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The Sherbrooke Record, February 26, 2003

'Heating the wrong branding iron'

Viewpoint: Arthur Langford

Spare five minutes for the observations of a 92-year-old convert from the ivory tower who doesn't like the attempt of persons unknown to brand David Orchard as anti-free trade. Of course, there is nothing new about such attempts in politics.

In a piece on "Tory Weakness" Hugh Winsor wrote (Feb. 3, globe and Mail) that "This vulnerability is what scares the daylights out of mainstream Tories who fear Prairie populist David Orchard might mobilize enough of his anti-free-trade followers to win."

Strange it is, indeed, that meeting with many voters during the last few months, mainly in my own riding, I have yet to meet an anti-free trade supporter of Orchard.

I have listened to David speak in three different ridings setting forth his philosophy, and not a word of anti-free trade. His position is clear. He opposed NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) as unnecessary citing the favorable experience of Canada in any challenge under the GATT/WTO. He stands for fair free trade, which we do not have (consider softwood lumber and agricultural products). He is strongly opposed to the recent international challenge under Chapter 11 of NAFTA.

It was that chapter that caused Canada to rescind its regulation against the addition of MMT to gasoline and to pay the U.S. Ethyl Corporation US$13 million for business lost during the life of the regulation.

The offensive sections of Chapter 11 have little to do with free trade and a lot to do with unwanted protection of investments. A thoroughgoing statement of the dangers of Chapter 11 can be called up on the Internet [with http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/tradingdemocracy.html]: better still, buy and show as soon as you can and as often as you can, the video (29650-AT) available by credit card from 1-800-257-5126.

It was this program that galvanized me on Feb. 2 of last year, changing my life. I had never been active in any political party (nor had David Orchard before 1997). I made inquiries and decided that the PC party was the most suitable one in which to seek change.

Political parties evolve. It is time for another step in the evolution of the PC Party, generally perceived as not too different from the Liberals, both on the right. Analysts report that no Canadian party in power has been ousted by an opposition whose main plank was to the right of the party in power. The time has come to choose a leader who will move the party to the centre, not shackled by big business or by organized labour.

The people are in the centre and that is where David Orchard stands, espousing, among other things, Canadian sovereignty, fair free trade, environmental protection, recovery of the authority of Parliament, proportional representation in Parliament, justice for all, search for the best in health and education.

The time has come for men and women of good will to take part in political choices at the early stages, to investigate, to commit to a cause and influence the choices that are made.

David Orchard needs you to publicize his views, activate your community and sign up PC members to send Orchard delegates to the May convention. Without such local action now, nothing will happen.

ARTHUR N. LANGFORD, formerly of the Eastern Townships, currently resides in Simcoe, Ontario


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