At the end of his reflection on the border security agreement which Stephen Harper and Barack Obama signed this week, Lawrence Martin writes:
In many respects, we have what might be described as our very own Republican Party at the helm in Canada. Public opinion prevents it from going as far in social areas as the GOP. But on war, on the security file, on trade and in many other policy domains, the similarities are apparent.
It’s hard to disagree with that conclusion. A review of the government’s record and future plans — the omnibus crime bill passed the House this week, and Peter Kent has announced that Canada will withdraw from the Kyoto protocol — suggests that we do, indeed, have a government which has wholeheartedly bought the Republican narrative.
Given the farce which is presently taking place in the Republican Party these days — Paul Krugman calls it a contest between the cynics and the clueless — Canadians have many reasons to worry. Martin speculates that the Harper government has triumphed because Canadians have matured. “With age,” he writes, “Canadians have become more secure about their independence.”
That depends on who you talk to. The natives of Attawapiskat displayed their independence this week by telling Mr Harper’s third party manager to take a hike. And, if one considers the recent election results, only 25% of Canadians buy the Harperian definition of independence.
The simple truth is that Stephen Harper — despite his triumphal pronouncements — has always been prime minister by default. Canadians have grudgingly put him where he is. It’s an appropriate response to a man who carries a perpetual grudge.
Stephen Harper may be a Republican. But it’s too much of a stretch to claim that Canadians have become Republicans.