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March 19, 2015

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Henry

Saying Harper is incrementalist certainly lets him off the hook for accomplishing very little in 9 years.

Cincinnatus

Scaling back public sector pensions, raising the retirement age for all Canadians, transforming the immigration system, ending the long-gun registry: that's your definition of 'very little'?

MadTrucker

The proof of PM Harper's successful incrementalism is that he created his substantial roster of accomplishments completely under the radar of his slack-jawed and clueless detractors. His approach has been like a glacier, slow, straightforward and damn near unstoppable, invisible to those who don't care to look. They resort to petty cheap shots about his effectivness and are flummoxed as to why they just can't ever seem to land that killer blow.

Kudos to Autoguy for his brilliantly reasoned, dead-accurate assessment of Harper's leadership methodology, and to you CC, for expanding on that assessment with such excellence. Harper's style has always seemed obvious and sensible to me, but I could never have explained it with the clarity the two of you have. Well done.

monkey

I think your median voter is centre-left in Canada and for a variety of reasons winning as a conservative is probably more difficult here than many places for a number of reasons. Historically Quebec has had a strong leftward pull as well as if you look at Canada's history, much of historical immigration were working class types wanting better opportunities as opposed to people facing persecution. I've even heard most Americans of British ancestry come from Southern England (which tends to vote Conservative) while in Canada most are Scottish or Northern England (which generally vote Labour). In addition the 60s is sort of when we become of age and unfortunately that was when leftist ideas were at their peak so many things that define us as Canadians are left wing ideas. By contrast in Europe, countries are defined by their history, language, and culture which date back thousands of years so their identity is less tied to any political ideology

Finally Canadians tend to be averse to change and only favour it when things get really bad and since when the Liberals were defeated in 2006 things were too bad there wasn't the same demand to swing rightward like say there was in Ontario in 1995 when the Rae government was turfed.

So in summary, those criticizing the right for not being pure enough need to realize just how difficult it is to win being even slightly right of centre let alone further to the right. Otherwise Harper is as right wing as he can be and still be electable. Anything further to the right and he would be turfed.

Henry

Abortion: nothing done
Gay marriage: nothing done
Budgets: largest deficits in history
Gun registry: don't own a gun don't care
US relations: worse
Military: weaker
Progress on Arctic: lots of announcements, no action
Corporate welfare: did it anyway
Fighting ISIS: 40 trainers and 6 jets. Commitment to kill ISIS does not match overheated rhetoric.
Fixed election date law: not ever followed
Public service: larger than when Harper took government

Rob West

Sorry Henry. but the lagest deficit in Canadian history was under PET in 1984. It cam in at over 8% GDP. In 2009 the deficit was 3.6% GDP, less than half the total. In fact the defict for 2009 doesn't make the top ten.

Roy Elsworth

henry ahhh we vote in October moron that is our fixed election date where did you get your info from that we didn't have fixed election dates.

Roy Elsworth

we didn't have a budgets largest defecit in history idiot. it was trudeau who did. harper went into a small defecit but we will be out bye the end of 2015 or 2016 were on target for that. okay to go into defecit as long as you get out. when the economy wasn't doing well around the world we had to go into a Defecit. but then again you don't know much about economics. like starting a business you go into a deefecit at first to get out.

Henry

Harper has increased the debt by 1/3. He is a fiscal disater.

The last 2 elections were not on the fixed election date cycle despite the law being in effect. Are you uninformed or just a partisan idiot?

Cincinnatus

Dear Henry:

I am a glass-half-full guy, not a glass-half-empty guy. The reason why is because I realize that politics (like most activities taking place in the real world) is a messy game.

I also suspect that when Prime MInister Harper is replaced by Prime MInister Trudeau, you will be reminiscing fondly at the good ol' days when Stephen Harper ran Canada with a firm hand at the rudder.

monkey

Henry - It's true Harper ran the biggest deficit in absolute numbers, but as a percent of GDP or even inflation adjusted, it wasn't close to what Trudeau ran. Its like saying a cheap car today is more expensive than a luxury car 35 years ago. You have to take inflation into account when making comparisons. Now I agree Harper's fiscal discipline has been weaker than the Chretien/Martin Liberals, but compared to Trudeau Sr., he has done much better. Also minority governments tend to produce bigger deficits than majority governments as no opposition party will ever vote in favour of the tough measures needed to bring the deficit down as it would involve either tax hikes or spending cuts which are never popular.

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