January 24, 2006

Harper's Anglosphere Option

Harper's win in Canada is welcome news to the entire Anglosphere. This is not so much on account of what Harper may do, although there are some interesting possibilites, but at a minimum for what he will not do: ride anti-Americanism as his substitute for an honest patriotism. The fundamental problem with the Liberals is that ever since Trudeau deconstructued the basis of historical Canadian patriotism, the Liberals have not been able to construct an adequate substitute. They are almost embarassed to love the real, historical Canada, (they are too busy apologizing for it) unless that sentiment can somehow be tied into America-bashing. Dudes, get a life -- and while you're at it, get a national narrative that consist of something else besides "I'm not them."

I have been thinking about the critical question of what Harper can do even with no majority.  His legislative agenda probably needs to focus on government process -- transparency primarily, to decouple the Liberals' cash machine, and secondly disintermediation, to finish the end run around the CBC and the press oligopoly.  The Bloc Quebecois and to some extent the New Democratic Party can get behind that agenda, even if as leftists they cannot support much of the Conservative substance.

But aside from that, the Prime Minister's office is a pretty good bully pulpit, and he would be smart to use it to start deconstructing the Trudeavean deconstruction of the old Canada.  He should make sure the Canadian troops in Afghanistan are decorated in a visible and public ceremony, exactly what has been denied to them to date.  He should make a show of honoring the Canadian WWII veterans conspicuously and repeatedly, and having a substantial ceremony on every one of the big Canadian military anniversaries: Vimy, Dieppe, D-Day, etc.  He might bring back the Red Ensign in a historical context -- ordering it flown as a "veteran's memorial flag" on select days like D-Day, and for Canadian ships to fly the Blue Ensign on a suitable day as well, maybe November 11th.  It would be very hard for people to criticize him for remembering the veterans more conspicuously. And perhaps he might even consider a surprise visit to the forces in Afghanistan.

In foreign policy, he and his external affairs minister can do a lot to change the tone without legislation.  Rather than being conspicuously closer to Bush, (which the media is waiting to jump on him for) he should become buddies with John Howard of Australia and to a lesser extent Tony Blair (while inviting the new British Tory leader Cameron to Ottawa for a visit. Cameron might spend some time thinking about why his party is now the only major Anglosphere right party to be out of power.)

Rather than bilateral meetings with Bush, he should set up some trilateral meetings with Bush and Howard in a Pacific venue, and focus on Pacific affairs, the neglect of which is another Liberal shortcoming.  

(The Liberals have the curious habit of looking at the Pacific the wrong way around, essentially viewing it from Brussels, rather than from the natural vantage-point of Vancouver with its capital and technology, or Calgary with its energy resources. That is to say, they tend to share the French self-delusion that China is going to do their heavy lifting in "counterbalancing" American power, at great potential cost to China and little real benefit.)

Harper should make a point of going to India and elevating Canadian-Indian relations in an Asian-Pacific context.  This might get some of the Indian immigrants wondering why they support what is essentially the suck-up party to Chinese ambitions in Asia.  

Secondly he should become more proactive in Caribbean affairs and pick up some of the position the British have historically held with the Anglo-Caribbean states, including a muscular support of those states in their ongoing disputes with the Caribbean Hispanosphere states.  Particularly this is so with Guyana, which is in the sights of Venezuela's Chavez, and whose natural ally in that dispute has always been Britian.

In regard to Cuba, he can appoint a new ambassador with instructions
to reach out to and suppport the Cuban dissidents. The rationale for Canada's relations with Cuba has always been that engagement brings more results in reform than isolation. So far there has been little to show for it. Harper has a very valid right to step up the pace of the engagement effort.

Harper and the Tories have a very solid reservoir of very Canadian ideas, symbols, and traditions that have been ignored or suppressed for decades, but that can be pulled out again selectively.  

The Liberals and the media are waiting for him to become a "clone of America" -- but by taking an Anglospherist tack he can throw them off balance and turn the negative Canadian nationalism (in the form of anti-Americanism) into positive Canadian patriotism. America (and the Anglosphere) doesn't need a lackey of America on its northern border -- it needs a neighbor that has abandoned its touchy defensiveness and can take its proper place in the English-speaking community, of which it used to be a leading member.

