time the organization was dead.  My sense i s that the f i g u r e of 20,000 r e l a t e s to the number of mem-  bers who had ever paid a membership fee during the groups' two year h i s t o r y . Of those members, Knutson said approximately s i x t y percent were Alberta r e s i d e n t s , twenty percent from B.C. and the r e s t divided almost evenly between Saskatchewan and Manitoba. was evident in WCC's membership.  The same apportionment among regions Their l i s t , though s h o r t e r , also f l u c t u a t e d .  - 12 -  In J u l y , 1981, C h r i s t i e claimed the party had 2,700 members (the same number as in the f a l l of 1980); in June, 1982 Don Munro said the B.C. wing had over 4,000, while WCC (Alberta) claimed 10,000 members in J u l y , 18 1982.  More important than numbers of members, however, i s the i n t e r -  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the membership l i s t s of both a s s o c i a t i o n s .  Most  l i k e l y , a large portion of the a c t i v e West-Fed members at the constituency level also held membership in WCC. This would be p a r t i c u l a r l y true in the l a t e r stages of West-Fed's e x i s t e n c e .  Thus, when West-Fed disbanded,  those members with WCC cards could e a s i l y d i r e c t t h e i r a t t e n t i o n to the other o r g a n i z a t i o n . The information above i s not intended to be an in-depth suryey of the c o n f l i c t s which severely disrupted both o r g a n i z a t i o n s .  Rather i t s  purpose i s to bring to the reader's a t t e n t i o n the two disputes experienced by WCC and the one destructuve c o n f l i c t which was West-Fed's downfall.  We  can now make a more systematic and informed a n a l y s i s of these d i s p u t e s , furnishing more thoughtful answers to the questions concerning the o r i g i n s , scope and consequences of the internal d i s s e n s i o n .  Were the disputes  p r i m a r i l y over p o l i c y , or did leadership and organization also play a role? Which p o l i c i e s occasioned the most controversy?  Who were the people who  formulated the disputed p o l i c i e s ? WEST-FED: Organization The s a l i e n t point in analyzing e i t h e r West-Fed or WCC's internal organization i s to decide, through an appraisal of the a u t h o r i t y hierarchy and decision-making process, whether the groupings' structures were a  - 13 -  source of or contributor  to d i s u n i t y .  So too should a discussion of o r g a n i -  zational c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s include a review of membership recruitment and t h e i r input i n t o the groups' a f f a i r s , along with a mention of the a s s o c i a tions'  funding. Undoubtedly the most s i g n i f i c a n t feature of West-Fed's internal  organization was the very obvious discrepancy between the way the o r g a n i zation was supposed to be structured and the way i t a c t u a l l y operated. Elmer Knutson delighted i n emphasizing the populist base of the a s s o c i a 19 tion  - - t h i s was a grassroots movement, created by and f o r the people,  and run by the general membership.  This was a movement which  people from a l l occupations and p o l i t i c a l ment which was w i l l i n g  affiliations.  attracted  This was a move-  "to give Canada one more chance" by following  "not n e c e s s a r i l y separatism, but separatism i f necessary" l i n e .  the  However,  as events proved, Mr. Knutson's d e l i g h t was unsubstantiated as West-Fed was, i n r e a l i t y , a h i g h l y - c e n t r a l i z e d , e l i t i s t o r g a n i z a t i o n .  It did not  resemble the structure portrayed by Knutson. F i r s t , the membership was not drawn from diverse backgrounds.  At  a l l l e v e l s , i n a l l provinces, the majority of members were over s i x t y coming from small business or rural occupations; they were conservative i n d i v i d u a l s d e s i r i n g a return to the days of small government. s i x t y percent were Alberta r e s i d e n t s .  Approximately  A l s o , a healthy portion of the  members were avowed s e p a r a t i s t s , refusing to comply with West-Fed p o l i c y that the movement was not a sponsor of independence. Most of these separa= 20  t i s t s were based in the Calgary region.  The funding of the group was  more i n l i n e with the grassroots image as most of the monies came from  - 14 -  membership dues (which dropped from $20 to $5 i n one year) and a few small donations.  Yet West-Fed a l s o had some more generous benefactors  (Knutson  being one) who c o n t r i b u t e d upwards o f $20,000 -- i n d i c a t i n g the grass was greener i n some areas than o t h e r s . Second, and more importantly, the a s s o c i a t i o n was n e i t h e r as decentral i z e d nor as democratic as Knutson represented.  O s t e n s i b l y a l l power was  to emanate from the bottom; Knutson t o l d members to organize themselves p r o v i n c i a l c o n s t i t u e n c i e s , then e l e c t a r i d i n g executive.  by  In t u r n , a l l  c o n s t i t u e n c y executives would e l e c t a p r o v i n c i a l p r e s i d e n t who would autom a t i c a l l y serve as n a t i o n a l v i c e - p r e s i d e n t . Overarching the c o t e r i e o f p r o v i n c i a l executives was Knutson's o f f i c e o f the n a t i o n a l presidency which was to be e l e c t e d by the membership a t l a r g e .  Nat'l Pres. (Knutson) 4 P r o v i n c i a l Presidents/Nat'1  Vice-Pres  I  B.C. C o n s t i t u ency Exec.  Alta. Constituency Exec.  Sask. C o n s t i t u ency Exec.  Members organized by Provincial Constituencies  Man. C o n s t i t u ency Exec.  - 15 -  For several rason the system did not function as described.  On the  one hand, the f a c t the upper echelon of the national executive was i n t a c t before any membership drives were i n i t i a t e d caused some problems.  The  executives'entrenchment meant they were not to be held responsible to the general membership since they were elected (or appointed) by a small group at one of the founding meetings.  Further, most of the members neglected  to organize themselves by constituency and were thus l e f t without an e f f e c t i v e voice i n the a s s o c i a t i o n .  Those members who did choose to organize  r i d i n g associations were p r i m a r i l y located in the Calgary area.  Finally  the structure did not operate as designed because Knutson had decided that the important areas of p o l i c y formulation and funds a l l o c a t i o n were to be the exclusive prerogative of the national president, himself.  There-  f o r e , West-Fed's internal organization must be c l a s s i f i e d as anything but democratic and d e c e n t r a l i z e d .  For the most part the members declined  to become involved i n i n t e r n a l a f f a i r s .  Even i f more r i d i n g s had been  organized, those members would have discovered (as the Calgary region did) that t h e i r influence was minimal as they were without any measurable cont r o l over decisions on p o l i c y or allotment of funds.  The o r i g i n a l  struc-  ture then was highly c e n t r a l i z e d with Knutson c l e a r l y holding the balance of power. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , the c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of the decision-making process produced some dissension within West-Fed.  D i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the internal  structure emerged from two areas beginning i n the spring of 1981 - - f i r s t from the Calgary area executives, then from the national executive  itself.  Both groups' d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n appeared to stem from Knutson's unbridled  - 16 -  control over the movement.  It was the actions of the Calgary executives  which set i n motion a process which began to "snowball" and only ended with the destruction of the e n t i r e o r g a n i z a t i o n . In March, 1981 the Calgary constituency executives began to voice t h e i r disapproval o f the decision-making structure and the p o l i c i e s which i t produced.  They also stated p u b l i c l y that they rejected Knutson's  plan to "give Canada one more chance", claiming separatism was the only option.  Knutson's unsuccessful bid to censure those executive o f f i c e r s  responsible was an exercise apparently so d e f i c i e n t i n diplomacy that the 21 e n t i r e Calgary executive resigned "en masse".  The new executives elected  s h o r t l y thereafter were no more acquiescent, however.  They were i n s t r u -  mental i n turning West-Fed into a s e p a r a t i s t grouping at the August, 1981 annual convention, then deserting Knutson to j o i n Western Canada Concept in December of that year. Undeniably, the August, 1981 meeting was the pivotal point in WestFed's existence, as three events occurred which e f f e c t i v e l y k i l l e d the organization.  The f i r s t was a move by the national executive to force  Knutson to s h i f t from the presidency to f i l l the newly-created o f f i c e of movement leader.  This action was s i g n i f i c a n t because i t should have r e 22 moved Knutson from his erstwhile p o s i t i o n of preeminence, as West-Fed had been structured (by Knutson) i n such a fashion that the president held the important p o r t f o l i o s of p o l i c y and finance.  In his new o f f i c e 23  Knutson was to be relegated to l i t t l e more than a platform speaker. For whatever reasons - - perhaps they desired more power themselves or thought the constituency executives should have more - - the national  - 17 -  executive wanted Knutson to hold a less dominant p o s i t i o n .  The second  event was the strong support given the Calgary sponsored motion to turn 24 West-Fed into an o u t r i g h t s e p a r a t i s t o r g a n i z a t i o n ;  the t h i r d was a man-  date allowing the executive to negotiate some type of merger or c o a l i t i o n 25 with WCC.  Whether by design or d i s i n t e r e s t , the convention members had  removed v i r t u a l l y a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which had distinguished West-Fed from WCC. Regardless of the membership's expectations of the n e g o t i a t i o n s , no merger or c o a l i t i o n with WCC was forthcoming.  The mandate had been given  to the national executive, meaning Knutson was to assume a major r o l e i n the success or f a i l u r e of the negotiations.  That the discussions resulted  i n nothing constructive and that Knutson was, a t t h i s time, beginning a campaign to have West-Fed transformed i n t o a p o l i t i c a l party in i t s own 26 right, efforts.  can only i n d i c a t e that Knutson was less than sincere i n his In December, 1981 the Calgary executives - - once again discouraged  by t h e i r lack of control over the o r g a n i z a t i o n ' s d i r e c t i o n - - convened a meeting to discuss t h e i r future involvement.  At one points the meeting  chairman, Pat S t e i n , asked the less than eighty members in attendance i f 27 they favoured j o i n i n g the Alberta WCC party.  With ninety-three percent  supporting the informal motion, West-Fed's Calgary executives ceased operations and, accompanied by t h e i r supporters, joined WCC ( A l b e r t a ) .  Of  course t h e i r defections were then followed by other Alberta r i d i n g a s s o c i a tions and then the e n t i r e B.C. contingent. defunct. In sum  By March, 1982 West-Fed was  therefore, the organizational structure of West-Fed was  - 18 -  c h a r a c t e r i z e d by c e n t r a l i z e d a u t h o r i t y :  so c e n t r a l i z e d , i n f a c t , that i t ' s  not c l e a r the p r o v i n c i a l presidents had any measurable c o n t r o l over Knutson's action.  Knutson's contention t h a t the power o f the movement was to be  found a t the grassroots l e v e l i s not sustained by the evidence.  Most o f  the members were uninvolved, and those who d i d become a c t i v e never enjoyed a p o s i t i o n of i n f l u e n c e and power v i s - a - v i s Knutson.  