Saturday, December 17, 2005

Steven Fletcher vs. John Loewen in Charleswood - St. James

Week three of the 2006 election campaign is coming to a close. This week has highlighted the huge difference in core beliefs between Conservatives and liberals. Conservatives, who have faith in Canadian parents to make the right choices for their children, are pledging $1,200 per year for families with children under the age of six. Liberals, who believe in the power of government, have told us that they believe parents will simply squander this money on beer and popcorn.

On a local level, another stark contrast has been highlighted in Winnipeg’s Charleswood – St. James riding. One story by The Winnipeg SUN showed the determination of Conservative candidate Steven Fletcher in overcoming adversity by seeking re-election. Another news story, from the CBC, portrayed his liberal opponent, John Loewen, as a political free-agent, who is looking out for himself.

The difference between Steven Fletcher and the liberal candidate is one of loyalty. And, not just loyalty to a party, but loyalty to a core set of beliefs.

Conservatives believe in the power of individual Canadians. Liberals believe in the power of government.

As such, Conservatives have contempt for big, wasteful, corrupt governments. Liberals have contempt for beer drinking, popcorn eating, coat buying, car driving Canadians.

We have seen these core beliefs highlighted over and over this week, by members of both political parties and we can see this difference in every issue. Conservatives want to cut the GST by a modest 2%. Liberals say even that is too much, the money belongs to government. The Conservatives want to give some money back to parents with young children; the liberals say government can do a better job with that money.

With that in mind, how is it that a candidate can drop their core beliefs and join the liberal party? We all watched as Belinda Stronach jumped on board with the liberals, but she was rewarded with a cabinet seat. Another former Tory, Scott Bryson, also received a cabinet position when he joined the liberals. Former Winnipeg Mayor Glenn Murray walked out of city hall to join the liberals and he was also reward with a patronage appointed to chair the round table on the environment, a position he was not qualified for.

But, national politics is not like the National Hockey League where a player can sign a better contract, change jerseys, and play the same game. We depend on our politicians to uphold the values we have and we elect the politicians with values that we share.

When liberal candidate John Loewen first got into politics, he sat down with Winnipeg SUN columnist Thomas Brodbeck. Mr. Loewen said at the time he was going to fight for real fiscal conservative change -- smaller government, lower taxes and improved climate for business investment.

His record in the Manitoba Legislature shows that he never did live up to that commitment. Instead, Mr. Loewen spent most of his time criticizing Premier Gary Doer’s socialist NDP government for not spending enough! The SUN columnist said in his article that,

“Loewen was a major disappointment as a so-called fiscal conservative, because he isn't one.”

The question is, what is he? Is there anything in John Loewen’s heart that he truly believes, other than personal advancement? His jump from the Manitoba Conservatives to a party as left-wing as the 21st century liberals was a huge leap. Mr. Loewen has proven in deeds that he has no core beliefs. Then again, if John Loewen told us what was in his heart, how could we believe now?

With Steven Fletcher, you know what you are getting. Steven holds forums on the issues that interest Canadians and he invites people to visit his office and take part. Steven was a Manitoba Conservative in his younger days, and he is a Canadian Conservative today.

When it comes to core beliefs, Steven Fletcher is 100% Conservative.

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