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Sunday, October 15, 2006 

Canada's New Bush-Style Politics

American journalist, Richard Fricker has some enlightening observations on the current mood of Canadian politics. As an outsider looking in, his perspective is quite interesting. Here's a portion of his article dated October 14, 2006 from Consortium News:

"As an American journalist visiting my wife’s relatives in Canada, I’ve always been struck by how ardently the country’s political discourse focused on substance – the budget, health care, schools, roads – with little of the cheap theatrics and angry divisiveness of U.S. politics and punditry.

But in my visit this past summer, I noticed that the tone of Canada suddenly had changed. There was a nastier edge to the commentary. There were not so subtle appeals to racism and xenophobia, references to Muslim neighborhoods in Quebec as “Quebecistan” and to Lebanese-Canadians as “Hezbocrats,” a play on the Muslim group Hezbollah.

It was as if a virus that had long infected the people south of the border had overnight jumped containment and spread northward establishing itself in a new host population. But – as I began to study this new phenomenon – it became clear that this infection did not just accidentally break quarantine.

Rather, it was willfully injected into the Canadian body politic by conservative strategists and right wing media moguls who had studied the modern American model and were seeking to replicate it."

Full Article

There is a way, of course, for Canuckistanis to fight back.

"Rather, it was willfully injected into the Canadian body politic by conservative strategists and right-wing media moguls who had studied the modern American model and were seeking to replicate it."

I think Richard Fricker is absolutely correct. Harper's Conservatives are not interested in a substantive debate. They are interested only in the politics of divisiveness.

Thanks for this, Leftdog! I'll post it elsewhere to inform my other friends :-)

This is supposed to prove something? Take two seconds and Google Richard L. Fricker. He has about as much credibility on this subject as Joe Volpe does on campaign reform. Doesn't care too much for accuracy in reporting either.

Vigourous discourse and debate is healthy for political debate but this article doesn't even make the tabloid standard of journalism.

And your problem is what - that he is NOT a raving right wing nutbar like the Blogging Tory's love to read?

You right wingers should enjoy what little time you have left with your boy in Sussex Drive.

Canadians are sick of you 'wannabe' Republicans. Wingnuts!

Fricker is the husband of the wife who no doubt is not a Conservative, nor any friend of a Conservative.

Fair game, if being politically cute were more important to a writer, than being politically on point.

Looking at just a few of the points he tries to make:

1. "...this past summer, I noticed that the tone of Canada suddenly had changed. There was a nastier edge to the commentary."

That is what happens when a country, lives wit being in a UN-sanctioned, NATO led war, that has little chance of resolution any time soon.

People's moods are sad and increasingly sour, when they see another one of our soldiers dying for a cause that takes a lot of chewing on.

2. "pugnacious ‘tude of American political combat, wedge issues pounded in with a zeal that put the goal of winning and holding power over everything else."

Richard, bite your tongue...there is not one political party, anywhere, that does NOT run with the aim to win power. And wedge issues are what gets the job done. Do get a grip on reality...lol

3. "Columnist Don MacPherson equated those protests, where some demonstrators waved Hezbollah flags, with pro-terrorism."

Well doh, they weren't waving flags of any state. They were waving flags of The Hezbollah, a group already declared by the Liberal party, when in government, as being terrorists!

4. Trying to tie this Prime Minister to being a confidant and bud of any of the national media, is pure lack of doing due diligence in his work. Did his wife not keep him up on the PPG, who had to cave in finally, after their snit, and after seeing others in the media being given interviews. And yes, their leader,Malvo, has shown that he expects the Press Gallery to be the one to pick their favorites to ask the questions in a news conference. That is why the poor reporter who was called upon by the PM, to ask his question ahead of the CBC's Julie Van D, was so stumble-mouthed when she started to croak in consternation, that she was there first...She was due first pick...always and for ever more....or more door-banging during the private meetings with the PM, for child cancer victims. Yes, that is the media that Richard is holding out as professional and even-handed. Yup..... he's is onto something...lol Yves Malo, his good buddy and pres of the PPG might look in the mirror, on his part in the whole summer with the other media ...it was kind of nice while it lasted. We saw new faces and some respect for a change.

5. "Harper moved west to Alberta in 1978 to work in the petroleum industry. Similarly, Bush cut his teeth as a Texas oilman, albeit a failed one."

Oh please, The Prime Minster was an accountant, probably a very good one, and he got to see how that industry is tied in every way, to the wealth of Canada! The president is a millionare.and lives in entirely differnt circles. But, I have no doubt they both see the value of having this resource to their economies. Richard tries to slay his dragons by making comparisons that are valid.... their relationship is not as close friends...and Richard is playing parlor games with stretching the connections.

