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« Shouting, "Fire" In a Crowded City | Main | Vindication By Association »

The Great Right North

As both of Canada's voters prepare to go to the polls, and with a little under two weeks to go in the campaign, an increasing number of polls show the Tories pulling ahead of the incumbent Liberals, with their momentum accelerating.

It's been a long road back for the Conservatives, who basically dissolved into three parties in 1993, and have spent the last decade trying to put the pieces back together again. It looked like they might have in 2004, but the momentum stalled just before Election Day. This time, it looks as though people are ready to vote Conservative, knowing they might win, which is a completely different dynamic from a protest vote. Apparently, Stephen Harper may be boring, but once you actually get to know him, he's not all that scary, really.

If they win, it'll be at least in part because the Liberals are hitting the Self-Destruct Trifecta: incompetence, corruption, and intellectual bankruptcy. (On the corruption point, at least, the current legislative Republicans should take note of what's happening up North.)

In what can only be some sort of political Dissonant Convergence, the paucity of ideas merged with the incompetence this past week. It's not exactly Carter Briefing Book stuff, but someone leaked the Little Red Book to the Western Standard, who dutifully satisfied the public's Right To Know. Apparently, nobody satisfied the party's right to know, though, as Paul Martin's "number one priority" didn't make the cut. Either Martin's making it up as he goes along, or the post-election party revolt has started early.

That "number one priority" isn't too impressive, either. It has to do with something called the "notwithstanding clause:"

As part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the notwithstanding clause gives courts the responsibility to protect the rights of minorities, while providing politicians the power to go against the wishes of the court.

The clause was included in the Charter in 1982 after tense negotiations between then prime minister Pierre Trudeau and provincial leaders.

Martin has said in the past that he would be willing to use the notwithstanding clause to protect the rights of churches that didn't want to perform same-sex marriages. But he now feels that politicians should no longer possess that option.

When you're number one priority involves giving away your own power, it's a pretty fair bet that you expect to be Not With Standing yourself in fairly short order.

In what passes for Canadian foreign policy, the Liberals, not content to keep American weapons out of space also want to keep the Canadian military out of -- Canada.

There's something disappointing about the Tories finally getting power back, if that happens. The Western provinces have been so consistently alienated from the national government for decades that some of us had hoped they might trade Ottawa for Washington and finally give us a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Now, they'll have to settle for running Canada.


Nice analysis Joshua. The emotions that Martin and Harper both raised among folks in the opposite party remided my of what would have happened if Newt had been able to push a vote of no confidence in the 90s against Clinton, and then run for the Oval Office himself. Should be interesting to see how this one works out EH?

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