Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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Sorry it took so long to honour your request.

I was diverted by responding to those who   
chose to debate, to put forth their views so  
those undecided could weigh them against 
those I presented.                                    

        Best regards,                              

          Joe                              

         Yesterday's post included this sentence: "Stephen Harper stating that those holding his beliefs founded and created Canada must be challenged though
        the cost may be you may choose to unsubscribe from the Digest."

        As you read through you will see the cost to this point,

        Those choosing to unsubscribe were sent that which is posted above.

        Following are all those who have responded up to 12:00 to-day and my responses, my Reaction> to Reactions> to <Reactions to Stephen Harpers words.

        There has not been time to respond to all. The approach that may be taken is to synthesize the views expressed rather than responding individually.

        I thank those who have shared their thoughts and encourage all who read through the views expressed to share your reactions.  You will be contributing
        to what I hope you will agree is a most important debate.

                  Joe
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From: "John Nicol"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 04:37 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Well said, Joe.

=====
Thanks John

      Joe

===================================
To: "Brian Clark"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 04:43 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe, I'll vote Conservative because I continue to view the Liberals as the most distasteful from a policy and leadership point of view and the NDP and Green as completely unelectable.

If you want to nail someone for 15 year old policy beliefs, why not scrape off the nightmares that would be Jack Layton, Stephane Dion, Bob Rae, and Elizabeth May.

The question isn't what is perfect. It is what is needed for the health and sanity of the country.

Are there any media outlets you know of that are actually pro-conservative in Canada these days?

Brian

=====
There are differences between changing the siding on a house, rearranging furniture and even knocking a door through a wall and chopping down supporting beams.

Canada's New Government , New in the sense of being the first Government proposing to alter the nature of Dominion-Provincial relationships, has with a minority government acted on some of the New Confederation proposals. 

You may support the provinces being autonomous regions with the power to represent themselves internationally on matters within their jurisdictions as of no greater consequence than raising or lowering taxes, I do not.

Jack Layton, Stephane Dion, Bob Rae, and Elizabeth May nightmares would not be altering the basic structure of our nation, of reshaping the nature of Confederation.

        Joe

===================================
To: Lorimer Rutty
Subject: Re: WE LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND WE WANT TO FIX IT

At 04:49 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Stephen Harper is trying to rewrite history.  For years he has been putting forward without evasion or equivocation a vision that is antipathetical to the Constitution the Fathers of Confederation created
HAD THE FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION NEW GLASSES THEY WOULD HAVE SEEN THINGS DIFFERENTLY [OLD IS NOT NECESSARILY GOOD].


He proposes that spending by the Government of Canada be limited, disallowance and declaratory powers be foresworn, jurisdictions presently shared become wholly provincial, that the Senate be elected to represent the provinces, and that Supreme Court and Bank of Canada appointments be made by provincial Legislatures.
PROGRESSIVE THINKERS KNOW THAT THESE IMPROVEMENTS NEED TO BE MADE.....AND MADE NOW.

IF STEVEN'S VIEW OF CANADA [AND OUR'S TOO] UPSET YOU SO SEVERELY, JOE, TAKE TWO ASPIRINS AND GO TO BED. YOU'LL WAKE UP TO A NEW CANADA.

Lorimer

=====
You are quite correct.  Old is not necessarily good - nor bad.  My conservatism is of a nature that prefers what is unless what is offered in its stead as progress is demonstrably an improvement  In what manner do you see Supreme Court and Bank of Canada appointments being made by provincial Legislatures as an improvement?

        Joe


===================================
UNSUBSCRIBER # 1

At 04:56 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:

Remove me from your list immediately.

=====
Sorry it took so long to honour your request.

I was diverted by responding to those who
chose to debate, to put forth their views so
those undecided could weigh them against
those I presented.

        Best regards,

          Joe

==================================
From: Mitch Patten
Subject: RE: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:02 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe, Joe, Joe … you do your cause a disservice when your rhetoric goes so far overboard as to be equally distorting as the view you are attempting to discredit. 
 
mitch

=====
. . . mayhap 'tis so. Be kind enough to
enumerate the distortions that weaken
the argumentation.

        Thanks,

            Joe

===================================
To: Sean Barnett
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:02 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
your dislike for Harper is blinding your judgment or you have way to much time on your hands. get over it, the party has moved on from Joe Clark.
pick something more constructive to bark about than someone saying something positive.
 
sean

=====
I do not dislike Stephen Harper.  I have never met him.