Even the a c t i o n under-  taken by the Calgary constituency a s s o c i a t i o n s cannot be viewed as an e x e r c i s e o f power. Those executives had only two options -- e i t h e r to remain under Knutson's c o n t r o l or leave the movement. C e r t a i n l y the a b i l i t y to d e f e c t , even i f i t means the d e s t r u c t i o n o f the o r g a n i z a t i o n , i s not a c l a s s i c e x e r c i s e o f power. Hence, the o r g a n i z a t i o n a l  structure  which Knutson i n s t i t u t e d must be viewed.as a source o f d i s u n i t y w i t h i n West-Fed. Pol i c y The Calgary r i d i n g executives' disenchantment with t h e i r lack o f i n f l u e n c e i n the o r g a n i z a t i o n was d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the p o l i c i e s which Knutson formulated.  One may speculate t h a t t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n would  not have been as vocal i f Knutson had developed more acceptable p o l i c i e s . Since Knutson's p o l i c i e s were not i n l i n e with t h e i r own t h i n k i n g , the Calgary executives' natural r e a c t i o n was to c a l l the c e n t r a l i z e d d e c i s i o n making process i n t o question.  What, then, were these p o l i c i e s which the  Calgary West-Feders found so o b j e c t i o n a b l e ? many o f the Calgary-based  The simple answer  i s that  e x e c u t i v e s , being s e p a r a t i s t s , disagreed  Knutson on the i d e o l o g i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n o f the movement —  with  they could not  accept Knutson's r e f u s a l to turn West-Fed i n t o an o u t r i g h t s e p a r a t i s t  - 19 -  organization.  Of course they could neither assent to the p o l i c i e s which  were derived from Knutson's i d e o l o g i c a l l i n e .  Thus, the Calgary execu-  t i v e s ' r e j e c t i o n of Knutson's c e n t r a l i z e d control was produced, i n p a r t , by t h e i r disagreement with Knutson on the i d e o l o g i c a l basis of the movement and the two major p o l i c y proposals which stemmed from h i s ideology. In turn, these two p o l i c y proposals were so foreign to p o l i t i c a l and legal r e a l i t y that they too became counterproductive and d i v i s i v e . As o f J u l y , 1981 Knutson had developed two p o l i c y platforms.  One  addressed a programme which would e i t h e r give the west a greater voice i n Confederation, or withdraw i t altogether; the other attempted to argue that a Canadian federation no longer e x i s t e d . On the f i r s t point, Knutson proposed an extra-parliamentary strategy. West-Fed members were to j o i n the p r o v i n c i a l p o l i t i c a l party of t h e i r choice, become a c t i v e , then form a subgroup to pressure the MLA to support the concept of a western federation.  I f the MLA d i d not respond p o s i t i v e l y  to these advances, more pressure would be applied:  f i r s t by f o r c i n g the  constituency executive to hold a special meeting a t which (stacked with West-Fed sympathisers) there would be a c a l l f o r the e l e c t i o n of a new r i d i n g executive; a t the e l e c t i o n meeting ( s i m i l a r l y stacked) i t was expected West-Fed members would form the new executive.  Once i n control  of the executive, the West-Fed members could demand the MLA's support threatening to sponsor a more sympathetic candidate a t the next nomination meeting i f h i s support was not forthcoming. Ostensibly the MLAs would have y i e l d e d to the pressure and, together with s i m i l a r l y d e f e r e n t i a l MLAs, would become an advocate of a western federation.  - 20 -  The lobbying of MLAs would be considered complete once the four western premiers ( e i t h e r simultaneously or i n d i v i d u a l l y )  had been per-  28 suaded to accept the formation of a western f e d e r a t i o n . the west, although s t i l l  At t h i s  point,  a part of Canada, was to have been able to speak  on dominion-provincial r e l a t i o n s with one v o i c e .  Once West-Fed reached  t h i s stage the next step was to i n v i t e the other three regions (Ontario, Quebec and A t l a n t i c Canada, but not Ottawa) to negotiate a new f e d e r a t i o n . Now, i f the other three regions were e i t h e r unreceptive to the west's overtures or u n w i l l i n g to accept the highly decentralized s t r u c t u r e , then the west would e l e c t a constituent assembly, write a c o n s t i t u t i o n and e s t a b l i s h an independent s t a t e .  According to Knutson, i t would be only at the point  of r e j e c t i o n by the east that West-Fed could be l a b e l l e d s e p a r a t i s t . The only problem with Knutson's programme of forming a western federation i s that i t was p o l i t i c a l l y u n r e a l i s t i c .  In thinking or even  hoping events would f o l l o w the route mapped out above, Knutson and his few followers only demonstrated how extremely shortsighted they were. It i s my b e l i e f that West-Fed could not have succeeded in gaining eastern acceptance of the plan to form a new f e d e r a t i o n , neither could they have succeeded in securing s u f f i c i e n t MLA support within t h e i r eighteen month schedule, nor could they have r e c r u i t e d the some 200,000 to 300,000 members (based on an average of 1,000 per p r o v i n c i a l constituency) which Knutson admitted were required for his programme to be e f f e c t i v e . point:  On the l a s t  to expect to e n l i s t t h i s number of members i n eighteen months or  even eighteen years i s l i t t l e short of a b l i n d a s p i r a t i o n .  Not only are  there important variables beyond West-Fed's control (federal and p r o v i n c i a l  - 21 -  government a c t i o n s , general economic conditions) to be considered, there i s also the h i s t o r y of Canadians' p o l i t i c a l apathy and non-involvement. No p o l i t i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n in Canada i s able to boast the membership r o l l s which Knutson envisioned. Second, even i f West-Fed had succeeded i n t h e i r recruitment programme, the p o s s i b i l i t y of gaining adequate MLA support for t h e i r t i o n in eighteen months i s slim indeed.  posi-  P o l i t i c i a n s , e s p e c i a l l y Canadian  ones, tend to view themselves as trustees of the public i n t e r e s t (as defined by t h e i r p a r t i e s ) rather than delegates elected to protect the changing i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r r i d i n g a s s o c i a t i o n s .  As such, an MLA could  have deflected any pressure exerted by West-Fed sympathisers by declaring that the e l e c t o r a t e had not given him a mandate to support a western f e d eration.  Further, any attempt by West-Fed to usurp control of a c o n s t i t u -  ency executive would have been met by equally determined e f f o r t s by nonWest-Feders to defeat the  initiative.  Again, Knutson revealed his ignorance of Canadian p o l i t i c a l by thinking i t would be acceptable to westerners to have t h e i r i n t e r e s t s a r t i c u l a t e d by one pan-provincial o r g a n i z a t i o n .  reality  federalist  A r e c a l l of the  divergent positions adopted by the western provinces in the recent c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate, and the d i f f e r e n t emphasis placed by each on shared concerns should atest to the b e l i e f that western i n t e r e s t s cannot be represented by one group alone.  The Vancouver businessman and Saskatchewan farmer  do not have the same p o l i t i c a l p r i o r i t i e s .  So too was Knutson l i k e l y mis-  taken i n h i s expectation of eastern receptiveness to h i s programme.  He  could not have honestly expected the other three regions to enter into  - 22 -  negotiations when the agenda of a highly decentralized state was set by one party alone - - the Knutson proposal was more a r a t i f i c a t i o n  vote for  West-Fed demands than a format f o r a newly negotiated compact.  Moreover,  i t would be i l l o g i c a l to a n t i c i p a t e eastern involvement in these negotiations i f ,  as Mr. Knutston says, the prime economic concern of eastern  Canada i s to "plunder the west".  F i n a l l y , regardless of Mr. Knutson's  views on Confederation, the national government i s both a legal and p o l i t i c a l e n t i t y within Canada, and any attempt to exclude i t from the proposed negotiations would have been an unconstitutional legitimate r o l e i n Confederation.  usurpation of  their  Even the p r o v i n c i a l premiers would have 30  agreed Ottawa had a r o l e to play.  Very b r i e f l y  then, Knutson had devised  a plan f o r a western federation highlighted by i n s u f f i c i e n t  forethought,  imprecise d r a f t i n g , p o l i t i c a l l y unpalatable concepts and u n r e a l i s t i c expectations of success.  That West-Fed never came close to the a n t i c i p a t e d  membership nor MLA support proves how i d e a l i s t i c the programme was. The other arm of West-Fed p o l i c y was not so much p o l i c y as an i n t e r pretation of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l the s e p a r a t i s t image.  developments:  a further attempt to repudiate  Yet since Knutson promulgated the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n as  i f i t were a p o l i c y , and since i t was a source of dissension over p o l i c y , i t warrants our a t t e n t i o n .  Knutson would argue that West-Fed was not  s e p a r a t i s t in intent since Canada, as a product of the 1864 to 1867 negotiat i o n s , was not a v a l i d confederacy.  If a confederacy had been produced,  he s a i d , then a l l the constituent units would have had to be previously sovereign so they could r e l i n g u i s h a portion of t h e i r authority to a new 31 central government. I question from where Mr. Knutson receives his  - 23 -  information.  Sovereignty of the i n d i v i d u a l constituent units i s not a  precondition to the legitimate formation of a f e d e r a t i o n .  In neither  India nor Nigeria - - two former B r i t i s h colonies which, l i k e Canada, had a h i s t o r y of both d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t  r u l e - - were the states sovereign  p r i o r to independence as a f e d e r a t i o n .  There i s simply no basis in e i t h e r  law or p o l i t i c s to a contention that B r i t a i n had a legal o b l i g a t i o n to ensure the existence of sovereign constituent units before granting independence.  A c o l o n i a l power may accord peaceful independence in any form  it  d e s i r e s ; i t s only concern need be that the product be viewed as l e g i t i m a t e by the former c o l o n i a l s . To confuse matters more, Knutson would then argue that even i f a confederation was constituted in 1867, the Statute of Westminster made the provinces sovereign i n 1931.  The s t a t u t e , he s a i d , was designed to up-  grade the status of the B r i t i s h North America colonies equal to that of Great B r i t a i n .  Since Ottawa was never a B r i t i s h colony, i t must have been  the provinces which emerged autonomous.  Although Knutson's  of the 1931 statute was obviously appeal ing i t too was devoid of any substance. minster  interpretation  to some western Canadians,  The i n t e n t of the Statute of West-  was to have B r i t a i n r e l i n q j i s h , symbolically and l e g a l l y , a l l  vestiges of p o l i t i c a l control over the Commonwealth. had allowed B r i t a i n to control  P r i o r to 1931 Canada  (at one time or another) foreign  and the navy, as well as bind Canada to any i n t e r n a t i o n a l which B r i t a i n was a signatory.  affairs  agreements to  With the Statute of Westminster, control  over those subject matters formerly held by B r i t a i n was granted to that level of government which had j u r i s d i c t i o n under the enumerated heads of  - 24 -  s s . 91 and 92.  To saddle the statute with an i n t e n t i o n to cede a l l power  to the provinces, as Mr. Knutson d i d , was a p r a c t i c e which verged on fabrication. colony:  It mattered not that p r i o r to 1867, Ottawa was not a B r i t i s h  what was important was that in 1931 Ottawa possessed legitimate  j u r i s d i c t i o n over the subject-matters of s . 