Posted by James C. Bennett at January 24, 2006 09:23 PM
Comments

Amen. Amen. Amen. This is definitely one of those watershed moments. There is nothing more exciting than a fresh perspective and fresh start after literally decades of drift and despair.

You've outlined some interesting possibilities, James. The biggest to my mind is just growing up and reflecting a mature mindset, both internally vis-a-vis the Bloc Quebecois (who hold the balance of power) and externally with respect to the United States and others. Harper should immediately negotiate a free trade agreement with Aus/NZ. This is a no brainer, though way too imaginative for your average Trudeaupian Liberal.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 24, 2006 10:27 PM

Brilliant stuff, Jim. You really should have this reprinted somewhere with mass circulation like NR or Weekly Standard.

By the way, you forgot to mention Don Brash's National Party rowing out there alongside HMS Australia. His is another right of centre party who's out of power but, curiously, only by sheer luck to the governing mistress, Helen Clark.

A meeting with Howard would not be complete without Clark, of course, but possibly also a side lunch with Brash and Howard. What a sight that would be!

Posted by: Anton Traversa at January 24, 2006 10:46 PM

Brilliant, nuff said.

Posted by: Liam at January 24, 2006 11:05 PM

James:
Very thoughtful. One caveat: Toronto. It'll be very tough for the Conservatives and its sympathizers to convince Torontonians that the new government doesn't want to turn Canada into the Handmaiden's tale (That's Kathy Shaidle's acid observation at www.relapsedcatholic.blogspot.com) but simply to get rid of serious dysfunctions and lethal corruption from the body politic.
I suppose Canadian bloggers can provide a forum to air out the biases and fears but what role can the Anglospheric bloggers play to persuade Torontonians that the Conservatives don't want a new country just the one we have minus the negative characteristics?

xavier

Posted by: xavier at January 25, 2006 05:59 AM

Harper has to make Bush come to him. If Bush invites him to his ranch or to Washington he has to refuse. And Harper must forcefully and publicly demand that the Bush Administration abide by its NAFTA treaty obligations immediately, or there will be consequences.

Harper has to make the Americans realize that their bizarre coupling of business with a pseudo-friendship will not work. Canada and America are first and foremost business and trading partners. Business cannot be tied into quid pro quos whereby Canada agrees to missile defence or just acts nicely if we wish to have our trade disputes resolved.

Posted by: leofff at January 25, 2006 07:52 AM
...Harper must forcefully and publicly demand that the Bush Administration abide by its NAFTA treaty obligations immediately...

Hm. That could backfire, as the counter-response could easily be that we (Canada) should immediately abide by ours. Remember, the NAFTA panel found in favour of the U.S. on the question of whether or not Canada was subsidizing and dumping softwood lumber, as did the WTO. NAFTO only disputed the value assessed by the U.S.

Posted by: Tedd McHenry at January 25, 2006 08:44 AM

I have cautious hopes for Harper and more generally for the change-in-regime. Certainly, playing up a Canadian role in the anglosphere would be an excellent move for him to do -- disarming (to Canadian critics) and genuinely productive.

That said, the track record isn't good regarding these intermezzos of Conservative rule between long periods of solid Liberal dominance. Briefly put, Canadians still have to show they don't want to live in a one-party state.

I'll believe there's been a real change in Canadian politics when the Conservatives are entering upon their second majority government -- not until. And even then, I think it would be unrealistic for Americans to expect Canada to move anywhere rightward of the centrist Democrat position here. More than that is just not in the Canadian political culture.

Posted by: Robert Burnham at January 25, 2006 09:03 AM

Well, the WTO has nothing to do with NAFTA. It was a mistake for Canada to ask for a WTO ruling – they thought it would go in Canada’s favour and they could use it as a sort of moral victory with which to further bludgeon America. Even though it went in favour of the US it’s irrelevant – NAFTA trumps the WTO. The WTO ruling simply determined that America was in compliance with WTO rules, but America’s NAFTA obligations are not aligned with WTO rules.

I’m not sure where Wikipedia got its information – the American lumber lobby maybe? The final NAFTA ruling was that Canada does not subsidize lumber producers.