I am a Canadian not an Ontarian and, seeing little
difference between Harper's vision of Canada and
that of Quebec sovereigntists (not separatists mind),
I oppose his vision of a New Confederation.

What set me off was him saying he is in the tradition
of those who founded and created Canada - which he
is most certainly not in my opinion.

If you see him as being in the same direction as those
who wrote te British North America Act, please be good
enough to please state the reasons for your belief.

        Joe

===================================
To: "Don Pratt" <dpratt@oxford.net>
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:23 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
From: "Don Pratt" <dpratt@oxford.net>
To: "Joe Hueglin" <joe.hueglin@bellnet.ca>
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

holy smoke, Joe, you do get worked up !!!

=====
. . . you oughts to see me when I'm not Paxilated!

        Joe

===================================
From: Charles Conn
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:47 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe, you are so right! I've been banging my head against this one for more than a decade. Attached is my latest effort, written just two weeks ago.

Charles Conn

=====
. . . your works are too large for the Digest.

A portion of the one and the names of both follow.
and will be forwarded upon request - or maybe they
can be put up on a site?

        Joe

WHAT,NO PROVINCES!.doc
What We Might Look Like.doc

What We Might Look Like

Canada is huge  the second largest country in the world. It is also one of the least densely populated countries in the world. (If Canada was as densely populated as Germany or the U.K.  both of which have lots of woods, mountains, moors and other open spaces  she would have 2.2 or 2.3 Billion people respectively.) The immensity of our land is a blessing and a challenge.

Most of Canada is rock and forest. The prairies are flat to rolling and mostly treeless. Many parts of the country are underlain with vast mineral, gas and oil resources. Other parts have rich soils capable of producing the besttasting fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat and poultry products in the world. The range of geophysical realities in Canada is huge. Canada also has a continent'sworth of climates.

The history of Canada is as regionally varied as it is dramatically grand. Some regions of Canada have the oldest histories in North America. The name "Canada" has been on world maps since the 1540's. For more than 200 years it referred to the land on both sides of the St. Lawrence River, a little bit down and up river from Quebec City and Montreal  the mother and father cities of Canada. Other regions of Canada weren't even explored, let alone developed, until the 20th century.

One thing is absolutely certain  Canada is far more regionally diverse than ten provinces and three territories can possibly represent.

From the earliest times, valleys have been the natural homes of the cities and civilizations of mankind. Rivers run through them and form naturally unified watershed ecosystems. River systems don't divide, they unite like the veins on a leaf. They centre regions and give them their identity. As a generalization, the ridgelines separating valley systems make far better, more natural boundaries than rivers do.

To better reflect ontheground reality, Canada could be redrawn into seven natural territories, and, with virtually no "shoehorning", 15 natural regions in each of the seven territories. All territories and most regions would be based on watersheds. Where the rivers are too long, two or more regions would share a watershed.

There would be no territorial or regional governments.

The seven territories are illustrated on the following maps and are blandly named on purpose. The three outer territories contain the river systems that drain into the Pacific, Northern (Arctic and most of Hudson's Bay) and Atlantic oceans. The Central territory embraces the great river systems draining the prairies and the western part of the Canadian Shield into part of southwestern Hudson's Bay. The Shield territory adds some historic, resource and economic factors to watershed considerations. Besides the James Bay and North of Superior areas, it extends southeast to the upper St. Lawrence where the Canadian Shield pokes a tongue across the river into upstate New York. The territory also embraces all the Ottawa and Gatineau river systems except a short portion near the Ottawa's mouth which is part of Ste. Laurent. The Ste. Laurent territory is basically the original Canada with the North Shore and Saguenay regions added. The Hurontario territory lies south of the Shield territory's French, Mattawa and Ottawa river systems and includes all the short river systems that drain into southern Georgian Bay, Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario, and the headwaters of the St. Lawrence.

