One effect of a Barack Obama presidency on Canada

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No more attempts by the opposition to tie Stephen Harper to George Bush!

Here's one consequence of the election I see for Canada:

Canada's prime minister is Stephen Harper, a conservative but a moderate one, who recently won his second term in another minority government, slightly stronger than the one before he won in 2006, but still not enough seats for a majority so that still requires cooperation with at least one opposition party in order to pass bills. During the election of 2006 and 2008 the Liberal Party, the NDP (New Democratic Party) and the Bloc Quebecois often hammered away at Harper for being something like a 'baby Bush'; that he was a smaller version of George Bush that would try to get away with similar policies if he had the chance. This didn't affect the electorate all that much, but nevertheless the Canadian electorate still hasn't decided to give him a majority either. Now that Barack Obama has been elected however, there will be no more of this 'baby Bush' tirade and instead Stephen Harper will be seen at meeting after meeting with Barack Obama instead over the next few years until the next election. At the same time the Liberal Party is still mired in debt and there don't seem to be any real fresh candidates for leader (they should pick Marc Garneau though if they know what's good for them), so in the meantime Harper gets the benefit of looking moderate in the meantime. Harper is quite intelligent and adapts very well to new situations, so I see him making the most of this.

Edit: Taking a look around a bit, here's an article from CBC on the mood amongst Canadian politicians on the election, which actually mirrors what I wrote above:

Members of both the ruling Conservative party, and the opposition Liberals gathered at separate events across Ottawa to watch the results roll in.

"Most [of us] are leaning towards Obama," one Conservative staffer said before the election was called. "But still the general overall thought, I think for us, is that either [one] is better than George W."

One Liberal suggested the Democrat's win would ease criticism of the Conservatives, who have been dogged by accusations their views share an unpopular alignment with those of current U.S. President George W. Bush.

"We can't play the Bush card on them anymore," the Liberal said, asking not to be quoted by name.

So there it is: even Canadian conservatives prefer Obama, and they're happy about not having George Bush in the White House anymore. As Jon Stewart said after the election, the Canadian Conservative Party is the equivalent of the American...Gay Nader Fans for Peace.


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