Looking north - Macleans.ca

Looking north


Fourteen years after describing the American conservative movement as “a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world,” Stephen Harper becomes a beacon of hope for American conservatives.

Perhaps the most central aspect of Harper’s success has been his focus on economic issues over cultural issues. Throughout his campaign, Harper kept referring to his “low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth” and his “low-tax plan for families.” In a typical Harper stump speech, the phrase “low-tax” was used dozens of times, to hilarious effect. Yet there was no mystery as to what Harper intended to deliver: low taxes. The beauty of Harper’s approach, however, is that he has carefully balanced tax cuts with planned spending reductions, to avoid mounting debt levels.

At last night’s Republican presidential debate, the candidates spent a great deal of time lambasting President Obama and demonstrating their conservative bona fides. They spent very little time explaining how they would defend the interest of the middle class, or how they intended to make inroads with the Latino and Asian voters who are so crucial to victory in 2012 and beyond. They need to give Stephen Harper a call. 


Looking north

  1. These comments ignore the similar appeals made to families and immigrant groups by the Liberals and the New Democrats. I doubt they had any effect on the electorate's choices.

    • "I will tax you less" is not similar to "I will tax others more and give you more".

      • I sincerely wish the Republicans success in convincing 40% of Americans to vote for less taxes.

        • We will be pretty screwed as a country if only 40% of us want less taxes.

          • According to your framing of the issue, we just saw 60% of voters not vote for "I will tax you less".

          • If we only voted one one issue, one could argue that is the case. If so, that would be pretty sad.

    • But I think the point is that in the US the Dems are making these appeals now and the GOP is not, particularly to minority voters. The Conservatives may not have a monopoly on these voters but it is important that they no longer allow their opponents to.

  2. Mr. Salam is in fact one the shrewdest – and most non-partisan! – commentators on the American political scene. Not long ago Paul Wells met with him and recounted how impressed he was by him, especially by his knowledge of Canada. Mr. Salam probably won't be successful in persuading U.S. conservatives to learn too much from Mr. Harper, but his endorsement is certainly something to take note of.

  3. Yes, yes. US Republicans need to learn how to capture 40% of the electorate!

    I kid.

  4. A poster from the LA times Canadian election editorial:

    "Bravo Canada!!! You have continued on the path of allowing the average Canadian the right to HIS/HER own money. Lower taxes will continue to feed the engine of capitalism and low and behold, YOU can decide how and to who you contribute your hard earned money to. As a jealous American, one day, I hope we too will experience the Canadian economy here in America."

    • It was probably you, Leo.

      • Lol!!! I get a kick out of editorials/opinions/comments from non-Canadians.

        Here is the Gulf News editorial, hint, hint, lol!! (they endorsed the NDP pre-election):

        "What Harper needs to do is show that while carrying the mantle of leadership, he can be grateful, magnanimous, and avoid special interest groups — like Air Canada. He must listen to all."

  5. And the mythology of right-leaning governments cutting spending and taxes continues.

  6. My first thought was that Aaron was trying to tie Harper in with the Republican party. That would have been a funny attempt.

    I actually think that it is kind of cool – having the Americans learn a thing or two from us. Seeing as how our economy is highly dependent on theirs, I would expect that we would all want there books to get in line in a hurry. Lets hope that someone gives Harper a call.

    Nice how he stresses that Harper's plan was to emphasize lower taxes, to win the election. After reading all the people posting on these blogs, I could have sworn that it was all won by attack ads aimed at MI. Nice to see someone give us, as voters, more credit than that.

    • Lets hope that someone gives Harper a call.

      Let's hope they give Paul Martin a call – if Harper had been in charge of banking regulations we would've followed the US mortgage crisis down the same hole.

      • As a matter of fact, Harper not only advocated gutting those banking regulations, but when in power he actually made several banking regulation changes that were almost disastrous. For example, he introduced no money down 40 year mortgages all guaranteed by us taxpayers which is the kind of subprime mortgage that led to the catastrophe in the US. Not only that, but he introduced it after the implosion had started in the US. It was such a hairbrained scheme and so obviously dumb and potentially calamitous that they partially phased it out 18 months later. We're still on the hook for $300-400 MILLION in guarantees though. I'll never think of Harper as good on the economy after that.

        • Not similar at all. The states had a 'sub prime' problem because they instituted a law that allowed 'sub prime' lenders into the market. Some actually argue that it was a racist law. It allowed, actually it forced, lenders to allow people without the means to qualify for mortgages.

          Allowing for longer term mortgages, or zero down mortgages, in and of themselves are not bad things. Allowing for 110% mortgages, or mortgages to people with bad/no credit, or no jobs is another thing entirely. As house prices climb, we may need to look at these in the future.

          • Except that part of the subprime market in the US was not what caused the problem, despite what Fox News kept claiming. It certainly exacerbated it but only slightly. The number and volume of mortgage crashes can in no way be attributed to that segment of subprime.

          • That is absolutely what caused it. It wasn't just ethnic borrowers – everyone could borrow under this law. People were speculating, and they went crazy. This helped drive the prices up, and the spiral kept going up.

  7. The Subject is:
    "Fourteen years after describing the American conservative movement as “a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world,” Stephen Harper becomes a beacon of hope for American Corporate Elite, to Wall Street"
    oh ya, but the people,… pfffft !
    I hear ya -loud n clear -and now, lets take it to you TURD !

  8. The Subject is: "Looking north"
    I see Alberta bending and sucking up even lower to make US happier, and less Canadian care.? wait-a-minute, that ain't news? -slap head ok now.
    …and Then, I see Quebec disgruntled within 4 years crying "NDP failed us" and now Quebec is leaving Canada for good….blah, blah. blah,…
    and then, I see Alberta saying that if Quebec leaves, we will leave, blah, blah, blah.
    …., and then I see Quebec saying:, if Alberta leaves we will most assuredly leave,….and then I see, ….
    Will there ever be any "real" Canadians anymore ? I don't think Canada ever truly found its Canadian identity, except for WW2,…, the Avro Arrow, Trudeau, and Blue Rodeo.
    ALL the rest, ?, well, it's justt unmitigated capitalist poo-poo..
    and we ______-well know it !

    • I think the crystal ball that you are seeing all of this in is pretty dirty. Might need to clean it off. :)

      Blue Rodeo – I agree
      Trudeau – not so much.

  9. Another lesson for the libs here[ or even the dippers. Although based on this last go round they may have already got it] Don't just demonize or criticize your opponent. Make your case as best you can[ there is always a case to be made. No one is perfect] point out the major deficiencies in your opponent, put it too the public in the most positive manner you can and let them decide…instead of telling them they have no choice. Harper very smartly nuanced that message in the election[ amid all the fearmongering crapola] He said you have a clear choice – not no choice. Important distinction. My respect for Harper has gone up, as has my distain for his distain in strategically lying about how our parliament actually works.

  10. Awww, they’ll make him blush.