Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why Canada Cannot be De-Harperized

Naturally the Liberal victory has prompted quite a number of my fellow progressives to speculate about the process of what we might call the de-Harperization of Canada.  Some want it to be thorough.  It won't be.

For one thing, it's worth noting that -- contrary to the narrative being lazily put together by most of the press -- Canadian voters didn't really turn on Harper and reject him.  I don't mean just in the sense that only a minority voted for Trudeau -- that's how the Canadian electoral system works.  I mean that Harper got pretty much the same number of votes in 2015 as he did in 2011.  That Conservative "base," if you prefer to call it that, stayed with him through the electoral fraud conviction, the flagrant assaults upon the rule of law, the degradation of the Supreme Court to a repository of highly paid Albertan far-right bloggers, the snitch lines, the sketchy cuts to social services, the winding-up of environmental regulation, the niqab race-baiting, the dismal economic performance, and all the rest.

And in fact it's worse than that.  I know, and I'm sure you know, a few people who were solidly Conservative and told you this time they'd be voting for someone else.  Maybe they weren't being entirely truthful, but I think we should give at least some of them the benefit of the doubt.  Which means, that a whole pile of other Canadians who hadn't previously voted for Harper looked at all of the above and said, yep, I'll have some more of that.

Second, the media remains solidly in the Harper camp, even if there is no longer a Harper to lead it.  Much like the rest of the party that the Globe & Mail and the National Post editorial boards faithfully serve, the papers are presently in a round of superficial palace coup-style "rethinking," which they explicitly say they hope will keep the fundamental policies intact but put a new "sunnier" face on top of it.  So snitch lines, with a smile. Anyone want to take a bet on who the Globe will endorse in 2019?

Third, there simply isn't enough time in the day. You could do a poll of Liberal Party supporters, let alone other progressives, and probably find 50 things from the Harper era that people think the government ought to undo, and 50 more things that they think it's long past time the government did. There are only 24 hours in Trudeau's day. Some of them have to be occupied with sleep. Even if he shows more willingness to delegate than Harper infamously did(n't), it's hard to imagine the new government pressing forward on more than, let's say, a half-dozen serious initiatives.  So the vast majority of the Harper state will remain in place.

1 comment:

  1. I have this fantasy that JT will present an Omnibus Bill entitled "A Bill to Restrict the Over-Use of Omnibus Bills in the Canadian Parliament" that would lay out the ground rules for their use. It would then have hundreds of pages of attachments that would repeal every piece of legislation passed by the all three past Harper Governments. Oh well, a girl can dream.