===================================
From: "The Natroses"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:52 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Hi Joe,
Just had to comment. I just love the comment 'We founded this federation'.  Harper is out to change history. If I could have a chat with my ancestors who arrived in this country in 1766, along with two uncles who was part of the Confederation of Fathers I bet they did not want Harper's vision. They wanted good government, and all the good things without dropping any blood like the United States did. My ancestors fought the war of 1812 for a good reason and from what I have been told to keep the damn Yankees out of Canada. By 1867, if anyone care to do a little studying on the matter, it was clear to those men of Confederation that they did not want a political system like the Americans. Rather amusing, when you see over half of the men of Confederation were Empire Loyalists who fled their lands for a better life in Canada.  Harper is not speaking for me and I dare say many others whose families have been here for a couple hundred years. My ancestors worked this land, lived on turnips when food was hard to come by and made it into a country where young start-ups like Harper's family can come and go but best of all have the freedom to do it.
 
I know one thing is certain, most people like I, want Canada to be different from United States. Our image to the world has been tarnished by the likes of Harper and his pro-American stance. I do not want the provinces to turned into states where regulations or standards are different across the board. Even though United States does not like to admit, there is certain areas that they do control such as public education but it is administered by the states who all have a different agenda for their schools. If Harper's view ever became a reality, every province would be pitted against each other trying to attract businesses through tax reductions, wages and of course the poor Canadian worker would be the loser.

By the way, there was no mentioned of the fishery or the environment in the article dated 1995. What happens to them or other departments such as natural resources at the federal level. Or are they going to keep only departments that generates lots of revenue and throw the rest to the provinces such as housing that generates little revenue if any?
 
Thanks for the time, Nancy Clarke - NL

===================================
From: charles leblanc <oldmaison@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:55 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:

blogged!!!

=====
Rather enigmatic

Clarify?

   Joe

(Being laconic, not my norm but seemed apropos - Joe)

===================================
From: Paul Arnold
Subject: RE: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 05:57 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Gee Joe,
 
I had almost forgotten how revolutionary and exciting Preston and Stephens Reform proposals were. We've realized some of it but we have a long way to go before Canada realizes most of those dreams. One can hope and pray that we'll see them in our lifetime. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Those were heady and inspiring days. Too bad Preston never became our Prime Minister. We'd be a better country today if he had.
 
Cheers,
Paul

=====
One dream, power flowing upward, has been forgotten. Too revolutionary?
===================================
From: Caspar Davis
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 06:35 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Stephen Harper is trying to rewrite history.  For years he has been putting forward without evasion or equivocation a vision that is antipathetical to the Constitution the Fathers of Confederation created. 

John A. MacDonald viewed the provinces as comparable to municipalities and intended that the federal government would have all powers not specifically granted to the provinces. This approach was reversed by the Privy Council in a series of cases during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Wikipedia has quite a good summary of the evolution and transformation of his party under Tory, Canada:

The term was used to designate the pre-Confederation British ruling classes of Upper Canada and Lower Canada, known as the Family Compact and the Ch√Ęteau Clique, an elite within the governing classes, and often members within a section of society known as the United Empire Loyalists.

In post-Confederation Canada the terms "Red Tory" and "Blue Tory" have long been used to describe the two wings of the Conservative and previously the Progressive Conservative (PC) parties. The diadic tensions originally arose out of the 1854 political union of British-Canadian Tories, French-Canadian traditionalists, and the Monarchist and Loyalist leaning sections of the emerging commercial classes at the time - many of whom were uncomfortable with the pro-American and annexationist tendencies within the liberal Grits. Tory strength and prominence in the political culture was a feature of life in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Manitoba.

By the 1930s, the factions within Canadian Toryism were associated with either the urban business elites, or with rural traditionalists from the country's hinterland. Over time, however, the term Blue Tory has come to embody the more ideologically neo-liberal (in the manner of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan) elements in the party, while a Red Tory is a member of the more moderate wing of the party (in the manner of John Farthing and George Grant). They are generally unified by their adherence to the monarchy in Canada.

Throughout the course of Canadian history, the Conservative Party was generally controlled by MacDonaldian Tory elements, which in Canada meant an adherence to the English-Canadian traditions of Monarchy, Empire-Commonwealth, parliamentary government, nationalism, protectionism, social reform, and eventually, acceptance of the necessity of the welfare state. By the 1970s the Progressive Conservative Party was a Keynesian-consensus party.

With the onset of stagflation in the 1970s, some Canadian Tories came under the influence of neo-liberal developments in Great Britain and the United States, which highlighted the need for privatization and supply-side interventions. In Canada, these tories have been labeled neoconservatives - which has a somewhat different connotation in the US. By the early 1980s there was no clear neoconservative in the Tory leadership cadre, but Brian Mulroney, who became leader in 1983, eventually came to adopt many policies from the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan governments.

