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Stephen Harper: An Appreciation

Canada and the world are about to bid farewell to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He and Canada’s Conservative Party were, unfortunately, defeated by the Liberals in Monday’s election ending their nearly ten years of power. The Liberals are led by Justin Trudeau who is the son of Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who served in this position from 1968-1979 and 1980-1984. Trudeau pere was a arrogant and pretentious twit who cemented the welfare state in Canadian politics and engaged in leftist global barnstorming which sought to create a moral equivalence between the U.S. and Soviet Union and he proved to be an often irritating personality for the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan Administrations.

Harper was a generally effective economic manager who sheltered Canada from the worst effects of the global recession even though he was forced to engage in stimulus spending during the first five years of his tenure when the Conservatives were the largest party, but still a minority, in the Canadian Parliament. He also helped reunify Canada’s Conservative Party in 2003 a decade after being devastated in the 1993 elections and being split into two rump factions. Harper rejected the moral equivalence doctrine prevalent in many sectors of Canadian foreign policy thinking, and proved to be a stalwart defender of freedom globally. Canadian troops, whose service in Afghanistan, began under a previous Liberal Party government, fought alongside us against Al Qaeda and the Taliban and many of them were killed. This helped revive a dormant national pride in Canadian military service. Canadian forces have conducted bombing raids against ISIS although, unfortunately, Trudeau fils has told Obama that Canada will pull out of this supporting role to focus on training anti-ISIS forces.

Harper was also a stalwart defender of Israel and stood against Islamist terror at home when the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa was attacked with a Canadian soldier being killed outside the Canadian War Memorial. His government was trying to bring through tough anti-Islamist terrorist legislation due the horror of Islamist appeasing mush brains before the election. Harper’s government also stood up against oppressive Islamist practices against women, when he advocated requiring Muslim Canadian women to remove the niqab when they took the oath of citizenship. This prudent advocacy was also greeted with terror by the leftist diversity apparatchiks.

Harper’s Government reduced Canada’s Goods and Services Tax (GST), a national sales tax, from 7%-5%, and sought to reduce the government’s hold on Canadians wallets through policies. His government was wise to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol recognizing that “green energy” was not a comprehensively viable option for a country blessed with enormous fossil fuel reserves and the world’s second largest national territory. Harper’s Government successfully negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership which will further open Asian markets (outside of China) to Canadian exports and to U.S. exports if our Congress is wise enough to adopt it. His government also supported the Keystone Pipeline which our ecozealot Obama Administration has dithered on and rejected compelling the Canadians to look to China for a market for their immense oil and natural gas resources.

He had his flaws. Inheriting a party with a history of indiscipline, he could be a control enthusiast who didn’t allow individual Members of Parliament (MPs), the freedom to introduce legislation and he sought to overly control his government’s messaging and had an adversarial relationship with the press. However, this problem is common in many democracies and most of the traditional media, personified by the smug Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, reflects an ossified leftist secularist mindset. Harper also could have done better promoting conservative social and intellectual changes in Canadian political culture by taking even modest steps to restrict the occurrence of abortion. Unfortunately, the secularist welfare state mindset has become strongly enshrined in Canadian political culture and Harper was not enough of a culture warrior to seek to overturn this. It’s particularly sad that so many Canadians genuflect before their single payer health care system in a manner comparable to the biblical characters prostrating themselves before Aaron’s golden calf despite this system’s egregious failings in areas such as timely service. While Harper talked a good game on foreign policy and international security, his government did not do enough to strengthen the Canadian military.

Soon to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party ran a more effective campaign than the Conservatives who were tired after nearly a decade in power. Trudeau did promise middle class taxes but we’ll see if he delivers on that. Unfortunately, he is the preferred candidate of Canadian abortionists, and has told fellow Liberals who have genuine moral convictions against this evil that their perspective is not welcome. It is highly unlikely he’ll be a forceful voice for human freedom internationally against ISIS and a resurgent Russia under Vladimir Putin which covets Arctic Ocean territory and waters adjoining Canada. Trudeau seems likely to resurrect the liberal Canadian childhood faith in the United Nations and international peacekeeping (instead of fighting and dying to advance freedom) which will be absolutely worthless in dealing with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and Islamist terrorism.

The Conservatives will spend the next several months looking for a new leader since Harper has resigned his leadership but will remain a House of Commons MP from Calgary. Once they find one who can effectively articulate an alternative to Trudeau’s inevitably disappointing and failed policies, they should have a decent chance to reclaim power in the 2019 elections. American conservatives should thank Stephen Harper for his good stewardship of Canada since February 2006 and wish him, his wife Laureen, and their children Ben and Rachel, godspeed in the years to come. Harper’s memoirs will also he worth looking forward to. Democracies run in cycles and, for the moment, a period of Conservative preeminence in Canada has ended to be replaced by a resurgent liberalism which was actually in 3rd place in Canadian politics after the 2011 election. Trudeau and his Liberals will have a few moments in the son before the hard realities of economic management, international security challenges, and inevitable human failings turn them out of power in a few years.

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