91, and thus became the benef i c i a r y of the s t a t u t e ' s p r o v i s i o n s . Therefore, by developing and promoting these two extravagant, confusing and unsubstantiated p o l i c i e s , Knutson v i r t u a l l y  forced any p o l i t i -  cally-aware members of his organization (and the public) to question his credibility.  C l e a r l y the proposal for a western federation was d e f i c i e n t  in i t s expectations of a t t r a c t i n g one-quarter m i l l i o n members, of securing MLA support for the plan within eighteen months, of western Canadian acceptance to having t h e i r dominion-provincial  i n t e r e s t s represented by  one o r g a n i z a t i o n , and of eastern approval for the creation of a new, dec e n t r a l i z e d Canada.  S i m i l a r l y , his i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of  constitutional  developments was so bewildering and contradictory i t made l i t t l e or legal sense.  political  The problem was f u r t h e r exacerbated when the two p o l i c y  positions are read in conjunction.  On the one hand, Knutson was saying  that Canada was never an independent, federal s t a t e , or that i f i t was at one time, by 1931 the provinces became autonomous; on the other hand he proposes a plan which has as a long-term objective the removal of the west from Canada.  If there i s not a Canada, from what did West-Fed think they  would secede?  It was p r e c i s e l y t h i s type of inconsistency and confusion  which led the Calgary r i d i n g associations to r e j e c t the movement's cent r a l p o l i c i e s , to voice t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the decision-making  - 25 -  process which formulated those p o l i c i e s , and to c a l l Knutson's leadership into question. Leadership The information on o r g a n i z a t i o n , buttressed by that on p o l i c y , c l e a r l y indicates that Elmer Knutson was the prime West-Fed decision-maker. That being the case, a discussion of leadership need only be concerned with t h i s one i n d i v i d u a l , as no other was able to command the power he enjoyed. Further, since the man was so c l o s e l y associated or t i e d to his p o l i c i e s , a leadership review should h i g h l i g h t those q u a l i t i e s of Knutson's personal i t y which influenced his p o l i c y choices. Born i n rural Saskatchewan i n the e a r l y 1920s, Knutson l e f t school at the age of t h i r t e e n (and at the height of the Depression) to seek employment.  Spending a number of years with temporary j o b s , he l a t e r moved to  Edmonton where he began what i s today a very successful business.  tractor-parts  The son of a L i b e r a l party worker, Knutson has been exposed to  party p o l i t i c s since h i s childhood.  Although once a L i b e r a l supporter  himself, he long ago abandoned the party to become an a c t i v e Progressive Conservative.  The culmination of h i s a c t i v e involvement with that party  was an unsuccessful bid to gain the P.C. nomination i n Edmonton-South in 1980.  And yet despite an involved p o l i t i c a l past and an a c t i v e present,  Knutson c o n s i s t e n t l y maintained  he  harboured no p o l i t i c a l  ambitions,  32 nor did he consider himself the ideal leader. To develop a precise p o l i t i c a l composite of Elmer Knutson i s a d i f f i c u l t task indeed.  The problem does not l i e in him eluding c l a s s i f i c a t i o n ,  but rather than he seems to f i t  himself into so many disparate c a t e g o r i e s .  -  26  -  If he were an academic he might be c a l l e d a man of c o n t r a d i c t i o n s . i t i s best to describe him as confused or naive with respect to realities.  Instead  political  C e r t a i n l y the i l l - c o n c e i v e d and incongruous platforms which  were his p o l i c i e s sustain t h i s c l a i m . Elmer Knutson i s not a p o l i t i c i a n . He i s best suited to the r o l e of founder:  Nor i s he a leader or president. being the one to  temporarily  c a p i t a l i z e on the grievances of a d i s a f f e c t e d segment of the western 33  population, then able to r a l l y these people for a time.  As a l e a d e r ,  however, he was incapable of devising the concise, coherent p o l i c i e s needed to lend a permanency to the i n i t i a l support.  Due l a r g e l y to his negative  public o r a t i o n s , he was not someone i n whom the members were able to place t h e i r f a i t h and devotion.  As a president his weakness lay in an i n a b i l i t y  or unwillingness to delegate a u t h o r i t y .  He was d e f i n i t e l y more comfortable  working by himself or the p r o v i n c i a l presidents than the constituency associations.  There appears to be something in his make-up which prevented  him from parting with any of his power.  Whether his single-minded deter-  mination to remain the central figure in West-Fed at a l l costs was the r e s u l t of some hidden conviction that his path was the correct one or of a hesitancy to permit someone e l s e to assume control of the organization he founded, i s unclear.  What i s evident though, i s that despite Mr.  Knutson's h i s t o r y of p o l i t i c a l  involvement, he l e a r n t l i t t l e about p o l i c y  formulation and a u t h o r i t y delegation. Nor did Knutson possess many of the q u a l i t i e s expected of a p o p u l i s t 34  movement leader.  A soft-spoken, exceedingly candid grandfatherly  figure,  overly modest and r e t i r i n g , Knutson i s anything but the epitome of the  - 27 -  s e l f - c o n f i d e n t , aggressive leader.  So too i s he impaired by a lack of  prescience, being unable to foresee potential challenges and acting accordingly to a r r e s t them.  When he did act however, he did so with  neither t a c t nor diplomacy, as witnessed by the the Calgary executives i n March, 1981.  f i r s t resignation of  Under circumstances such as these,  i t i s c l e a r why Knutson never received the respect of the few constituency associations needed for him to be an e f f e c t i v e  leader.  Hence, these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Knutson's personal c o n s t i t u t i o n  --  an i n a b i l i t y to formulate acceptable, unambiguous p o l i c i e s , an u n w i l l i n g ness to delegate a u t h o r i t y , and a lack of f o r e s i g h t and tact  - - provided  a leadership component to the organizational and p o l i c y grievances already held by the Calgary executives.  WESTERN CANADA CONCEPT Organization Since i t s founding - - a f t e r Doug C h r i s t i e l e f t the Western National Association i n June, 1980 - - Western Canada Concept has had three d i f f e r e n t executive s t r u c t u r e s . May,  1981, the second  The o r i g i n a l one operated from F a l l , 1980 to from May to September, 1981 when the t h i r d was  established as a r e s u l t of the s p l i t between C h r i s t i e and the A l b e r t a dominated national executive and the subsequent creation of independent provincial  parties.  The f i r s t executive structure of WCC was r e a l l y no executive at a l l . For the f i r s t year C h r i s t i e c l e a r l y c o n t r o l l e d a l l facets of the organizat i o n , the being no evidence of any elected executive o f f i c e r s .  Those  - 28 -  people who were involved i n WCC did so in the capacity of r a l l y organizers - - e i t h e r self-appointed or appointed by C h r i s t i e .  It was not u n t i l one  year a f t e r WCC was formed that i t was large enough to take on a semblance of internal o r g a n i z a t i o n .  On May 2, 1981 the second executive was elected  at a small (seventy members attended) convention i n Edmonton.  Purely  35 national  in design and i n t e n t , without p r o v i n c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s , the  executive was constituted by a leader ( C h r i s t i e ) , a president (Al Maygard), v i c e - p r e s i d e n t (Gordon R e i d ) , treasurer (Doug C h r i s t i e , S r . ) , secretary ( K e l t i e Zubko) and a Board of D i r e c t o r s .  The most noteworthy  feature  of t h i s executive was the geographical c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of the elected o f f i c e r s ' residency.  Of the fourteen d i r e c t o r s h i p s , t h i r t e e n were f i l l e d  by Albertans and one by a B r i t i s h Columbian; members from Alberta also held four of the f i v e top executive p o s t s , with Doug C h r i s t i e being the 37 sole non-Albertan.  Saskatchewan and Manitoba were devoid of represen-  t a t i o n on the national executive.  It was t h i s preponderance of Alberta  executive o f f i c e r s which allowed for the formation of a separate provinc i a l party i n A l b e r t a . While C h r i s t i e had enjoyed a free hand i n running the o r g a n i z a t i o n ' s a f f a i r s p r i o r to May, 1981, he q u i c k l y discovered he was not going to be afforded s i m i l a r l i b e r t i e s under t h i s new executive.  Within one month  the executive had decided C h r i s t i e ' s p o l i c y of creating a f t e r independence was unacceptable.  a unitary  state  The new p o l i c y p o s i t i o n was to i n -  s t i t u t e a post-independence referendum on the question of whether a federal or unitary state was preferred.  This c o n f l i c t was j u s t the beginning of  a heated debate between C h r i s t i e and the executive o f f i c e r s concerning  - 29 -  Second Executive  Structure  (National): Leader (Christie)  President (Maygard)  Vice-Presidenl .(Reid)  Treasurer (Christie Sr.)  Secretary (Zubko)  Board of Directors (fourteen)  40 Zone Organizations; approx. 5 constituencies per zone (only 8 were ever organized  B.C. C o n s t i tuency Assoc.  r  1  Saskatchewan  Alberta Constituencies  Manitoba  >•  Third Executive Structure  Leader  ( P r o v i n c i a l ) : 38  President  F i r s t VicePresident  1 Board of Directors (Ten)  (optional)  Up to 11 zone organizations per province. Organized:only with assent of voting delegates  Constituency A s s o c i a t i o n s . Cons i s t of President, Vice-President and not less than 3 Directors (and MLA i f any)  Second V i c e {. President  - 30 -  o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c y and leadership which was to s p l i t the party w i t h i n f i v e months. On the organizational side of the c o n f l i c t :  the Alberta-dominated  executive was interested i n preparing f o r an a n t i c i p a t e d p r o v i n c i a l election.  A f t e r consulting A l b e r t a ' s Chief E l e c t o r a l O f f i c e r , i t was  discovered that WCC could not contest a p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n because C h r i s t i e had f a i l e d to r e g i s t e r WCC as a p o l i t i c a l party i n Alberta (something C h r i s t i e had t o l d the executive had already been accomplished). Further WCC could not run an e l e c t i o n campaign in Alberta under the leader39 ship of a B.C. resident ( C h r i s t i e ) . party.  Hence the need f o r an Alberta  C h r i s t i e , recognizing that such a move would  a l l but destroy his  already diminished control over party a f f a i r s i n Alberta and s h i f t the majority of members (and funds) to the p r o v i n c i a l l e v e l , sought to a r r e s t or at l e a s t s t a l l the process.  I t appears Mr. C h r i s t i e was contemplating  moving to Alberta to seek the leadership of the Alberta party and thus wished to delay the matter u n t i l he had established his residency.  Being  unable to force a postponement, "his strategy . . . (was) to create confusion and chaos i n the hope that Party members (would) r a l l y to his support. Of course, the members shunned his attempts to gain t h e i r support and the fate of C h r i s t i e as national leader was sealed. The party then moved into the next phase of t h e i r development.  organizational  With the events of F a l l , 1981 r e s u l t i n g i n the demise of  the national o f f i c e , WCC became, in e f f e c t , a c o l l e c t i o n of p r o v i n c i a l parties.  