In what is being billed as an attempt to soften up the west and to address western alienation, Paul Martin has taken the Liberal party caucus to the prairies. They will ride their burros through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba while hashing out strategy and their stances on the issues for the upcoming election.
Just when will this bunch get it? The West doesn’t feel alienated because the MP’s don’t come to town, they feel cut off because their votes don’t matter. With the majority of the seats found in only 2 central provinces, the votes of the west would only matter in a clincher. (For those of you in college, that means really really close.)
While the prime minister walks around shaking hands, telling people that he is really a cowboy forced to wear a suit, he continues to shrug off the issues that westerners want dealt with like reforming the senate. There are many other issues that are contentious to our western counterparts. The media castration of western politicians surely doesn’t help, either.
Too add fuel to an already too big fire, prime minister Martin is now floating the idea of moving the election date that he promised to us on national television. There are rumblings of discontent about having to go out in the cold to canvas. Oh, how horrible! It would seem that the idea to go to the polls 30 days after the Gomery report is tabled is not sitting well. Poor Mr. Dryden is facing the wrath of his summering colleagues for touting the idea. Apparently they don’t skate as well as he does.
In responding to calls for a tax reduction on gasoline, Mr. Martin gave an unequivocal ‘No.’ Stating that the reasoning for that is the fact that Canadians are behind the gas tax transfer scheme to the provinces, Mr. Martin is once again plainly lying to you and me. At the very least, he is being condescending and deceptive. While the pennies per litre that pass on to the provinces is a fixed amount, the amount that Ottawa is siphoning from your’s and my pockets is not.
The Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation calculates that for every 10 cent increase in the price of a litre of gasoline, the Liberals reap another $175 million dollars in tax revenue. That is money that should not be collected. That is also money that is creating undue hardship on many. If you think that is an irresponsible statement, just ask one of the tens of thousands of commuters who have to spend a small fortune each month just to get to work.
So, in a nutshell, the Liberals have gone out west to say “we don’t want to change much, have no desire to fix the problems at hand, and we don’t even hear your complaints Western Canada, but please vote for us.” Somehow I don’t think that it will fly. Western Canada has a tendency to look at the substance, and right now there isn’t any.
If you want to truly fix the problems that are ailing us past the Ontario and Quebec borders Mr. Prime Minister, then reform the election process, give each province the same amount of seats, and then they will truly be equal. Until then, stop talking about western alienation, because you are only making it worse with your platitudes.
Perhaps you should ask Mr. Harper for some advice.