Tuesday, August 7

Ken Dryden Visit

August 3, 2007

Since last communication a lot has happened. Gloria and I and our friends spent a couple of relaxing weeks in Nova Scotia for the ‘Tall Ships festival’. It occurs every two years. While we were away our oldest daughter had an emergency appendectomy and joked that we need to reconsider taking vacations, since it appears some major issue arises when we go on vacation. Last year it was Neala, and this year it was Aileen.

On the political side with Parliament on summer recess some politicians are noticeably on the move across the country. Our local Riding Association executive waste no opportunity to pass to help keep us and the public here informed so they have arranged for some of the more prominent politicians to come to Lethbridge.

First to come was the great goalie for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, Hon. Ken Dryden as guest speaker at Ericksens on August 1. Most people, even kids see him as an icon and he did not forget them, he signed memorabilia of all sorts for them. You may recollect the Canadiens won 6 Stanley Cups from 1971 to 1979. After his hockey career, Ken became a lawyer and politician. He was first elected in 2004. You may recollect that as minister of Social Development he was instrumental in developing and gained agreement of the provinces on the first-ever National Childcare program that was scuttled by the Conservatives when they became Government. Also, Ken was one of the most able contenders we were blessed to have to run for the Liberal Leadership last year.

He provided a riveting summary of his reflections and review of Mr. Harper’s and the Conservative government’s performance over the past 18 months. He reports hearing from his travels that it has been disappointing, to say the least. He says “disappointment does not even fully describe it”, suggesting the current government does not adequately reflect the majority of Canadian values at home or abroad. He aptly described their approach as non-inclusive and divisive, the most divisive in Canadian history. It seems to be an “us versus them” approach or even “us versus him”, if we recollect how Mr. Harper appears to treat his cabinet.

Mr. Dryden went on to say that despite what the government appears to offer, if we consider it in the long-term we must wonder what the outcome will add up to. I readily concur with him with respect to the hugeness of Canada in so many ways and how we need to be cognizant of long range and sustainability of outcomes. I also concur that the Conservatives rather than thinking of the long-term have continued in a campaign approach seeking to orchestrate re-election hoping for a majority and that we Liberals need to continue to listen and hear what Canadians want. We need to reflect their aspirations and if Canadians believe we are hearing them they will put their confidence in us when they vote. To ensure continuing support; I, Matthew Conley and Senator Fairbairn also attended the Medicine Hat dinner later that evening. It was all most inspiring. I wish more could have been there.

Upcoming Liberal events:
On August 21 we’re looking forward to Kevin Taft, Provincial ALP Leader, attending our Whoop-up Parade, followed by a corn roast at 4 pm.
On August 23 Hon. Ralph Goodale, former Finance Minister will be in town. Details are still being worked on.
Similarly, Garth Turner, former Conservative-turned-Liberal is expected to be here on September 13. Mr. Turner, a maverick politician, is even better known in financial circles as well as having been a dedicated environmentalist for years. If you are not familiar with him, just google his name on the web and you will understand what I mean. Keep tuned.

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