Sunday, May 08, 2011

US Prospectives on ELXN 41

Fred Barnes( whom I met last year at Civitas) has a good piece on the recent election in the Weekly Standard.

Who’s the most powerful conservative leader in the Americas, north and south? That may sound like a trick question, but it’s not. The answer is Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister who triumphed last week in an election that all but destroyed two opposition parties, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois (BQ).


Harper, prime minister since 2006, has been called an “elected dictator”—and that was when he headed a minority government with limited power. Now he has a majority (167 of 308 seats in the House of Commons). In Canada’s parliamentary system, this means Harper and the Conservative party control both the legislative and executive branches.

For decades, the Liberal party has considered itself Canada’s “natural governing party.” The election erased this conceit. First, the Liberals lost their status as the official opposition, a role that will now be played by the New Democratic party (NDP). Moreover, Liberal leader, former Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff, lost his seat in parliament and quickly resigned his leadership post.

Replacing Liberals as the default ruling party has been a goal of -Harper’s. In the election his party took a huge step in reaching beyond its base in western Canada, making significant inroads in Toronto and Vancouver, scoring big gains among Indian and Chinese immigrants, and crushing Liberals in some maritime provinces. The only mandate Harper sought was reelection, for himself and his party, and the defeat of a potential leftist coalition of Liberals, the NDP, and the BQ. Winning a majority was an unexpected bonus. If Conservatives haven’t achieved a natural majority, they’re getting closer.

In the WSJ

OTTAWA (Dow Jones)--Fresh off an historic electoral victory, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged Tuesday to move ahead with a Conservative party platform that anticipates returning to budget surplus by fiscal year 2015 and cutting corporate taxes further.

Analysts said the majority mandate Harper won Monday night would allow the Conservatives to tackle thorny economic policies it was reluctant to address in a minority Parliament--such as clarifying and liberalizing rules governing foreign investment. Harper also now has a window to negotiate a sweeping border security and trade deal with the U.S., without fear of opposition repercussions.

Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner;

Some years ago the columnist and editor Michael Kinsley sponsored a contest to come up with the most boring headline. The winner was “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.”

Well, Canada held an election last Monday and the result was anything but boring. It amounts to something like a revolution in Canadian politics and has lessons, I think, for those of us south of the border.

The headline story is that the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has headed minority governments since 2006, won an absolute majority of seats, 167 of 308, in the House of Commons. It was a result practically no Canadian pundit or psephologist predicted.

Going into this election, center-right parties in the four major Anglosphere democracies were at the brink of but not quite fully in power. The British Conservatives formed a government with the leftish Liberal Democrats in May 2010, the Australian Liberals are in opposition by virtue of the votes of a couple of Outback independents, and American Republicans won the House of Representatives in November 2010 and are now forcing significant cuts in public spending.

In Canada, Harper’s Conservatives have already cut taxes and modified spending programs, but always with the tacit consent of the separatist Bloc Quebecois or the left-wing New Democrats or the long-dominant Liberal party. Now they’re on their own, and we’ll see the results.

Canada is free!
Canada's Conservative leaders outdo U.S. economically
4:26 AM, May. 8, 2011

Written by
Richard J. Grant

Canada’s 40-year flirtation with socialized medicine has created the impression in the minds of many Americans that Canada is an example of a socialist country.

But one sector does not a country make. By recent measures of economic freedom, Canada ranks as high as or higher than the United States.

The “Economic Freedom of the World” report, published in 2010 by the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute, gave the U.S. and Canada virtually equal overall rankings. The more recent 2011 “Index of Economic Freedom,” published by The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, ranks Canada three places higher than the U.S.

The lefties at Salon are not so happy.

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