Harper has no overriding interest in even appearing to get along with Bush. Taking a tough line against America, early on, to show that we won’t be pushed around will go a long, long way to blunting the Liberal message of him being an American stooge. After all, the next election campaign began yesterday.

Canada and the US are trading partners – if one partner tries to screw the other one, it’s only fair that a commensurate response is given. This is business, and we have to play hardball.

Posted by: leofff at January 25, 2006 09:08 AM

A focus on the Pacific Rim is a very good idea for foreign policy, but the most immediate focus should be on Pakistan and disaster relief efforts -- see what else Canada can contribute.

And a review of CIDA is definitely in order -- see if current programs can be worked to emphasize more skills and knowledge transfer.

Posted by: PhantomObserver at January 25, 2006 09:29 AM

I am thinking of following this post up with another on "Advice to the Bush Administration on Dealing with Canada". The primary advice is "ask for nothing, give a lot." Harper needs to be able to turn around and say "it's a lot easier to deal with a Texan is you refrain from pissing on his boots".

Of course I am enirely opposed to issues like the softwood dispute being resolved by leader-to-leader discussions. If Bush and Harper discuss it, they should focus entirely on the question of why the NAFTA process hasn't definitively resolved this issue to mutual satisfaction, and what might be done to imrpove the process.

To some extent the problem is precisely that US-Canada trade is so massive and so integrated that the cross-border interests have begun treating them with the intensity of domestic public-goods fights, but using international trade rules. This suggests that the status quo is unstable and will have to move in one direction or another before too long. And since I doubt the Canadian electorate is really willing to pay the economic price of disengagement with the US, the other direction is to create further and deeper institutions that behave more like domestic economic mechanisms. But that also requires another, longer post.

The Anglosphere option for Harper is the only realistic way out of its numbers trap. Canada will always be around a tenth of the US's population. Canada needs to be part of a larger context if it is not going to always be on the end of a crack-the-whip game. The Liberals have tried to make the UN and the semi-mythical "international community" the larger context. As the tranzis push to turn the UN and transnational institutions into something like a government, the US resists more and more, and will ultimately exit the system if pushed to it.

A core Anglosphere context makes Canada part of (counting the non-US core nations) a 100-150 million community (depending on how you define it) with two G-7 powers and a third important economy (Australia), all of whom are important trade, finance, and defense partners. Although not equal to the US in economic or military throw-weight, it's not an afterthought, either. the key is for the UK and Canadian leaders to stop wasting their political markers they have with the US on trying to bring the US under the thumb of transnational governemnt, which is just not going to happen, and start looking at bilateral and multilateral options instead, as John Howard has already fruitfully done.

Some American diplomats are happy being able to use America's predominant power to get their way with each of the core Anglosphere nations in turn, and would hate to give it up. But that is not a healthy situation for any of us.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at January 25, 2006 10:38 AM

"It would be very hard for people to criticize him for remembering the veterans more conspicuously." The Liberals will say: we don't make this up, Harper wants to station troops in our great cities. Harper is jingoistic,racist and hostile to minorities, making them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.
"He might bring back the Red Ensign in a historical context -- ordering it flown as a "veteran's memorial flag" on select days" Down here in the US, we have much better relationship with our flag, yet after 911 some people were banned from wearing flag lapel pins or fly the flag because minorities would feel threatened. If Harper starts parading the flag, he would never get rid of the stain of being "too American", see: he even acts like an American. He will not be able to push any reforms, his political career crashes before it begins.

Posted by: ic at January 25, 2006 12:02 PM

James:

Well said!

A wealthy and strong Canada is in the best interests of the USA -- I wish PM Harper the best of luck.

Posted by: Ron Barbour at January 25, 2006 12:38 PM

If Harper starts parading the flag, he would never get rid of the stain of being "too American", see: he even acts like an American. He will not be able to push any reforms, his political career crashes before it begins.

That would be ironic, given that part of the Liberal scandals was a program designed to fly the Canadian flag more widely in Quebec.

