The free world has lost its leader. In the absence of a vigorous American foreign policy, Canada’s Stephen Harper supplied his own. For the better part of a decade, he energetically championed Western interests. He was serious about fighting terrorism, keen on free trade and prepared to deploy proportionate force in defense of freedom.
His defeat in last week’s Canadian general election will be felt far beyond that sparse, chilly country. When other Western leaders fretted about Israel’s 2006 Lebanon war, he gave his full backing to the Jewish state. When others dithered over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, he led international condemnation. Obliged to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit meeting, he was admirably curt: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: Get out of Ukraine.”
Canada, like most countries, partly defines itself with reference to what it isn’t; but Harper was uncomplicatedly pro-American and pro-British. In his first overseas speech as prime minister, he told a London audience how glad he was that his was a common-law, Anglosphere nation. As a matter of historical fact, this might not seem especially radical; but, my goodness, what a refreshing break from the line taken by previous Canadian leaders, namely that their country was a happy multiculti fusion of First Peoples and Acadians and Vietnamese boat people.
Why did Harper lose so badly? The Canadian Right got its second-lowest share of the vote since 1968, and can’t console itself with the thought that it was beaten by opponents whom it had dragged onto its own ground. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair had to meet their Right-wing rivals half way on many policy issues. But Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian PM, is like a depilated Occupy protester: pro-tax, anti-business, pro-pot, anti-America.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems mystifying. Canada was the best-performing major economy in the world, the only G7 state to come through the downturn without a downturn. It’s true that the recent drop in commodity prices caused a slowdown, but the big picture remained positive. Taxes were falling more rapidly than at any time in the nation’s history. Crime rates were at a record low. Illegal immigration had been curtailed, with the result that legal immigrants were grateful, patriotic and – unusually – happy to vote for the Right.
Full article: The free world has lost its leader (Family Security Matters)