Former prime minister Paul Martin rallies party faithful in Calgary

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Former prime minister Paul Martin speaks at a Liberal rally in Calgary, Friday Oct. 3, 2008. Martin told a rally in Stephen Harper's hometown of Calgary that the prime minister `has his head in the sand' and refuses to acknowledge that the country is at r

He's no longer party leader or even running for office, but former prime minister Paul Martin unloaded a scathing salvo on his former nemesis Stephen Harper at a Liberal rally in Calgary.
Martin, who is serving out the remainder of his term as MP in Quebec's LaSalle-Emard riding, has been taking on a bigger and bigger role in recent weeks as Liberal fortunes and support have continued to drop.
"Mr. Harper said that Canadians are not worried about their jobs - that Canadians are not worried about financing their homes. Well, I don't know what country he is talking about. The Canadians I talk to are worried," he said Friday at a noon hour rally at the Chinese Cultural Centre.
"They are worried about their homes and their jobs and their education and when you look at what's going on in the United States, it's understandable.
"You need a government that is not aloof from the Canadian people, you need a government that understands the needs of Canadians."
Martin has made a number of campaign-style stops in the past month, including events in Toronto, Manitoba, Vancouver and now Calgary.
The former finance minister has remained on topic throughout his events, accusing the Conservatives of squandering a $12 billion surplus which Canada needs now with economic woes on the horizon as a result of the credit crunch in the U.S. and in Europe.
He accused Harper of being "aloof" and "out of sync" with the hopes and dreams of Canadian families.
"Canada is not an island, untouched by the problems that exist in the rest of the world and when there's a credit crunch in the United States and a credit crunch in Europe and when people in the United States are losing their jobs and industries are shutting down, then Canadian exports are going to feel it," he said.
"The fact is if the Canadian government isn't prepared to deal with that, then I tell you they are walking away from the ambitions and needs of young Canadian families and senior Canadian citizens."
Despite the fiery political rhetoric, Martin said he is not having second thoughts about leaving politics. He said he is more concerned with dealing with the challenges facing Canada's First Nations people and those in Africa.
He didn't mention the Liberal 'Green Shift Plan' in his 10-minute speech but told reporters it will result in "a very large tax cut for Canadians" and is the right way to go.
Martin wasn't the only high-profile Liberal visiting Calgary on Friday. Former Ontario premier Bob Rae was meeting with doctors and nurses at Foothills Hospital and was attending a couple of Liberal campaign events.

Organizations: Conservatives, First Nations, Foothills Hospital

Geographic location: Calgary, United States, Canada Quebec Europe Toronto Manitoba Vancouver Africa Ontario

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  • JM
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Barbra,
    Was that a paid political announcement? Remember, the economic crisis in the US was brought about by the exact same free market uber alles agenda to which Harper adheres. Im still laughing over your claim that you right-wingers still call your Child Tax Benefit (read: bribe) to be a child care policy. Oh, and what exactly is your environmental policy? Just like your anti-poverty platform: its to castigate anyone else who actually has one.

  • Barbara
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Mr. Harper has clearly said that there will be challenging times ahead, but that Canada's economy is in better shape than that of the U.S. and our financial institutions are working well, our government has paid DOWN debt, reduced your taxes and has a surplus.
    He has also clearly said that Canadians should not panic....panic that is being fueled by the opposition parties for sheer political purposes, the media because they love headlines. If you are replacing your car, you will save on the GST. When you do your income tax, you have saved money on income splitting. The child care benefit has helped many families. Think carefully about what this two and a half year old government has done for you in a very disfunctional parliament. Think about the fact that if you commit a crime with a gun, any gun, you will go to jail for five years minimum if you are found guilty, with absolutely no bail. Think about also the money that is being put into stopping the terrible drug culture that is ruining many of our young people's lives, an education program starting in the early grades. I have listened to your Premier's vitriolic speeches telling the people of NFLD to vote ABC. Well, I would ask you how principled is that, particularly in a challenging time of uncertainty, after all he did sign an agreement with the federal government after all....a very lucrative one at that. The Liberal green shift is nonsense, and sure some people may get tax cuts, but not all, and as usual the middle class will bear the brunt. The NDP will certainly ruin everything by giving away the store, and Elizabeth May is also playing the ABC game. Again I ask how principled is that? Do you really want another disfunctional government mess in Ottawa or an election within another few months. I think Mr. Harper's government has performed very well for all Canadians this past two and a half years under very trying circumstances and should be given another chance. I would hazard a guess that those Canadian soldiers who are voting overseas this weekend, will vote for the man who has brought some dignity and money to the armed forces after years of neglect by the Liberals. Think carefully people. Think about the fact that Mr. Dion and his M.P.'s abstained from voting on confidence votes which would have brought down the government, but was too afraid to do so even though he did not support the proposed legislation. How principled is that? Think!