And it's worth remembering that the Liberal charge that Harper wanted to put the army into the streets backfired on them -- it was a contributor to their downfall.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at January 25, 2006 01:32 PM

Frankly, it seems that there are a lot of opportunities to be had by this new arrangement of power in Ottawa. Of course, Harper needs to be careful not to be "too American," but I think he can emulate a lot of what Howard has done and get a free pass for it if he cleans up government, cuts crime, and does things that people generally want to see done. Howard won't be punished by the Aussies for being such a staunch ally of the United States precisely because he's sure to take care of their primary interests, the bread-and-butter issues. Now that he's done that, Australians are beginning to feel comfortable in their new place as a world power, instead of an Asian outpost of Anglo society. Canada could very well do the same.

Of course, there are differences since Canada, being so close and being so culturally akin to the US, is always taking great pains to emphasize their differences, to the point of frenzy. That is the legacy of the Trudeaupian Liberal Party. Harper would be wise firmly take care of Canadian interests, which usually coincide with that of the US more often than not (like the anti-ballistic missile defense, an umbrella Canada is under whether she forks over the cash or not). Harper may want to even do something radical - stress how similar the United States and Canada actually are, all while accentuating the divergent paths we took to modern, accountable, sovereign democracy.

Taking a deeper look to the Pacific is a great idea, Jim. With Australia, NZ, and the US, Canada can really help forge a framework for holistic Anglosphere cooperation. It's an area where more Anglosphere nations have an interest than those that do not. Who knows? Maybe it will be the beginning of a FTA between the Anglosphere?

Posted by: Anton Traversa at January 25, 2006 03:09 PM

Very interesting post indeed. I have great expectations on Harper and the Conservative government but I am not so sure how much room for maneuver they will have.

Posted by: Luis at January 25, 2006 04:38 PM

A natural would be to explore Australian and New Zealand membership in NAFTA, a cause Britan Mulroney has already taken up.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at January 25, 2006 05:04 PM

Jim Bennett, you've got it all wrong.

Aside from US-Canada issues, foreign policy won't do anything for or against Harper, unless he really blows something, or there's an international crisis of some sort. He openly admitted in a TV interview the Friday before the election that foreign policy isn't his long suit.

His best strategy is to pursue middle-of-the road conservative issues and let the public warm to him. First and foremost will be his proposed public accountability act.

To broaden his base he will have to go after three doubting constituencies:

- Quebec. He's got a good chance there. Liberal support is weakening, and if Harper delivers on some issues dear to the Quebecois, he could increase seats there next time.

- Large cities. The Conservatives took no seats in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. Harper has to keep his social conservatives in check and deliver policies that matter to city folk.

- Atlantic Canada. The Maritimes did not join the rest of rural and small-town English Canada in voting Tory blue. Expect Harper to rely heavily on his deputy leader, Peter MacKay, who is from Nova Scotia.

And the Red Ensign??? Canadians don't give a shit about the flag issue anymore. Get real.

Posted by: Joe Canuck at January 25, 2006 05:30 PM

a good approach I think.

Australia and NZ have been negotiating and signing FTA's over the past few years. Both would jump at a Canada one. Sign them up first and then fix up ones with other countries as well...Singapore, Thailand, Chile etc etc

Posted by: Mike A. at January 25, 2006 07:14 PM

Joe Canuck is probably right as far as it goes. However, one thing a relatively weak executive can do is get on TV with foreign policy initiatives. Angela Merkel is a a case in point. So, Joe Canuck and Bennett need not be inconsistent with each other. Do all the necessary domestic political gruntwork, like JC describes. But commandeer the media by the occasional foreign-related effort. As to the Red Ensign, I don't think you can restore a nation's military power if you don't appeal to the small constituency of people who are moved by national symbols, etc. Maybe the old flag is not the vehicle, but the basic idea that a national narrative that inspires pride is a foundational element in a revived military potential.

Posted by: Lex at January 25, 2006 08:19 PM

Trust me, the Red Ensign is dead. My Dad is a WWII RCAF vet and he never mentions the subject. Prior to the election I asked if he was voting conservative. He said he wasn't sure. He said, "I still haven't forgiven the Conservatives under Diefenbaker".

Diefenbaker fought to retain the Red Ensign when the new flag was adopted in the 1960's. But what was more important to my Dad was that Diefenbaker cancelled the CF-105 Avro Arrow. Canceling that project devastated the Canadian aerospace industry.