Each i s independent of the o t h e r s , having complete control over  p o l i c y , o r g a n i z a t i o n , funding and l e a d e r s h i p ; each may place as l i t t l e  - 31 -  emphasis on the s e p a r a t i s t image as i s deemed advisable or necessary. In the main, however,there is not much difference  between the o r g a n i -  zation of the Alberta or B r i t i s h Columbia p a r t i e s . Both are r i g i d l y structured in an attempt to prevent one i n d i v i d u a l from gaining control of the o r g a n i z a t i o n .  A l l d i r e c t o r s are subject to  expulsion from t h e i r o f f i c e s by a two-thirds vote of the e n t i r e executive; the leader i s constrained by being subject to a leadership convention on the w r i t t e n notice of twenty percent of the constituency a s s o c i a t i o n s . 41 Further, the job d e s c r i p t i o n s of a l l executives are c l e a r l y d e f i n e d , while a l l p o l i c y must be debated and r a t i f i e d by the members. zation i s a vast  This organi-  improvement over e i t h e r the one man control which  C h r i s t i e enjoyed for the f i r s t year of WCC's existence or the highly cent r a l i z e d , executive decision-making structure which characterized the May to September, 1981 executive.  So, whereas neither the general membership  nor the few constituency associations had any influence on the decisions made by the f i r s t two executives, with the formation of the t h i r d , as defined by the party c o n s t i t u t i o n , the r i d i n g executives now hold the balance of power and the members have a greater say in p o l i c y d e c i s i o n s . Although at the time of w r i t i n g t h i s new system has been in place only s i x months in Alberta and two in B . C . , i t seems to be operating e f f e c tively.  The p o l i c y dispute between Maygard and Kesler over the emphasis  to be given to independence overshadowed the organizational endeavours of the Alberta party.  However, true to the party c o n s t i t u t i o n the members  rose to order a stop to the i n f i g h t i n g and the constituency associations responded by giving t h e i r guarded support to K e s l e r .  The B r i t i s h Columbia  - 32 -  branch has escaped the dissension experienced by the Albertans for two reasons.  F i r s t , the pro-tern president, Don Munro, was an advocate of de-  c e n t r a l i z e d control - - he was determined to make the party executive r e 42  presentative of and responsible to the members.  In l i n e with his t h i n k i n g ,  he supervised the establishment of t h i r t y - f i v e constituencies (up from the previous s i x ) months before the permanent p r o v i n c i a l executive was e l e c t e d . So too did he ensure that the party headquarters were moved from Doug 43  C h r i s t i e ' s V i c t o r i a o f f i c e to Vancouver.  Second, the B.C. members seem  to have developed a consensus on a pro-independence stand.  A l l the execu-  t i v e o f f i c e r s campaigned against any diminution of the s e p a r a t i s m - f i r s t image; the tenor of the comments from the convention f l o o r showed they received the members support. In the f i r s t two years of WCC's b r i e f h i s t o r y , therefore, organization endured three d i s t i n c t executive s t r u c t u r e s .  the  For the f i r s t  year Doug C h r i s t i e enjoyed unbridled control over an organization operating on the national l e v e l ; with the e l e c t i o n of the second executive in May, 1981 C h r i s t i e ' s dominant p o s i t i o n weakened as the executive o f f i c e r s began  to question his p o l i c i e s and his n a t i o n a l l y - o r i e n t e d o r g a n i z a t i o n .  The s p l i t between C h r i s t i e and the Alberta-dominated national  executive  occasioned the demise of the national o f f i c e and the creation of independent p r o v i n c i a l wings.  To date the p r o v i n c i a l parties have adopted, a  more democratic and decentralized approach to internal party organization than e i t h e r of the two previous s t r u c t u r e s . Pol i c y Both the F a l l , 1981 s p l i t and the dispute Kesler had with Maygard and  - 33 -  Westmore had obvious p o l i c y components.  While o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c y and  leadership were a l l contributing factors to the f i r s t c o n f l i c t ,  the  second was p r i m a r i l y caused by discord over p o l i c y with some leadership considerations. WCC p o l i c y proposals have always gone beyond a simple c a l l for i n dependence; they have always included a programme by which independence i s to be secured and the type of governing body to be established a f t e r 44 separation.  Beyond that there was l i t t l e which constituted WCC p o l i c y  - - at l e a s t u n t i l mid-1982 when the party began to develop p o l i c i e s on other i s s u e s .  None of the members of the two national executives ever  hedged on the independence question: was independence.  to them the only important objective  Neither has there been disputes i n any of the executives  over the most expedient route to f o l l o w : sus on pursuing the e l e c t o r a l avenue.  there has always been a consen-  S i m i l a r l y there has been general  agreement to the strategy of i n i t i a t i n g a referendum on independence a f t e r WCC had succeeded in forming a p r o v i n c i a l government.  So too has  WCC p o l i c y c o n t i n u a l l y rejected any notion of negotiations on independence 45 with the federal government. Western Canada Concept.  These are not points of contention w i t h i n  Where disputes over p o l i c y have a r i s e n in the  past are i n the areas of what form of government should preside over an independent west and how great an emphasis should be placed on s e p a r a t i s t r h e t o r i c during a p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaign. As noted, the d i v i s i o n s between C h r i s t i e (and a few of his supporters) and the second executive dominated by Alberta members were produced i n part by C h r i s t i e ' s adherence to the formation of a unitary s t a t e .  For the f i r s t  - 34 -  year of WCC's existence t h i s p o l i c y had been a cornerstone of the grouping's programme.  "One Nation; One Language; One Government" was WCC's o r i g i n a l  46 slogan.  Yet t h i s "cornerstone" remained i n t a c t for only one month  a f t e r the e l e c t i o n of the second executive, as the new o f f i c e r s apparently f e l t the Alberta electorate would not accept a plan which would erode t h e i r control over t h e i r resources.  Hence the p o l i c y was a l t e r e d :  f i r s t by  g i v i n g the p u b l i c a choice on the form of government, then ( a f t e r C h r i s t i e ' s demise as national leader) by advocating a federation more decentralized than the current d i v i s i o n of powers and featuring a bi-cameral  structure  at both the federal and p r o v i n c i a l l e v e l s with the upper houses elected 47 by region.  Hence WCC's p o l i c y on the best form of government has ex-  perienced a number of changes as there was a t r a n s i t i o n from a no-option unitary s t a t e , to a referendum on the q u e s t i o n , to a no-option, highly 48 decentralized (and highly over-governed)  federation.  But the p o l i c y issue which created greater disagreement was the level of a t t e n t i o n to be given the independence platform in p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaigns.  It i s expected t h i s issue w i l l cause yet f u r t h e r c o n f l i c t  both the B.C. and Alberta branches.  in  In A l b e r t a , K e s l e r ' s v i c t o r y over  Maygard and Westmore in gaining constituency approval for a diminution of the s e p a r a t i s t stand did not permanently resolve the question. If Maygard had followed through with his plans to seek the Alberta leadership in 49 l a t e August, 1982, then the debate would have been r e s u r r e c t e d .  Even  a f t e r K e s l e r ' s v i c t o r y , the d i v i s i o n s should l i k e l y remain, only to surface again during the p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaign.  In B.C. there has not been  the same measure of discord on the subject as the B.C. members and executive  - 35 -  seem to be united in t h e i r desire to have independence as the major 50 plank in t h e i r campaign platform.  S t i l l t h i s w r i t e r sees the potential  for d i s u n i t y on the topic come the next p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n .  Practical  p o l i t i c s and the experience of the P a r t i Quebecois i n the e a r l y seventies suggest that a party cannot run a successful campaign by addressing a s e p a r a t i s t p o l i c y alone.  I f WCC ( B . C . ) expects to form the p r o v i n c i a l  government in one or.two e l e c t i o n s they w i l l , perforce, need to focus more attention on p r o v i n c i a l concerns.  Due to time c o n s t r a i n t s ,  this  could only be undertaken at the expense of t h e i r strong p o s i t i o n on independence. In the main, however, there has been l i t t l e disagreement on p o l i c y matters during WCC's h i s t o r y .  Today, both the B.C. and Alberta parties  concur on the other issues - - a g r i c u l t u r e , h e a l t h , education, w e l f a r e , 51 resource and economic development, foreign investment and taxation a l l r e f l e c t i n g the conservative, n o n - i n t e r v e n t i o n i s t party.  doctrines of the  Yet two p o l i c y c o n f l i c t s (post-independence form of government  and importance of s e p a r a t i s t r h e t o r i c ) were instrumental - Alberta s p l i t and the Kesler -  in the C h r i s t i e  Maygard dispute r e s p e c t i v e l y .  Leadership I f a review of the Western Canada Concept leadership had been undertaken in 1981, only one i n d i v i d u a l , Doug C h r i s t i e , would have been discussed. Undeniably u n t i l the summer of 1982 Doug C h r i s t i e was WCC: he made the p o l i c y d e c i s i o n s , he was the sole platform speaker, and he personally censured any d i s s i d e n t s .  However, the changes of l a t e 1981 to Summer, 1982  brought new actors to the stage - - so today an analysis of WCC's leadership  - 36 -  involves at l e a s t a cursory review of some of these other i n d i v i d u a l s . S t i l l , due to C h r i s t i e ' s continued prominence, he w i l l command most of the d i s c u s s i o n . His background i s that of neither the p r i v i l e g e d nor working c l a s s e s . Douglas C h r i s t i e - - born in Winnipeg in 1946, the son of a c i v i l  servant  in the Department of National Revenue - - took his undergraduate degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of Manitoba, graduating with a double honours major in Philosophy and P o l i t i c a l Science.  He then earned an L . L . B . from the  U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, before s e t t l i n g in V i c t o r i a .  A devout  C a t h o l i c , C h r i s t i e i s s i n g l e , very much a l o n e r , and r e t i c e n t , point of secrecy, about his personal l i f e . i s no newcomer to party p o l i t i c s .  In a p o l i t i c a l  to the  vein, Christie  A card-carrying member of the national  Progressive Conservative p a r t y , C h r i s t i e has been president of two r i d i n g associations and has made an unsuccessful bid for a nomination.  With the  addition of an independent campaign in the 1979 B.C. e l e c t i o n , one receives a f a i r l y clear i n d i c a t i o n of the scope of C h r i s t i e ' s p o l i t i c a l  ambitions.  C h r i s t i e ' s past record in WNA, coupled with my discussions with Al Maygard (past national p r e s i d e n t ) , Don Munro ( B . C . pro-tern p r e s i d e n t ) , and Elmer Knutson, along with my interview with him provide more than adequate material f o r an assessment of C h r i s t i e ' s p o l i t i c a l  personality.  Douglas C h r i s t i e i s the type of i n d i v i d u a l who seeks to gain as much cont r o l as possible over those organizations with which he i s i n v o l v e d .  He  i s s e l f - c o n f i d e n t , with an a t t i t u d e towards any authority (but his own) bordering on contumacy; he i s a man convinced that his assessments, opinions and b e l i e f s are correct and any opposing ones are wrong.  