Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper formed his first minority government in 2006 and was sworn in as Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister on February 6th. He was the first Conservative Prime Minister after thirteen years of Liberal rule. After his government was defeated in 2008, Harper came back with a larger minority government and in May this year he finally won a majority government.
Harper promised to rid the country of the expensive gun registry and he did. Some provinces requested that the data be retained so they could start their own. Harper has denied the request, stating that he said he would abolish the registry and keeping the data would keep it alive and just permit someone else to start it up again.
He has been clear on the Kyoto Accord from the start. Making it clear that it cannot reduce greenhouse gases when the major world greenhouse gas emitters are not part of the agreement. After the Durban conference this year, Canada advised the UN that it would pull out of the Kyoto accord.
The Conservative government abolished the Canadian Wheat Board, which was used to market grain for Western farmers. Farmers in the past could be prosecuted for marketing their own crop. Eastern farmers were not subject to the marketing rules of the Wheat Board.
In addition, the Conservative government has become hard on crime, has made it clear that it stands with Israel and has been willing to offer praise to Canada’s miitary. The Canadian military was largely neglected under successive Liberal governments, who thought that UN Peacekeeping missions were the end all, be all. While Canadian troops performed admirably on peacekeeping missions around the world, they seldom received the required support from the UN, the Canadian government and the Canadian public. The Conservatives have changed that.
Harper recently also changed the approach to Canada Health Care, telling provincial governments that the responsibility for administration is shifting back to them. Provinces have spend and spend on healthcare, knowing that the federal government would fund it with transfer payments from richer provinces. The onus is now on provinces to make it affordable.
The account highlighted below by the National Post’s Kelly Parland is an interesting read, which encompasses the complaints by Canada’s left and the actual actions by the Conservative government. US readers will find many similarities between the Right and Left in U.S. politics.
One of the more popular themes of the traditional year-end political assessments has been the end of Canada as we know it due to the determination of the federal Conservatives to do things previous governments haven’t done.
They’re “changing Canada,” and we’re supposed to be nervous about it. It’s possible we could wake up and find ourselves in a country we don’t recognize. Given the extent of the changes that have taken place during minority government and six short months of a Harper majority, Lord knows what irreversible alterations could yet be in store.
It’s a curious case to be making, given that it’s based largely on an assumption that change is bad, and any alteration to the status quo is to be feared. Especially since resistance to change is supposed to be a conservative trait, whereas “progressives” like to see themselves as warriors for new approaches and ideas. It’s also odd in that the Harper government is giving its attention largely to problems that have become chronic, which suggests that the old methods weren’t working, and stubbornly sticking to the same failed approaches would therefore seem inadvisable, if not flat-out foolish. National Post