Sunday, March 21, 2004

New Hope for Canada?

And in Canada there was also an electoral contest underway this weekend. In fact, it was a leadership contest to pick the head of the newly reunited (if that makes any sense) Conservative Party. The victor was former Alliance Party leader, Stephen Harper. Not surprisingly, the governing Liberals, up to their necks in scandal, have already started accusing Harper of being an extremist, a man who does not share "Canadian (read: Liberal Party) values." The goal of this argument is to paint Harper as a western redneck, hostile to the rest of the country. The problem is, many of the things he stands enjoy the support of a large number of western Canadians.

Now, when Paul Martin took over the leadership of the Liberal Party last December, he said one of his priorities was to lessen western alienation. I hardly think that labeling a man who shares the views of many westerners (not to mention a large number of people in Ontario) as extremist is the best approach. The Liberals see themselves as the governing party in Canada and will gladly throw principle to the wind in order to keep power. They may now be about to throw Canada to the wind as well. Western Canadians are not a happy bunch right now. If the Liberals win by isolating the region, it could be the straw that breaks the camel's, or in this case, the buffalo's back.

I plan to discuss this issue a great deal more over the next few months leading up to the as yet uncalled federal election in Canada. Part of my efforts may include documenting instances of what I like to call "Liberal Party hate speech." The Liberals are going to attempt to evade their own scandalous behavior by further alienating western voters, though they'll do it by saying Stephen Harper doesn't really represent the West. Marshalling internet resources to combat that sort of smear is essential. More on this in the days to come.

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