He i s  - 37 -  suspicious of the media, academics and his own members; he i s v i n d i c t i v e , ready to use private d i s c u s s i o n s , public arenas  and the courts to d i s 52  c r e d i t those detractors who he f e e l s have impugned his reputation.  On  the other hand, there i s no question of C h r i s t i e ' s commitment to the cause. He i s an i n d e f a t i g a b l e , intense p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i s t , w i l l i n g to leave a good law p r a c t i c e for weeks at a time so he can tour western Canada. Until mid-1981 a l l these q u a l i t i e s acted i n unison, one complimenting the other, and thus enabled C h r i s t i e to maintain a strong grip on the organization. Leadership c o n f l i c t s were p a r t l y responsible for the s p l i t between C h r i s t i e and the Alberta-dominated second executive.  Although the d i s -  pute was i n i t i a l l y over organization and s p e c i f i c a l l y the formation  of  an Alberta p r o v i n c i a l party (which C h r i s t i e then transformed into a p o l i c y argument on the unitary state i s s u e ) , there was also an i n d i r e c t l i n k to leadership.  The connection i s found in the i n a b i l i t y of the national exe-  cutive to work with C h r i s t i e .  It seems C h r i s t i e was t r y i n g to run the  organization by himself, much as he had done from June, 1980 to May, 1981 when t h i s national executive was e l e c t e d .  A f t e r t r y i n g to work with him  for f i v e months, they decided his arrogant and r e c a l c i t r a n t behaviour made the e f f o r t f u t i l e .  The respect then national president, Al Maygard, had 53  once held for C h r i s t i e q u i c k l y turned into d i s r e s p e c t , then open contempt. Neither Maygard nor Wes Westmore expressed any regret f o r C h r i s t i e ' s 54 departure.  Hence the leadership question did play a r o l e i n the o r i g i n a l  schism. Leadership has also caused some problems in the newly-formed p r o v i n c i a l  - 38 -  parties.  In B.C. the demise of the national o f f i c e and the subsequent  r e t r e a t of most of the executive o f f i c e r s to the Alberta party, meant B.C. was devoid of o f f i c i a l  leadership.  Within two months however, Don  Munro (the r e t i r e d postmaster for White Rock) had stepped i n , assumed the pro-tern presidency, and began b u i l d i n g a p r o v i n c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n . C h r i s t i e was appointed pro-tern, leader for a s i x month p e r i o d .  Yet i t was  not Doug C h r i s t i e who was to provide the i n i t i a l leadership in WCC ( B . C . ) ; for probably the f i r s t time i n his p o l i t i c a l career C h r i s t i e maintained a low p r o f i l e , undoubtedly s t i l l  b i t t e r about his f a l l  from power.  Instead,  Don Munro was the force behind b u i l d i n g and strengthening the organization in preparation for a convention c a l l e d for l a t e June, 1982. The leadership e l e c t i o n was one of the most i n t e r e s t i n g developments at the convention.  P a r t i c u l a r l y noteworthy was the margin by which C h r i s t i e  retained his incumbency, and the person over whom he was v i c t o r i o u s .  He  was elected on the second b a l l o t by gaining 158 of the 281 general membership votes (there were no delegates) thus defeating his challenger, Don Munro, by 25 votes.  It was a s i g n i f i c a n t event not only because two  b a l l o t s were needed for C h r i s t i e to secure the l e a d e r s h i p , but also be55 cause Munro did not decide u n t i l that morning to contest the leadership. Apparently Munro decided to run a f t e r r e a l i z i n g the other two candidates did not pose a serious challenge to C h r i s t i e . members sent a message to C h r i s t i e :  The f i n a l vote suggests the  he must abide by the party c o n s t i t u -  t i o n and adhere to the r a t i f i e d p o l i c y , or e l s e face being removed from o f f i c e at the leadership review session in October. Like B . C . , Alberta has also experienced some d i f f i c u l t i e s with the  - 39 -  leadership as the dispute Kesler had with Maygard and Westmore had strong 56 leadership implications - - the j o i n t resignation of the l a t t e r two. That Kesler gained the support of the constituency associations only r e solved the issue temporarily. be started  Although i t was expected the debate would  anew at the August leadership convention, the absence of May-  gard as a candidate prevented a continuation of t h i s p o l i c y c o n f l i c t . Both 57 Maygard and Knutson had stated they would contest the l e a d e r s h i p . But for some reason, Maygard changed his mind; that Knutson was a candidate was i n s i g n i f i c a n t as he was dismissed with three o t h e r s , on the f i r s t 58 ballot.  In the end the leadership b a t t l e was between Kesler and long-  time organizer' Howard Thompson, with the former emerging v i c t o r i o u s by f o r t y votes cast by the over 600 members in attendance.  The question of  the importance to be placed on a s e p a r a t i s t r h e t o r i c was not a major issue however, as Thompson concentrated more on image — portraying hims e l f as the one person able to unify the party.  Yet, as with B . C . , i t  is  expected that both during and a f t e r the next p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaign the issue of the s e p a r a t i s t image w i l l be debated again. Very b r i e f l y then, the h i s t o r y of WCC's leadership has been a chequered one indeed.  From a beginning of C h r i s t i e ' s single-handed  control over a l l facets of the o r g a n i z a t i o n , WCC has f a l l e n prey to a number of d e b i l i t a t i n g  internal power s t r u g g l e s .  F i r s t was the  rejection  of C h r i s t i e ' s leadership (as a response to accumulated grievances with his unitary state p o l i c y , his n a t i o n a l l y - o r i e n t e d o r g a n i z a t i o n , and his personality) by Maygard and the rest of the Alberta-dominated national executive.  Soon a f t e r the newly-formed Alberta wing was embroiled i n t h e i r  - 40 -  own dispute over the importance of the independence i s s u e , while in B.C. the members were giving guarded support to C h r i s t i e as p r o v i n c i a l leader.  DISCUSSION To t h i s p o i n t , the paper has been p r i m a r i l y a broad d e l i n e a t i o n of events w i t h i n West-Fed and WCC which were, to varying degrees, causes of the d i s u n i t y suffered by both o r g a n i z a t i o n s .  Although the d e s c r i p t i o n  has at times focused on p a r t i c u l a r incidents or issues and has involved some a n a l y s i s of ..those p o i n t s , i t i s hoped that the o v e r a l l tenor of the preceding material i s s t i l l  general in content.  c u s s i o n , therefore, i s more s p e c i f i c :  The purpose of the d i s -  to review, compare and analyze those  points in an e f f o r t to determine the scope of t h e i r c o n t r i b u t i o n to the two groups' internal unity problems.  Whereas in the sections above we were  interested i n discerning from where and why dissension emerged, we now s h i f t our a t t e n t i o n to furnishing answers to s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t questions. Accepting that o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c i e s and leadership were a l l sources of c o n f l i c t in West-Fed and WCC, which caused the greatest measure of dissent i n each association?  Did both groups s u f f e r from s i m i l a r types of organiza-  t i o n a l , p o l i c y or leadership c o n f l i c t ?  Did the three determinants operate  independent of each other, or did one serve to exacerbate or diminish the d i s u n i t y sponsored by another?  It i s thus a n t i c i p a t e d that t h i s analysis  and discussion w i l l f i r s t c r y s t a l l i z e the understanding of the two groups internal problems gained from the sections above, while demonstrating that dissension of t h i s order need not be t o t a l l y d e s t r u c t i v e as other Canadian p a r t i e s and movements have experienced s i m i l a r or greater c o n f l i c t s and  - 41 -  survived. In both West-Fed and Western Canada Concept internal proved to be a source of d i s u n i t y .  organization  The decision-making process i n s t i -  tuted by Knutson was h i g h l y - c e n t r a l i z e d , his o f f i c e being responsible for p o l i c y formulation and most of the funds a l l o c a t i o n .  The few c o n s t i -  tuency executives had l i t t l e input into e i t h e r national or p r o v i n c i a l decisions.  Without any measurable input, without control over most of  the funds they c o l l e c t e d , relegated to a r o l e of promoters.of West-Fed r a l l i e s , the constituent units became understandably r e s t l e s s .  Despite  Knutson's proud declarations that the movement was a " g r a s s - r o o t s " one, i t was obvious the decision-making process did not reach down that f a r . So, when the Calgary executives rebelled in December, 1981 the p o l i c y differences were buttressed by a f i r m r e j e c t i o n of the c e n t r a l i z e d o r ganization of the movement. The c o n f l i c t over the future organization of the party had profound implications for WCC as w e l l .  The organizational component of the f i r s t  WCC schism was based on a need to form an independent p r o v i n c i a l  party  (in compliance with.the Alberta E l e c t i o n s Act) i f the Albertans wished to contest a p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n . p r a c t i c a l and was not v i n d i c t i v e  On t h i s note the thinking was purely towards C h r i s t i e .  The Alberta members  had every reason to believe t h e i r best chance of e l e c t o r a l success was i n A l b e r t a , and to expect an e a r l y e l e c t i o n c a l l .  The sooner they  organized themselves into a p r o v i n c i a l u n i t , the b e t t e r .  But C h r i s t i e  only aggravated the s i t u a t i o n - - by w r i t i n g a l e t t e r to members claiming the s a l i e n t issue was the federal state o p t i o n , he sponsored the membership  - 42 -  confusion which l a t e r p o l a r i z e d the party.  In e f f e c t i t was C h r i s t i e  who turned a simple organizational issue into a leadership struggle in a vain attempt to maintain his paramouncy in the party. It w i l l be noted that the organizational dispute which disrupted WCC was quite d i f f e r e n t from that which led to West-Fed's demise.  The  l a t t e r concerned the c e n t r a l i z e d decision-making process of the a s s o c i a t i o n , while the former centred on the future d i r e c t i o n of the party.  Al-  though the WCC d e c i s i o n to become a p r o v i n c i a l party had a far-reaching e f f e c t on the party hierarchy and decision-making s t r u c t u r e , the i n i t i a l dispute was not, as in West-Fed, a question of c e n t r a l i z e d party c o n t r o l . The p o l i c y c o n f l i c t s experienced by the two groups produced d i v i s i o n s which were only resolved in West-Fed when the a s s o c i a t i o n disbanded and have been only temporarily repaired in WCC. In West-Fed disagreement over p o l i c y was present from the movement's i n c e p t i o n .  With a s i g n i f i c a n t  percentage of the membership being avowed s e p a r a t i s t s and Knutson developing p o l i c i e s designed to counter a s e p a r a t i s t image, i t was i n e v i t a b l e that the two would c l a s h .  The confrontation was f u r t h e r heightened by the two  confusing and contradictory p o l i c y positions Knutson promulgated.  His  p o l i c y of creating a western federation had always been viewed s k e p t i c a l l y by the p r o - s e p a r a t i s t members, p a r t i c u l a r l y those based around Calgary. They, more than he, were aware of the d e f i c i e n c i e s :  that the membership  recruitment program was overly presumptive, that the lobbying of MLAs could not be brought to f r u i t i o n in eighteen months, that western i n t e r e s t s could not be a r t i c u l a t e d by one o r g a n i z a t i o n , and that the eastern regions would be unreceptive to West-Fed demands.  