Friday, April 29, 2011

More endorsements

Metroland Durham Region Media Group:

The jockeying and pure political partisanship that has been the hallmark of the last two minority governments has left Canada without traction on the economy, on new policies, on progress. The election of a majority government will also finally break the coalition culture in Ottawa that has overtaken the business of the day.

Stephen Harper has proven himself here at home and abroad as an able, knowledgeable and hard-working prime minister. He leads by example, keeps a keen focus on the Conservative agenda, and has consistently projected an assuring image as a quiet, competent prime minister even as his agenda is hobbled by his government's minority status. But, Canadians are confident that when he says his government will eliminate the deficit by 2014-2015, it will be done.

It is precisely this sort of assuredness, this clear sense of purpose and direction for the nation, that Durham residents must consider when they head to the ballot box on May 2.

Do they want another shortened term of government where politics drives the agenda, or one driven by ideas and achievement? Do they want a government limited by the ambitions of political insiders, or a government that can carry out the business of the day? Finally, do they want a government that could fall at any time -- once again -- so that they are forced to choose for the fifth time in eight years? Nine years?

It's time for majority rule in Ottawa. The party best suited with experience, a clear agenda and the ambition to see it through is the Conservatives. 

And a not unexpected one from the National Post:

Canada needs steady leadership in the years ahead — and not just because of the fragile global economy. In Quebec, the Parti Québécois has a good chance to win Quebec’s next provincial election, bringing with it the prospect of fresh separatist agitation. The last three minority governments all have shown us that a Parliament sitting at the Bloc Québécois’ pleasure is a Parliament vulnerable to regional blackmail. Canada needs a strong majority — of the sort Jean Chrétien had when he gave us the Clarity Act — to face down the stream of demands that PQ leader Pauline Marois promises will emit from Quebec City if she becomes premier. Only the Tories are in a position to achieve such a majority.

The need for stability notwithstanding, there are certain things that should change, however. Spending has ballooned under the Tories — only some of which can be blamed on the perceived need for stimulus that emerged in the wake of the 2008 U.S.-epicentred financial meltdown. The Tories have embraced protectionism on politically sensitive files (such as potash), maintained the statist status quo on health care and have injected countless populist doodads into their budgets. A re-elected Conservative government, sitting as a majority, must trim spending and move aggressively to reduce the deficit. It should also revisit its more draconian tough-on-crime initiatives — some of which, as National Post columnist Conrad Black has noted, seem more spiteful than sensible.

It is also true that the Tories have played fast and loose with Parliamentary disclosure rules. While the recent contempt of Parliament ruling was a partisan stunt, there was substance to the underlying allegation that the Tories failed to provide Parliament with full costing information on their signature programs. The Tories came to power with promises of greater accountability in Ottawa. If anything, they have given us less. That, too, must change.

If the Tories do win a majority — as we hope they do — we also hope that they push forward on projects that proved impossible in a minority government, including eliminating per-vote financial subsidies for political parties, phasing out the long-gun registry and initiating Senate reform. We also urge the next government to finally and decisively reject the strict interpretation of the Canada Health Act that, until now, has discouraged private health options in this country. Canadians are ready for a European-style mixed system of public and private health care.

These are not radical projects, but overdue changes that have been stymied by bickering parties locked in a minority Parliament. The time has come to break this logjam, which is why we urge our readers to vote Conservative on May 2.

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