Economy and free trade remain priorities for Conservatives after five-year minority government
After a week’s break from Ottawa and some travelling across the constituency to take the collective temperature of the region, Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson spoke to about 30 constituents at the Conservative Annual General Meeting about the possibilities the Harper minority government could be facing following the presenation of the federal budget.
“I think we need to be careful that we treat government with respect, and we want to do that, but at the same time our focus has been on the economy and that’s where we’re going to keep it with the budget that’s coming up,” Anderson said, speaking to party members at the constituency’s meeting on March 19 in Swift Current.
“After being in Ottawa for a couple of weeks, to come back here and find out that [these issues are] really not even on the radar here, yet in Ottawa there’s a bubble there and they think that things are being discussed there are absolutely critically important to everybody,” he reflected.
“So we’ve heard about some of these things like Bev Oda and some of the funding issues ... but what was interesting as I travelled this week in the riding I hardly heard anybody who had any interest in that. They want to hear about budget and economy and how things are going to work for them for the next while.”
As his constituents prepare for a possible election, Anderson said, “Obviously the budget is the next big thing that takes place. It’s coming down on Tuesday. We know what we’ve gone forward with and made our proposals for, and Mr. Flaherty and the Prime Minister and others will make those decisions, so I think you’re going to see a focus obviously on reducing the stimulus spending, that’s being wrapped up, and it’s clear that we’re not going to be doing that kind of thing again now that the economy has strengthened a bit.
“We do want to get the deficit under control. Some of us are adamant about that. We have been speaking about that since we started running deficits and there are a group of us who feel really strongly that needs to be a priority of government.”
Anderson hypothesized about the positions of the other parties based on what he thought might be some possible budgetary conciliations.
“We have been discussing an HST agreement with Quebec. If that had been reached ... I would suspect the Bloc would have a very difficult time opposing the budget.
“Jack Layton came with two or three suggestions of things he’d like to see, such as an eco-energy program, some pension work for seniors. If those kinds of things are in the budget, he would probably be considering whether they should be supporting it or not.”
MP David Anderson gave party supporters an overview of the political climate during theCypress-Hills GrasslandsConservative Annual General Meeting on Marrch 19 in Swift Current.