A f t e r one year of l i s t e n i n g to Knutson's  _ 43 .  hollow v i s i o n , the Calgary o f f i c e r s made t h e i r move.  Thus by f i r s t  declaring themselves s e p a r a t i s t s , then gaining membership approval for t h e i r p o s i t i o n in August, 1981, the Calgarians e f f e c t i v e l y l a i d to r e s t the very concept upon which West-Fed had been founded. The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l development argument did not produce the same degree of marked d i s c o r d , l i k e l y because members benignly accepted i t , did not understand i t ,  or chose to ignore i t .  unity was present as any p o l i t i c a l l y - a w a r e  S t i l l the potential f o r d i s -  members would have r e a l i z e d  Knutson's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of Confederation and the Statute of Westminster contradicted each other as well as the western federation p o l i c y .  Moreover,  the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n was too r e s t r i c t i v e , based s o l e l y on the semantics of the a p p l i c a b l e documents rather than t h e i r i n t e n t .  Any d i s u n i t y caused  by these arguments was l i k e l y a r e s u l t of Knutson's determination to d r a f t p o l i c i e s and arguments with the express purpose of downplaying the independence i s s u e .  Yet since an i n f l u e n t i a l  portion of the members  favoured u n i l a t e r a l secession, the p o l i c i e s proved counterproductive. While doing l i t t l e to correct West-Fed's image problems, these two p o l i c i e s did irreparable damage to the internal unity of the movement. P o l i c y a l s o played a major r o l e in c o n t r i b u t i n g to the two schisms in WCC. The f i r s t s p l i t in F a l l , 1981 was at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y due to the debate between C h r i s t i e and the Alberta-dominated national executive concerning the d e s i r a b i l i t y of the creation of a unitary or federal s t a t e . C h r i s t i e , a f t e r already backing down from his o r i g i n a l unitary state p o l i c y by accepting a referendum on the s u b j e c t , refused to acquiesce to the prof e d e r a l i s t p o l i c y proposed by the Albertans.  The r e j e c t i o n of C h r i s t i e ' s  - 44 -  leadership was to f o l l o w s h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r .  Likewise p o l i c y differences  were a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r in the Kesler-Maygard power s t r u g g l e .  Similar  to the West-Fed experience, the new Alberta party was divided between the vehement s e p a r a t i s t s and those w i l l i n g to suppress the s e p a r a t i s t r h e t o r i c i n an e f f o r t to enrich the p a r t y ' s popular appeal.  The i n t e r e s t i n g point  in the WCC (Alberta) debacle was that moderation on independence had never been a contentious issue - - not u n t i l Kesler had been elected and secured his internal support, did the question come to the f o r e .  I do not  t h i n k , however, that the timing of the c o n f l i c t indicates Kesler had any immediate plans to assume the party leadership; rather that he took a prgamatic approach to e l e c t o r a l p o l i t i c s by appreciating WCC would enjoy more success at the p o l l s with a l e s s m i l i t a n t stand on independence. As Maygard and Westmore were deposed, i t appears the membership shared K e s l e r ' s opinion.  S t i l l the  debate i s not f i n i s h e d , as t h i s i s s u e , more than any  other p o l i c y concern, poses the greatest threat to party unity i n the near future. P o l i c y i s of prime importance i n any a n a l y s i s of c o n f l i c t w i t h i n a new movement or party.  It i s p o l i c y , not leadership and c e r t a i n l y not  o r g a n i z a t i o n , which constitutes the i n i t i a l  appeal of the new grouping.  Yet i f the p o l i c i e s are unsound, contradictory or confusing, then dissent will result.  West-Fed was a c l a s s i c example of an organization bound f o r  destruction simply because the p o l i c y decisions were so foreign to both p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y and the expectations of the members and executives a l i k e that c o n f l i c t over p o l i c y was assured.  That West-Fed's had o r i g i n a l l y  attracted numerous s e p a r a t i s t s who then succeeded in securing executive  - 45 -  positions in the Calgary region only exacerbated the s i t u a t i o n ,  parti-  c u l a r l y when Knutson was attempting to repudiate the s e p a r a t i s t image. P o l i c y was no less important to the second WCC c o n f l i c t .  While the f i r s t  s p l i t had been occasioned by debate over the unitary state p o l i c y ,  it  also had strong leadership and organizational overtones; the Kesler-Maygard controversy was p r i m a r i l y a r e s u l t of p o l i c y d i f f e r e n c e s . F i n a l l y , the material suggests that leadership in general, and the influence of the l e a d e r s ' p e r s o n a l i t i e s on p o l i c y choices i n  particular,  were sources of c o n f l i c t in both West-Fed and WCC. The question of competent, c r e d i b l e leadership played a substantial r o l e i n the Calgary execut i v e s ' r e j e c t i o n of Knutson as well as the dispute between C h r i s t i e and the Alberta-dominated national executive. p a r t i e s , leadership was a problem.  Even in WCC's p r o v i n c i a l  The West-Fed leadership had always  been of concern to the movement; Knutson himself would f r e e l y admit he was not the ideal leader.  Yet despite his modesty, he proved u n w i l l i n g  to vacate his o f f i c e and part with the power accompanying i t — even amid obvious dissent within the ranks.  His continuing i n a b i l i t y  to  develop p o l i c i e s which were understood and accepted by the general p u b l i c , much less his own members, coupled with his attempts to control  almost  a l l facets of the internal organization were not the leadership q u a l i t i e s West-Fed needed.  As such he never enjoyed the type of respect from the  p r o v i n c i a l presidents and constituency executives which are required of a popular movement leader.  Thus when the Calgary executives confronted  Knutson, complaining of t h e i r lack of input into p o l i c y d e c i s i o n s , they were a c t u a l l y c a l l i n g his leadership into question.  - 46 -  Just as Knutson was a f f i c t e d with a lack of respect i n West-Fed, so too was C h r i s t i e in WCC. But the reasons behind the disrespect afforded each were as d i f f e r e n t as the two men's p e r s o n a l i t i e s .  Whereas Knutson's  respect problems stemmed from an honest appraisal of his p o l i t i c a l  abilities,  C h r i s t i e wasnot-respected more out of fear and contempt for the man himself than f o r his p o l i t i c a l e f f i c a c y .  It was C h r i s t i e ' s arrogance more than  any other of his personality t r a i t s which engendered the lack of respect toward him.  It was t h i s arrogance which made i t d i f f i c u l t for him to work  with Munro and impossible to work with Maygard.  When a man posseses a.con-  fidence i n his own p o l i t i c a l a b i l i t i e s and worth to a point where a l l other opinions are secondary, one cannot expect him to be an asset to the political  team.  And teamwork i s a r e q u i s i t e i n any p o l i t i c a l  party.  S i m i l a r l y , a leader cannot expect to receive the respect of his associates when a l l know he i s ready to seek legal redress i f t h e i r public statements are even s l i g h t l y c r i t i c a l .  Hence, C h r i s t i e ' s arrogant and suspicious  nature cannot be viewed as the foremost q u a l i t i e s of a party leader. Despite a keen sense of p o l i t i c s and an e m o t i o n - s t i r r i n g C h r i s t i e ' s e a r l y leadership of WCC w i l l  platform  style,  be remembered p r i m a r i l y as the  time when one man t r i e d to maintain complete control over the o r g a n i z a t i o n . In sum, Knutson was a v i c t i m of his i n a b i l i t i e s , C h r i s t i e was a v i c t i m of his p e r s o n a l i t y . .  With Knutson being incapable of d r a f t i n g sound  p o l i c i e s and u n w i l l i n g to delegate a u t h o r i t y , and C h r i s t i e being resolute in his self-esteem, neither man was able to r e t a i n the respect of his executive o f f i c e r s .  And since legitimacy i s usually d i r e c t l y  to the l e v e l of respect, both l o s t t h e i r  legitimacy.  proportional  - 47 -  F i n a l l y , leadership was also a concern in the p r o v i n c i a l wings of WCC. In A l b e r t a , K e s l e r ' s attack on the p o l i c y associated with the pros e p a r a t i s t leader and president (Maygard and Westmore) was also an attack on t h e i r leadership.  S i m i l a r l y , Munro's belated d e c i s i o n to  challenge C h r i s t i e for the WCC (B.C.) leadership was a d i r e c t of the man and his brand of leadership.  rejection  While Munro's a c t i o n did not  have any profound consequences i n B.C. - - aside from showing C h r i s t i e was not accepted by a l l members - - the p r o v i n c i a l leadership question did have s i g n i f i c a n t r a m i f i c a t i o n s i n Alberta as witnessed by the resignation of the two c h i e f executives. Very b r i e f l y then, o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c i e s and leadership a l l  contri-  buted to the major d e b i l i t a t i n g c o n f l i c t s suffered by West-Fed and Western Canada Concept.  Although the primary causes of d i s u n i t y may be l i s t e d  under these three general headings, i t must be stressed that w i t h i n each variable  the causes of d i s u n i t y were quite d i f f e r e n t .  So the leader-  ship problems i n West-Fed were the product of Knutson's p o l i t i c a l  naivete  and i n a b i l i t y , while WCC's e a r l y leadership c o n f l i c t s were due to C h r i s t i e ' s p e r s o n a l i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y his arrogance.  The leadership component of the  Kesler-Maygard dispute involved neither the l e a d e r ' s i n a b i l i t i e s nor his arrogance but was rather a struggle between two divergent perceptions of the most e f f i c a c i o u s route to e l e c t o r a l success.  Likewise the organization  c o n f l i c t s experienced by the two groups d i f f e r e d .  For West-Fed the pivotal  question was the degree of c e n t r a l i z e d decision-making; f o r WCC the issue was a p r a c t i c a l r e a l i z a t i o n of a need for a p r o v i n c i a l party.  Where the  two organizations did share the same c o n f l i c t , however, was i n the p o l i c y  - 48 -  area.  Although West-Fed never f e l l  prey to any measurable dissent  over the question of a u n i t a r y / f e d e r a l  state o p t i o n , they, l i k e WCC  were divided on the emphasis to be placed on the independence i s s u e . Given that l e a d e r s h i p , p o l i c i e s and organization were a l l respons i b l e for the promotion of party and movement d i s s e n t , i s one then able to discern the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p  among the three v a r i a b l e s ?  Did they act  independent of each other; or did they act in unison with leadership exacerbating the p o l i c y c o n f l i c t s or p o l i c y compounding an organizational dispute? Looking f i r s t to the West-Fed s i t u a t i o n i t w i l l be noted that the r e v o l t of the Calgary executives was the culmination of t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with Knutson, h i s p o l i c i e s and his c e n t r a l i z e d organization of movement a f f a i r s . others.  It  A l l three variables were present with each influencing  the  i s near impossible to d i s t i n g u i s h Knutson from his p o l i c i e s ,  the two being so c l o s e l y aligned they acted as one.  Detractors of Knutson's  leadership based t h e i r c r i t i c i s m s not on the man himself.but on his steadf a s t adherence to p o l i c i e s they r e j e c t e d .  