The New York Times makes a point to cast the Canadian election as a non-ideological victory for the Conservatives on Wednesday. Canada-based reporter Clifford Krauss marks the country’s groundbreaking election of a Conservative government over a headline seemingly meant to reassure the Times’ timorous liberal readership: “Canada’s Shift: To the Right, Gently – Harper Defeated Liberals More Over Scandals Than Policies.”
Last May, the Canada-based Krauss assumed the liberal view that international treaties and gay marriage laws were signs of political virtue and tolerance: "Canadian cities are among the most ethnically diverse and safest in the world. Canadian tolerance took real form during the past two years with the extension of marriage rights to gays and lesbians in most of the country."
And in November 2003, Krauss compared U.S. gays getting married in Canada to U.S. slaves escaping the pre-war South.
He opens his Wednesday piece with an ominous what-if:
“Has Canada turned upside down in electing Stephen Harper as the next prime minister? Are conservative winds suddenly blowing through cities where gays and lesbians legally marry and the government pays everyone's health bills? The next leader of Canada expresses skepticism about the Kyoto climate change protocol, opposes same-sex marriage and wants to make the Canadian military muscular again. He openly supported the American-led invasion of Iraq. All are positions that put Mr. Harper, 46, well to the right on the Canadian political spectrum. By electing this free-market economist from Alberta, a conservative oil-producing province frequently likened to Texas, it may seem that the Canadian people were trying to debunk the prevailing political wisdom of recent years that their progressive-minded nation was drawing further and further away from the United States.”
But have no fear, American liberals:
“But many analysts and political observers here caution that it is too soon to draw too stark a conclusion from the election on Monday, in which Mr. Harper's party won a mere 36.3 percent of the popular vote. The shift in Canadian politics is likely to be far from seismic. Mr. Harper ran a tightly orchestrated campaign focused pragmatically on the pocketbook, shirking ideology and hot-button social issues.”
In a tone reminiscent of the media’s attitude toward the Republican’s 1994 takeover of Congress, Krauss dismisses the idea that ideology played a factor, suggesting people were rejecting the ruling party, not embracing the Conservatives:
“The election outcome, in fact, can be read as more of a rejection of Prime Minister Paul Martin's scandal-racked Liberal Party than an embrace of Mr. Harper's own modest agenda. Implicitly acknowledging that his backing was less than overwhelming, he noted that voters had ‘asked us to cooperate, to work together and to get on with tackling the real issues that matter to ordinary working people and their families.’”
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