Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mo' Canada

The Tribune op-ed page weighs in today on Monday's Great White North Election.

An editorial leans too far one way, an opinion leans too far in the other.

According to the ed:
Stephen Harper's Conservative Party posted a solid victory Monday over Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal Party in Canadian elections. Thus ended 12 years of Liberal Party rule that had brought an increasingly leftist tilt.
The Conservatives failed to win a clear majority in parliament, so they will need to reach out to other parties to form a governing coalition. But Canada's politics definitely lurched rightward with this election. Closer ties with the U.S. are almost certain as Harper, a free-market economist, assembles the new government.
Canada was ready for a change after the years of Liberal rule. ... Canada was so ready for a change that even charges that Harper was "pro-American" failed to do much damage.
Solid victory? Failed to win a clear majority? Their 124 seats are still 31 short of a majority. That's not even close to a majority. The Grits failed to keep a government together with 133 seats. Victory, yes. Solid? Not so sure. The fact is that this might well have been the Tories best chance to gain a majority and the ability to lead Canada clearly in their direction -- and they failed.

As pointed out here:
What does it mean? It means that, for Harper, running a perfect campaign isn't enough. Having his opponent run a terrible, terrible campaign isn't enough.

It means Harper has to run a perfect government. No mistakes. He has to ensure there are no backbench bimbo eruptions whatsoever. No fumbles, no flubs.

He has to show his party is indeed moderate and centrist.
The op, on the other hand, veers to sharply into the sky-is-falling-while-I-shreik mode.
For those of you who have looked to Canada as a model for progressive social programs, look no more. Socialized medicine will now be under threat as Harper seeks to introduce American-style private health care. Forget about our progress in the area of government-financed child care. One of the Conservatives' top priorities is to scrap the national day-care program. So long to our progressive income tax structure as Harper seeks to ape the corporate-friendly tax giveaways of the Bush administration. And the Conservative agenda may well include turning back the clock on same-sex marriage, capital punishment and a woman's right to choose.
Don't mistake the Conservatives for the Canadian political party previously known as the Progressive Conservatives. That party was devoured whole by the right-wing Canadian Alliance in a merger of unequals that led to the current incarnation. The fact that the new party adopted the name Conservative but dropped the adjective Progressive tells you all you need to know about where Harper and his troops are headed.
Here's hoping that Harper's reign is short-lived and that he cannot do irreparable damage to the Canadian social fabric. And here's hoping that he's not the one who has to deal with another independence referendum in Quebec. Because unless we Canadians can unseat the Conservatives as soon as possible, we might not only be looking at the end of the Canadian dream; we could be looking at the end of Canada itself.
Well. What do you really think?

For all the same reasons, those opposed to Stephen Harper are as wrong about his likely ability to radically change Canada as those who support him. His government, like any minority Parliamentary government, will have to govern issue-by-issue, and in this case by forming coalitions with those with which he has very little in common. That is a very difficult way to "do irreperable damage to the Canadian social fabric."

Or anything else of much significance.


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