Stephen Harper has his flaws. He did not gauge the extent of Quebec’s passion for the arts as an expression of its unique Francophone character when he cut peripheral funding to several arts organizations to check a tendency to parasitism, which led to a greater than usual Conservative drought in Quebec where Conservatives needed to boost their representation. This strategic error was not offset by granting Quebec “nation within Canada” status as a concession to pacify separatist fervor (possibly, language aside, on the model of the Freistaat Bayem, the “free state of Bavaria” inside the Federal Republic of Germany, with its own constitution and where the clocks are said to run differently). He has not acted against our faux Human Rights tribunals, claiming to this writer in an informal conversation that he lacked jurisdiction in the matter. He continues to fund special interest sects that drain the public treasury. He has not responded to the recent and shameful Supreme Court decision that delegitimizes the concept of truth, freedom of speech and freedom of religion “in favor,” to quote columnist and radio host Rex Murphy, “of new more politically correct axioms [and] transient fashions.” And I believe Harper should have re-opened the abortion debate rather than flee from controversy, since Canada is the only Western nation without an abortion law on the books.
Nonetheless, this must be said in Harper’s defense. A strong supporter of Israel, he does not pander to the Islamic bloc and has recalled his ambassador from Iran while expelling the Iranian diplomatic corps from the country. Though constantly accused by Liberal media shills of nursing a “hidden agenda” and by some of his erstwhile supporters of abandoning true conservative precepts and ideals, he has enacted a number of important pieces of legislation: reducing the GST (value-added tax), strengthening the Criminal Code, simplifying the census form, promoting oil exploration, seeking more international trading partners, tightening immigration and refugee provisions, and redrafting the citizenship handbook to unequivocally assert Canadian values and reject certain barbaric cultural practices — in the words of the document, “In Canada, men and women are equal under the law. Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.” Unlike his competitors, he has placed a particular ethnic community on notice. (Interestingly, Justin Trudeau initially objected to the adjective “barbaric,” which he said made him “uncomfortable” and would put newcomers on the “defensive” — and later backtracked when faced with a mounting critical reaction.) Stephen Harper has many ideas — most, if not all, predicated on sound empirical principles. He has been on the whole a worthy prime minister and, in the present political context, he is the best man for the job.
The forthcoming election in 2015 promises to be a watershed event. An NDP victory would propel Canada down the same ruinous slope charted by the U.S. under the suzerainty of Barack Obama. A Liberal ascendancy under Justin Trudeau would resurrect the same hackneyed policies of earlier Liberal administrations, entailing the bankrupt “honest broker” stance in foreign policy (e.g., Palestinian partiality, UN compliance), soft socialism on the home front, multicultural relativism, indiscriminate immigration, and, naturally, higher taxes — in many respects, not all that different from the NDP platform. (Liberal candidate Joyce Murray has suggested an electoral cooperation with the NDP to defeat Harper, an idea nixed by Trudeau — to his credit or out of confidence in his charisma and electability?) It follows that, despite an unfortunate timidity before an out-of-control Supreme Court, the re-election of a majority Conservative government, with its emphasis on free enterprise, resource development, expanded markets, greater national homogeneity and fiscal viability, is indispensable to the health and resilience of the nation, so that Canada, unlike many other Western democracies, might remain a country still reasonably good to live in.