Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's Green Shift plan for the environment has stirred up much controversy in recent months, not the least of which are the West's concerns about the plan's impact on the region's natural resources.
Some fear a repeat of the dark days of the national energy program, and others are raising the spectre of yet another national unity crisis...
Lougheed, the grandfather of Alberta conservatism, the man who brought the Conservatives to power in the first place, has stressed the need for an "olive branch" to the rest of Canada -- if the federal Conservatives aren't going to do anything about pollution, then doesn't it make more sense to try and cooperate with Dion and the Liberals if they actually are trying to find a solution, and make it stronger and better with our own input, rather than simply refusing to speak to him because of his party affiliation?...
Prominent Liberals and Conservatives like Dion and Lougheed are discussing many of the same issues -- if anything, the East and West probably have more common ground than they realize.
From there, a competent federal government can act as mediator between the provinces, developing a pan-Canadian environmental strategy that combines policies that apply to Canada as a whole in with variations that take provincial differences into account.
Whether or not the Green Shift is the solution to Canada's environmental woes, at least it's a start.
What I find refreshing, a Canadian perspective, as opposed to the silly "us vs them" nonsense which tends to derail any rational discussion. Pointing a finger at Ontario, but also recognizing some simple realities, a sense that we are in this together, our common interests. A discussion without bad guys, injecting alterior motives that don't exist, this entire debate is really a struggle between the small and narrow, and those that wish to move forward in good faith. Let's hope viewpoints like the above can be heard above the cynical noise. "At least it's a start".