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An open letter by Sinclair Stevens

On November 19th, 2004, The Honourable Madam Justice Heneghan found Mr. Kingsley, The Chief Electoral Officer "erred in law" by registering the merger on December 7th, 2003. She declined to grant the necessary order quashing the merger. That is now under appeal and hopefully the appropriate quashing order will be granted.

To date (subject to the aforesaid court review) Mr. Harper has been able to lead what is called The Conservative Party of Canada and to act as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

Now, working with The Bloc Québécois, he is threatening an election.

Some say Mr. Harper has a hidden agenda.

I disagree.

He has a very clear agenda.

For some reason however, most people, including mainline media, do not want to believe Mr. Harper means what he says.

Here are the facts.

He has two masters. The National Citizen's Coalition of some 40,000 members and he has what is often referred to as The Calgary School including his confident, Tom Flanagan and Ted Morton.

Speaking to a meeting of the National Citizen’s Coalition in Hamilton on May 24th, 1994, Mr. Harper said, "Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion."

That was the year before the 1995 Separatist Referendum in Quebec and he was an M.P. at the time.

Later in the speech he said, "whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangements of any future country may be."

I write to you as you have experienced his tactics during his coup of the Progressive Conservative Party.

In his mind that was a necessary step to achieve his ultimate objective. He will stop at nothing.

In 1997, he and his confident Tom Flanagan, in their Next City magazine, suggested coalitions were the only route to Conservatives seizing national power. They suggested an alliance with The Bloc Québécois "would not be out of place. The Bloc are nationalist for much the same reason that Albertans are populist – they care about their local identity... and they see the Federal Government as a threat to their way of life," they stated.

In 2001, Harper was the Leader of a group who proposed "a firewall around Alberta." I can e-mail you a copy of this "Alberta Agenda" or you can pull it up on The National Citizens Coalition web page.

In October 2004, Harper made his "Belgian waffle" speech in Québec City where he suggested Canada should become a North American version of Belgium which has multiple factions each with their own autonomy. In short he felt this "national autonomy" status should be considered sympathetically because "Québécois never wanted to be an overwhelmed province in a centralized Canada."

This is background.

The most disturbing thing is what he has done and said so recently.

He has been honest to his commitment to The National Citizens Coalition of which he was President for several years.

Here is an extract from the NCC National Overview Magazine, Summer 2003.

It begins:

"The following is taken from a speech former National Citizens Coalition President and current Canadian Alliance Leader, Stephen Harper, made on November 21, 2002. That was the night the NCC presented him with the Colin M. Brown Freedom Medal."

Mr. Harper said, "It was not easy to officially leave this organization. But I feared that if I did not do this, the NCC would find itself again alone or at least without any allies in the Parliament of Canada. For reasons that I can’t fully explain, the major political party that had come to embrace the federal political hopes of most NCC members, the Canadian Alliance, seemed on the verge of collapse."

"So we took the party back, and now we are building on a foundation of real conservatism and a real conservative option in this country."

He continued, "Health care has long been a concern of the National Citizens Coalition. There needs to be fundamental reform, not just to rely on tax dollars but to harness private investment and bring that into publicly insured services."

"And when it comes to the United States, we as a country should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans," he stated.

"I hope that I will be able to merit your pride and your allegiance in the future," he concluded.

After the apparent merger of our P.C. Party with the Alliance under the name Conservative Party, the NCC changed the name of their magazine to the Canadian Conservative Review.

Speaking as keynote speaker to The Conservative Convention in Montreal in March, this year, Mr. Harper said. "I also know very well – the pride and solidarity of Québecers. I know they will never let the autonomy and the dignity of Québec be undermined. But they also want to be partners in the future of Canada. And they will be – once again – with the new Conservative Party of Canada."

Mr. Harper made that comment after referring to The Bloc Québécois eight times.

"The policy of The Bloc is the strategy of the empty chair," Mr. Harper concluded.

