BTC: ‘So much for Canadians being nice’


Christoper Flavelle, formerly a speechwriter for Stephane Dion, assesses the Canadian political scene for Slate.

“… beneath the calm exterior, Canada’s political system is in turmoil. Since 2004, a succession of unstable minority governments has led to a constant campaign frenzy, brutalizing Canada’s once-broad political consensus and producing a series of policies at odds with the country’s socially liberal, fiscally conservative identity. Canada is quietly becoming a political basket case, and this latest election may make things even worse.”


BTC: ‘So much for Canadians being nice’

  1. Christ on a pogo stick, what is with all the false consciousness articles this week.

    Only Liberals think there was a ‘broad political consensus’ in this country. Has a Canadian political party ever won more than 50% of the vote federally during an election?

    How about providing a few examples of where Harper has not followed “socially liberal, fiscally conservative’ policies.

    The whole article deserves to be fisked but I will just say that ‘Canadian’ values and ‘Liberal’ values are not one and the same thing, though many wish they were.

  2. John Diefenbaker came to power in ’58 with something like 208 seats and 53% of the national vote. Although I suppose the fact that it happened half a century ago does make it a bit moot.

  3. 350 million to Bombadier.
    Bill C-10, applying subjective “moral judgement” to which Canadian films receive funding.
    Bill C-484, the “Kicking Abortion’s Ass” bill.
    Bill C-61, criminalizing fair use if the copyright owner has placed DRM on the product.

    Those are just off the top of my head, and those don’t involve the lies. If you want, I could go do some research as well.

  4. The GST cut stands out as populist bad policy, but beyond that I don’t see where the Harper government has strayed from Canada’s prudent path established under Chretien-Martin.

    In fact, I think they’ve made some needed pragmatic reforms to equalizations and immigration, after they’d become overly politicized under the Liberals.

    Now the Liberals hard turn to the left under Dion (which the cynic in me sees as an attempt to woo NDP/Green voters)… that scares me. Dion comes off as so earnest, I think he might actually be crazy enough to implement something like the Green Shift (not just talk about global warming and do nothing like sensible Liberals of old).

  5. Canadian aren’t nice. We’re polite.

    Two entirely different things.

  6. 1984 – Brian Mulroney got just over 50% (using the magic formula of the West+Quebec)

  7. “Political Consensus” is about ideas and values, not who we vote for. Thus having 50% of the vote for any given party is irrelevant. Canadians commonly value universal healthcare. Canadians typically value peacekeeping as opposed to wars or peace making. These and a nuumber of other common values are points of consensus that have been remarkably consistant in Canadian politics. This is why, even though Universal healthcare goes against the market oriented laissex-fair approach neo-cons like the Tories would tend to favour they have consistantly denied any intent to change it. It would be political suicicde. On a number of issues all three parties used to be remarkably similar because they recognized the existing consensus among the PEOPLE. Harper has changed many of these things. His carte blanche support for Israel during their recent conflict with Lebanon was a huge departure from traditional Canadian foreign policy. Had Harper been PM in 2001 we would likely be in Iraq (if his statements at the time are any indication). T. Thwim has provided some further examples (although I disagree on C-484) of policcy departures.
    As far as JWL’s comment that “Canadian’ values and ‘Liberal’ values are not one and the same thing” I am affraid that, for the most part, they are. I am not a Liberal (though I once was) and I do not agree with a number of these Liberal/Canadian values. That being said the Liberals are undeniably the natural governing party of Canada. Electoral results as well as numerous studies showing that they would be the second choice of a surprising majority of non-Lib voters, prove this fact. The reason they are the electoral default (ie. when nobody puts up a good enough fight the win goes to the Libs) is because they are remarkably good at tapping into the broad consensus on “Canadian values” and adopting it as their own. It would be fair to say that Liberal values are not the values of ALL Canadians.
    Th automatic assumption that Mr. Flavelle must have been referring to our support of political parties and statements that “only Liberals think…” shows how some people have difficulty thinking outside of the strict confines of party doctrines. Tories are this, Liberals are that and the NDP is something other. This is a huge concern for democracy and discourse in Canada as we have fallen into the trap of understanding politics as a set of party platforms and leadership brands instead of actually discussing the issues and trying to find solutions. Mr. Flavelle was exactly right, we are in bad shape. If we had been thinking like this in the 60’s we wouldn’t have Universal health care.

  8. The “conservative” brand crew (and their wannabe’s) are neither nice nor polite. Rude, juvenile, untruthful, disrespectful are just a few of terms that can be applied to any of the Harper party at any time. But they don’t care. It’s their party and they’ll act as they want to.

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