When the Reform Party was first established it was basically a protest party, and much of their protest was against bilingualism, special status for Quebec and multi-culturalism.
However, after unsuccessful attempts to break ground east of Manitoba, they changed their outward approach, trying to paint themselves as being more open to the rest of the country, especially vote rich Quebec.
Despite this, during the 1997 campaign they released a controversial television advertisement where the faces of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, Progressive Conservative leader Jean Charest, and the separatist Premier of Quebec Lucien Bouchard, were crossed out followed by a message saying that Quebec politicians had dominated the federal government for too long and that the Reform Party would end this favoritism towards that province.
In fact, many supporters still wanted the Party to only represent English Canada. They had aligned themselves with APEC, (the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada), an anti-French hate group that also campaigned against the government's policy of official bilingualism.
(extremist groups like this would play an integral part in the Reform Party's and later the Conservative Party's rise to power.)
As late as 2003, the anglophone culture was still predominant, as revealed by the party's (now the Canadian Alliance) protests against Chretien's refusal to send Canadian troops to Iraq. We already know how Harper felt, with his plagiarized Howard speech.
Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper also wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal giving their Party's stand on the war. As members of the Canadian government it was inappropriate for them to attack us, and in another time and place this would have been tantamount to treason.
Canadians Stand With You
By STEPHEN HARPER and STOCKWELL DAY
Today, the world is at war. A coalition of countries under the leadership of the U.K. and the U.S. is leading a military intervention to disarm Saddam Hussein. Yet Prime Minister Jean Chretien has left Canada outside this multilateral coalition of nations.
This is a serious mistake. For the first time in history, the Canadian government has not stood beside its key British and American allies in their time of need. The Canadian Alliance -- the official opposition in parliament -- supports the American and British position because we share their concerns, their worries about the future if Iraq is left unattended to, and their fundamental vision of civilization and human values.
Disarming Iraq is necessary for the long-term security of the world, and for the collective interests of our key historic allies and therefore manifestly in the national interest of Canada. Make no mistake, as our allies work to end the reign of Saddam and the brutality and aggression that are the foundations of his regime, Canada's largest opposition party, the Canadian Alliance will not be neutral.
In our hearts and minds, we will be with our allies and friends. And Canadians will be overwhelmingly with us. (And yet the majority of Canadains supported Chretien's decision)
But we will not be with the Canadian government.
Modern Canada was forged in large part by war -- not because it was easy but because it was right. In the great wars of the last century -- against authoritarianism, fascism, and communism -- Canada did not merely stand with the Americans, more often than not we led the way. We did so for freedom, for democracy, for civilization itself. These values continue to be embodied in our allies and their leaders, and scorned by the forces of evil, including Saddam Hussein and the perpetrators of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That is why we will stand -- and I believe most Canadians will stand with us -- for these higher values which shaped our past, and which we will need in an uncertain future.
Messrs. Harper and Day are the leader and shadow foreign minister, respectively, of the Canadian Alliance.
At the same time there was an interesting demonstration in Calgary, in what was referred to as supporting the Anglosphere (English speaking) in War. Obviously the Canadian Alliance was still very much English Canada focused.
Calgarians show support for war effort
University of Calgary Gauntlet
April 03, 2003
Close to 1,000 Calgarians rallied at the U of C in support of ongoing military action in Iraq on Sun., Mar. 30. Speakers and participants, including veterans and families of armed forces personnel in the war, demanded that Prime Minister Jean Chretien support the Anglosphere nations (the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Australia).
"My wife and I were listening to commentators, not too long before the Iraq event began, and the words that were being spouted were about how everyone in Canada was against the war," said MP for Wild Rose Myron Thompson, whose 29-year-old son is serving with U.S. forces in Kuwait. "We looked at each other with tears in our eyes, wondering 'are we in this alone?' Looking at the audience today, we know now we are not alone."
As the audience proudly waved hundreds of Canadian, U.S., U.K., and Australian flags during his speech, the Canadian Alliance member criticized Chretien for letting Canada continue to enjoy its liberty without contributing to its preservation. "I have no animosity toward those who object to the war," said Thompson. "Regardless of which side of the fence you're on, just give a moment of thanks to the hundreds of thousands of our forefathers who gave themselves so we can live in a world where we can do this."
Over 50 volunteers were on hand at the event entitled I Am Canadian, I Am A Friend of the U.S., organized by Calgary lawyer and U of C Commerce graduate Ezra Levant.
Volunteer Brent Waddell was disappointed with the lack of students at the rally, who numbered a couple dozen. "The students should not be against the war in Iraq," he said. "They're for world peace, but before we get there, we must get rid of the world's dictators."
Calgary Southeast MP Jason Kenney echoed his Canadian Alliance party's view that Canada should do more to support its Anglosphere allies."
In the last couple of weeks, for the first time I was not proud to be a Canadian... not proud of what Jean Chretien did to undo 130 years of Canadian history (he forgot about Vietnam obviously) ," he said. "Jean Chretien, has no right to undermine the history, the tradition of our country. We have to let our allies know that even though Ottawa doesn't support them, we as citizens do.
"Monte Solberg, Canadian Alliance MP for Medicine Hat also opposed Chretien."I want the world to know that Jean Chretien does not speak for me," he said. "Jean Chretien's silence in the face of anti-American sentiment is unforgivable. Canada and the U.S. have a blood bond in history through wars in Europe and Korea. We are more than mere allies."
Volunteer and participant Dallas Rowley also believed that Canada should have more support for its nearest neighbour. "We're an independent nation, we make up or own minds about the war, but we also rely on the U.S. for economics and trade just as they rely on us for resources," he said.U of C professor Ted Morton said the positive relationship between Canada and the U.S. comes from a shared interest in peace, but that could be in jeopardy."
I learned in Israel that if you're not willing and able to defend your country, that your country won't be yours for very long," he said. "In the affluence of peace in North America, we've forgotten that."
Morton also believes in the Canadian sovereignty not to support the war."Canada has the right to make its own decision, but has Canada made the right decision?" he asked. "It has not."
During the speeches, some three dozen individuals who opposed the war in Iraq arrived outside of MacEwan Hall. One off-campus participant who opposed the war was removed by Campus Security after arguing with attendees. Another individual who attempted to remove an anti-war sign from a different opponent to war was restrained.
Though Harper and his gang, after realizing that most Canadians did not share their views, tried to deny ever having them, it's pretty clear where they stood.
Michael Ignatieff was teaching at Harvard at the time, and also supported the Iraq War, though he says that Canada was right to stay out of it. Like many living in the U.S. at the time, he believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He was also quieted by the Patriot Act, so even if he did oppose it at the time, he could never have said so.
For him though, it was not about ideology, but was more personal. He had spent time in Kurdistan after the genocide, and saw the devastation perpetrated by Sadam, knowing he had to be removed. He has since admitted that this War was not the way to go, which was much better than simply lying.