AMHERST – Conservative senator Mike Duffy was the guest speaker as 60 provincial Progressive Conservative party members for Cumberland North gathered to elect a new executive Saturday morning at the Christ Church Parish Hall in Amherst.
Duffy was sometimes partisan and sometimes non-partisan, taking shots at all federal politicians, including Progressive Conservative MP Helena Guergis, who called Prince Edward Island a “hellhole” at the Charlottetown Airport.
“Sometime we make mistakes,” Duffy said. “Sometimes people lose their temper in airports. We’re not perfect.”
“Actually, I’ll be going to that hellhole this afternoon but some people’s version of hell is my version of heaven.”
Duffy, who grew up on Prince Edward Island and was a journalist for more than 40 years prior to becoming a senator, believes most political bickering is manufactured by opposition parties so voters get tired of politics and throw out the party in power.
“People say they can’t stand all this bickering and fighting. It’s like parents with teenagers in the back of the car,” Duffy said. “They say, ‘Stop it, I don’t care which one started it, just stop it.’
“We have to remind our friends and neighbours that these arguments are manufactured for a reason and that is to wear people out. This is a deliberate tactic on the part of the opposition.”
He uses the Afghan detainees issue as an example.
“That happened when the Liberals were in power,” Duffy said. “It’s not like Canadian soldiers to go out and torture people but the opposition is raising this because they have nothing positive to say about themselves.”
He also blamed the media for helping stir discontent.
“When I went to the school of hard knocks, we were told to be fair and balanced,” Duffy said. “That school doesn’t exist any more. Kids who go to King’s, or the other schools across the country, are taught from two main texts.”
Duffy said the two schools of thought come together in Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and books about the theory of critical thinking.
“When you put critical thinking together with Noam Chomsky, what you’ve got is a group of people who are taught from the ages of 18, 19 and 20 that what we stand for, private enterprise, a system that has generated more wealth for more people because people take risks and build businesses, is bad.
“But we have nothing to apologize for,” Duffy added.
“Don’t lose faith because the vast majority of people are not out on the fringe where these other people are.
“We don’t believe in telling Canadians how to live their lives,” Duffy said.
“We think they’re pretty smart themselves and know what they want to do and what their priorities are.
“We want to get out of the way so Canadians can build this great country.”