When I was a kid the military always voted Liberal, because the Liberals had led Canada through WWII and were viewed as military-friendly. Since about 1970, though, both parties have neglected the military,

I don't know if you saw Harper's victory speech. Worth watching if you can. He mentioned "our young soldiers in Afghanistan", so he is making an appeal to people with an attachment to the military.

As for free trade with Australia and NZ: what exactly are we supposed to trade with them that we each couldn't get cheaper, with less transportation cost, from neighbours, or from China or India? We've got the Alberta Tar Sands, and in a few years everybody is going to be clamouring to buy Tar Sand oil from us. But what do Australia and NZ have for us?

Posted by: Joe Canuck at January 25, 2006 08:44 PM

Yes, apart from warped patriots like me, the Red Ensign hasn't been an issue in this country since John Diefenbaker draped it over his funeral casket in 1979. He was so disappointed in losing the 1965 flag debate, that he demanded that it was going to be the flag that he was going to be buried with. In any event, it still flies everywhere in Ontario as the provincial flag, a constant reminder of old Upper Canada patriotism.

As for what does ANZAC have that we need, who cares. Even if there wasn't any dier product we needed, we should still be opening our markets to outside competition. But why stop there? Why not embark on a course of total unrestricted reciprocity between all countries in the Anglosphere.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 25, 2006 09:30 PM

Mike Smith - Hear hear on the FTA!! An Anglosphere FTA would be a great thing (and may pave the way for more cooperation!!)

Tar Sands are a friggin' blessing. If you guys want to know a good stock, Suncor. They're the ones investing in the heavy sands. My lord I've made a killing.

Energy aside, an FTA between Canada, Australia, and NZ (and the rest of the core anglosphere) would open up the way for optimal movement of capital, labor, and resources to make all our already high-tech economies only widen the gap. The possibilities are endless.

Posted by: Anton Traversa at January 25, 2006 10:08 PM

Well, Joe Canuck, I'm kind of assuming that Harper and the Tories will be doing everything they can to swing the demographics you describe their way. Certainly the large number of Quebec ridings where the Tories came out of nowhere to place second behind the Bloc were even more fascinating than the ten they won. And I agree that domestic issues will be everybody's focus.

However, as I said at the beginning of my post, a minority government with three pretty bloody-minded opposition parties to its left just won't have much maneuvering room on legislation. Maybe they can cut some deals with the Bloc on decentralization, but for the most part their domestic legislative agenda will have to concentrate on transparency and good government issues. Fine, they'll have their plate full with that.

My post was more about how do you use the PM's office for the narrative, symbolism, and other non-material factors in national life. I do believe these are not insignificant, and when a leader can't legislate, making the best use fo these tools is a smart tactic. Reagan had to deal with an opposition-controlled House for his two terms, and did exactly that -- not that I am saying this is a parallel situation, just that these factors can count. Of all the points I threw in, making some reference to the Red Ensign was just one of many, and I wasn't suggesting scrapping the Maple Leaf for it -- just referencing it as part of a general revival of an appeal to the Canadian history that was meaningful to many. This is the last decade that many of the veterans of WWII will be on the public scene, and it would be good to think of some ways to raise their profile in public awareness.

On the foreign policy side, it is true that the general public is pretty indifferent. However, immigrants were one of the most immune to the Conservative message this time, despite every attempt on the part of the Tories to match the benefits the Liberals have thrown at their community leaders. Appealing to homeland concerns has traditionally been a very effective strategy for immigrant electorates, and it should at least be tried. My point again was that Harper could use a foreign policy approach that was distinctive, national, and neither a me-too copy of the Liberals, nor a "clone" of current US policy. I think that there is such a policy available.

I do believe a Pacific-Indian economic and political strategy makes sense for Canada (and America for that matter.) And an Australia-New Zealand NAFTA strategy would be a good part of such a strategy, as Mulroney and others already realise. Twenty years ago, it wouldn't have been that important: Canada and Australia didn't really need free trade with each other in wheat and cattle. But high technology and IT would benefit greatly from making it easier for entrepreneurs in those areas to work together acoss national lines, moving people, capital, and intellectual property fluidly. The Tar Sands are nice and I believe in their future. But they should be used as a spur to Canada's competitiveness in other fields, not as a substitute for it.

