Vancouver Canada has just gone through a week of unprecedented political upheaval. Just two months ago, the country went to the polls and elected another minority government. In a country known for its staidness and in recent years an apathetic voter base, it would be tough to come up with two words more incongruent than 'political upheaval'. The Conservative minority government didn't expect to spark such a rebellion when it presented its economic update late last month. The update is not a government budget, but a snapshot of where the government sees its financial state and what will happen in the near future. The hard-hit manufacturing sector in Quebec and the motor-vehicle industry in Ontario have been clamouring for economic aid, but the government announced no new stimulus measures. The three opposition parties - the Liberals, the New Democrat Party and the Bloc Quebecois - hit back unexpectedly and decisively, saying the government wasn't providing enough help to workers. The Liberals and the New Democrats joined forces and got the backing of the separatist Bloc Quebecois to give them enough seats to form a coalition government and oust the Conservatives, or force yet another election. Any minority government, and Canada has had three in a row, can be overthrown at any time. But it was the suddenness of the opposition revolt, and the spectre of a coalition government, so soon after both the Liberals and the New Democrats rejected any suggestion during the election campaign of joining together, that caught the Conservatives off guard. The biggest surprise was how quickly lingering and simmering resentments in regional politics turned into a full-blown crisis. It has been a generation since there has been such anger from residents in Vancouver and the rest of western Canada. Western alienation hasn't been spoken about much in Vancouver, but the term has received more coverage in the past week than it has in the past decade. The west is angry that the coalition, which holds only a handful of seats in western Canada, could form the new government. Underlying that anger is resentment that Quebec separatists hold the balance of power and need to be appeased to keep the coalition going. 'I don't want to see the country broken up,' said Vancouver businessman Ray Leitch, the former president of the British Columbia arm of the Conservative Party of Canada. 'People in the west are angry, not so much with the people of Quebec but with the separatists and with the Liberals and the NDP for forming this coalition.' The coalition was about to make its move to oust the government but Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper upended that plan by taking the historic step of getting Parliament shut down until the end of January. He hopes that will give him and his party time to draw up a budget that will appeal to the opposition parties and stave off another election - something that all the political parties can agree will make them very unpopular among voters. All the last election did was give the Conservatives a stronger minority, and the prime minister vowed to be more conciliatory in his next mandate. But that plan, whether by his design or by problems he didn't anticipate, has failed.