Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Right in Canada = Left everywhere else

For all our pride in being citizens of the world, connoisseurs of the BBC World News, and general cosmopolitan in our interests (unlike the self-absorbed Americans), Canadians, if you'll pardon the pun, can be awfully provincial. The Conservative Party in Canada, the main political opposition to the now-ruling Liberal Party, gets routinely labelled "far right" and "extremist" and it leader Stephen Harper is feared and loathed as a "right winger" by The Toronto Star/GlobeandMail/CBC media juggernaut.

Guess what? Compared to similar countries around the world, the presupposition is false. And someone smarter than me proved it. A sample from Professor James Allan:

“In global terms, it's simply not true. Take today's Tories and Stephen Harper out of Canada and plunk them in New Zealand and they would be to the left of Helen Clark's Labour government.

“The same goes for Australia. Compare the policies of the left-wing Labour Party there (on defence, immigration, the environment, health, education, you name it) to Canadian Tories' policies and Harper consistently stands to the left of Australian Labour, not the right.”

“All I can say to that is that people down in Australia and New Zealand, even in the U.K., must be made of sterner stuff, they would never rejoice in such self-emasculation. Thank God for the natural beauty of Cape Breton and Algonquin Park. As for the politics, Canadians clearly deserve what they get.”



Blogger Luka Majuka said...

I just posted this on my site:
...our perception of liberalism and indeed socialism is somewhat distorted. The consensus amongst the British population is that Tony Blair is the best leader the Tories could (at present) have; yet America still perceives Blair to be the leader of the Labour Party. Our Democratic Party is considered the "liberals," but in terms of gloabl perspective, polices of the Democrats overlap with those of the Conservative Party in the UK. Whilst seize the dei is criticising Canada for being left of global central, he conviently omits Americas far right.

6:55 AM

Anonymous Patrick said...


Nice try. I nowhere criticized Canada for being left of global central, as you tellingly put it. What I criticized was the ignorance on the part of so many Canadians as to what conservative and liberal really mean. We Canadians are famous for self-identifying as avante garde "citizens of the world," who decry Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party as right wing, far right etc etc when in fact, compared to, say, NZ and the UK, those same policies woud be deemed more left wing. I was simply drawing attention to this lack of perspective.

As for America, I was hardly "omitting" anything. As every CBC-loving, NFB-sponsoring, Globe & Mail-reading, David Suzuki-adoring Canadian "knows," America is so far beyond the far right that it's unworthy of comment. Why state the "obvious"?

12:42 PM


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