  • Roger
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    It is Good to See Mr Martin is back on the Trail, To bad we couldn't get him back as leader. I think he can easily handle Harper now that Harper can Not use the RCMP to attack him with false claims of misdueings, infact Harper is the one who should be conserned as he protects and keeps Mulroney the ownly addmite Crook Living to hold the OFFICE Of PM, admite to taking bribes of 300,000 in cash and still is an adviser to Mr.Harper !
    What is Mulroney Advising Harper on, How to do a better job of Hiding Cash from the Tax Man???????

  • JM
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Barbra,
    Was that a paid political announcement? Remember, the economic crisis in the US was brought about by the exact same free market uber alles agenda to which Harper adheres. Im still laughing over your claim that you right-wingers still call your Child Tax Benefit (read: bribe) to be a child care policy. Oh, and what exactly is your environmental policy? Just like your anti-poverty platform: its to castigate anyone else who actually has one.

  • Barbara
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Mr. Harper has clearly said that there will be challenging times ahead, but that Canada's economy is in better shape than that of the U.S. and our financial institutions are working well, our government has paid DOWN debt, reduced your taxes and has a surplus.
    He has also clearly said that Canadians should not panic....panic that is being fueled by the opposition parties for sheer political purposes, the media because they love headlines. If you are replacing your car, you will save on the GST. When you do your income tax, you have saved money on income splitting. The child care benefit has helped many families. Think carefully about what this two and a half year old government has done for you in a very disfunctional parliament. Think about the fact that if you commit a crime with a gun, any gun, you will go to jail for five years minimum if you are found guilty, with absolutely no bail. Think about also the money that is being put into stopping the terrible drug culture that is ruining many of our young people's lives, an education program starting in the early grades. I have listened to your Premier's vitriolic speeches telling the people of NFLD to vote ABC. Well, I would ask you how principled is that, particularly in a challenging time of uncertainty, after all he did sign an agreement with the federal government after all....a very lucrative one at that. The Liberal green shift is nonsense, and sure some people may get tax cuts, but not all, and as usual the middle class will bear the brunt. The NDP will certainly ruin everything by giving away the store, and Elizabeth May is also playing the ABC game. Again I ask how principled is that? Do you really want another disfunctional government mess in Ottawa or an election within another few months. I think Mr. Harper's government has performed very well for all Canadians this past two and a half years under very trying circumstances and should be given another chance. I would hazard a guess that those Canadian soldiers who are voting overseas this weekend, will vote for the man who has brought some dignity and money to the armed forces after years of neglect by the Liberals. Think carefully people. Think about the fact that Mr. Dion and his M.P.'s abstained from voting on confidence votes which would have brought down the government, but was too afraid to do so even though he did not support the proposed legislation. How principled is that? Think!

  • Roger
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    It is Good to See Mr Martin is back on the Trail, To bad we couldn't get him back as leader. I think he can easily handle Harper now that Harper can Not use the RCMP to attack him with false claims of misdueings, infact Harper is the one who should be conserned as he protects and keeps Mulroney the ownly addmite Crook Living to hold the OFFICE Of PM, admite to taking bribes of 300,000 in cash and still is an adviser to Mr.Harper !
    What is Mulroney Advising Harper on, How to do a better job of Hiding Cash from the Tax Man???????