And yeah, I saw Harper's speech, and I noticed the reference to Afghanistan. Very good. More please, and quicker.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at January 25, 2006 10:56 PM

There'll be no unity of purpose possible by highlighting the Anglosphere and the red ensign. Do you actually interact with other Canadians?

As much as I dislike Harper, even I don't think he's that simple-minded.

Whatever positive purpose you see in using the PM's office for "the narrative, symbolism, and other non-material factors in national life," it can't be done in the way you think. Canadians won't be able to stop laughing.

Posted by: Ti-Guy at January 26, 2006 08:10 AM

Jim is right: There is a plethora of symbols of the old Canada that have been willfully suppressed in favour of Liberal Republican logos that have little resonance with the public at large. Where can one find the Canadian monarchy, for example, and the Queen who apparently serves as our Sovereign. They've indignantly stuck her in the back webpages of some government department, the Department of Heritage I believe, as if she reports to the Minister of Culture and Heritage. There's a lot that Harper can do just by simply directing the civil service to repair 40 years of Liberal cultural damage. He could start by peppering government buildings, official sites and what not with the Canadian Coat of Arms again. For example.

Johnny Canuck is wrong to believe that the Red Ensign means nothing to Canadian veterans. It was the flag they fought and died under. Even young people are curious about the past. Witness the popular Red Ensign Brigade, a blogroll only second in popularity to the Blogging Tories.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 26, 2006 08:18 AM

It is interesting to note the vehemence with which some commenters respond to this red ensign business. I think Canada is mostly "blue state" in mindset, and such people have disdain for that kind of thing. I am far from sure that view is universal. The Red Ensign blog community does show that there are Canadians interested in their cultural heritage and their military heritage. And in the context of recognizing veterans and their service to Canada, it would not be such an outrageous gesture to use the old flag. I don't think "Canadians won't be able to stop laughing" at the last surviving veterans of Dieppe and Ortona and Normandy. Or, at least, people who Harper has any hope of ever reaching won't laugh at them.


Posted by: Lex at January 26, 2006 10:56 AM

I'm not so sure we are so "blue state" as all that, or if generic categories like that says anything really meaningful. Now that the Conservative Party is strong enough, I think the election results point to something quite different, and relieving a lot of pent-up frustration in suburban and rural Canada in the process. As Andrew Coyne puts it on his popular blog, it's not even an urban/rural thing, but more a metropolise/Canada phenomena, which is probably identical across the Anglosphere:

From andrecoyne.com:

In 2004, it was the "values voter." Now, it's the "urban-rural split." Media myths get spun about election results almost before the votes have been counted.

Rempelia has been fuming about this, as have other bloggers. But Alert Reader Mark Collins has done the heavy number-crunching. Here's what he finds:

The media have been touting a supposed great urban/rural divide revealed in this election, with the Liberals dominating urban Canada and the Conservatives controlling the rural part of the country.

It is true that the Conservatives predominate in rural areas. However it is a myth that the Liberals represent urban Canada. Elections Canada posts the election results for eleven major urban centres on its website: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina, St. John's, Toronto, Vancover and Winnipeg. In these cities the Liberals won 42 seats and the Conservatives 36 (NDP 10, BQ 9).

This slim Liberal lead is hardly an indicator of urban dominance. Even more striking is the popular vote count in these cities: Liberals 1,620,000, Conservatives 1,580,000. Almost the same.

What does stand out is that the Liberals won 35 seats in the three largest cities -- which I would call metropolises -- Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Conservatives won none of these "metro" seats.

Clearly there is no urban/rural divide in Canada. There is, on the other hand, a clear metro/Canada divide; the three metropolises are severely out of step with the rest of the country, urban and rural.

