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by David McLaren

Well the campaign has officially started. Jim Merriam has stopped praising mules and started talking up Tories.

In a recent article in the Owen Sound Sun Times he claimed the heartland of Ontario for his Party, including Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. The riding is apparently Larry Miller's (and therefore Mr Harper's) to control "as long as he wants it."

If, as Mr Merriam insists, Ontario's rural heartland gives Mr Harper an advantage, it may be the only one he has left. After all it is Mr Harper himself who:

  • left our economic eggs too long in one basket and now the whole economy stinks,
  • appointed foxes to guard the Senate only to find they had cooked the goose and were lapping up the gravy (EEE-eye-EEE-eye-Oh-oh),
  • preached to the PIGS about fiscal management and had our Security Council seat at the UN swiped by one of them – Portugal,
  • tried some serious horse trading with the Chinese on a Foreign Investment Protection deal and lost his shirt (and the horse).

Those are just some of the road apples Mr Harper's government has left behind. As they say in England, there's more shite than shovels on this farm.

If Mr Merriam thinks the Tories have a lock on Ontario's heartland, he would do well to remember Alberta where Mr Harper's former Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice, was supposed to shepherd in another Tory majority. Pundits and pollsters should keep a firm rein on their predictions.

Personally, I think polls are better used to tie up mules. But Jim, you would be wise to take a gander at what Albertans are actually thinking. They want:

  • higher taxes on corporations
  • higher royalties for their resources
  • less dependence on oil
  • affordable child care
  • core services over balanced budgets
  • no truck with elected members changing horses mid-stream (or parties between elections)

Those ain't Tory policies my friend. Or Liberal.

I can see why Jim Merriam likes mules. They are patient, thick skinned, sure footed on the trail, willing and able to carry the load. Sort of like New Democrats these days.

David McLaren is a commentator and writer from Neyaashiinigmiing and NDP candidate for Bruce Grey Owen Sound <

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