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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Reform in sheep's clothing 

The Globe and Mail: Martin comes out swinging in Quebec
Right on, Paul
"We will not plunge Quebeckers and other Canadians back into the unity battles and language struggles of old," Mr. Martin said. "We find ourselves with a separatist leader like Gilles Duceppe who is afraid to speak of separatism during an election campaign. Then we have the two supposed national leaders in Stephen Harper and Jack Layton who would open old wounds and fan the flames of division. We don't need to go down that road and we don't want to go down that road."
I feel the same way about the divisive issues that the Reformer Conservatives would raise again in Ottawa if they ever got into power -- the charter, abortion rights, gay rights, women's rights, bilingualism, multiculturalism, environmental protection, social services, higher education funding, Aboriginal funding, would all swirl down the drain.
Ontario may not believe me -- but Ontario doesn't know Reform like we know them here in the West. And Reform is who the Conservatives ARE -- Joe Clark was right, he knows them.
Don't ever think, Ontario, that you're just sending your own premier a little message by voting Conservative this time, and that the Conservatives will hold back. They will swagger into Ottawa and act as though they have a mandate to do anything they want. And don't think that it really won't make any difference to Canadian policies if the Conservatives are in power -- if you thought the Bush neocons were bad for ideological rigidity, just wait until you see Reform in action.
Here is the 2003 Reform website from BC. Quotations from its platform and principles:
Special interest groups should provide their own financing and have no access to public funding . . Reform BC supports the elimination of the “Charter of Rights and Freedoms” in its entirety, and the return of the common law . . . Transfer payments would be in reverse. The federal government would no longer control the decision-making process regarding the amount returned to the provinces. Instead, provinces would decide the amount to contribute to the federal government in return for federal services . . . Provincial governments should be given exclusive jurisdiction over consumption taxes, including GST revenues. We need to implement a comprehensive, fair and simple single rate (flat) tax . . . Decreasing the government sector wage bill by at least 15 percent through a variety of measures, including staff reductions, privatization initiatives, wage policies, “no-strike” public sector labour policies, increased efficiency and program cuts . . . Marketing boards should be eliminated and replaced by voluntary cooperatives if warranted by the nature of the market or product . . . Reform BC supports greater choice in education through the introduction of a voucher system within both a public and private school system . . . the terms of employment for public sector employees should exclude the right to strike . . . Canada is not officially a bilingual country. It is bilingual only in the House of Commons. Reform BC believes official bilingualism is inappropriate in British Columbia . . . The introduction of a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” policy. Under this policy, anyone who has been convicted three times of an indictable offence would automatically receive a sentence of a minimum of 20 years, with no possibility for parole . . . A provincial (or preferably, national) referendum on the reinstatement of capital punishment . . . We will assert and defend provincial regulatory jurisdiction over firearms, to the exclusion of federal regulatory jurisdiction . . . Members of the judiciary should be subject to recall . . . Reform BC supports the abolition of the Human Rights Commission . . . The Reform BC supports the abolition of parole and parole boards, since the justice system already makes adequate provision for time off for good behaviour . . . Canada was built on a foundation guided by fundamental values and principles which supported the value and dignity of the individual and the importance of the family unit. The Party defines “family” as individuals related by blood, marriage or adoption, and defines “marriage” as the legal union of two people of the opposite sex. . .
Here is the Reform 1993 campaign platform -- their policy on bilingualism hasn't changed.

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