Stockwell Day, the leader of the Canadian Alliance Party, and the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament, is spending a few days in Washington, making the pilgrimage of Canadian opposition leaders to establish connections with the powers that be south of the border.

Or try to.

Unlike his nemisis, Jean Chretien, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, who defeated him soundly in our recent election, Day was unable to meet with the sitting president. Chretien, however, had met George Bush, senior, when he was opposition leader. And Brian Mulroney, when he was leader of the opposition, got to meet Ronald Reagan. And both of these got photo ops.

All Day could manage was a 25 minute private meeting with the vice president, Dick Cheney.

Day was also permitted a short speech to the conservative American Enterprise Insititue, with no reporters present; his speech was distributed after. In fact, the only people he spoke to with reporters present, were the reporters--Canadian reporters.

We in the Canadian Alliance would love to be able, not only to think and talk about these ideas, but to implement them as Presidents Bush and Fox are able to, his speech distributed to reporters after, said.

To understand why Canadians elected a third majority Liberal government requires a bit of an explanation. . . (the) leadership of the federal Progressive Conservatives...(insisted) on running its own slate of candidates, he seemed to whine. Joe Clark's tories, he said, cost the Alliance victory in many ridings.

He said the Alliance was looking forward to building relationships with our counterparts in the United States, learning political strategies from Republican colleagues and strengthening our intellectual armour with the help of people like those of you here in the American Enterprise Institute.

The fact that his policies, among them the flat tax, and of course, the ever-popular tax cutting, might not resonate with the vast majority of Canadians, especially in Ontario, just escapes him.

Which may not be so surprising, given the evidence of his intellect (see Campaign Gaffes of Stockwell Day).

All these abstract ideas were floating in my mind yesterday while I was at the supermarket. In the line in front of me was an older woman, who was buying a half dozen eggs. She was counting out her dimes, nickels, and pennies--99 cents; the eggs were her only item.

There was conversation with the girl at the cash--the eggs were not 99 cents, but $1.39.

It crossed my mind to give her the 40 cents; I know some of my readers believe in the personal connection in charity--and it would make them feel good, too.

But I thought that for someone in her situation, maybe all she has left is her dignity, and she would refuse my offer. She was gone before I came to a conclusion.

Overnight, a tsunami of anger has overwhelmed me: That this politician would go to the wealthy of a foreign country to beg for help to impose their policies on my country! Policies that have already eroded the social safety net--that once was the pride of Canada!

The tax cuts Day wants, on top of the stupendous tax cuts aready law in Canada--for once Canada leads the United States in idiocy--would do nothing to change this woman's situation.

It is not her fault, as some libertarians might argue; and even if, in some abstract way, blame can be alloted, who would feel good about that?

Prayer will not get her those 6 eggs, nor will forcing her to listen to some hymn-wheeze.

It is no longer the socialists that want to break the state, certainly not me. But those who callously believe their own benefit justifies the impoverishment of others.

Some print media coverage of Mr. Day Goes to Washington:

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