Harper tried to portray Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who represents Whitby-Oshawa, as Ottawa's point man for Canada's largest city, a suggestion that brought immediate derision from opposition leaders, who said that the new Prime Minister doesn't understand Toronto.
"It concerns me," said interim Liberal leader Bill Graham (Toronto Centre).
"The GTA is an extraordinarily complex place with tremendous problems but also tremendous potential. To suggest that someone from outside the region is just as good at representing them is glossing over in a great way what those problems are," he told reporters yesterday.
NDP Leader Jack Layton noted that when Flaherty was in Mike Harris's cabinet in the mid-1990s, the Ontario government enacted "dramatic" funding cuts that drove up homelessness and hit Toronto's infrastructure.
"I certainly hope that Mr. Flaherty, in his time out of politics, has reflected on some of the consequences of the policies that he adopted as part of Mike Harris' government and had impacts on Toronto," Layton said. "Let's hope there's been some lessons learned."
But Harper, unmoved by suggestions Toronto was shut out, said Flaherty will speak for the region.
"He will be the political minister for the Greater Toronto Area. He not only represents a seat in that area but has extensive business connections," he said.
Harper also suggested Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda (Durham) and Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills), who each represent largely rural ridings, could speak for downtown Toronto as well.
The Toronto attitude of entitlement and arrogance shines right through, as usual. Never mind that the GTA keeps growing outward every year, and that 905 has become fused with 416, politically and economically.
Never mind also that while Montreal and Vancouver seem merely indifferent to the Conservative Party, Toronto is downright hostile.
Only someone from south of Steeles--really, south of Bloor--can really understand the grandeur and complexity of Toronto.
Source: Toronto Star