For the past several years, Canada has experienced one of its most successful eras in history, but that may change very soon. Why should that matter to us?
I often view Canada as America 50 years in the future…if Democrats have their way. It offers many of the same freedoms bestowed upon Americans, and at first glance the difference may seem minimal or possibly even non-existent. But the liberal mindset of big government has seeped deep into the fabric of the Canadian culture just as it has fully saturated the cultures of its matriarch – Europe. The American Democrat party’s ideals had fully taken hold of Canadian culture as of a decade ago, but in 2006 that began to change.
A Canadian powerhouse named Stephen Harper envisioned a much different path for his country, and that’s where it all started.
In 2002, Stephen Harper won the support of his own party, the Canadian Alliance, and helped merge it with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the new Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. After just one year, this new Canadian conservative movement gained 25 seats in Parliament largely due to their popularity in Ontario – Canada’s most populated province. Two years later, and only three years after the formation of the Conservative Party, Canadians gave Harper and the conservatives the opportunity to form a conservative government for the first time in 13 years. In 2008, conservatives were elected in even larger numbers, leading to a successful reelection of Harper and the Conservative Party in 2011.
Harper used this incredible opportunity to transform Canada into a shining example for other nations struggling to get on their feet. He has focused all of his attention on economic recovery, keeping taxes low and eliminating the deficit. These past 9 years have not only transformed Canada, but they have also paved the way for long-term prosperity. Canada’s success attracted the world’s attention resulting in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games to be hosted in Vancouver. The G8 and G20 summits were also drawn to Canada, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Pan-American Games soon to follow.
In an eerily familiar story in American politics, this hype seems to be shifting. Justin Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Liberal PM, Pierre Trudeau, was elected as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada on April 14, 2013. With very little experience in politics, Justin’s last name seems to play a large part in his political success. His youth, charisma, and energy matches that of US Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Trudeau taught social studies and French in Vancouver, after attending McGill University and the University of British Columbia. He made his name known nationwide starring as Talbot Mercer Papineau in a CBC mini-series about Canada’s involvement in World War I.
As an active voice for the Liberal Party’s policies after his dad’s long tenure as Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau entered the Canadian Legislature at the same time that Harper’s Conservative moment was gaining vast support. Although the wind seemed to be at Justin’s back, his party was far from successful at the time, holding third-party status in the 2011 election.
The next year, speculation began circling that Justin would launch a bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but even his own party criticized his inexperience and “lack of substance.” During his short time in Parliament, Trudeau rarely spoke about policy issues or problems facing Canada. While no one knew where he stood on various topics, others in his party believed this would be a great place for him to prove himself on major issues. Early on, he began making major blunders in his campaign, starting with his criticism of Alberta, one of the most conservative and successful provinces in Canada, by saying “Canada isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda.” As a result, Trudeau lost the Calgary Centre in the by-election. Calgary, Alberta is also home to none other than PM Stephen Harper.
Although he wasn’t popular among Albertans, Justin went on to win the Liberal leadership election with 80.09% of the vote. At the conclusion of the elections, Trudeau’s approval jumped to 48% compared to 29% disapproval, while Stephen Harper’s approval dropped to 24% after his immediate support of backing Ukraine in the Crimean controversy (Harper is still one of the most outspoken world leaders backing Ukraine). In recent polls, the Liberal party seems to have a slight lead over the Conservative Party in preferred leadership, and it’s an understatement to say the Liberal Party’s recent approval is due solely to Justin Trudeau’s familiar message of “Hope” and “Change”.
Stephen Harper has done everything he can to stress Canada’s recent success under the leadership of the Conservative Party. Conservatives have been portraying Justin Trudeau as a wealthy, out-of-touch, inexperienced candidate. Liberals are portraying Harper and conservatives as “old news” and out-of-date, while they campaign on the promises of hope and change. Sound familiar? Canada seems to have found their Barack Obama.
So what does this have to do with conservatives here in America? Although you may strongly oppose many of Harper’s moderate stances on different political issues, we must realize that if Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party lose the 2015 elections to the re-emerging Liberals, North America is in for a very troubling future. We as Americans have experienced a larger fundamental change in our society these last 6 years under Obama than in other time in recent history. As conservatives we must not neglect our like-minded allies to the North. We must do everything we can do support Stephen Harper’s party and election. Many worry that America has slipped too far to fully reestablish our conservative roots, but I can guarantee you that if Justin Trudeau wins this year’s elections, Canada will forfeit all chances of seeking the freedoms that America does hold.