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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Are Canadians trying to "preact" to the American election?

There is some angst out there over the latest Nanos poll that puts the Liberals a mere three points out of first. This space has seen some conjecture about why.

I have a different view.

If you ask me, Canadians are actually looking to their south, and making decisions accordingly - which could be terrible news for the Conservatives.

Harper took a chance by dropping the writ when he did, but he had a good reason.  Since the Great Depression, there have been thirteen Canadian elections observed by a Democrat in the White House.  Eleven were Liberal victories (nine majorities); in the other two, Diefenbaker lost his majority in 1962, and Joe Clark edged Trudeau in 1979.  Neither Conservative government lasted a year.  By contrast, with a Republican President, the Tories won six times (four majorities and two minorities which turfed Liberal governments).  The Grits won four, but its 1953 majority was less than a year into the Eisenhower Administration; 1974 was during the Republicans' worst ebb since said Depression; and the other two were reductions from Grit majorities to Grit minorities.

In other words, odds are Harper had a much better shot at keeping his job (let alone a majority) with a Republican President.  I'm guessing he decided this summer he couldn't take a chance on the American people, and thus pulled the plug when he did.

At first, it looked brilliant.  McCain actually pulled into the lead in early September, and it should be no surprise that the Conservative majority looked most likely while McCain was the favorite.  As Obama rose, the Conservatives fell.

Now, any more drop in Tory support could mean a stunning defeat.

Will it happen?  Well, if I'm right, it will depend largely on where Obama and McCain stand on October 14.  if Obama maintains the lead he has now, I'm guessing - you heard it here first - that Dion wins.  Yes, Dion wins.

Canadians are looking at the rest of the world, and seeing it move left.  Beyond America, Australia is under a Labour government (the whole "plagiarism" thing likely did Harper more demage by reminding everyone that John Howard was bounced last year), while the conservative leader in France is under severe strain.  While the British Conservatives are flying high, their man in the London Mayor's chair openly endorsed Obama.  India's elections aren't for another six months, and while the right looks to do well in New Zealand, no one pays attention to New Zealand.

Re-electing the Conservatives would lead Canada sticking out like a sore thumb, and I'm guessing far too many Canadians can't bear the sight of that.

What does it mean?  It means either I'm way off base (and it wouldn't be the first time), or that the fate of Stephen Harper lies more with John McCain and Barack Obama than anyone north of the 49th.

We'll all know in a week.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 7, 2008 in Canadian Politics, International Politics | Permalink


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I don't think people really sit around considering who the Mayor of London endorsed in the American Presidential contest when making their choice for Canadian Prime Minister.

Posted by: Tom | 2008-10-07 10:10:53 PM

Hm. I'm not convinced, but it wouldn't be the first time I was completely off base, either. It will definitely be an interesting phenomenon to look back on in a week if things actually take that turn.

I still think Harper will win a minority - which is surprising enough, given how weak the Grits were a very short time ago.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-10-07 10:19:23 PM

Has anyone considered the damage Layton's ads are doing. Another question is, does anyone remember how Layton and his wife, Oliva Chow, were caught living in subsidized housing in Toronto in the early 90's when they were making over a 100 grand between them.

Maybe it's time for Harper to start hitting back with some ads of his own and not just against Dion's Green Shift.

Posted by: smoltalk | 2008-10-07 11:00:23 PM

So since the U.S. picks Obama, Canada must move left or stick out like a sore thumb? Get real! The world is moving right not left, genius! Most democracies are now governed by right-leaning parties. Italy(2008 election), France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Greece, Poland, Romania, Andorra, Lichenstein, and Albania, Malta, Japan, Phillipines, South Korea(2008), Taiwan(2008), and Turkey are governed by right-wing parties. Germany, Belgium, Switzerland(Far right pulls 29% in 2007), Iceland, Finland, Czech Republic and Luxembourg are governed by right-left coalitions where the right-wing parties are dominant. In Poland, the left polls only at 5% of the vote while the two main right-wing parties poll at over 80%. In Romania, the left's share of the vote is only 25%. The left is virtually nonexistent in Turkey and the Phillipines. The most recent election(2008) in Austria had almost 30% vote for the far-right and another 27% for mainstream conservatives. In Norway, Britain, Hungary, and Bulgaria the center-left governments are expected to be clobbered at the next election. Polls show that the centrist government in Israel would lose to Likud. Only the Swedish and Czech Republic right-leaning governments are in danger. Mexico and Columbia are governed by conservatives. Polls show that center-left governments in Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela will be replaced in the next election. Finally, Obama has moved ahead both because of the financial crisis and his attempt to portray himself as more right-leaning. Obama has shifted his views on a wide variety of issues for the general election. Obama now claims to be pro-death penalty, opposed to further gun control legislation, opposed to gay marriage, pro-missile defense, pro-oil drilling, pro-nuclear power plants, and now claims that he will cut government budgets(and cut taxes on 95% of population). In other words, the leftist is running as something other than a Canadian style liberal/ndp type(Obama now keeps repeating that he will kill Osama never mentions capturing him anymore). In fact, many of his new positions put him to the right of canada's conservative party. Either he has to govern based on his new positions or move left post-election and be called a liar. Also, if Obama sticks to his original policy of tax increases on upper incomes, $1 trillion in new spending, renegotiating NAFTA and cuts nothing than it will backfire on him. The Democrats did the same thing and failed in the 1970's. If Obama sticks to his old plan and screws up the economy then I truly hope that the Canadian left uses him as their poster boy in the next election. Face it, if Canada's goal is simply to fit in internationally then the country must move right politically. Harper is closer to the international mainstream than Dion or Layton.

Posted by: Danny | 2008-10-07 11:32:27 PM

"At first, it looked brilliant."

No, it looked like a power freak transgressing the elections rules established by: HIMSELF!

Posted by: Marc | 2008-10-08 7:07:35 AM

"Face it, if Canada's goal is simply to fit in internationally then..."

Canadians are idiots and will be remembered as whores.

Posted by: Marc | 2008-10-08 7:17:05 AM


You're a Canadian.

Independence means paying your own way.

Is Quebec ready to finance its own artists?

Posted by: set you free | 2008-10-08 8:52:36 AM

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