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A Canadian Electoral Primer

An object lesson for western democracies.

by
David Solway

Bio

March 27, 2013 - 12:00 am

Justin Trudeau, who is almost certain to be chosen as the next leader of the truncated Liberal Party (which regards itself as Canada’s “natural governing party” but is currently idling at 35 seats), enjoys: a resonant family name (his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was Canada’s most flamboyant and intellectually credentialed prime minister, though his tenure was among the most troubled); good looks, curly locks (recently trimmed to make him appear “serious”) and a svelte demeanor (SUN TV host Ezra Levant refers to him as “shiny pony”); what columnist John Ivison, who followed Trudeau on a speaking tour of New Brunswick, calls, in an article titled Passion over reason, “crowd-pulling power like no one else in Canadian politics”; and a regrettably low-wattage Canadian electorate that has endorsed him with hefty margins in several national popularity polls — a result of the so-called “Trudeau effect.” We might also call it the “Obama effect”: Trudeau is for a majority of Canadians the local version of the American president, youngish, glamorous and demonstrably of the left. (According to surveys, 68% of my countrymen would vote for Obama if he were contesting a Canadian election.)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper enjoys: a substantial Western-Canada constituency, primarily in oil-rich Alberta that subsidizes have-not provinces, including Quebec, via federal equalization or transfer payments; a measured and sober public persona (despite leftist attempts to demonize him as a power-hungry, Machiavellian despot); and a steady and pragmatic hand at the economic tiller, steering the country safely through the turbulent fiscal waters of the last years. (Only two other Western democracies have succeeded in effectively weathering the downturn, Norway, which has the asset of vast North Sea oil reserves, and Israel, a miracle country graced by entrepreneurial, technological and banking savvy.) It is as if Harper had studied the calamitous policies of Barack Obama and quietly determined in many instances to do the opposite, which has stabilized the country and strengthened its currency.

Each leader, however, has his share of weaknesses, failings and blind spots, some conspicuous, others not always recognized by the public.

Mulcair’s NDP would be if elected a national disaster of Ameripean proportions. Its governing program would see to increased spending, bloated welfare entitlements, higher deficits, higher taxes, reduced economic growth and therefore fewer jobs. As under its former leader, Mulcair’s party caters to a rabid pro-abortion feminist movement and welcomes votes from dodgy Muslim groups that detect a nurturing environment within its ranks. Mulcair also gravely miscalculated in appealing to Quebec’s nationalist base, which has predictably alienated many loyal Canadians in other parts of Canada as well as in minority-Anglo Quebec. In order to keep his Quebec caucus intact, Mulcair declared that a 50% plus one referendum margin of victory would be enough to allow Quebec to secede, in defiance of the Clarity Act which is far more stringent, stipulating an unambiguous question and a clear majority. At the same time he has trashed the oil-sands in Alberta and the oil pipeline project, affirming his preference for costly and grossly inefficient green energy installations, a policy that would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, both directly in the industry and indirectly in its various spin-offs and secondary economic benefits. Thomas Mulcair has several ideas — all of them bad. He is a political opportunist and social meliorist entirely devoid of practical judgment.

As for Liberal heir presumptive Justin Trudeau, he possesses absolutely no experience in governing. Intellectually vacuous, his only accomplishments to date include a spell as a public school drama teacher, a victory in a charity boxing match and grandstanding as a traveling MP, earning mega-bucks in speaker’s fees. Like Mulcair, he has massaged Quebec’s separatist movement, opining that he could under certain circumstances sympathize with its aims (a sentiment later retracted under pressure), and trawls for Muslim votes, having eagerly addressed a decidedly dubious Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference, one of its original sponsors a multi-million dollar donor to Hamas. Trudeau also has a distressing habit of alluding to himself by his proper name, a royal attribution unbefitting a democratic politician. Justin Trudeau has no ideas — he is the perfect cipher who blows with the winds of political fashion. He will do his party’s bidding and put a lacquered gloss on a haggard platform.

