Tag: Canadian Politics

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A new law in Canada is making waves: the federal government has recently brought in the option to revoke the Canadian citizenship of some people convicted of terrorism and treason offences. Unfortunately, due to international law forbidding statelessness, this can only be applied to people with dual citizenship. This has led to criticism that the […]

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How (and How Not) to Deal with Conservative Insurgencies


shutterstock_80156809On May 5, Albertans voted to end the longest unbroken streak of success that a governing party has ever enjoyed in Canada. The Alberta Progressive Conservative Party had been in power for 44 years straight; in the most recent election, they fell from 70 seats down to a paltry 10, not enough to even qualify as the official opposition. As of tomorrow, the NDP, a socialist party, runs Alberta. In contrast, the British Conservative Party defied the pundits and the pollsters, winning an outright majority on May 6.

Both parties were challenged on the right: the Progressive Conservatives by the Wildrose Alliance, the British Conservatives by the United Kingdom Independence Party. I believe the difference in outcome was due to the different way they handled their respective right-wing challengers.

The Wildrose Alliance has been around in one form or another since 2005. In the 2004 and 2008 provincial elections, it won one and zero seats respectively. In 2012 it jumped to 17 seats. Trouble was brewing for the PC’s and everybody knew it. After an internal struggle to remove a horrible leader — Alison Redford — the ruling Conservatives decided to do something about Wildrose. On Dec 17, 2014 Wildrose leader, Danielle Smith and eight other MLA’s crossed the floor to sit with the Progressive Conservative government. Problem solved, or so it seemed. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, Wildrose climbed from 17 seats in the 2012 election to 21 seats in the 2015 election, more than making up for the defections.

Stephen Harper Should Play the Anti-American Card


imageWith a federal election coming up later this year, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaign strategy of using wedge issues to separate his principal opponent from Canadian voters while strengthening his bond with conservatives is coming into focus.

Regarding the former, he’s championed the construction of the Victims of Communism memorial in Ottawa, which has elicited shrieks of outrage from the Ottawa intelligentsia (as well as specious excuses from the Liberals). Again, the politics here are designed to separate voters of Polish, Ukrainian, and other Eastern European extraction — and, for that matter, non-European refugees of communism, such as the Cambodians — from the Liberal Party. In the latter mode, he’s commented on Bill C-42 – designed to deregulate gun ownership, as well as rural citizens’ need for guns to defend themselves.

As I have said a number of times before (here and here), another excellent wedge issue Harper might exploit is the Keystone XL pipeline, whose Congressional approval President Obama has recently vetoed. Traditionally, Harper’s Conservative Party has been seen in Canada as the pro-American party due to the Conservative’s natural ideological sympathy with the American system of government. The Liberals have used this to insinuate Conservative disloyalty to Canada. With Keystone XL, however, the roles are reversed: Harper can play the anti-American card against the Liberals, who are forced by their ties to environmentalism, to oppose a project that is indisputably good for the Canadian economy. So far, so good.

Hillary Clinton and the Perils of Inevitability


416px-Paul_Martin_in_2006To those who say that it is inevitable that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic Party nominee, I have a two word rebuttal: Paul Martin. My American readers will respond “Who?” My Canadian readers will immediately know what I am talking about.

To understand my allusion one must look back 10 to 15 years in Canadian history. In the late 90’s, Paul Martin was Canada’s finance minister. He became a national hero for balancing the budget and was the most popular Liberal politician in Canada. His boss, the wily Jean Chretien hated, him. In the early 2000’s, when it was clear that Chretien’s time was coming to an end, the Canadian news media played-up Paul Martin the way the US media played up Barack Obama in 2008.

As the press told it, Paul Martin was the colossus that bestrode the Canadian body politic. He is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, just the way we like our politicians. In a word, Paul Martin was inevitable.