This election in Canada can be summed up pretty easily.
Most Canadians agree that the Liberals are arrogant, feel they don't deserve to be re-elected and are too comfortable in government. Significant support for them tends to come from people who distrust the Conservatives more.
Most Canadians feel Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have a hidden agenda though Harper once deemed scary has soften his image a great deal. He is attracting more support due in large part to the Liberal governments ongoing series of scandals and a good amount of duct tape to ensure none of his candidates speaks from the hip.
The NDP are thought to be the best party of social issues and in particular key issues like Health Care and the Environment yet Canadians don't want or trust them to be government. Jack Layton however scores higher than the other leaders on trust and as the guy who would be the most enjoyable to have a beer with.
It would be a safe bet that if Canada had a more Liberal leaning Conservative party, Paul Martin and his gang of entitlement takers would be tossed rather unceremoniously and deservedly so. Harper and his gang, the ruminants of Reform and older conservatives are in the game today because of the Liberal party's blatant and gross misuse of power and privilege. Many people are considering voting Conservative simply because of the Liberals should not be rewarded with another term in office.
Voting for the Conservatives and Stephen Harper will of course, in the end constitute a government of radical change. While we will be satisfied for a short time with the idea that we sure kicked those Liberals and they got what they deserved, will we be happy with Stephen Harper's Foreign Minister Stockwell Day visiting our armed forces in Iraq or joining a US invasion of Iran?
What about Canadian domestic affairs? Are you ready for Vic Toews as Justice Minister? Toews is not only opposed to same-sex marriage and access to abortion, but against many rights held by minority Canadians and feels the Supreme Court is too powerful.
What about Stephen Harper's pledge to hand over more federal money to the provinces with no accountability to Parliament for how it is spent? What about Star Wars? A Harper government will work with the USA to put weapons in space, will work to kill the Kyoto Accord and dismantle many federal programs.
In an article written by Stephen Harper on the Christian Coalition International website he warns Social Conservatives they need to be patient, to accept incremental change otherwise they can give up on electoral success.
Harper of course likely was thinking of other governments like the Ontario Bob Rae government that often brought in change that was too sweeping for most in that province, too quickly, too much. And the change that many liked in Ontario or desired alienated its own support base. Harper is preparing his support base this way ...
" ..., we must realize that real gains are inevitably incremental. This, in my experience, is harder for social conservatives than for economic conservatives. The explicitly moral orientation of social conservatives makes it difficult for many to accept the incremental approach. Yet, in democratic politics, any other approach will certainly fail. ....- but conservatives should be satisfied if the agenda is moving in the right direction, even if slowly."
The Conservative Party is the party of choice for the Christian Right in Canada. The Christian leadership was clearly evident at the the last Conservative party convention. By now we all know that Harper will attempt to reverse gay marriage rights, what about their views on abortion? At the convention the party voted by a narrow margin not to become officially anti-abortion.
The Conservative party is only one convention away from being officially anti-abortion. Encouraged by successes in the United States and financed with millions of dollars from US Christian right wing groups, the Canadian Christian Right is on the march.
High profile American Evangelical political operatives have been providing advice and attending conferences and works shops across the country. Grassroots action meant to bring as many Social Conservative Christians out as possible to vote and to vote for the Conservatives. These people are also being encouraged to join the Conservative Party and assist in selecting candidates that hold strong social conservative views.
The Christian Right has been moderately effective so far and with these well coordinated efforts should be able to send enough delegates to the next Conservative convention to win the abortion issue and advance the Christian Right's religious based agenda.
Ideally this election will deny the Liberals or Conservatives a majority government. They will be tempered by a stronger NDP presence in the house. The NDP showed Canadians they were in Parliament to work while the Conservatives and Liberals spent the days playing silly games one desperate to stay in power and the other desperate to force them out. Again the NDP were moderate in they demands of the Liberal government in return for allowing Parliament to keep working.
Nothing in the current NDP platform suggests they will waver from that moderate place and that spells bad news for the Liberals. The usual Liberal appeal to voters, "vote for us or the other guys might win" won't work this time. Canadians can expect that neither the Liberals or the Conservatives are likely to have a majority government (barring any more Liberal officials saying stupid things on blogs).
The ultimate Canadian compromise should play out in the election. We will elect a right wing party to govern but not without a balance to keep them in check, the NDP will have enough seats to ensure that.
Its no secret to those of you reading my blog often that I will be supporting the NDP and Jack Layton. Thankfully Canadians have that option as well, we can deliver a blow to Liberals and keep the Conservatives in check. What more could we want!
For more on Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party, rights, social conservatives, evangelical and the Christian Right use the Technorati search box in the sidebar here and at Queer Thoughts. Also check out Progressive Bloggers.
tags: Canada, Human Rights, Christian Right, Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper