On August 9, Stephen Harper made an astonishing campaign announcement. First, he proposed new legislation that would make it illegal for Canadians to travel to a number of “terrorist” areas internationally. Second, he made a sweeping claim that every provincial NDP government in Canada has been “a disaster”. These claims are important enough that we should consider them carefully.
The new anti-terror legislation is unnecessary because it is repetitive. There is already legislation prohibiting Canadians from travelling abroad to participate in a number of named terrorist-designated organizations and initiatives. I leave it to others to explore its effectiveness.
On the matter of the slur against every provincial NDP government that has ever been elected in Canada, some correctives are in order. Does he refer to Tony Penikett’s terms in Yukon, where, among a number of notable accomplishments, Penikett successfully initiated the Yukon Final Agreement with Yukon’s fourteen First Nations, setting a model that southern Canada has yet to follow?
Does he mean the B.C. record, which includes public insurance in the form of ICBC; increasing the land for provincial parks; creating the Labour Relations Board; instituting democratic measures in the legislature – including Question Period — and the ALR legislation to protect B.C.’s agricultural land which has been continued by every government of every political stripe subsequently?
He must include the long history of the NDP in Manitoba, where the people of that province have often returned the party to office precisely because of its ability to handle chronic difficult economic conditions effectively. He must mean the Nova Scotia government of Derrell Dexter, which had to assume financial “disasters” left by the Progressive Conservatives.
His slur includes the governments of Tommy Douglas, Alan Blakeney, Roy Romanow, and Lorne Calvert in Saskatchewan, which produced an enviable and perhaps never matched record of balanced budgets and groundbreaking legislation including the first medicare legislation in Canada.
The social consensus on the NDP initiatives was so strong that even Premier Brad Wall, the proto-Conservative flying under the Saskatchewan Party banner, has not touched the Crown corporations that protect Saskatchewan peoples’ interests in insurance, power, telecommunications, and so on. And he assuredly means Alberta’s Rachel Notley, who has already endured Harper’s premature attack as a “disaster” yet has not been in office long enough to present her first budget.
If Harper can’t campaign on his record, then he should at least hew a little closer to the truth in attacking his opponents – and he should stop trying to run against provincial premiers who, after all, are not even candidates in this election.
My wife and I had been traveling in our 24 foot motor home and entered Cranbrook about 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 6. We drove from our home in Southern California to Alaska, then south through Canada, on the Canada Highway, more than 5,000 total miles without incident. Along the way we encountered many Canadians, all of whom were friendly, witty and most helpful to us. It’s been a great experience.
We entered Cranbrook looking for an RV Park at the south end of the City and slowly made our way down Cranbrook Street, with almost no traffic, listening to our GPS giving directions to the park. As sometimes happens with a GPS, a direction is given, but the situation for the driver, without confirming with street signs, can lead to temporary confusion. This was exactly our situation, and I made a sudden left turn, apparently, cutting off a driver behind me. I spend a lot of my driving time checking my rear view mirrors, this time I didn’t. Fortunately, since there was little traffic, no real harm was done. The other driver, however, was irate. If he happens to read this, I was wrong and apologize. He proceeded to honk his horn, appropriately, but then flash me the well known one finger salute as he passed. As fate would have it, we met again at another intersection moments later, coming from different directions, with me turning left and him turning right. He, again, angrily repeated his one finger salute.
This incident of road rage, will in no way change my feelings toward Canada or any of the wonderful Canadian people we’ve encountered. It did, however, remind me, since we live in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area, where many thousands of tourists visit yearly, many from Canada, that sometimes situations arise that require a little patience and tolerance from the locals toward visitors, who may not be familiar with the area.
I hope that the other driver, in our situation, never has a moment of indecision, wherein he makes a mistake, but if he does, I hope the offended driver treats him with more courtesy.
Phyllis & Sandy Hellman, Palm Desert, Ca.