Stephen Harper has done an admirable job of convincing Canadians that he is a federalist. Think back to his repeated comments about the "culture of defeat" in the Atlantic provinces from May 2001 and again on May 29th and 30th, 2002. Amazingly, in October 2008 (coincidentally, or perhaps not, during a national election campaign), he was suddenly proud of his New Brunswick roots and told Eastern Canadians how he became emotional when he came back to his "home province". It is most interesting that he was born and raised in Toronto, the dreaded capital of Upper Canada to those of us in the Maritimes and the dreaded home to the "Eastern Creeps and Bums" of Alberta's Premier Ralph Klein. Strangely enough, mention of his Toronto roots were nonexistent during my 20 year tenure in his Calgary West riding.
In 1993, the National Citizen's Coalition, a right-leaning, conservative lobby group supported Stephen Harper's bid to run as the Reform Party candidate in the Calgary West riding. In 1997, when Harper left the Reform Party, he became President of the NCC until 2002 when he ran to seek the leadership of the Canadian Alliance Party. Under his guidance, in 2001, he and several other prominent Albertans wrote an "open letter" to Ralph Klein (then Premier of Alberta) that was published in the National Post in January 2001. In this letter, he outlines the "Alberta Agenda" and states that:
"It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction."
"We believe the time has come for Albertans to take greater charge of our own future. This means resuming control of the powers that we possess under the constitution of Canada but that we have allowed the federal government to exercise. Intelligent use of these powers will help Alberta build a prosperous future in spite of a misguided and increasingly hostile government in Ottawa."
Canadians should take the time to educate themselves on the real Stephen Harper by reading the letter in its entirety at:
Hopefully, Canadians are not so easily duped that we think that Harper can change his stripes and become a born-again federalist. When we hear Harper and his Conservative MPs still referring to the Liberal-BQ-NDP coalition of 2008 as separatist, we need to remember that it takes a separatist to recognize a separatist.
Harper's Criticism of Atlantic Canada
Harper's New Brunswick Roots