There were two "full house" town halls with Michael Ignatieff in my home province of Saskatchewan this week. Michael discussed the Liberal plan for the Prairies. A lot of good info here... Here is Ralph Goodale's take on the meetings:
IGNATIEFF DRAWS BIG SASKATCHEWAN CROWDS
The new Leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, attracted favourable attention at two big meetings in Saskatchewan last weekend.
Before packed-houses in both Regina and Saskatoon, Mr. Ignatieff spoke knowledgeably about a broad range of national and regional issues – most especially his commitment to fight the root causes of western alienation.
He was critical of the partisan, divisive tactics too often used by Stephen Harper to force his views down peoples’ throats and to stifle all dissenting voices. By contrast, the Liberal Leader called for a greater sense of unity among all Canadians – east and west, rural and urban.
He pointed out that the biggest engine driving Canadian economic growth originates in the natural resources of western Canada, especially our energy resources. With that economic strength comes political strength too.
The Liberal Party must realize that clear reality, learn from its past mistakes, show western Canada greater respect, and earn more western support.
For example, Mr. Ignatieff says, Liberals need to advance constructive ideas to bring energy policy, economic policy and environmental policy together in one cohesive package. Canadians don’t want one pitted against the others; they want success in all three fields simultaneously.
He emphasized new technology as the key tool to position Canada – and especially Saskatchewan – as a thriving clean energy powerhouse.
Investments in technologies like the “capture and storage” of carbon dioxide offer huge potential to help us get full value from our vast petroleum reserves in ways that are less polluting. Mr. Ignatieff pledged to be a willing federal partner to work with Saskatchewan and the private sector in this direction.
He also undertook to fight for Canadian livestock producers against U.S. protectionism. In particular, he will tackle the threat of American country-of-origin-labelling (COOL) when he meets with President Obama later this week.