Wednesday, June 16, 2004

"I don't understand it" 

Harper asks Canadians for 'strong mandate'
Just another example of Tory policies that are actually opposed to Canada's best interests: "Polls in Windsor suggest the usually left-leaning city is set to elect its first Tory MP in 50 years. 'I don't understand it,' said Lewenza, whose union has officially endorsed local NDP candidates. 'I'm frustrated because they seem to be doing better than they've ever done in this area,' he said of Tory contenders. Lewenza says Harper's plan to cut business grants in exchange for lower business taxes will drive investment elsewhere. Such government support is crucial if Canadian auto plants are to compete globally, Lewenza said. 'Every other state looks at it as an investment. Harper looks at it as a subsidy. I don't understand it.' On Monday, Liberals offered millions in aid to automakers as the campaign entered the home stretch toward the June 28 vote. Lewenza said voters wanting to vent frustration with the current government should think twice before handing power to the Tories. Meting out such so-called punishment could wind up costing thousands of jobs, he said. "
For the most part, the Conservatives haven't had to defend their platform at all in this election campaign -- the media is more interested in Harper's zingers against the sponsorship scandal than in the patchy, inconsistent piece of fiberboard that Conservatives are calling their platform.
The section that Lewenza is referring to says
"• Cut wasteful corporate subsidies in order to reduce taxes for all businesses." - whatever that means.
Lewenza isn't alone -- basically, no one knows where they fit in the Conservative plan.
Witness the stunning lack of content about farming, agriculture, trade, subsidies, BSE, and all the other issues that are crucial to the Prairie economy.
There only one reference to Agriculture that I can find --
"• Support Canada’s farmers, fishers, and forestry workers."
Now, this sounds nice, but to lump farmers, who have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their land and machinery, in with fishermen, who I guess own their boats and licenses, and with forestry workers, who maybe have to buy their own boots -- well, it shows a profound misunderstanding about Canadian agricultural production. This is ridiculous and meaningless, and it trivializes what farmers do.
I had thought there was also something in the platform somewhere about dumping the Wheat Board, but now I cannot find it -- and dumping the Wheat Board would be a disaster for western agriculture.
But I did find this one --
"• Become an environmental world leader by focusing on clean air, clean water, clean land, and clean energy."
What is "clean land" -- does this mean outllawing pesticides and herbicides? Eliminating the use of GM seed, like Monsanto's roundup-resistant canola?
No one knows because no one -- including as far as I can tell, any of our media in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary or Edmonton -- is demanding that Harper or any of the Prairie conservative candidates here explain it.

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