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Strahl, Weston hammer coalition

Conservative government could be defeated on Monday


By Jesse Ferreras and Paul Carlucci

Corridor MPs are slamming the opposition for “taking” power rather than “earning” it.

Chuck Strahl, the MP for the Pemberton Valley and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, stuck it to the opposition Wednesday on an afternoon conference call, calling the coalition of Liberals, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois an “unholy alliance.”

“This idea that this separatist-backed coalition is going to provide solid, steady leadership to the country in a time of economic uncertainty is not just bizarre, it’s really unthinkable,” Strahl said. “The whole thing boils down to the idea from both the Liberals and the NDP that achieving power by whatever means is better than the alternative. Better than either an election or better than allowing the Conservatives to run.”

The Liberals, NDP and Bloc signed an accord Monday to form a coalition government, with Liberal Leader Stephane Dion as Prime Minister. The coalition came together over the weekend, following the Conservatives’ Economic and Fiscal Update presented last Thursday.

The update included plans to eliminate federal subsidies for political parties that are based on the number of votes a party receives. The Conservatives said the update would be subject to a confidence vote — an opportunity for the opposition parties to defeat the government — originally scheduled for Monday, Dec. 1.

However, as the opposition parties organized over the weekend the vote was postponed to Dec. 8. The plan to eliminate the subsidies was also dropped over the weekend, but the coalition maintains it will still vote to bring down the Conservative government on Dec. 8.

Strahl said he’s been inundated with 1,000 e-mails, most of them supporting the current government.

“(They’re written) in language and in passion I have not seen since the separatist referendum 15 years ago,” he said. “People are beside themselves, and so they should be.

“If you don’t like to get involved in federal elections, the best way to prevent one is to make it known loud and clear that you already voted.”

Strahl was joined in his criticism by colleague John Weston, MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country. Weston, who, after years of campaigning, unseated banished Liberal-cum-Green Party MP Blair Wilson and defeated Liberal challenger Ian Sutherland, had been appointed to a number of committees.

His voice taught, he dismissed the current Parliamentary tone as “belligerent,” saying opportunities are being wasted as a result. In so doing, he outlined much of the Conservative Party’s arguments against the political situation.