Why might this be? I suspect a clue may lie in the fact that that some three-quarters of immigrants settle in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

The populations of Toronto and Vancouver are especially distinctive in comparison with other Canadian cities. The foreign-born percentage of the population in these two metropolises is 43.7 and 37.5 respectively according to the 2001 census (and will be even higher now). No other large Canadian city had a foreign-born percentage above 24.
He may or may not be right to attribute the difference to the immigrant vote. I'd say that was a subset of a larger phenomenon of cosmopolitanism. Big-city diversity has many faces: ethnicity, language, class, sexual orientation, etc. Tories have got to show they get this. (In particular, the sooner they put the gay marriage issue behind them the better.)

But metro/Canada, rather than urban/rural: that's a meme that sticks.

FURTHERMORE: A check of that Elections Canada page confirms that the Tories outpolled the Liberals in Quebec City, Ottawa, Regina, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and St. John's and won more seats than the Liberals in Halifax (the popular vote is a near-tie). Outside the three metropolises, the Tories won 33 seats to the Liberals 7. In our cities. In Canada.

MAPQUEST: Elections Canada has a sensational election map (warning: 4.5MB pdf) to assist you in your obsessive microanalysis.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 26, 2006 12:40 PM

More fascinating analysis on the "urban angle" from David Warren.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 26, 2006 12:48 PM

Thanks for the offer guys but I think us Kiwis will pass.

We dont want your wars, your nukes or your loony right-wing policies.

Posted by: sonic at January 26, 2006 02:40 PM

One way Harper could defuse the aping the americans criticism and also assert Canada's history would be to stop using the phrase "God bless Canada" at the end of speechs and start using "God Save the Queen."

Posted by: Adams at January 26, 2006 04:30 PM

"Thanks for the offer guys but I think us Kiwis will pass." But, Sonic, the whole point is to have a free trade zone so you Kiwis can make money trading with us and have as little to do as you like with our "wars, nukes and loony right-wing policies". What is not to like?

Anyway, NZ is remote and protected by Australia and the USA, so it can indulge in the illusion that wars are something that happens to other people because Kiwis are morally superior. Ha.

Posted by: Lex at January 26, 2006 05:02 PM

Sonic is perched a little too high on his elevated horse if he thinks he speaks for all Kiwis. My guess is that he comes from Auckland and has little in common with the good folks farther down in Canterbury, for instance, such as The Radical Tory, who shares a natural concern for Iranian nukes as one example that threatens the West. Sonic might be worried about British or American nukes, but most reasonable people are not.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 26, 2006 08:52 PM

Interesting article from the G & M on how it will become harder and harder for Canadian television to exist as a distinct entity. It is probably true for each country in the Anglosphere, which has had talent exchange for years in the entertainment industry.

Posted by: Richard Heddleson at January 27, 2006 07:53 AM

I hope you guys remember that the Tories took Auckland in the '05 elections! 40.7% for Labour and 39.6% for the Nats. I bet Helen Clark has nightmares about that election every night.

I have to admit this, though. The Nats aren't exactly the party of choice for me, but in NZ there doesn't seem to be a better option.

Posted by: Anton Traversa at January 27, 2006 08:08 AM

All very interesting but is Harper about to clamp down on the type of immigration Canda receives or does the Anglosphere mean nothing?

Reign in the social conservatives so big city folks are not scared. Thats a laugh. How many Canadian cities are still white enough for that to even matter. The immigrants are never going to vote for Harper anyway unless he advocates the ever open door and easy welfare - in which case what is the point of him vs the Liberals anyway?

Posted by: Lurker at January 29, 2006 07:29 AM

Sorry to harp on (hey, sort of a pun!) but if Harper cant so no to more immigration now then how will a conservative five years down the line be able say no when there x thousand more Indians and y thousand more Chinese in Canada?

In which case how long can Canada remain Canada? Once the anglo/euro population is the minority you forget the anglosphere idea cant you. I hope you guys arent really just another bunch of useless libertarians who think that Canada is still Canada when 70% of the population is Chinese (or whatever) . Hard working and law abiding they may be, they are not us and they dont care about us.

Posted by: Lurker at January 29, 2006 07:42 AM

This is bilge, Lurker. Canada, like the United States, is an immigrant country. Harper is rightly pro-immigration in a way that doesn't engage in the quite detestable Liberal practice of ethnic pandering. His stance against same-sex marriage is hugely popular in the immigrant communities, who on whole are much more conservative than the Liberal cosmopolitan elite.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 29, 2006 08:11 AM

Lurker-When 70% of the population is chinese, Canada will be looking a lot more like Singapore or Hong Kong(essentially republican polities) and you can be damn glad it did.

