Dufort on the need for more infrastructure investment:
Guy Dufort, a Montreal lawyer, said big cities "won't be convivial places to live" unless they are given more help to tackle challenges such as crumbling roads and sewers. Infrastructure will go down the drain, transportation systems will become decrepit and more people will move to the suburbs, he predicts.The party line:
Flaherty said the Tories have already given municipalities $33 billion in a multi-year package and he has rejected pleas for more cash.Dufort on federal transfers to cities:
Dufort said the government has made some effort to address the problem by transferring a portion of gas taxes to municipalities. But they should also have access to a portion of income taxes or sales taxes, he said.The party line:
SEAN MALLEN: As you well know the Mayor of Toronto, Mr Miller, joined by the Premier, have been calling for one cent of the GST to be dedicated to cities. Is that idea effectively dead?Dufort on housing:
Jim Flaherty: Yes.
SEAN MALLEN: Why?
Jim Flaherty: Well, it was a non-starter from the beginning.
While Westmount-Ville-Marie has a reputation of being the home to some of Quebec's wealthiest residents, Dufort said it is also home to about 8,000 homeless people, and affordable housing is a priority for him.The party line:
The federal Conservatives have ousted their candidate for Toronto Centre, 43-year-old international-trade lawyer Mark Warner, and he says it's because he wanted to play up urban and social issues that are at odds with the master Conservative campaign strategy...And what's more:
Conservative officials have been actively resisting Warner's emphasis on housing, health care and cities issues, he said, even blocking him from participating in a Star forum on poverty earlier this year and pointedly removing from his campaign literature a reference to the 2006 international conference on AIDS in Toronto – which Warner attended but Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not.
Dufort, who describes himself as a "pragmatist," admitted that he personally only agrees with about 80 per cent of the Conservative Party's platform.Now, we don't know for sure what's included in the 20% that Dufort disagrees with. But one has to figure the question will be brought up more than a few times during the course of a by-election. And there's no way for Dufort to answer without either giving the appearance of having been dishonest now, suggesting that Dufort has been brainwashed by extended reprogramming at the Cons' Hall of Harper, or angering his micromanaging leader.
One way or another, the gap between Dufour's more moderate stances and the Cons' governing principles can only make it all the more clear that the Cons can't offer a viable alternative to the Libs in Westmount-Ville-Marie. Which can only leave the door wide open for the NDP to pick up another Quebec beachhead in the riding once a by-election is called.