In the News

The Economist’s Endorsement

For the 2004 U.S. election, The Economist — one of my favourite magazines — gave a heavy hearted endorsement John Kerry in their editiorial, The Incompetent or the Incoherent?. For the 2006 Canadian elections, they endorse Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in an editorial titled Those Daring Canadians [you can read the article if you’re willing to sit through an advertisement], which is subtitled “And why they should vote Conservative this time”.

Here’s the meat of the article:

On the face of it, the sacking [of the Liberal Party] seems perverse, and ungrateful. The Liberals have given Canada a long period of stable politics,

enlightened social policy and economic growth, boosted lately by the

world’s growing appetite for Canada’s plentiful energy and natural

resources. Although the prime minister, Paul Martin, has had the top

job only since the end of 2003, he gave a stellar performance as

finance minister in the years before that, restoring order to public

finances the Tories had left in chaos. By comparison, his Conservative

challenger, Stephen Harper, is an unknown quantity, untested by

previous high office and until recently written off as a not especially

competent leader of the opposition. In short, barring a last-minute

reversion to type as they enter the polling stations, Canadians seem to

have decided to take a gamble. Gambling will be out of character. It

will also, on this occasion, be right.

The Liberals have done many good things over the past 12 years, but

have lately succumbed to the three familiar vices of a party that has

been too long in power. The first of these is sleaze. Mr Martin would

not be holding this unpopular mid-winter election at all but for the

unearthing of a decade-old financing scandal under which public money

intended to promote the federal cause in Quebec was diverted to the

Liberals and their cronies. The second is fractiousness. Mr Martin

became prime minister only after mounting a palace coup against his

predecessor, Jean Chrétien. Instead of uniting around the new leader,

the party thereupon coalesced around two sullen and unforgiving camps.

The last is directionlessness. However stellar his performance as a

finance minister, Mr Martin has failed as prime minister to convey a

sense of policy priorities to his demoralised civil servants or of

national purpose to Canadians at large.

The West’s Turn
The vices of prolonged incumbency might be enough to persuade voters in

almost any democracy that it was time for a change. But Canada has

another reason on top of this to welcome a Conservative victory. Over

recent years, many people in western Canada, where the Conservatives

are strongest, have come to believe that their part of the country does

not get a fair hearing in Ottawa, where national politics is

traditionally dominated by Ontario and Quebec, and the latter’s

constant talk of secession. Westerners ruefully note that since 1968

Canada has spent 36 years under prime ministers who come from Quebec,

or represent constituencies in Quebec, and a mere 15 months under prime

ministers from the west. As an adopted westerner, Mr Harper might

therefore be in a good position to inject new unity into a federation

under strain.

One reply on “The Economist’s Endorsement”

Hmm. Fuck unity. RUN THE COUNTRY. This expat Canadian can’t believe that my “genius” fellow citizens are about to toss out the guy that gave the country a new lease on life in favor of an untested fool. You reap what you sow. Let’s see how long it takes Harper to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Bush. The country will be circling the drain inside of four years.

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