The r e j e c t i o n , by the Calgary  executives, of an accommodation!'st p o l i c y and the r a t i f i c a t i o n  of a pro-  s e p a r a t i s t one, was equally a r e j e c t i o n of Knutson's leadership. these was a close nexus  Similarly  between the 1eadership/policy c o n f l i c t s and  the dispute over o r g a n i z a t i o n .  Undoubtedly, i f the regional o f f i c e r s had  been allowed greater input into p o l i c y matters, v i a a decentralized decision-making format, then the p o l i c i e s they so vehemently opposed would never have been formulated.  Instead the highly c e n t r a l i z e d  structure  enable the development of p o l i c i e s which were viewed as unpalatable.  But  - 49 -  i t seems that the s i t u a t i o n could not have been otherwise, for there was something in Knutson's nature which prevented him from r e l i n g u i s h i n g any of his a u t h o r i t y .  The whole argument q u i c k l y devolves i n t o a c i r c u l a r  one - - which i s p r e c i s e l y the p o i n t .  The downfall of West-Fed was a  combination of dissent towards leadership, p o l i c i e s and organization - each acting upon and i n f l u e n c i n g the others - - culminating i n the f r u s t r a t i o n and eventual desertion of the Calgary executives. The c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p among l e a d e r s h i p , p o l i c y and organization variables was also evidenced in the two WCC c o n f l i c t s .  The f i r s t schism  began as a simple attempt to e s t a b l i s h a p r o v i n c i a l branch of the party. Very quickly, however, the arguments took on an organizational component as C h r i s t i e became worried about his diminished r o l e i n the party and h i s loss of input into the decisions which would control i t s destiny.  To  d e f l e c t a t t e n t i o n C h r i s t i e emphasized the c o r r o l l a r y argument of the u n i t a r y / f e d e r a l state o p t i o n , t r y i n g to show the Albertans as r e j e c t o r s of a p o l i c y r a t i f i e d by a l l the executives. p o l i c y overtones.  Hence the c o n f l i c t adopted  And, since i t was C h r i s t i e who drew the l i n e s between  himself and the Albertans (who by t h i s time were convinced of the inadequacies of his leadership) the debate had strong leadership i m p l i c a t i o n s . One v a r i a b l e did not operate independent of the others.  For the most  p a r t , i t was C h r i s t i e who brought old leadership and p o l i c y disputes to the f o r e ; once present the three worked i n conjunction to d i s c r e d i t C h r i s t i e and secure his demise as national leader. S i m i l a r l y there was a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p among the three v a r i a b l e s in the Kesler-Maygard dispute.  When Kesler began to champion moderation  - 50 -  of the independence issue he was not only questioning p o l i c y - - he was d i r e c t l y challenging Maygard s leadership and the decision-making process 1  which had r a t i f i e d the p o l i c y .  Although the dispute was p r i m a r i l y a p o l i c y  concern, i t had important leadership and organizational r a m i f i c a t i o n s ; as witnessed by Maygard's attempt to turn the dispute into a leadership conf l i c t by emphasizing K e s l e r ' s r e l i g i o u s a f f i l i a t i o n s ,  the resignations of  Maygard and Westmore and t h e i r subsequent replacement in the decision-making hierarchy by Kesler supporters. Therefore, a analysis of the r e l a t i o n s h i p among the three variables provides s u f f i c i e n t evidence to conclude that each did not act independently i n e i t h e r the West-Fed or WCC c o n f l i c t s .  Rather, l e a d e r s h i p , p o l i c y and  organizational dissent seemed to work in unison with each supporting and r e i n f o r c i n g the others.  This i s an important observation, as i t shows  that the c o n f l i c t was not some i s o l a t e d event caused by the chance union of the three v a r i a b l e s at the same time and i n the same p l a c e .  Instead,  the close connection among the three v i r t u a l l y dictated that c o n f l i c t o r i g i n a t i n g from one of the v a r i a b l e s was destined to be influenced by the other two. Although the systematic d i s s e c t i o n of c o n f l i c t into i t s component parts of o r g a n i z a t i o n , p o l i c i e s and leadership makes for i n t e r e s t i n g analysis and, I t h i n k , allows for a more thorough understanding of West-Fed and WCC, we must not lose s i g h t of the f a c t that what the two groups suffered was only internal d i s s e n s i o n .  It i s f i n e to be s p e c i f i c about the nature of  the c o n f l i c t under i n v e s t i g a t i o n , but i n the end we must return to the more general — r e a l i z i n g that neither group experienced anything not  - 51 -  suffered by other p o l i t i c a l organizations.  Dissension i s present in a l l  p o l i t i c a l a s s o c i a t i o n s ; indeed i t i s v i r t u a l l y a r e q u i s i t e to the o r g a n i z a t i o n ' s healthy, democratic development.  C e r t a i n l y one would not expect  the o r g a n i z a t i o n a l , p o l i c y and leadership problems which s p l i t WCC or destroyed West-Fed to have a s i m i l a r e f f e c t on the L i b e r a l s or Conservatives. Even the two major s e p a r a t i s t groups in Quebec in the e a r l y s i x t i e s were able to endure major internal c o n f l i c t s .  The Rassemblement pour  1'Independence Nationale (RIN) was c o n t i n u a l l y plagued with i n t e r a l during i t s eight year h i s t o r y from 1960 to 1968.  rifts  In that time the party  survived three s i g n i f i c a n t s p l i t s over ideology and the best strategy ( e i t h e r extra-parliamentary or e l e c t o r a l l y ) with which to gain independence. That the RIN disbanded i n 1968 does not mean i t s demise was a product of i n t e r n a l d i s u n i t y , but rather that a more c r e d i b l e and p o l i t i c a l l y acceptable group (Levesque's P a r t i Quebecois) had usurped the RIN's 59 power base.  S i m i l a r l y , the P a r t i  Quebecois (PQ) has experienced  internal dissension p a r t i c u l a r l y during i t s f i r s t eight y e a r s .  From  1968 to 1976 there was an ongoing debate w i t h i n the party centred upon — l i k e WCC (Alberta) - - the importance of a s e p a r a t i s t image in an fin e l e c t i o n campaign.  Yet the PQ survived these c o n f l i c t s .  The s a l i e n t point in these b r i e f delineations i s to i l l u s t r a t e West-Fed and WCC do not hold a monopoly on d i s s e n s i o n .  that  The o l d e r , e s t a -  blished national parties and the more recent Quebec s e p a r a t i s t groups have a l l endured internal unity problems.  The s p e c i f i c reasons behind  t h e i r s u r v i v a l ( b e i t the t r a d i t i o n , patronage resources or bureaucracies  -  52  -  of the o l d - l i n e parties or a t a c i t consensus among the Quebec s e p a r a t i s t s that the most serious threat came from o u t s i d e , not w i t h i n , the organization) seem secondary to the f a c t they have overcome these c o n f l i c t s . C e r t a i n l y West-Fed i s not able to boast such a r e c o r d ; only the events of the next few months or years w i l l t e l l how WCC has f a r e d .  CONCLUSION The objectives of t h i s paper were twofold:  f i r s t to gain a c l e a r e r  understanding of the internal forces which caused the destruction of WestFed and the near destruction of Western Canada Concept; second, to suggest that the two groups experienced only that which i s common i n any p o l i t i c a l organization.  On the f i r s t p o i n t , the two associations were broken down  into o r g a n i z a t i o n a l , p o l i c y and leadership components, thus permitting a more in-depth a n a l y s i s of the sources of d i s u n i t y .  It can be concluded  that in the two major c o n f l i c t s w i t h i n WCC and the one destructive d i s pute in West-Fed, a l l three components played a discernable r o l e . Further, the three did not act independently of each other, as p o l i c y c o n f l i c t s accentuated leadership and organizational problems, as leadership was a cause of organizational and p o l i c y d i s p u t e s , and so f o r t h . Yet f i n a l l y we must return to the general proposition that dissension i s v i r t u a l l y unavoidable i n any p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y a newlyformed one.  Perhaps the only way for new p o l i t i c a l associations to ensure  dissension does not have grave d e b i l i t a t i n g consequences i s to have a c l e a r l y defined external threat and receive a consensus on that threat being of primary importance.  While the Quebec s e p a r a t i s t appear to have  -53  -  been able to achieve such an accord, the western s e p a r a t i s t have not. To date they are s t i l l divided over whether Confederation, the federal Liberal party, Trudeau, b i l i n g u a l i s m or m e t r i f i c a t i o n i s the greatest enemy.  Only recently have they begun to concentrate some of t h e i r  energies on p r o v i n c i a l matters.  The prognosis thus seem to be along the  l i n e s that unless or u n t i l the p r o v i n c i a l wings of WCC reach a consensus as to what poses the greatest t h r e a t , they w i l l continue to focus t h e i r attention on i n t e r n a l  matters.  - 54 -  FOOTNOTES  1.  This i s not to say that established organizations survive i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s only because there i s a consensus on the greatest external t h r e a t . There are other reasons, be they the age of the o r g a n i z a t i o n , i t s t r a d i t i o n s , the a b i l i t y to a t t r a c t seasoned p o l i t i c i a n s , an established i n t e r n a l bureaucracy, patronage resources, and so f o r t h . Yet the inverse proposition i s s t i l l important: that new groups which have yet to gain general agreement on an external threat are more l i k e l y to f a l l prey to d e b i l i t a t i n g i n t e r n a l d i s s e n s i o n .  2.  I use the word " s e p a r a t i s t " to describe West-Fed even though the founder, Elmer Knutson, has repeatedly denied the group.'s;purpose was to promote secession. I use the s e p a r a t i s t label for several reasons: a large number of West-Fed members were avowed s e p a r a t i s t s , the a s s o c i a t i o n ' s o r i g i n a l p o l i c y can only be l o g i c a l l y viewed as s e p a r a t i s t in i n t e n t , and i n l a t e 1981 the a s s o c i a t i o n formally adopted a s e p a r a t i s t platform.  3.  This i s a general c a t e g o r i z a t i o n . To be sure, organization can be divided i n t o membership c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s (age, sex, occupation, subjective s o c i a l c l a s s ) , funding, decision-making process, executive structure and so f o r t h . Further, p o l i c y can also include ideology. Ideology, meaning the placement of the a s s o c i a t i o n on a l e f t / r i g h t a x i s , w i l l not be c l o s e l y examined here because there i s a general consensus that both groups held conservative, small-government o r i e n t a t i o n s . The more s p e c i f i c ideology of the role of separatism within the groups w i l l be discussed i n the p o l i c y s e c t i o n s .  4.  The information on the background and organization of WCC was derived from an interview with Doug C h r i s t i e recorded at Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. in the Memorial Hall on J u l y 1, 1981, and w i l l not be subsequently footnoted.  5.  Vancouver Province, (February 25, 1980), A4.  6.  Calgary Herald, (March 24, 1980), B4.  7.  Vancouver Sun, (July 2, 1980), D14.  8.  This i s a confusing p o l i c y . It appears Mr. Bennett wanted, at the l e a s t , a more l i b e r a l immigration programme allowing equal entrance opportunities for a l l races. Or he may have wanted equal quotas for immigration from a l l races. I f the l a t t e r was the case then his p o l i c y would have been r a c i s t . Yet i t was C h r i s t i e who was l a b e l l e d the r a c i s t a f t e r he opposed Bennett's p l a n . S t i l l the more important point i s to show how a disagreement over p o l i c y was s u f f i c i e n t to remove C h r i s t i e from WNA.  - 55 -  9.  Don Munro, WCC (B.C.) pro-tem president (December, 1981-June, 1982) claims WCC was not registered as a B.C. party u n t i l S p r i n g , 1982; Al Maygard, past national president claims there was not an Alberta party u n t i l F a l l , 1981.  10.  For an indepth, pro-Alberta view of t h i s s p l i t , see The Independencer, O f f i c i a l P u b l i c a t i o n of WCC, 1 (October, 1981) 3, pp. 1-4.  11.  Vancouver Sun, (October 14, 1981), A7.  12.  Discussion of the Saskatchewan and Manitoba branches of WCC has been omitted; the same i s true for the material on West-Fed. Neither : a s s o c i a t i o n made a serious attempt to organize the two provinces, save for WCC's a c t i v i t i e s during the recent e l e c t i o n campaign in Saskatchewan.  13.  Interview with Al Maygard recorded at WCC ( B . C . ) convention at Delta River Inn, Richmond on June 26, 1982.  14.  F i r s t interview with Elmer Knutson conducted in his Edmonton o f f i c e on J u l y 2, 1981. As with the WCC m a t e r i a l , much of the information i n t h i s section i s derived from the interview and w i l l not be subsequently footnoted.  15.  Calgary Herald, (December 19, 1981), D21.  16.  Interview with Don Munro, pro-tem WCC (B.C.) president and former West-Feder, recorded in his North Delta home on June 10, 1982.  17.  Calgary H e r a l d , (January 21, 1982), B l .  18.  Maclean's, 95 ( J u l y 26, 1982), 30, p. 10.  19.  F i r s t Knutson interview.  20.  Knutson f r e e l y admitted that West-Fed had a t t r a c t e d too many s e p a r a t i s t s , adding the ones i n Calgary were a constant problem.  21.  Calgary H e r a l d , (December 19, 1981), D21.  22.  I say " i t should have" removed Knutson from his pre-eminent p o s i t i o n because in r e a l i t y Knutson was able to force his way back into being the movement's central f i g u r e .  23.  Vancouver Sun, (August 10, 1981), A16.  24.  Vancouver Province, (August 1 1 , 1981), B l .  25.  Calgary Herald, (October 23, 1981), B14.  -56-  26.  I b i d . , (December 19, 1981), D21.  27.  I b i d . , (December 3 0 , 1 9 8 1 ) , A8.  28.  Knutson expected the lobbying process would succeed in about 18 months.  29.  Knutson contended that the product of these "negotiations" would be s t r i k i n g l y d i f f e r e n t from the current d i v i s i o n of powers - central authority would be severely circumscribed as residual powers were to r e s t with the four regions. He f u r t h e r asserted that any federal representatives would be drawn from the regional l e g i s l a t u r e s , and would remain responsible to those i n s t i t u t i o n s .  30.  Since the western federation scheme was c e r t a i n to be rejected by the e a s t , the long-term objective must be secession.  31.  From our conversation i t appears Knutson makes no d i s t i n c t i o n between a federation and a confederation.  32.  It w i l l be r e c a l l e d that o f f i c i a l l y Knutson was the national p r e s i d e n t , but he also assumed the r o l e of movement leader.  33.  Knutson's i n i t i a l speaking engagements were a success only because people wanted to hear that t h e i r complaints about federal government actions were shared by others. Knutson always employed a very negat i v e s t y l e spending most of his time c r i t i c i s i n g the federal government. Very l i t t l e , even the western federation p l a n , was voiced i n a p o s i t i v e tone. A f t e r people had heard Knutson's r e n d i t i o n of western grievances once or twice, they stayed away from what were redundant r a l l i e s .  34.  In t h i s sense I am thinking of the Aberharts, the Douglases, and the Levesques - - a l l of whom enjoyed great success by adopting an almost evangelical approach to t h e i r p o l i t i c s .  35.  The ' n a t i o n a l ' epithet meant only the four western provinces.  36.  The Independencer, 1 (June, 1981) 1, p. 4.  37.  Also note that of the seventy members at the May, 1981 convention, nineteen were elected to the executive or the Board of D i r e c t o r s .  38.  Alberta and B.C. are organized i d e n t i c a l l y , as B.C. adopted the WCC (Alberta) c o n s t i t u t i o n . The only difference i s that Alberta o r i g i n a l l y had a deputy leader (Kesler) before he assumed the l e a d e r ship in May, 1982.  39.  This explanation was offered by both Don Munro and Al Maygard in separate i n t e r v i e w s .  - 57 "  40.  The Independencer, 1 (October, 1981) 3, p. 3. From a column by Tom Pappajohn. Mr. Pappajohn, who the w r i t e r has talked to once, i s a former aid and supporter of Doug C h r i s t i e , having worked with him since 1976. He i s an open, honest i n d i v i d u a l and a person whose assessment of events t h i s w r i t e r accepts.  41.  From WCC (B.C.) and WCC (Alberta) party c o n s t i t u t i o n s .  42.  Don Munro interview.  43.  A feat Munro considers to be his most s i g n i f i c a n t achievement.  44.  The lack of p o l i c y on other issues ( s o c i a l s e r v i c e s , education, i n d u s t r i a l development) was due to C h r i s t i e ' s b e l i e f that i t was not up to him, or the party, to decide the path an independent west would f o l l o w . According to him these were matters best l e f t u n t i l a f t e r separation. Obviously other members did not share his b e l i e f as both the B.C. and Alberta parties drafted d e f i n i t i v e p o l i c y positions on these issues in the summer of 1982.  45.  Information derived from 1980 WCC handbills and pamphlets, C h r i s t i e interview and a review of s i m i l a r p o l i c y positions adopted by the B.C. and Alberta p a r t i e s ; see The Independencer, 1 (March, 1982) 6, p. 8.  46.  From the o r i g i n a l WCC pamphlet.  47.  Although both the B.C. and Alberta parties consider t h i s to be t h e i r positions on the matter, neither of them expend much energy promulgating the p o l i c y .  48.  The i n t e r e s t i n g point here i s that the proposed form of government would make an independent west the most highly governed state i n the world — even more than Canada i s now. By advocating two houses i n a l l provinces and two at the federal l e v e l , they seem to contradict t h e i r b e l i e f that we need l e s s government.  49.  Maclean's, op. c i t . , ship.)  50.  From an assessment of the comments made on the issue during the p o l i c y debate at the WCC (B.C.) annual convention on June 25 and 26, 1982.  51.  The Independencer, 1 (March, 1982) 6, p. 8, and p o l i c y proposals r a t i f i e d at WCC (B.C.) convention i n June, 1982.  52.  Since the spring of 1981, C h r i s t i e has i n i t i a t e d two lawsuits for defamation of character. One involved the publisher of the party newspaper. It was due to C h r i s t i e ' s p r o c l i v i t y to seek legal redress that Don Munro declined to t a l k candidly about his p e r s o n a l i t y on tape.  (Note that Maygard did not contest the l e a d e r -  - 58 -  53.  Maygard i s not the only prominent member to voice his d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with C h r i s t i e ' s brand of l e a d e r s h i p . Both Don Munro and Tom Pappajohn have lamented t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s i n working with C h r i s t i e . Soo too have many other members, see Letters to the Editor in The Independencer, 1 (October, 1981), 3. pp. 2-3.  54.  Calgary Herald, (October 13, 1981), A24.  55.  And t h i s was the man who had t o l d me j u s t weeks before that he was looking forward to leaving the executive so he could enjoy his r e t i rement.  56.  There was an a d d i t i o n a l component to the Kesler-Maygard d i s p u t e . Shortly a f t e r the c o n f l i c t surfaced (and i n what seems to have been an attempt to d e f l e c t attention away from the p o l i c y disagreements) Maygard began to emphasize K e s l e r ' s r e l i g i o u s a f f i l i a t i o n with the Mormons. Maygard contended that Kesler was consciously turning WCC (Alberta) i n t o a Morman-dominated organization by having other Morman appointed to positions of i n f l u e n c e ; see Maclean's, op. c i t . , p. 9. Yet only s i x of the 24 member Board of Directors were Mormons. T o . t h i s w r i t e r the important observation i s how Maygard t r i e d (as C h r i s t i e had t r i e d before) to transform a p o l i c y debate into a leadership contest.  57.  From separate interviews with Knutson and Maygard on June 26, 1982.  58.  Maclean's, 95 (August 30, 1982)  59.  For a more indepth a n a l y s i s of the RIN's internal problems see: A. d'Allemagne, Le RIN de 1960 a 1963: Etude d'un groupe de pression au Quebec"! (Montreal: Editions 1 ' E n t i n c e l l e , 1974), pp. 50-55; D. Cameron, Nationalism, Self-Determination and the Quebec Question. (Toronto! MacMillan, 1970), pp. 130-40; R. Denis, Luttes de classes et question nationale au Quebec (Montreal: Presses s o c i a l i s t e s i n t e r n a t i o n a l e s , 1979), pp. 515-20.  60.  On the P a r t i Quebecois see: H. M i l n e r , P o l i t i c s in the New Quebec. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979), pp. 149-55; M. Pinard and R. Hamilton, "The P a r t i Quebecois Comes to Power: An Analysis of the 1976 Quebec E l e c t i o n , " i n Canadian Journal, of P o l i t i c a l Science, 11 (December, 1978) 4, pp.' 739-57; J . Saywell, The Rise of the P a r t i Quebecois, 1967-76, (Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto- Press,1978) pp. 100-18.  35, pp. 14-15.  - 59 -  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Newspapers and Magazines Calgary Herald (1980)  (1981)  Globe and Mail (1980)  (1981)  February 29, 23 March 5, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24 A p r i l 19 May 6, 29 June 23 August 23, 25 September 3, 24 October 20, 31 November 1 January 7, 8, 12, 27, 31 October 13, 23 November 10, 12, 13, 15, 21, 25, 26, 28, 29 December 4 , 5, 6, 9, 17, 20, 30, 31 March 12, 18, 25, 28 A p r i l 20, 23, 25 August 6 October 29, 31 November 8, 10, 15, 21, 24 December 1, 13, 16, 23, 29 January 10, 24 February 3, 6, 16, 17, 18, 19  H a l i f a x Chronicle-Herald (1980) February 23 March 1, 8, 15, 24, 31 June 2, 9 J u l y 21 August 7 November 10, 20, 25 December 3 (1981)  The Independencer (T981) (1982)  January 23 February 4  June, September, October, November issues January, March  - 60 -  Maclean's  (1980)  A p r i l 21 May 5, 12 October 27 November 3 December 1  (1981)  January 19 February 18  (1982)  J u l y 26 August 30  Vancouver Province [1980)  Vancouver Sun  February 25  (1981)  August 11  (1980)  February 20, 21 March 10, 11, 15, 18, 20 A p r i l 12 May 1 J u l y 2, 4 , 7, 31 August 1 , 6 October 23 November 5, 7, 21, 25, 28, 29 December 6, 13, 18, 22, 30  (1981)  January 8, 9, 22, 23, 31 August 10 October 14  Winnipeg Free Press [1980)  (1981)  March 24 A p r i l 5, 24, 25 May 31 J u l y 14, 15 October 31 November 8, 10, 14, 15, 24, 27 December 2, 4, 9, 20 January 2, 9, 24, 28, 29  - 61 -  Interviews Douglas C h r i s t i e  - July 1, 1981  [h hour)  Elmer Knutson  - J u l y 2, 1981 - June 26, 1982  (3% hours) (% hour)  Don Munro  - June 10, 1982  (3 hours)  Al Maygard  - June 26, 1982  {h hour)  Books and a r t i c l e s d'Allemagne, A. Le RIN de 1960 a 1963: Etude d'un groupe de pression au Quebec. (Montreal: Editions l ' E t i n c e l l e , 1974). Cameron, D. Nationalism, Self-Determination and the Quebec Question. (Toronto: MacMillan,' 1970). Denis, R. Luttes de classes et question nationale au Quebec. (Montreal: Presses s o c i a l i s t e s i n t e r n a t i o n a l e s , 1979). M i l n e r , H. P o l i t i c s in the New Quebec. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979). P i n a r d , M. and R. Hamilton, "The P a r t i Quebecois Comes to Power: An Analysis of the 1976 Quebec E l e c t i o n , " in Canadian Journal of P o l i t i c a l Science, 11 (December, 1978). Saywell, J . The Rise of the P a r t i Quebecois, 1967-76, University of Toronto Press, 1978),  (Toronto:  

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