Then the Conservative Leader delivered the punch line, "We, the Conservatives, are the only real vehicle of change, here in Québec and throughout Canada. The Bloc will never make a single positive change. In Québec as everywhere in Canada the only vehicle of change is the Conservative Party of Canada."

In effect he says he and his Conservative Party will fill the "empty chair."

When Mr. Harper states he could do better than The Bloc has done. What is he saying? Is he saying it is all in the mind? Separation is more a question of what you call it and how you sell it.

He knows if you wither the federal government eventually you have de facto separation of the provinces and you don’t even need a referendum to do it.

Let us put it into context. What does his partner, Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Leader of The Bloc, say in English speaking CANADA on this point.

Speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto last November, Mr. Gilles Duceppe, Leader of The Bloc said, "I am a Québec sovereigntist… in the sovereign Québec I have in mind, Canada is a privileged partner. Obtaining a partnership with Canada is not a mandatory condition for Québec on its path to sovereignty. It is, however, desirable both for Canada as well as for Quebec."

With Mr. Harper's thinking so in line with Mr. Duceppe's, it is clear Mr. Harper will, if necessary, make a coalition with The Bloc. He has already acknowledged that as a possibility.

But there is more.

With little mainstream news comment Harper, the day after his keynote speech slipped a new Part D into the Conservative Policy paper passed in Montreal.

It is a shocker.

It is the first time in Canadian history that a National political party has embraced a provincial rights agenda.

Part D binds the Party and every Conservative member to:

1. "Restore the constitutional balance between the federal and provincial and territorial governments."

2. "Ensure that the use of the federal spending power in provincial jurisdictions is limited, authorizing the provinces to use the opting out formula with full compensation if they want to opt out of a new or modified federal program, in areas of shared or exclusive jurisdiction."

3. "Consider reforming Canadian federalism, taking into account:

(a) the need to consolidate Québec's position within the Canadian federation;

(b) the need to alleviate the alienation felt by the citizens of the West."

4. "Fix in collaboration with the provinces, the problem of fiscal imbalance by increasing the amounts allocated to provincial transfers, by reducing taxes, or by transferring tax points to the province."

It is a tragedy that this should be happening at a time when the Liberal Party is living with a scandal that came out of their efforts to preserve the unity of Canada which Mr. Harper would weaken.

While it is perfectly acceptable for a political leader to take the government to task for such incompetence and scandals, it's quite another to blatantly fan the flames of separatism and to offer hope and inspiration to the separatists and de centralizers.

But even this is not enough for the NCC. In their current issue of their Freedom Watch they state "The Alberta Agenda, first proposed by former NCC president, Stephen Harper, is a series of measures that, if adopted, would enable Albertans to better protect their economy and their prosperity."

They then direct you to their web page to review that Agenda. Here are some of the points:

- Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.

- Collect our own revenue from personal income tax.

- Start preparing now to let the contract with the RCMP run out in 2012 and create an Alberta Provincial Police Force.

- Resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy.

- Use Section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to force Senate reform back onto the national agenda.

I hope you will not support Mr. Harper working with The Bloc Québécois. This is the first time in history that a federal leader that wants to be Prime Minister has openly conspired with the separatists to bring about a new regime that will bring about de facto separation of our provinces.

CANADA is at a crossroad.

We never have had a Prime Minister who believes in deconfederation.

The Meech Lake Accord was an attempt to relieve certain frictions but Brian Mulroney was always a federalist.

Likewise the Charlottetown Accord was mainly handled by Joe Clark who always believed in a strong federal government.

Both these approaches failed.

Now, if Mr. Harper has his way and becomes Prime Minister we would have in that office a person who believes and his close advisors believe in an "OPEN FEDERALISM" as he says in the Party's Policy paper. Most funding and jurisdiction would be delegated to the provinces with only symbolic matters being left to the federal level for international reasons.

Already we are a much less centralized country than the U.S.A. and other federal states.

Without someone to fight for CANADA and to speak for CANADA at the federal level, Harper would administer the coup de grace to CANADA and we would all be the poorer.

We have the best country in the World.

Let us save it.

Sinclair M. Stevens

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