Federal Democratic Reform Minister Peter Van Loan should remember who elected him the next time he is tempted to take a swipe at Premier Dalton McGuinty for demanding Ontario be treated fairly.No, it certainly isn't. Chalk it up to a case of way too much of this:
Van Loan, who represents the Ontario riding of York-Simcoe, this week called McGuinty "the small man of Confederation" after the premier stepped up his campaign against a blatantly unfair federal bill that would bring Alberta's and B.C.'s representation in the Commons in line with their growing populations, but shortchange Ontario.
Van Loan's mean-spirited attack reflects badly on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government, which is supposed to represent all Canadians but routinely acts as though the country's most populous province is expendable. McGuinty is making a legitimate point that goes straight to the heart of Canada's democratic process. Far from malicious barbs, he deserves Ottawa's full attention.
Under the Conservative proposal, B.C. would elect seven extra MPs and Alberta five after the 2011 census, making their seat counts more or less proportional with their share of Canada's population. Yet Ontario would gain only 10 seats, which is 11 short of the number required to ensure fair representation in the Commons.
Harper's willingness to fix under-representation in Conservative-friendly Alberta and B.C., but not Ontario, smacks of cheap politics. Fairness demands that representation by population apply to all provinces. McGuinty is rightly fighting for that principle.
Ontario Liberal MPs issued a statement yesterday opposing the bill, but Conservative MPs from this province have remained silent.
Clearly, it is not McGuinty who is the small person in this debate.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I bet he's never been called this before
We can only hope that Van Loan will be hearing footsteps in the next election, as the Star suggests today: