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Harper/Cameron/McCain: Canada’s role in a new world order

October 12, 2008

What would Canada’s role in the world look like if two Tory parties and one  Republican party were to win enough votes to form government in Canada, in the United Kingdom and in the United States?

Would Canada continue to shift its peacekeeper activities to more military ventures?

Would immigration from Asian countries into Canada continue to drop?

Would climate change be relegated to the back of the policy bus?

What would happen to our United Nations commitments, particularly with regards to refugees?

Would hedge fund markets and energy exploration gambits make a big come back?

Despite his three critical mistakes (scorn for the arts, flip comment about “buying stocks,” and mocking Dion) in the current federal election, Prime Minister Harper may well obtain a larger minority government. He is now on record, claiming that if an electorate gives a government two minorities in a row, that is in effect, a mandate to govern as if he had a majority. He delivered this eye brow raising concept in a T.V. interview which aired last week on CBC Newsworld.

In the U.K, Gordon Brown’s “quasi” nationalization of British banks in face of our world economic agony, and the realization of a decades long dream of “old Labour,” generally favorably reviewed, may still not be enough to stop the sweep: Labour out and in will step the youngish aristocrat Tory leader, David Cameron.

Cameron’s aggressive stance against immigrant rights and his support for an increase in Britain’s state surveillance apparatus, although “softened” in the last year, raises the prospect of a more closed society in that country, political mother to Canada and the U.S.

And it is in that latter nation that we see, not just supply-side chickens home to roost in a nation with trillions of dollars in debt, but the risk of a “McPalin” administration – deniers of the causal link between human activity and climate change, disablers of government regulation, builders of walls to “keep out” immigrants, suppressers of women’s reproductive rights, and doubters of Darwin.

How will Canada act in a world order that could come to pass? What will ordinary citizens from each of these countries decide for their and all our futures?

My two bits worth: Mr. Harper will win a larger minority government and will attempt to shift Canada radically to the right; Mr. Obama will beat Mr. McCain but will govern from the right, hamstrung by his country’s decades long dependence on imaginary economic principles; and in the U.K., the dour Scotsman will be unable to rescue Labour.

So, ironically, it will be the United States who will set the agenda for progressive policies with regards to immigration and government spending. Iraq may see some respite. Afghanistan, none.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. reneethewriter permalink
    October 15, 2008 11:46 am

    Cor, thank you for your comments. You are quite right, of course, about the lack of links supporting my position regarding Mr. Cameron’s policies regarding immigration. I will dig up…”one of these days.” And yes, one of things I find interesting about Cameron is is suave distance from the trogs in the BNP, which can’t be said about some of his colleagues.

    Regarding media skills – this is one of the great issues of our “political times” – how visual and other media shape, distort, filter, frame and “construct” (Chomsky?! – dear lord) both “the message” (McLuhan) and everything else. I like your linking of Obama with Harper, in terms of their ability to communicate “on message.” Both are exceedingly disciplined politicians.

  2. corsullivan permalink*
    October 13, 2008 12:48 pm

    Great post – very astute and wide-ranging, I must say. It’s interesting to note that the three winners you picked, Harper and Cameron and Obama, are all very good with the media in their different ways. Cameron and Obama are good at charming them, and Harper is good at stonewalling them and starving them of fodder by maintaining ferocious party discipline. So perhaps media skills, of one kind or the other, are more important now than ever? I’d find that conclusion depressing.

    I also suspect that Harper will win, but he seems too pragmatic and too focused on long-term objectives to upset Canadians by steering hard to the right – especially from a minority position. Obama, in a curious kind of way, is similar to Harper in that he tends to inspire incredibly negative reactions from voters on the other side of the ideological fence. Perhaps he will also feel the need to tread softly.

    Oh, and is Cameron really all that hardline on immigrant rights? The link you put up seems to go to an article about the BNP, but of course they’re a very different crowd.

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