As Mulroney took the Progressive Conservative Party further in this direction, with policy innovations in the areas of deregulation, privatization, free-trade, and a consumption tax called the Goods and Services Tax (GST), many traditionally-minded Tories became concerned that a political and cultural schism was occurring within the party.

The 1986 creation of the Reform Party of Canada attracted some of the neo-liberals and social conservatives away from the Tory party, and as some of the neoconservative policies of the Mulroney government proved unpopular, some of the provincial-rights elements moved towards Reform as well. In 1993, Mulroney resigned, rather than fight an election based on his record after almost nine years in power. This left the PCs in disarray and scrambling to understand how to make toryism relevant in provinces such as Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia that had never had a strong tory tradition and political culture.

Thereafter in the 1990s, the PCs were a small party in the Canadian House of Commons, and could only exert legislative pressure on the government through their power in the Senate of Canada. Eventually, through death and retirements, this power waned. Joe Clark returned as leader, but the schism with the Reformers effectively watered down the combined Blue and Red Tory vote in Canada.

By the late 1990s, there was some talk of the necessity of uniting the right in Canada, if there was any hope of deterring further Liberal majorities. Many tories - both red and blue - were opposed to any such notion, while others took the view that all would have to be pragmatic if there was any hope of reviving a strong party system. The Canadian Alliance party (as the Reform Party had become), and some leading tories came together on an informal basis to see if they could find common ground. While the Tory Leader Joe Clark rebuffed the notion, the talks moved ahead and eventually in December 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative parties voted to disband and integrate into a new party called the Conservative Party of Canada.

After the merger of the PCs with the Canadian Alliance in 2003, there was some debate as to whether the "Tory" appellation should survive at the federal level. Although it was widely believed that some Alliance members would take offence to the term, it was officially accepted by the newly-merged party during the 2004 leadership convention. Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and the Prime Minister as a result of the January 23, 2006 election, regularly refers to himself as a Tory and has suggested that the new party is a natural evolution of the conservative political movement in Canada. However, many former Progressive Conservatives who opposed the merger take offence to the new party using the term, as do some members of the former Reform/Alliance wing who do not wish to be associated with the "Tory" governments of Canada's past, or the values of traditional Tory thought.

I note that whereas Harper has fulfilled some of his New Confederation proposals (including the abolition of the court challenges program which was one of our most powerful tools for social justice, he has not only failed to implement his only really commendable statement, "Canadians have long been concerned about concentrating too much power in the hands.of the federal executive and cabinet. Canadians are demanding a new and more accountable system of government," but has gone far beyond his predecessors in the concentration of that power into the  to concentrate that power into the PMO and indeed unto himself.

I have long maintained that Canada no longer has a democracy but rather a series of temporary dictatorships. That idea was plausible under Chretien but is incontrovertible under Harper. Seeing what he is like with a minority (albeit a peculiar one) I shudder to think what he would be like with a majority.

Caspar Davis
Victoria


===================================
From: "Ian Gartshore"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 07:54 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Amen, Joe.
 
I just learned that the Services Canada contract to run the HRSDC program called "Job Creation Partnerships" will soon be transferred to the province (in this case, B.C.).  Eventually, of course, the feds can cut back the funding of this program (funded by Employment Insurance premiums), and the province will cut it back, and the municipalities will (again) be saddled with the job of helping its citizens.
 
This is a "vision for Canada"??
 
Ian.

=====
. . . the EI Fund had a $56 billion surplus $15 is the cushion against recession. Finance Minister's new plan is $2 to the Fund. Your assumption may well be accurate
===================================
From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject: RE: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 08:18 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe--I have to say that over the past years I have seen the feds grab more
and more power for themselves at the expense of the provinces and the
country. They are incompetent and I would not like to see them have more
control over the provinces than they already have--I would like to see them
have LESS! The Feds and the Senate have proven themselves to be
incompetent, and mostly irrelevant and immaterial. We are supposed to be a
democracy with the rule by the people. This squabbling between different
levels of government just proves that we have lost anything our Constitution
gave to us. The local levels of government are even more autocratic than
are the Feds, but at least we have more contact and, if we worked at it,
more control with them than we do our MPs.
I thought that Provinces were given specific powers, as were the feds--but
this changes with a whim. The only outcome is that NO ONE is responsible
when everything falls apart and costs us millions more than anticipated.
If you could name any initiative that is better because the feds took
control I would be very surprised. Remember the NEP?? That was the feds
taking control of a provinces natural resources. It brought Alberta to it's
knees--but this was good for Canada? The main problem that 'for the good of
Canada' means the feds get to stick their snouts deeper into the trough.
Anyone that believes the Feds, or any government of any level for that
matter, has the best interests of Canada at heart is dreaming in
technicolour.

