THUNDER BAY – This isn’t the Reform Party anymore. The marathon session in Ottawa is over. Members of Parliament were up and down over the past twenty-four hours voting on proposed amendments to the federal Conservative budget.
Members of Parliament were so engaged in this exercise that many were tuned to their computers and I-pads to watch movies.
Who knew Netflix could be more interesting than democracy for our elected representatives?
The real issue here is that of the concentration of power in the office of the Prime Minister.
What appears to happen in opposition the leaders complain about the excesses of power concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister. Then once in power, we are watching that power be consolidated and continue to grow.
Likely over the next few years, as the Conservatives continue along the path they are currently following, they will eventually anger western Canadians. That is what led to the creation of the Reform Party of Canada.
In standing between Netflix movies, and voting enmass, Conservative MPs in effect also voted down any remnants of the old Reform Party of Canada that was left in their party.
The spirit of Reform which was centred around fixing the mess that is Ottawa, where ‘your tax dollars go to die’ was spiked in the heart last week.
The next time you read about a columnist or pundit claiming that the Harper Conservatives have any roots to the old Reform Party, you can be forgiven for changing the page or the channel. They will no longer have any validity.
It was not all that long ago groups of Canadians started gathering, first around kitchen tables, then living rooms, followed by community centres as they shared a vision for a New Canada.
That was the birth of Reform. It was more the birth of ideas than of a political party.
Progressive Conservatives viewed the move with distain and ignored the growing prairie fires that were smoldering.
Right now the federal Conservatives have started looking just like the arrogant and out-of-touch Mulroney Progressive Conservatives.
As over 800 amendments to the omni-bus budget bill were voted down without even a look-see, the Conservatives moved into the traditional reins of old style political power that they were originally created to replace.
Back in the day, Preston Manning called out from the wilderness, “The west wants in”.
One wonders if the next call might be “Canadians want in”?
Likely the excitement being generated by a possible leadership run by Justin Trudeau is going to grow.