6. "so too did Alberta and its oil industry influence the political development of Harper and the emergence of modern Canadian conservatism."

Well, modern conservativism had to find its way, and it was not easy, by fighting for the rights of Western Canadians, and their resource, oil/gas! The Liberals already applied the NEP, and Mulroney was toooooo slow to discard it. It was an awful time in The West, for many families....and linking that terrible time to the making of a mini-US President is distasteful!

7. "Harper concluded that Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative Party was too liberal, so he quit it in 1986."

Pure bologna! The reason he left was because of the way Mulroney's conservatives continued to treat The West. The only thing Liberal about it, was continuing the NEP, which got the Liberals booted.

8. "For inspiration in building this new brand of Canadian conservatism, Harper looked to Washington, ....... to replace cooperation with confrontation."

This was THE time when The West knew it was being poorly treated, and they were not going to take it any more. They did NOT need any American politician to bolster their anger!

9. "In 1993, Harper ran for the House of Commons again, this time aided by a tactic pioneered by U.S. conservatives – having ostensibly independent organizations tear down one’s opponent..."

Oh really? Hawkes was part of the Mulroney gang...the only conservative party that the West could no longer stomach. They was not one chance in all heck's acre, that a old-time Tory had a chance in Alberta. This writer truly is ill-informed!

10. "Harper picked up other tips from Bush’s political adviser Karl Rove, such as the importance of transforming the Christian evangelical movement into an activist base for conservative politics. "

Not much chnace that Richard could leave out that name,lol, but again he is so far off the mark. Harper is not one to seek out the evangelical base at all. He is very careful to not lean on the social conservatives, as he understands what that did to Day. And besides, Harper is simply not that religious, church-going politician.

11. "As this Americanized version of Canadian conservatism took shape, Harper was cribbing, too, from another rising U.S. politician, George W. Bush. Harper said his goal was to tap into a political base “similar to what George Bush tapped.”

Does he have a link for this or is its its wife's recollection? And what is the context? Politicians seek their base. That is what they do. He tries to make it unseemly. Do not all citizens get their vote?

12. " As with the congressional Democrats in the United States a decade earlier, the Canadian Liberal Party found itself beset with corruption allegations and suffering from growing public resentment about high taxes."

Ohhh, I think we know it was allll about the scandal, don't you;)

13. "Harper also brought into play evangelical Protestants, through his membership in the Christian and Missionary Alliance,....... and targeted North Africa’s Muslims for conversion to Christianity.

Oy, here he goes with the church stuff gain...and I am shocked that he doesn't know that North Africans cannot even vote in Canada....is he anti-religion, too?

14. "Even with a supportive right-wing news media protecting your flanks, still pick a fight with the rest of the national news media."

There will be as many claiming that those same media outlets are as much against Harper, as he claims they are for him...not credible for Richard to spend that much ink on those pronouncements, no matter how hard he tries to twist the facts.

And since when does the output of some later-to-be-found-incorrect media story play so much of a part in the Prime Minister's actions?

The media got it wrong, so more misinformation, wrapped up to look fleshed out..

15. "Canadians will recoil at the thought of losing their pleasant country with its national health insurance.."

Canadians recoil alright...at the way this healthcare system is functioning, and that is mostly a provincial matter...unless of course the Premiers have been meeting with those 'nasties' south of the border, too...just not believable, Richard.

Anonymous said: “Fricker is the husband of the wife who no doubt is not a Conservative, nor any friend of a Conservative.”
What are you talking about? - The wife is not even relevant to the article. Your point is that this article is not going to be from the ‘friend’ of Conservatives. So ... the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you have to write a VERY long piece to counter whatever arguments this ‘non Conservative is going to make,


Anonymous said: “That is what happens when a country, lives wit being in a UN-sanctioned, NATO led war, that has little chance of resolution any time soon. People's moods are sad and increasingly sour, when they see another one of our soldiers dying for a cause that takes a lot of chewing on.”
What? Fricker is not talking about the nation being ‘sad’ or in mourning - he is talking about the NASTY tone coming from Conservatives!


Anonymous said: “Well doh, they weren't waving flags of any state. They were waving flags of The Hezbollah, a group already declared by the Liberal party, when in government, as being terrorists!”
You Conservatives just can’t get over that one can you. You simply want to dismiss Hezbollah’s raison d’etre because they aren’t ‘a country’. Get over it - they are what they are and simply don’t fit your narrow world view/

Anonymous said: “4. Trying to tie this Prime Minister to being a confidant and bud of any of the national media, is pure lack of doing due diligence in his work.”
Not the ‘national media’ but the ‘owners of the national media’ - the media are still ticked off at Harper.

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