becky

===================================
From: "Glenn Harewood"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 09:11 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe:
Those of us who are real PCPCers knew Harper's, Manning's, and all the turn-coats Neo-Cons, knew this long ago -- ever since Harper  was head of the Citizens' Coalition.
 
The sad thought is that  the Harper gang in Ottawa may be able to hood-wink Canadian voters into giving them a majority. Frankly, I would prefer to see a Liberal government that upholds the fundamentals of Sir John A. MacDonald, than a Neo-Conservative pack of "managers" who will continue to tinker with the Canadian Constitution until they bit-by-bit gnaw away at its core principles.
 
Although Trudeau  repatriated the Constitution, at least he did NOT try to change the fundamental concepts of the MacDonald-Cartier governments. Neither did Mackenzie-King, Laurier, Pearson, Diefenbaker, nor Mulroney tried to reduce the Federal government to the status which you so aptly describe in paragraphs three,  five, and six of your Tuesday, May 27th/08 article.
 
I happen to know well at least two of the main players in Harper's cabinet ( Van Loan, Clement, MacKay),  and especially Van Loan, the present house leader, he will do and say anything to make sure that the Neo-Cons stay in power -- either with or without a majority. I have seen this guy (Van Loan) ruthlessly operating to squelch his political opponents when stakes were not even as high at "president of the PCPC party" elections. This guy has a super-ego for "political power" which has little or nothing to do with the  interests or welfare of Canada or Canadians.   God help us all if Harper's  Neo-cons even get another minority in the next General Elections.

As far as I can see, they intend to get their four years in power by deliberately making every possible vote in the House of Commons a  vote-of-confidence. In this manner they can keep the country at the brink of elections until October 2009 -- the date that they themselves set for the next General Election -- knowing full well that the Liberals and the rest of the Opposition will not force an election. Then, in October 2009, they will go back to the electorate, claiming that, although they were a minority government, they were able to get some "things" (nothing really significant; Martin left them a sound economy) done. They will claim that they started many "reforms"  ( like Senate reform) which, if given a majority, they will be able to complete without  due and legitimate interference from the opposition.

And who knows, the electorate may forget, or not really understand, the damage that they are doing in destroying the fundamental tenets that the Fathers of Confederation so astutely carved, and thus, may give them at least another minority government.
 
Some may reason, If they can carry-on ruling as they do now  with a minority government, then why not let them continue? After all, with a set four-year date for the next election after 2009, they know that they cannot be thrown out for another four years-- till 2013!!!

Is this gloom and doom, or realistic!!!

 
Glenn Harewood
 
My reality is not prognosticating what might be but acting on what is.
 
===================================
From: "Real Gagne"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 10:43 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe:

Becky is right.  Allocating unlimited power to the federal government is no guarantee that this will bring us immediate and eternal bliss.

Why can't we abide by the Constitution given us in 1867 and allow the provinces to act in their areas of responsibility and be held accountable for their decisions by their electorates?  Lord knows that the feds have made a mess of everything they touched for the past half century.  From my perspective, allocating more power to that level of government will only make a bad situation worse.

In the beginning, Sir John A's motives were to create a system where the provinces were little more than very large municipal councils.  But that changed when Ontario's Oliver Mowatt successfully challenged his vision before the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords.  His and other like challenges accorded the provinces greater autonomy.  Have they always used it responsibly?  Of course not.  Has the federal government always used its own constitutional powers responsibly.  Ditto!  As James Madison noted, "If men were angels, there would be no need for government."  But men (and women) are not angels and so government is necessary, even if it is often imperfect, being run by mortals.

My own view is that Canada is too large and diverse a country to be governed virtually exclusively by the denizens of the Kremlin-on-the-Rideau.  A return to assigning governance responsibilities to the order of government set out in the British North America Act of 1867 would not only end the confusion about which order is responsible for what but would have the added benefit of making the political leadership of each order much more accountable to the their respective electorates than they are at present.

