Canada's own Sarah Palin: Stockwell Day. Note the eerie similarities between now and the Canadian election of 2000.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remember Stockwell Day? The selection of Sarah Palin seemed eerily familiar to his nomination back in 2000, and so far everything is going in exactly the same way it did in 2000 in Canada, except that it's happening in a much shorter period of time in the US considering that it's now in the middle of the election campaign whereas in Canada he was chosen as leader before anyone knew an election was coming (elections can be called at any time in Canada by the ruling party).

Now for the eerie similarities.

First there was the bravado of the first few months:

Apparently many Ontario Liberal MPs are shaking in their boots in fear of losing their seats to Stockwell Day, the new leader-to-be of the Alliance Party. These Ontario Liberal MPs are in the 905 and 705 belts around and north of the GTA and in the last federal election they just scraped through with narrow wins over their Reform Party opponents.

With the very articulate and dynamic right-wing Stockwell Day heading the Alliance Party, it could well be a different story. There would go the slim Liberal majority. Day is much like Texas Governor George W. Bush, whose slogan is "A Reformer with Results". Like Bush, Day has those results as treasurer of Alberta, the first province or government in Canada to balance its budget, and with the lowest taxes. Day has come in with surpluses now for several budgets and has even introduced a much- needed and welcome flat tax in Alberta.

He offers the reform that Canada needs: lower federal taxes, less wasteful spending, and end to corrupt patronage and vote buying, a much tougher stance on crime, termination of the Young Offenders' Act, more decentralization, a triple-E Senate, a reduction of the number of MPs and senators, a provincially appointed Supreme Court, and end to provincial transfer payments and crony capitalism, the restoration of Canada's defense forces, reforms in education such as school vouchers and charter schools. the termination of Big Labor's special privileges etc.
Basically it was a "this new face on the national scene is going to shake things up after a successful run in provincial (= state) politics, watch out other party!"

Then a rise in the polls:
The latest COMPAS poll shows the Canadian Alliance party of Stockwell Day at 26%. Although this looks weak beside the Chretien Liberals 45%, it must still be worrisome for the Liberals, in that the election has not yet been called. The CA seems to have the momentum.

Only ten points 42% to 32% separate Chretien and Day as Canadians choice for best leader. With Chretien's much wider exposure as PM, the campaign not yet underway and before any national televised debates, this is a very slim and precarious lead for Chretien.
Then learning more about the candidate and some unease over who this person might actually be:

> When asked about his stand on abortion in Kaleden in the interior
> this week by Linda Anderson, Stockwell Day made the following bold
> statement:

> "I am strongly pro-life," he said, "and I would welcome any dis-
> cussion among MPs and constituents about the controversial issue;
> including the sale of fetal tissue and the right of pro-life health
> care workers to refuse to participate in abortions.

And then a snap election for November, and then the gaffes began. Oh, the gaffes that happened that election.

On creationism:
Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day says he believes in the biblical version of how the Earth was created.

And he says public schools should be ``open'' to teaching creationism as well as evolution.

``There is scientific support for both creationism and evolution,'' Day said yesterday in a written statement after first insisting his religious views are his own business.
Niagara Falls and other issues:
Stockwell Day's campaign started off on a bumpy note with the memorable geography gaffe about which way Niagara Falls flows. Day compared the brain drain of qualified Canadians to the United States to the southern flow of the river. The only problem was the river flowed north.

But that wasn't the worst of it. Throughout the campaign, issues such as abortion, gay rights and health care dogged the leader. And allegations of racism, his negative platform, even Day's personal beliefs have all created waves.

Despite this controversy, the Alliance leader came on strong at the debates and brought out big crowds along the campaign trail.

However, inexperience and a seasoned Liberal campaign team who knew how to play hardball caught the Alliance team off guard. The Liberals managed to convince some Canadians that Day might have a "hidden agenda."

As a result, Day was on the defensive almost everyday of the campaign which meant he wasn't able to stick to his game plan of talking about issues.
And finally, Doris Day:
Halifax — The campaign to make Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day change his first name to Doris has reached what organizers call the magic number.

More than 400,000 people have signed an Internet petition lobbying for the move, the CBC pollsters say.

Comedian Rick Mercer, of the satirical show This Hour has 22 Minutes, said Thursday that works out to 3 per cent of voters, the number the Alliance has suggested would be needed to trigger a national referendum.

But Mr. Mercer said he hears grumblings from Mr. Day's people that the number might not be enough.

Mr. Mercer said that is no problem, he will get as many as it takes.

"The Alliance now believes this 3 per cent could be open to abuse, and we couldn't agree more, so the ball is back in his court. Just tell us the number and we'll match it," Mr. Mercer said. "It's actually useful now that they keep raising the bar, and I have every confidence that we can match it."

The show launched the petition to lampoon the Alliance policy about holding referendums on issues if 3 per cent of voters petitioned for them.

Mr. Mercer said he wanted to show that "any idiot" could agitate for a referendum under the Alliance policy and said he wants to be the idiot to do it.
So what happened? The Alliance Party only gained a few seats in the election of 2000, the party split because a large number of members hated Day's leadership, eventually he had to step down, the two conservative parties got a new leader, almost won the next election, won the won after that (2006), and are now the Canadian government. Stockwell Day is now the Minister of Public Safety, a safe low-level cabinet position that he probably will never rise above.

The big differences of course are the presence of McCain (Stockwell Day wasn't running for 2nd place) and the fact that the GOP has been the ruling party for the past eight years whereas the Alliance was the opposition party, but besides this the Sarah Palin story so far is probably about as close to the Stockwell Day story as you can get.

And by the way, I'm not the only one that has drawn this conclusion. Two weeks or so ago right after noticing the eerie similarity between the two candidates I decided to see if there was any discussion on the matter so I did a quick search for Stockwell Day, and lo and behold:
Why did MacCain select Stockwell Day?

Even Harper knew enough to keep a superstitious bigot who belives that earth is only 6000 years old out of the limelight..


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