April 10, 2000
End of the Day? - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- As I have said in a previous column, Stockwell Day reminds me a hell of a lot like Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau was a left-winger. He was so farther left than his party that it scared them. Day, on the other hand is so far right, he could scare horses or small children. Why they are so similar, is in the persona they exude.
When Pierre Trudeau was young he did a lot of work within Quebec. He did advocacy work that made him somewhat of a star. Day, has been the minister of social services in Alberta, as recently he was it’s Treasuer. Spearheading the economic boom of Alberta, while a province like ours is floundering.
The persona that Day exudes is one of a youthful image while dinosaurs like Chrétien, Manning and Joe Clark romp through Parliament Hill. Day is 49 years old, around the same age Trudeau was when he told Canadians that government had no place in their bedrooms when in Mike Pearson’s cabinet.
Stockwell Day, with his loopy policies and thinking, is really regarded, not just by Canadian Alliancers, but all Canadians as a breath of fresh air. For one, some in this province will regard his fiscal conservatism a plus for the economy in BC and across the country. With his participation, he’s helped bring in 7 consecutive balanced budgets, while the entire province is in an economic boom. Growing up in Ontario and living part of his youth in Quebec will surely help his chances with Central Canadian voters. Even though he is from Alberta, they’d like to say, “We’ve got a little bit of us in him.” (It’s funny to note, that Day spent only the first two years of his life in Ontario, while Dr. Keith Martin, the other candidate besides Manning, lived 18 years of his adult life there.)
Rafe Mair, interviewed Day on his CKNW program a couple of weeks ago and later said, he’s good looking, smart, articulate, but he hasn’t got an original idea in him. I guess that should scare us. Is he all style and no substance? Dr. Martin, the CA MP for Esquimalt-Juan De Fuca, has had more of a chance to articulate strong ideas about health care and social reform. Announcing his intention to seek the CA leadership is a bright spot for us BCers, but also for the party. His “compassionate conservatism” may be the perfect counter to Day’s hard core, holier than Thou mentality.
But the main gist of this piece is the fact that a lot of people are going to buy into Stockwell Day. (Maybe me?) He’s got a good career ahead of him and he might make it big in Ottawa. He’s going to spend the next little while figuring out if he’s got a hold on Central Canada, so as to deliver votes for this Canadian Alliance, because Preston Manning can’t. Stockwell Day needs tone down the rhetoric and appeal to a good cross-section of Canadians. Not just the gang of hicks that Reform’s been pandering to.
Stockwell Day has a long ways to go to penetrating Central Canada. With the departure of Frank Klees from the CA race, the party’s credibility in that region is somewhat shot. Klees could have been kingmaker to Day, but I guess not. With three men in the race, a race that Preston Manning will win, the three men are all from Western Canada. How Canadian is that alliance, after all? Day’s chances are all but shot, in ascending to the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
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