Rex Murphy: Stephen Harper is right how Liberals are treating the West is inexcusable – National Post

Posted: November 13, 2021 at 11:04 am

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These are words we should be hearing from the current Conservative leader, and the tone in which they should be expressed

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Like so many other countless Canadians, I was extremely gratified to hear some thoughts from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper, being of the old school of political leaders, sensitive to the need to maintain the dignity of high office, has kept himself very largely out of public discussion since leaving politics. It was till some time ago an understood courtesy that former prime ministers did not, or only rarely, seek to clash with their successors, even from the opposing parties. If you look down to the States you will see that that convention has been fully abandoned, and if you wish an outstanding example go no further than the great light bearer, Barack Obama.

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Mr. Harper recently gave a speech . It was not intended for public release. Nonetheless in these days of the ubiquitous cell phone any verbal transaction involving more than two people will be recorded, and will be public as soon as the words have dropped from the lips of any speaker.

Mr. Harper was discussing the consequences for Confederation of the Liberal governments declaration that it fully intends in pursuit of that great chimera, net zero to put a hard cap on oil and gas emissions, to essentially phase out Albertas and Saskatchewans energy reliant economies. It was so good to hear from a gentleman really in a position to rate those consequences he was prime minister for nine years how seriously misguided and jeopardous to the whole Confederation, those policies are.

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Clarity is a great virtue, and this sentence was really clear: Obviously, the way some things are being handled today where certain parts of the country are singled out in ways that others arent I think is really inexcusable.

That inexcusable is, in context, a very hard word. But it is the needful word, as it is perfectly accurate. Any policy which, in effect, sets up great resentment in one region of the country, puts inequitable pressure on one or two provinces and carries hardly any negative impact comparatively on the others, is dangerous. Very particularly a global warming policy, which will have at best a trivial effect on the problem it presupposes to address as long as China, India, Russia continue their industrial ambitions and yet ignites extreme (and justified) resentment in a whole region of the country, that policy is both inexcusable and dangerous.

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As Mr. Harper made clear, if the region of the country being targeted, being made to bear all the negative weight of that policy is one in which the ruling party has next to no representation, it is even more inexcusable. The Globe reported on the remarks that Harper said he would not be taking measures to shut down an industry in a region that didnt generate political returns for him. For the message of such a course would be: since we have no support out there there is no cost to our party, and so we do not have to consider the feelings or objections to the policy coming from that region.

It is an attitude that inescapably will breed deep resentment and backlash, possibly to the point of that region asking the otherwise unthinkable question: Why do we stay in this arrangement called Confederation? That was the point of Mr. Harpers words. They amount to a grave warning, a warning which up to now obviously has not reached the Prime Ministerial ears, or if it has, has been allowed to drift by carelessly unheeded.

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These are words we should be hearing from the current Conservative leader, and the tone in which they should be expressed. But he and his party have been frightened off by the global warming juggernaut, they even have their own carbon emission plan.

Mr. Harpers words however did receive considerable reinforcement from another Conservative leader who is quite clearly not intimidated: Scott Moe. On this net zero issue Saskatchewan doesnt headline as often as Alberta, but the impact on that province is very great. Premier Moe sees the concerns of Saskatchewan brushed aside. The federal government is not listening. So, as Premier, he has a return strategy: Were really starting to feel the differences between Saskatchewan and where our federal government is heading, is were actually, at this point in time more like a nation within Canada.

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The Liberals are very much IPCC and COP26, very little Alberta and Saskatchewan. And as one province is already a nation within Canada, he borrows the logic that approves of that arrangement.

And surely if the first is not bizarre to certain elitist centrist snobs (Jordan Petersons crisp formulation) then the second cannot be either. So it is very encouraging that Premier Moe does not decline the example of Quebec but quite rightly sees that what is sauce for the francophone goose is sauce for the anglophone gander: Weve been very open on our quest to flex our provincials muscles and to really increase the autonomy that we have in this province of Saskatchewan.

There is so much more to say on this topic, but for now a little reflection on the wisdom of a former prime minister and a present premier will surely do for the early coffee or the late afternoon tea.

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Rex Murphy: Stephen Harper is right how Liberals are treating the West is inexcusable - National Post

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