Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lessons from America

Left-wingers on both sides of the border are licking their chops in glee as they anticipate a Republican slaughter in tonight's American mid-term elections.

Here in Canada, the left also sees the impending Republican wipe out as a possibe harbinger of what will happen in the next Canadian federal election.

Michael Byers, for instance, has a piece in today's Toronto Star suggesting tonight's election will sound a death knell for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's own "neo-con" agenda.

Writes Byers:

Here in Canada, Harper, nostalgic for the past successes of Ronald Reagan and Bush, is still looking backwards. Today, as he glances south, will he see the early signs of his own political rip tide?

Or will ideology prevail over good sense, prompting our neo-conservative Prime Minister to maintain his grip on a failed president, whose only escape from a hostile Congress lies in his constitutionally unfettered capacity to use armed force abroad?

Sounds pretty serious, doesn't it?

Using Byer's logic, Harper's only hope would be to sign an anti-U.S. miltary pact with North Korea, endorse a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, call for the destruction of Israel and implement a environmental policy that would ban the internal combustion engine.

Oh wait, those are NDP policies.

So maybe Harper should try to do something else to avoid the mistakes of the GOP. And one of their mistakes is they didn't govern like true conservatives.

Did the Republicans work to cut back spending? Did they make cutting taxes a major priority? Did they reduce the size and scope of government?

Nope.

By governing like Democrats when it comes to fiscal domestic policies the Republicans have essentially made the unpopular war in Iraq the key issue in 2006.

That's the lesson for Harper. To win the next election, he has to push a truly conservative vision for Canada, one that will distinguish his party from the increasingly left-wing Liberal party and the socialist NDP/Bloc Quebecois.

Update:

Here's a good analysis of what went wrong for the Republicans.

H/T Adam Daifallah

6 comments:

hoodwinked said...

Gerry said: "That's the lesson for Harper. To win the next election, he has to push a truly conservative vision for Canada, one that will distinguish his party from the increasingly left-wing Liberal party and the socialist NDP/Bloc Quebecois."

I couldn't agree with you more, Gerry! Unfortunately, I ain't seein' signs of any such strategy forthcoming...

Not only might Harper's compromised CPC strategy result similarly to that state-side, it may well result in similar, former electoral realities closer to home -- ie: the reality realized by the PCPO in 2003!

Hey, wait a minute...how many of those inflential Ontario P.C.'s now wield power federally in the CPC? Here we go again...

The "lesser of socialist evils" is hardly inspirational to truly Conservative voters. What's on TV election night?

Miles Lunn said...

I think the Iraq War has been a disaster. I don't have a problem with Harper's economic policies, but I do with his social and foreign, which I think is what will bring Bush down. I do believe there is a very good chance Harper will get defeated next election. Canadians aren't left wing, but they aren't right wing either and have little tolerance for ideological parties on the left such as the NDP or ideological ones on the right such as the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives. They prefer centre-left ones like the Liberals or centre-right like the old Progressive Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if Mr. Harper stopped chumming up with his buddy Mr. Charest thinking that this would deliver Quebec and actually returned to the true conservative values that Mr. Charest's colour change have left in the dust, there would be hope for Mr. Harper. What about family values? Does Mr. Harper plan to do something about children being removed from republican conservative families for no other reason that the parents wrote Mr. Charest letters demanding government accountability for federal transfer payments for the health delivery Mr. Charest isn't providing? Or is Mr. Harper going to hold hands with Mr. Charest and pray for a miraculous conception to be imbedded in his mind of what a conservative vision would include?

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - If the Conservatives want to implement a conservative agenda they have to win in Quebec and they cannot running on a socially conservative agenda. Social conservatism has no traction outside of the Bible Belt ridings in Rural Canada. I would say a principled but pragmatic economic conservatism is the most electable.

And I should note Charest for Quebec is very conservative when you consider the political centre in Quebec is to the left of the federal Liberals, while he isn't.

Anonymous said...

The phenomenological situation in Quebec is difficult for anyone not living in it to understand from the outside. Having been invited to make cognizance with PQ and Bloc party members, many members followed Mr. Bouchard as a conservative into the parties and still maintain a conservative position. Surprisingly to me, many of these members also did not exhibit an anti-Canada position so much as the need for conservative management in Quebec and a commitment to the French language and its safeguarding in not only in Quebec but in Canada. Nonetheless, these conservatives will not join or support a provincial liberal party even if it is lead by Mr. Charest. Having lived almost an entire adult life (decades) in Quebec, my understanding is engaged in the reality of Quebec life from the inside. To return, however, to my point, are you suggesting that Mr. Harper should allow Mr. Charest to remove children from republican conservative families so that what? so that conservatives could win votes in Quebec? Family values are always a core of the conservative vision. The suggestion that Mr. Harper should not intervene to ensure a national commitment to family values in Quebec so that he can make inroads in Quebec is ignorant.

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - I disagree with your assessment on Quebec. This was the case prior to 1960 when the Union Nationale dominated provincial politics, but since 1960 Quebec has been decidely left wing and conservative wins both federal and provincial have been rare. Mulroney only won in Quebec over trying to bring Quebec into the constitution, which almost all evaporated in 1993. Also Bouchard was never a real conservative, but rather a separtist who hoped Mulroney could resolve Quebec's concerns, but didn't.

In terms of family values, family is a personal thing that government should just stay out of it. People are wary of too much government intervention, but at least a sizeable if not majority accept it on the economic front in the name of helping the common good, but few accept it on a personal level. In fact most Canadians resent politicians who try to make moral issues a central issue. Just look at how well it worked for Stockwell Day.