When given the opportunity, chinese are economically libertarian. But socially, they're still strongly conservative(re: the 3 Chinese nations of Singapore, Taiwan, China). But that's not necessarily a bad thing either. Canada could do with some reigning in of its social policies which have gone wayyy too far to the other side.

Posted by: The Wobbly Guy at January 29, 2006 09:26 AM

Lurker is correct. The Conservatives can't win in areas with lots of immigrants. That is why they failed so miserably in the Toronto suburbs.If they still can't win areas settled by Italians how likely is it the party of pro-Americanism that once stood for Empire, Orangeism, and still garners most of its votes from WASPs, will win over non-whites and non-Christians?

As the prime minister of Singapore put it recently - in a multiethnic country democracy is merely an ethnic head count. Gay marriage alone won't get minorities to vote Conservative. Those who think it will don't understand the importance of ethnic and national identity.

Michael J Smith says Harper didn't pander to ethnic minorities the way the Liberals did. That is laughable. In the last week of the campaign they sought to reassure Tamil Tiger supporters after Peter Mackay said they were terrorists. The Conservatives grovelled before the Chinese community over the old headtax - they were even more shameless than the Liberals on that one. There were no promises to get rid of official discrimination in employment against white Canadians and there won't be any in the future as immigrant communities would see that as going against their interests.

More immigration will further dilute English Canada. Quebec needs to get out while it still can or it will also end up losing it's identity.

Posted by: Matra at January 29, 2006 11:00 AM

Michael Smith - "immigrant communities, who on whole are much more conservative than the Liberal cosmopolitan elite" priceless! So why didnt they vote conservative? Maybe next time eh? That will be like the Hispanic vote in the US that one day is suddenly going to vote republican, just not yet.

Wobbly Guy - Oooh I'll be so glad when Canada is like Singapore - a one party state ruled by a Chinese guy. Whoopee do, lets break out the drinks.

I'll be glad when Canada is Chinese, well lets speed up the process then as its so good for us. Increase immigration, easily done. Perhaps we could encourage the existing population to have fewer children as well to hasten the much needed demographic change.

Thanks guys, you have answered my fears regarding the anglosphere concept - it means nothing.

Posted by: Lurker at January 29, 2006 11:03 AM

"...the anglosphere concept - it means nothing."

No, Lurker, it is just not about race, skin color, that stuff. If you want an idea that is about "keeping Canada white" or something along those lines, you are, indeed, in the wrong place. "Ruled by a Chinese guy?" If he were Canadian, why would you care if he is a Chinese guy? If he were to rule in a lawful way, or have policies you like, why would you care about that? But, you apparently do. Anyway, if you want to know what the Anglosphere concept is about, read the Primer.

One problem Canada has with assimilating immigrants is that Canada has so completely repudiated its identity that there is nothing to assimilate too. Canada has defined itself as multicultural, and so new immigrant groups take Canada at its word. Canada once had an identity, which is about a lot things that don't necessarily have to do with race. Can it rediscover or rebuild that? That is an open question. Can Harper work miracles? No. Can he move Canada incrementally in a better direction? He could. Maybe he will. We'll soon find out.

Posted by: Lex at January 29, 2006 03:36 PM

Matra, you could just as well argue that the Chinese head tax apology was based on principle, though yes the immigrant vote is still something to be courted. Liberal multiculturalism was mostly about ethnic pandering in my opinion, the giving out of grants by politicians to open up a Sihk temple, for example. I'm convinced the Tories are much more opposed to this kind of thing, though on matters of basic justice they may be just as likely to court favour.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at January 29, 2006 09:30 PM

Just for the record, the 'sonic' who posted above is in fact a recent Scottish immigrant to New Zealand. He is not a Kiwi, and never will be. He does like to tell Kiwi's (and everyone else by the looks of things) how they should live, however.

(I know this is an old thread, but it's just for the record!)

Posted by: kungen at August 11, 2007 03:58 PM
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