Real

===================================
UNSUBSCRIBER #2

At 11:36 PM 27/05/2008, you wrote:
Please remove me from your mailing list, effective immediately.

=====
Sorry it took so long to honour your request.

I was diverted by responding to those who
chose to debate, to put forth their views so
those undecided could weigh them against
those I presented.

        Best regards,

          Joe

===================================
From: "Richard Neumann"
Subject: Re: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 12:05 AM 28/05/2008, you wrote:
Joe:
 
No such free expression of political positions, insight, perspective would cause me to unsubscribe from the Digest.  I have long held, and continue to hold, many shared concerns with you and other contributors, even those whom I find myself more at odds with than my Liberal and New Democratic political opponents locally. 
 
I found it interesting that yesterday, Joe Clark noted that he has very real concerns about the direction of the current government, but he preferred to describe himself as a political orphan rather than a supporter of the Liberal or New Democratic Parties.  As you will recall, I was a supporter of Joe Clark and assisted in coordinating his 1998 leadership campaign here in Northwestern Ontario.  I ran proudly as a Progressive Conservative in 2000, and felt priveleged to have Joe as my leader.  Today, I find myself once again a nominated candidate, this time with the Conservative Party, and I do not find my past affiliation, political views, nor my occasional "Red Tory" streak challenged by my Association collegues, most of whom became active within the ranks of the local Reform Party.
 
With respect to the matter at hand, this is not the first time the Reform "New Confederation" proposal has been displayed in your venerable Digest.  Like you, I do not agree with either the tone or the intent of the document, and somewhere in cyberspace there is almost certainly a letter to the editor or two with my name attached making some comment regarding it.  Having said that, I believe the document must be viewed as a product of the time it was written, and although it likely does suggest that the current PM does hold significant concerns over the authority wielded by Ottawa over the Provinces, it can be said with some accuracy that Joe Clark himself was frequently tarred with the same feathers during his constitutional fights with Pierre Trudeau in the early 1980's.
 
The one thing about governing this country is that the process itself demands a certain pragmatism that does not necessarily avail itself to opposition parties.  To achieve a majority government, compromise and concensus are an absolute necessity.  A document written in the immediate aftermath of the failure of the Meech and Charlottetown Accords, and immediately prior to a Referendum battle in Quebec that almost tore the nation apart, should not be given the weight that you sometimes give it.  The message crafted by Manning and Harper held a great deal of resonance in the West, as evidenced by repeated electoral success for Reform and the subsequent unrecoverable demise of our beloved PC Party, but most of the Western Canadian social underpinnings that brought about those protectionist Reform policies have since been muted by a new confidence brought about by relative economic strength and the added political authority that comes with it. 
 
I have seen little evidence that the type of Federation proposed in the 1995 document is being actively pursued by this Government, the current Conservative Party, or the Prime Minister.  Certainly policy elements might fit into the framework and be used as evidence of some larger conspiracy to re-create the federation, but the type of change espoused in the document simply could not be achieved realistically by the Conservative Party even if there was a level of political will to do so that simply does not exist today.
 
Finally, I would end by stating that it sure would have been nice to have this type of discussion under the tent of a single party.  I continue to believe that the current Conservative Party is evolving as a political entity, and it will likely continue to do so as all national parties must if they are to survive.  In 2003 I chose to lend my voice to the Conservative Party in the hopes that in some way I might assist in making it more inclusive and more representative of the political will of the nation, and not any particular special interest or region.  That work continues, and I would be the first to accept the notion that not only has the Party continued to evolve, but I have equally become more comfortable in understanding, if not always agreeing with, the political assertions of my former-Reform collegues.  At the very least, I'm no orphan.
 
Richard Neumann
 
===================================
From: Ian Berg
Subject: RE: Stephen Harper's actions belie his words.

At 12:00 PM 28/05/2008, you wrote:
I miss the Reform Party era Stephen Harper and his defence of Provincial Rights. 
 
The federal government should be a headwaiter to the provinces.
 
Thanks for sending out the 20 point News Release. 
 
Ian Berg
Calgary, Alberta

=====
. . . as one from the Reform legacy Party
you see S.H. realizing your and Preston's
aims?

        Joe

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Could/should be you


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Could/should be you

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Could/should be you
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