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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Canada Free Press Story on Stephen Harper 
(en francais)

Sometimes, Canadian writers just boggle the mind. In Mr. Weinreb's world, Stephen Harper should just let Paul Martin and his minions spend whatever they want, wherever they want, leading up to an election. This is how you get votes in Ontario and Quebec of course. My 'Letter to the Editor' in response, follows this article. The email for letters to the editor of the Canada Free Press is letters@canadafreepress.com should anyone else feel so inclined.

Harper does it to Ontario - again
By Arthur Weinreb, Associate Editor,
Friday, November 11, 2005

It’s no secret that if the Conservative Party of Canada wants to form a government they have to make inroads into Quebec and Ontario. Quebec is probably a lost cause if for no other reason than the distinct society is too far to the left to ever elect a true small "c" conservative party. While Ontarians are simply too afraid to vote for "Scary Stephen", Quebec has real policy differences with the Official Opposition. Those Quebeckers who support the Liberals but want to tell them what they think of the sponsorship fiasco already have a natural outlet in the Bloc Quebecois to express their feelings. For federalists, even if the Bloc were to win all of the province’s seats, Quebec will be no closer to separation; it will take a PQ provincial government to accomplish that end. And what better way to punish the Liberals, those guardians of Canadian values, than to vote for the party that wants to tear the country apart.

If the Conservatives are to make any significant gains that lead to power, they will have to do well in Ontario. Unfortunately, the hapless Harper always seems to be taking one step forward and two backwards.

Polls that were taken right after the release of part one of the Gomery Report on November 1 showed the Tories in a statistical tie with the Liberals. If there was anything that was surprising about these polls it was the fact that the Conservatives managed a tie in Ontario.

The Tory fortunes didn’t last long. Polls that were taken a few days after the release of Justice Gomery’s findings showed the Liberals back on top. A poll taken by the Strategic Counsel on November 5 and 6; less than a week after Justice Gomery’s report was made public showed the Liberals with a 7-point lead. A Leger Poll that was taken between November 1 and November 8 put the Conservatives 8 points behind the Liberals.

In Ontario, the Strategic Counsel poll showed the Liberals with a commanding 44-31 lead over the Tories while Leger had the Liberals with a 12-point lead. None of this bodes well for a Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The following is a good example of how the Conservatives manage to blow it in Ontario after being handed a great opportunity by the Liberals. Two days after the Gomery report, Conservative members on the Immigration Committee voted to block a request by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for $168.5 million in additional funding. The reasons that the Tory members gave for refusing the request was that there was no detailed breakdown of what the funds would be used for.

From a purely fiscal point of view, the Conservatives were acting responsibly. From a business perspective, giving Pizza Joe the funds without knowing what they were for would be tantamount to writing a blank cheque. The Minister, Joe Volpe, is a high ranking member of a party and of a government that just two days before had been found to be corrupt by an independent quasi judicial tribunal. To give Volpe lunch money, let alone $168.5 million without a proper accounting would have been totally irresponsible.

But the political realities are that we are having an election soon, although the mind boggles as to exactly when it will be held. By denying funds for immigration that would go to benefit immigrants provided fodder to the other political parties to paint the Conservatives as anti-immigrant, and in the eloquent words of former Liberal MP Tubby Caplan; a party that is composed of racists, bigots and Holocaust deniers.

Out of the money that Volpe had requested, $27.5 million was earmarked for the province of Ontario. This was meant to partially offset the $23 billion that Premier Dalton McGuinty says represents the difference between what the province gives to Ottawa and what it gets back. And because a high proportion of new immigrants choose to settle in Ontario, Ontario and its municipalities pay a disproportionate share of the settlement costs of immigrants coming to Canada. The Conservative committee members’ actions, while fiscally responsible, will be seen as just another way that the party is ready, willing and able to shaft Ontario.

Although the committee members’ actions are not totally responsible for the Liberals’ healthy rebound at the polls in Ontario, they certainly didn’t help.

As admirable as the fiscally responsible action was towards the request of the Minister of Immigration, it was counterproductive in winning over support in Ontario.

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. His work as appeared on Newsmax.com, Men's News Daily, the Drudge Report, Foxnews.com and The Rant. He can be reached at letters@canadafreepress.com

My 'Letter to the Editor':
Re: Arthur Weinreb's article - Harper does it to Ontario - again

So let me see if I get this right. Mr. Weinreb's general thrust is that by denying Immigration Minister Joe Volpe, and by extension, the Liberal government of Paul Martin, a blank cheque to spend on the eve of an election, Stephen Harper is again 'doing it to Ontario'.

While Mr. Weinreb does give the Conservatives credit for doing what is fiscally responsible and correct, he leaves the reader with the impression that Stephen Harper should just abdicate his responsibility as Leader of the Opposition and let the Liberal government do what it wants. According to Weinreb, this would be the right thing to do in order to win votes in Ontario. Is there anyone else in this country who actually believes this kind of drivel? If this is the level that Canadian politics and media reporting has sunken to, we truly deserve what we get. What would it take for the media to actually laud Mr. Harper for doing the right thing in opposing this spending? I'm sure if the Conservatives had supported the motion, they would have been castigated by the media for ignoring their duties for the self-serving goal of attracting votes.

The biggest question is, why is this article all about Stephen Harper and what he is or isn't doing? Why is the focus not on Paul Martin and Joe Volpe trying to fleece the Canadian taxpayers once again? You would think that the government trying to force hundreds of millions in spending through Parliament, on the eve of an election, might raise an eyebrow or two in the Canadian media. Only in Canada, as they say, would this turn into an attack on Stephen Harper - for being honest and ethical. Only in Canada indeed.

WE Speak at 10:45 p.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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