Easterners Steamed at Harper
Alliance Leader in Hot Water
The Toronto Sun, by Maria McClintock, Ottawa Bureau, May 31, 2002
Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper could get boiled like a lobster if he goes ahead with his summer swing through Atlantic Canada.
Harper was in such hot water yesterday he was "too tired" to face the national media.
"He's tired. He's been doing Atlantic media all day ... setting the record straight," said Harper's communications director, Doug Main.
Maritimers are in an uproar over Harper blaming the Alliance's poor showing in the region on a "defeatist" attitude among Atlantic Canadians.
"There's unfortunately a view of too many people in Atlantic Canada that it's only through government favours that there's going to be economic progress, or that's what you look to," Harper had said Wednesday. "The kind of can't-do attitude is a problem in this country but it's obviously more serious in regions that have had have-not status for a long time."
The bitterness reached such a fevered pitch yesterday that the Nova Scotia legislature unanimously passed a motion condemning Harper.
"You can't expect to be a national leader who's successful if you become a serial offender of the sensitivities of the regions," said Tory Leader Joe Clark.
Late yesterday, Harper told Sun Media he wasn't backing down from his point of view, but he regretted how his remarks have been interpreted.
"I don't believe what I've said was clearly understood, or clearly communicated," Harper said, dismissing the Nova Scotia legislature motion as "partisan politics."
CBC National News Transcript, May 30, 2002
Program name : "Your Turn"
Broadcast Date: Thursday, May 30, 2002
Time: 22:00:00 ET
End Time: 23:00:00 ET
STEPHEN HARPER (Canadian Alliance Leader): There is a tendency in the region that breeds a culture of defeatism.