Canada should boost oil production from the tar sands in Alberta to create more jobs and greater energy independence for North America, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said.
“Ramp up development,” she told an audience in Hamilton, Ontario. “There’s an inherent link between energy and security.”
Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president, campaigned with a slogan of “drill baby, drill” to urge greater U.S. oil exploration. She spoke tonight at a fundraising dinner to an audience of about 900 people who paid as much as C$1,000 ($998) to attend.
Palin, 46, said American attitudes are changing ahead of November’s midterm congressional elections, demonstrated by the growth of the Tea Party movement seeking less government spending and fewer programs.
“There’s a shift in American politics right now,” Palin said. The tea parties “are a blast.”
The event in Hamilton, known as Canada’s steel town for its ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel Corp. plants on the western shore of Lake Ontario, was originally slated to raise money for the city’s Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter’s Hospital.
The organizers changed the beneficiary charities after news articles and blogs noted that the facilities are part of Canada’s publicly funded health-care system, and that Palin had criticized government health programs during the debate on U.S. health-insurance legislation.
Proceeds from the event will now go to the Charity of Hope, an organization that distributes money to other charities and helps inner-city children, said Justin Mencfeld, a spokesman for Carmen’s banquet facility, the Palin event organizer.
“It was a better fit,” Mencfeld said. The dinner raised C$50,000 for the charity, organizers said.
Palin said the U.S. elections in November will give Republicans an opportunity to “put the economy on the right track.” Until then, she said her focus is on helping the right candidates get elected.
The U.S. health-care plan diminishes competition, Palin said. “The government will never run any program as well as the private sector will,” she said. A smaller government and lower taxes will boost the economy and give most people “the means to purchase their health care,” she said.
The event’s organizers issued rules for journalists to attend Palin’s talk, requiring men to wear a jacket and tie or a suit -- “no blue jeans allowed” -- and reserving the right to confiscate film or digital flash cards of reporters who brought cameras or recording devices into the event. Offenders would be removed immediately, according to a memo.
“No member of the media will be able to ask a question of Ms. Palin in the ballroom during the event,” the memo said.
Palin, who has said she “won’t close the door” on a potential 2012 presidential bid, has kept a busy schedule of political appearances. She spoke yesterday at a Tea Party rally in Boston, and addressed the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on April 9 in New Orleans. In a presidential straw poll of about 1,800 delegates at the Republican meeting, Palin tied for third with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul.
Palin’s political action committee raised more than $400,000 during the first three months of 2010 and had about $925,000 in cash at the end of March, according to a U.S. Federal Election Commission report.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.org