"The October elections offer Canada a chance
to return to the country’s best traditions"
That pretty much sums up what this election means to Canadians - a chance to return to our nation's best traditions that have been trampled underfoot and maliciously sullied by the Conservatives and their leader, Stevie-Joe Harper.
Money, its uses and its abuses, runs like a thread through Mr Harper’s time in power. At the very beginning, a scandal over the diversion of government funds under the then Liberal government helped him into office in 2006. Ironically, it then turned out that his Conservative party had itself been breaking electoral laws on spending during that campaign. Forming another minority government after the 2008 election, he began dismantling Canada’s system of political party subsidies, a policy that benefits the Conservatives, who have the largest base of wealthy donors, and puts other parties, particularly the Liberals, at a financial disadvantage.
...Domestically Mr Harper has tried to move Canada away from its social democratic tradition, reducing government spending and services, privatising government agencies,cutting public health. He has gagged government scientists and civil servants, is bringing in new internal security laws, and made Canada a less open society. Internationally he has made the Canada that begged to differ (with Britain on Suez, on Vietnam with America, for example) and the Canada that was a pillar of peacekeeping and the United Nations a distant memory. And his particularly passionate identification with Israel has lost Canada the “honest broker” status that it arguably enjoyed in the Middle East in the past.
The political contest in Canada this time is particularly difficult to predict since the three big parties each have about 30% in popular support. Any of the three could end up in government, alone or in coalition. But we may be permitted to hope there is now a chance that something of the old Canada, committed to moderation and multiculturalism at home and to multilateralism and cooperation abroad, will re-emerge from the fray.
Amen to that.