On the heels of the cancellation of the CFL’s 2020 season, it is becoming more and more clear that the CFL is a great indicator of a more profound divide in Canadian culture.
You can almost certainly tell what part of the country people live in by their opinion of the CFL and it’s failed last-ditch effort to ask for the government for a mere $30 million CAD interest-free loan that would have allowed fans to enjoy some form of Canadian football this year.
People from Central Ontario eastward really don’t care. Many people from Manitoba westward are outraged.
This isn’t necessarily a new thing. Since the 1990s, the CFL’s popularity has stayed strong in the west, while it has struggled in the east. Take Montreal as an example. They lost their franchise, and didn’t get it back until the CFL shut American operations down in 1996. The then-Baltimore Stallions became the Montreal Alouettes 2.0.
But even then, the financial struggle continued to be a very real issue. They had to change venues to a smaller stadium before they could begin to stabilize. This has never happened out west, even once.
And I say that to say this: Trudeau and his cronies are clearly anti-western in general, and we can see it clearly in the way the CFL has been treated with such low priority.
What did the CFL ask for? A paltry $30 million. This should have been a no-brainer, considering it would barely show on the national budget sheet. And it wasn’t even a hand out. The CFL was asking for a loan. Maybe Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl’s tweet can help illustrate what we are talking about:
The point here is: for the Canadian government, this has never been about the money. We have a massive tax base in Canada. $30 million sounds like a big number but for them it’s next to nothing.
The amount that the Trudeau government can dish out to the likes of the WE Charity reaches nearly a billion dollars. The amount that the CFL, a decades-old Canadian institution enjoyed mostly by Westerners, can borrow? Zero.
One can argue about whether this is just negligence, or if there is some deliberate maliciousness here. These things take place behind closed doors, and we will probably never know what actually went on when they were reviewing the CFL’s repeated requests for assistance.
What is clear, however, is that rejecting these requests looks like a slap to the face of Western Canada, because that’s what it is.