Ralph Goodale's Weekly Report...
MR. HARPER PROMISES FIVE HARD YEARS
Canadians don’t want another election right now. That’s clear.
But they do want an alternative to Stephen Harper. And that’s the mission and the duty of Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party.
We must build that better, available alternative. Neither the NDP nor the Bloc Quebecois can do it; they’re both limited to perpetual opposition. Only the Liberals have the capacity to form a different federal government.
To start with, we know we need to earn public attention and trust. So Liberals are engaging Canadians in the most open and comprehensive renewal of policy ideas in this generation – to help shape an attractive alternative to Mr. Harper’s pinched vision of Canada’s future.
Having padlocked Parliament from December to March, to squelch scrutiny while he allegedly “recalibrated” his government, Mr. Harper finally tabled a new budget last week. It was uninspired – 90% was old stuff recycled from the past.
Except for one thing – a Conservative plan to knee-cap the Government of Canada, to cripple its ability to achieve much of anything, except perhaps to build jails and go to war. Mr. Harper’s plan is to cut or freeze everything else – for five long, hard years.
For the average middle-income family, there’s nothing at all to generate the new knowledge-based, highly-skilled jobs of the 21st century, or bolster retirement savings, or make higher education or child-care or elder-care more affordable. The Conservative message is: “Fend for yourself!”
And what about Saskatchewan’s aspirations?
Same answer. There’s nothing for innovation. Nothing for Saskatchewan’s homegrown technology to capture CO2 emissions, or the proposal to manufacture medical isotopes.
There is nothing to preserve First Nations University, or even sustain support for the victims of residential schools. Nothing for rural roads or water systems or producer cars or rural high-speed internet.
Canada surely needs a more hopeful alternative!