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Top Rated Comments   
Sadly, we in America have this reciprocal in common with our brethren in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The arts, academia, and the media always, without exception, embraces a leftist agenda. Worldwide the record of the left has never yielded anything but failure, sometimes truly grotesque failure, but it draws the embrace of the arts-academia-media cabal like a magnet. I doubt that it will be possible to live long enough to completely understand why the “intelligentsia” of the most successful nations on the planet are drawn to such stupidity and ignorance.

Very good summation, author Solway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Canada, although seemingly a prosperous nation, lacks a core identity, and is more of an economy than a nation. Their cherished value of tolerance comes at the expense of individual rights and allows for the erosion of whatever distinct culture they have.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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To Conservacanuck , Canada was born in fields of Europe during the the WWI, at palces like Ypres, and Vimy (very large monument to what Canada did when France and England could not.)

By the way the Jack Layton Roadway is short and only goes to a major jail/prison in Toronto. Speaks for itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Bloc Quebecois is a "National" Party? News to me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree that Stephen Harper is the best of the lot. (I do have one reservation, which I am almost reluctant to mention, but I'll do so briefly. It is his policies with respect to China. I think his policies are dangerous, and ultimately not in the best interest of Canada).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"According to surveys, 68% of my countrymen would vote for Obama if he were contesting a Canadian election."

David, sometimes gender-neutral language won't do.

And BTW, Justin's turn as a drama teacher was in a private, not public, school in a wealthy Vancouver enclave. Public schools hereabout are largely an NDP culture. Liberal voters tend to be or identify with wealthy urban elitists, which is why a merger is unlikely. Liberals do not want to join the ranks of the unionized and socially suspect.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Blows my mind that almost 70% of Canadians would vote for Obama in a Canadian election. Why? He's done nothing but harm America and everything else he's touched in the world. What is wrong with us white Europeans???
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great article!!!
Until the electorates' votes are controlled and counted by peoples of honest integrity and voter id is mandatory mass fraud will continue, peoples right to vote are exploited and will continue to be exploited; elections manipulated. These may be only part of the electroates' problems but no doubt they are huge problems -- which needs desperately to be made a trust worthy process. Also I think ~internet voting~ should not an option and probably never a option. The election process is being attacked more and more every election cycle. Our existing processes need to be fixed. We do not need another election problem that will have greater potential for fraud and hacking. There is a reason for human counting by pairs of two (one each of both parties). Outside computer voting machine are out sourcing unfornately not owned or operated bi-partisans.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sadly, we in America have this reciprocal in common with our brethren in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The arts, academia, and the media always, without exception, embraces a leftist agenda. Worldwide the record of the left has never yielded anything but failure, sometimes truly grotesque failure, but it draws the embrace of the arts-academia-media cabal like a magnet. I doubt that it will be possible to live long enough to completely understand why the “intelligentsia” of the most successful nations on the planet are drawn to such stupidity and ignorance.

Very good summation, author Solway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's a matter of whose on top of the heap. even if it's a smaller heap.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Whups. "who's"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Canada, although seemingly a prosperous nation, lacks a core identity, and is more of an economy than a nation. Their cherished value of tolerance comes at the expense of individual rights and allows for the erosion of whatever distinct culture they have.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with you on that. Canada was not born in blood like America was. I marvel at the patriotism that I see when I travel to the US. Since Stephen Harper has been the PM, I have seen more Canadian flags flying. His record at the UN puts America to shame. The tightening hold that government has on the peoples of America today makes Canada look like a Libertarian state by contrast.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As an American who believes our electorate has gone nuts and sees our future as the world's greatest fiscal and educational basket case, I tend to agree with you. But then....the Mark Steyn type of experiences with the human-rights tribunals, the First Nation fiascos, and your nationalized health care failings aren't much to be too proud of either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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