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The Sun is publishing pro-NDP articles

Beating back the socialist hordes

David Akin | Parliamentary Bureau Chief

OTTAWA - There they stood, grinning for the cameras on Parliament Hill Tuesday - the leaders of the country's socialist hordes, carbon-taxers all, economy-destroyers and energy industry-haters.

Or at least that's what the NDP's political opponents would have you believe as federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair gathered nine provincial leaders - including two sitting premiers - for an afternoon meeting about the economy, resource development and federal-provincial relations.

Fred Delorey, chief spokesman for the Conservative Party of Canada, called the summit "a brainstorming session on how to get Canadians to accept higher taxes and a higher cost of living."

Delorey, relying on the 2011 federal NDP platform as his source, accused the NDP of favouring a "job-killing carbon tax" and noted they "would like to add an additional new sales tax and impose higher taxes on job creators."

There's no mention in Delorey's release, of course, that all Canadians got smaller paycheques as of Jan. 1 thanks to the Conservatives' own increase to the job-killing payroll tax known as EI premiums. (And there'll be another increase next Jan. 1.)

No mention, either, of how all sorts of federal fees and surcharges have gone up under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tories, such as the extra $1.5 billion going into the federal treasury from hikes on airport security charges.

No matter. This is politics and the partisan back and forth is all part of the game.

But the NDP leaders' summit is part of a calculated effort to neutralize the scare-mongering of its opponents, to prove itself to the 50% or so of Canadian voters who disapprove of Harper's performance.

The NDP holds power in Manitoba and Nova Scotia and are poised to seize power in B.C. Going back to founder Tommy Douglas' long tenure as Saskatchewan's premier, the NDP believes it can point to a long history of sound public administration.

As part of its claim to be among the most fiscally prudent of parties, the NDP took a look at all federal and provincial budgets across the country going back to 1980 and claims that nearly 50% of all budgets tabled by any NDP government anywhere were balanced. By comparison, about 40% of budgets tabled by Conservative, Progressive Conservative or Saskatchewan Party governments did not contain a deficit. Only a quarter of budgets tabled by Liberal governments were balanced, according to the NDP analysis.

The NDP also hopes the picture of their leader at a summit of provincial leaders draws attention to the fact that Harper has not met with all provincial premiers since 2009.

Harper's supporters will, with many good reasons, excuse his absence at premiers' meetings by saying they are little more than talking shops whose aim is to beat up the federal government.

Still, there are many Canadians who like the idea of prime ministers and premiers getting together once a year.

This summit also comes on the heels of a week when Mulcair wisely held his fire on the state of the federal government's relationship with First Nations. In fact, the entire NDP caucus was noticeably absent from the Idle No More protests and blockades last week.

On Tuesday, Mulcair observed that he was pleased about Friday's meeting between Harper and First Nations leaders, offered some mild criticism that more had not been accomplished on that file, but refrained from casting his lot with the more radical elements of the Idle No More crowed. He has even called on Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence to end her protest of eating no solid food.

The federal NDP, it should now be clear to their Conservative and Liberal opponents, are playing for keeps and they're playing smartly. Conservatives and Liberals will need to be as smart if they wish to beat back "the socialist hordes."


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Here's a good example to what I was referring Pat. Akin's referring to an article by Jennifer Ditchburn about Canada's National Parks closing for the winter due to cuts.

Ditchburn’s story is particularly disturbing if you’ve been watching how Conservative MPs have been handing out cheques willy-nilly over the holidays. I’ve counted $600,000 handed out just since Nov. 1 from the federal treasury to fix up curling clubs across the country. And, as Ditchburn wryly notes, the federal regional economic development agency for Quebec has given snowmobile clubs in that province nearly $4 million [as I note in this blog post, Ottawa handed out more than $6 million to snowmobile clubs in the last Parliament] to buy trail grooming machines — while Environment Canada is starved of the funds to properly operate our national parks.

Perhaps the government will thank the volunteers Ditchburn reports on by giving them a tax credit too!

See link for entire article

Tax breaks to save heritage assets? What about our national parks?

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Parks are heritage assets. Ask First Nations Peoples.

I think his point is (and I could be wrong), why are the National Parks starving for funds, being subjected to cuts while things like snowmobile clubs (for example) are being considered "heritage assets" which tear up such places like our parks - see N.Bay area, 'crownlands' - are getting millions in funding. But, I'll leave the semantics to those who enjoy that stuff.

As for asking First Nations, I can say after living on a reserve for a year (with my g.f at the time, she's Cree) not many are too keen on any of it being called or deemed a Provincial or National Park. Look to places like Emmett Lake, Dundas Valley Conservation Area or Ipperwash, for example(s).

But, I get where your thinking is. Although, I was really only providing an example where a SNN member reports somewhat objectively (which is unheard of really).

[edit to add]

BTW, my semantics comment was directed towards you, just in general from recent conversations with friends about this and the way some folks play on that regarding this issue.

Edited by Guest

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I think I'm with ya.

I had my tongue in my cheek. My point is that they should have never been Parks because they were stolen land to begin with and for most FN Peoples (it seems to me) the land was traditional territory that suddenly needed to be protected from their presence. So not putting the money into the Parks and then complaining that they're badly managed is kind of maybe a good thing... it leaves the land open for new uses... the worry is that they'll become just another place to dig up resources instead of leaving places to come up with new ways (or reviving older ones) to live less intensively/excessively.

Find me something that isn't a semantic issue... ;)

Edited by Guest

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