Erin O’Toole

Courtesy Wikipedia

It appears what’s good for the goose, may not be so good for the gander.

In his 50-page platform released Wednesday, Tory leadership candidate Erin O’Toole dedicates six pages of promises for Quebec should he be elected CPC leader and prime minister.

But Alberta – in fact the whole of Western Canada – gets less than a single page, with only five points.

Titled “Action Plan for Alberta and the West”, O’Toole said: “No part of our country has suffered more under the Trudeau Liberals than Alberta.”

“There is real anger in the West and elsewhere among those whom Trudeau regards as political obstacles. He has driven this country to the brink of a national unity crisis. It is reckless and it is wrong,” the platform reads.

To fix the woes of the West, O’Toole vows to fix the Equalization and Fiscal Stabilization programs, repeal Bill C-69, pass a national pipelines act, scrap the Liberal’s tanker ban and create a LNG export strategy. No details were given for what a reformed Equalization formula might look like.

No commitments were made for reallocating seats in the Senate, which currently awards Alberta six, Quebec 24, and New Brunswick 12.

O’Toole’s promises for Quebec go on for six pages with five sub-sections.

“Under my leadership, the federal government will respect the division of powers between our two orders of government; above all, it will never interfere in the internal affairs of Quebec,” O’Toole writes.

Under a section titled ” Strengthen the recognition of the Quebec nation” O’Toole vows to:

  • ensure that Quebec never be under-represented in the House of Commons, whatever its demographic weight within the Canadian federation;
  • work with the government of Quebec in order to significantly increase its autonomy in respect to decisions related to immigration, including refugees and family reunification;
  • remain open to the development of new administrative agreements with the government of Quebec with a view to promoting decentralized federalism;
  • limit federal spending powers in Quebec’s fields of jurisdiction;
  • make annual federal transfers for social programmes unencumbered by restrictive conditions;
  • develop a plan for a return to balanced budgets without cutting transfers to the provinces;
  • respect the Constitution Act of 1867 by the application of a non-intervention approach in respect to internal affairs within Quebec’s fields of jurisdiction.

Under a section called “Public security”, O’Toole says he will:

POLL: Many Albertans say they will ignore Christmas COVID lockdown
  • strengthen our existing customs infrastructure;
  • modify the agreement on safe third countries by abolishing the administrative breach which has resulted in illegal border crossings;
  • permanently close illegal border crossing points such as Roxham Road.
  • strengthen the legal penalties provided for in the criminal code for persons hindering the proper functioning of energy transportation infrastructures;
  • ensure that the movement of those resources necessary for the proper functioning of our essential industries and businesses will never be interrupted;
  • consolidate our strategic reserve of personal protective equipment;
  • select Canadian Forces Base Bagotville as the main site to host the Government of Canada’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SATP).
  • reassess all federal regulations concerning the labelling of food products so as to ensure that both their contents and country of origin are clearly identified;
  • work with community stakeholders in order to develop policies facilitating the transfer of family farms from parents to their children;
  • amend existing laws in order to allow livestock owners to use local slaughterhouses, reducing both stress to the animals and the production of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from transportation to distant facilities;
  • protect our supply management systems;
  • allow more flexibility in the allocation and management of farmer assistance programmes;
  • put an end to the failure of the Liberal government in commercial treaty negotiations and their negative impact on the industry dairy. Provide for full compensation as promised by the present government all the while ensuring flexibility in the allocation of funds;
  • promote free trade in agricultural and food products among and between provinces, including alcohol.
  • protect the free movement of goods, services and citizens across our entire transportation infrastructure, enforcing our laws and maintaining order in the event of illegal blockades;
  • upgrade federal port facilities;
  • strengthen maritime safety by renewing our fleet of icebreakers in partnership the Davie shipyard, to be designated as a full partner within the National Shipbuilding Strategy;
  • tackle the logistic and security problems plaguing rail networks in several regions of Quebec.

In the “Innovation” section of his Quebec platform, O’Toole says he will:

  • support innovative private sector projects in the various regions of Quebec;
  • work in partnership with the Government of Quebec in promoting the Saint-Laurent Project, a maritime strategy for Quebec’s economic development comprising the creation of ten innovation zones;
  • provide strategic and targeted assistance to start-ups in the new economy;
  • adopt budgetary incentives in order to enhance vocational training in our cutting-edge technological sectors;
  • encourage entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • adopt financial incentives for the development of innovative local production, such as greenhouses and aquaculture;
  • adopt a government purchasing policy on low carbon footprint materials;
  • reform and up-date the law on animal species in order to make it more responsive to the needs of stakeholders by taking account of the presence of subspecies, as in the case of woodland caribou.

In the “Infrastructure section for Quebec, O’Toole vows to:

  • provide financial assistance to the Government of Quebec for the construction of the third link in the Quebec City area as well as supporting regional infrastructure projects prioritized by the province and various municipalities;
  • honour current funding agreements allocated to various public transit projects in the province;
  • connect all of rural Quebec to high-speed internet;
  • transfer, where necessary, further port infrastructures to the provincial government, accompanied by adequate financing.

Finally, in the “taxation” section, O’Toole said he will:

  • cancel Liberal tax hikes;
  • encourage entrepreneurship and “re-entrepreneurship” by introducing a version of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) for authorized withdrawals from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), in this instance for investment in the creation of first-time SMEs or the purchase of existing SMEs;
  • bring back tax fairness by eliminating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on subscriptions to Canadian digital platforms, thereby promoting online cultural content by Canadian cultural concerns such as Illico and The objective is to create a level playing field with foreign digital platforms such as Netflix;
  • encourage the occupation and management of private forest land, big and small, by granting their owners the same tax benefits enjoyed by major forest producers.

Some of the things promised Quebec have also been sought after in Alberta.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said he is supporting O’Toole in the race.

In an exclusive poll last month conducted by Northwest Research for the Western Standard, 45 per cent of decided Albertans surveyed said that they would defiantly vote yes or were leaning yes if there was a referendum on Alberta’s independence, while 55 per cent said that they would definitely vote no or were leaning no.

The four candidates currently qualified for the final ballot are O’Toole, Peter MacKay, Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan.

The Tory leadership race will have mail-in voting this summer and conclude August 21.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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