Some thoughts today about Steven Fletcher, the Conservative Member of Parliament for the Winnipeg riding of Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia.
He is 41 years old, and some might have thought that his life all but ended at age 23 when he collided with a moose in northern Ontario, and he was left a quadriplegic. The word that best describes and defines Steven is determination. After his accident in 1996, doctors told him he should accept the fact that the rest of his life would be spent in an institution.
Years later he said “I guess they weren’t thinking it would be the House of Commons”. Fletcher has been there since winning his first election in 2004, and he served in Stephen Harper’s cabinet for two years. And one more thing, he’s a fully qualified geological engineer.
Recently, he wrote an Op Ed piece in the Winnipeg Free Press in which he argued that Manitoba should be sending a lot of its surplus hydro power west to the tar sands region of northern Alberta, rather than selling it at a loss to the Americans. That way the bitumen that Alberta wants to ship south in the proposed XL Pipeline would have substantially less of a carbon footprint. Why? Because they wouldn’t have to burn so much coal to produce the electricity that’s needed to pull the resource out of the ground and get it ready for shipment.
Interesting timing. Barack Obama, who will soon have to say YES or NO to the pipeline, said a few days ago that the massive project stands a better chance of getting a ‘green light’ if it had a smaller carbon footprint.
Steven Fletcher’s proposal has many huge hurdles to clear before it would ever see the light of day, but I’m betting that people like Greg Selinger, Brad Wall and Alison Redford are paying attention. People have been underestimating Steven Fletcher for years, and he just keeps surprising us with that determination.
I’m Roger Currie