Politics can be a brutal business. One day you’re on top, the next in the cellar. Iggy seems to be on top these days. The latest polls show the Liberals surging ahead with increasing strength in Quebec and the Igster making many overtures to the West. Who knows? In 12-18 months he could be PM or he could be back at Harvard.
I just finished reading the cover story for Macleans this week – an interview with Michael Ignatieff. He recognizes that Canada’s sense of national identity is fragmenting and we are getting more polarized as the days go by. He wants to come up with a few grand national projects to bring us all together. He says there could be 47,000 projects but we need to narrow it down to three or so.
Then he uses the Quebec City-Windsor rail corridor and a national energy grid as two examples of his national projects. Not the best examples, in my opinion, of national projects.
We don’t really know Iggy’s ideas on regional economic development beyond the generic. He has been quoted as saying Atlantic Canada’s economic problems are no different than Northern Ontario, rural Quebec, etc. While he may be technically correct, he needs to realize that the federal government’s relationship with a province is different than its relationship to a sub-region within a province. New Brunswick and Ottawa need to work together on issues where this is jursidictional overlap (as there is with economic development).
If Iggy gets in – and that’s an if – someone on the Liberal side of the aisle should try and get regional economic development into his ‘three’ national projects list. It would seem to me that even small steps to address the historical challenges in Atlantic Canada in this area would go along way to rebuild goodwill between this region and Ottawa.
I have said the same thing about Stephen Harper in the past – many times – but there is something about getting to a leader before they are in power. It seems most of what they want to accomplish is determined well in advance of ascending to the big chair.