Canada: This Union Can't Be Saved
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[Previously by Kevin Michael Grace: Canada's Harper Rejects Sailer Strategy—And Loses]

Here are the facts about January 23's Canadian federal election:

  • Stephen Harper won a minority government. His party, the Conservatives, took 124 of 308 seats in the House of Commons, up from 99 in 2004. Harper will replace Prime Minister Paul Martin, the man Harper held to a minority government two year ago.
  • Martin's party, the Liberals, took 103 seats, down from 135 in 2004. Martin will soon be replaced by someone else; he announced his resignation last night.
  • The separatist (or "sovereigntist," as they prefer) Bloc Québecois took 51 seats, down from 54. The BQ now holds the balance of power in Parliament.

The 2006 election was almost identical to 2004's, with one major exception: the Conservatives and Liberals switched positions. In 2004, the Liberals took 36.7% of the popular vote; in 2006, 30.2%. In 2004, the Conservatives took 29.6% of the vote; in 2006, 36.2%.

Harper's government is exceedingly weak. The Conservatives fell 31 seats short of a majority. Canadian minority governments (like the last one) tend to last a year and a half. This one could fall even sooner. Harper has no obvious path to a coalition—with one major exception, which I will examine below.

The Liberals and the NDP are both to the left of the Conservatives socially and fiscally and will not tolerate any right-wing legislation. In addition, Canada's quasi-powerful Senate is dominated by Liberal appointees, the significance of which Harper has publicly acknowledged.

So much you can get from the MSM. But here are the truths about yesterday's Canadian election that you won't see anywhere except

1. The Sailer Strategy Was Vindicated Again

I have consistently underestimated Stephen Harper throughout his career, and his victory is a tribute to his ambition and tenacity. That said, when examined closely, this victory looks very much like a defeat.

Every quarter-century or so, the endemic corruption and arrogance of the Liberals so disgusts Canadians that they take a flyer on the Conservatives. This occurred in 1930, 1958 and 1984.

This year, 2006, should have been another Conservative majority year. All the stars were in alignment. Paul Martin was a weak and inept leader, nicknamed "Mr. Dithers" or "Dumpling." His Liberals had been torn apart by ongoing civil war. The so-called "Adscam" bribery scandal, perpetrated by Martin's predecessor, Jean Chrétien, simply refused to die. Finally, the Liberal election campaign was a shambles.

Harper, however, managed to win only 114 of 233 seats in English Canada. This is a worse showing (after adjusting for House of Commons seat inflation) than managed by Clark or the other great Conservative loser, Robert Stanfield.

Harper did so poorly in English Canada because he once again rejected the Sailer Strategy: he refused to graze where the grass is. Despite torrential recent Third World immigration, Canada is still overwhelmingly white: 86% at the time of the 2001 census. Voters of non-European origin, who tend to be concentrated in Canada's three largest cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, are stubbornly Liberal in loyalty and show no sign of changing allegiance.

Despite this, Harper pandered to immigrant voters (and even to Tamil terrorists) And failed with them just as miserably as he did in 2004 (and George W. Bush has done with Hispanics): the Tories were crushed in Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver and shut out in Montreal.

In his support of Liberal immigration policy (chain migration or "family reunification") plus ever-increasing numbers (slated to rise from 245,000, the highest legal rate in the world, to 320,000: 1% per capita per year), Harper and his Conservatives continue to conspire in their own destruction.

Sound familiar, Republicans?

2. Harper Is No Right-Wing Superhero—But What Is He?

Stephen Harper eagerly volunteered to Norman Spector of the Toronto Globe and Mail that the politician he most admires is Tony Blair. This is only logical, as Harper is characterized by a ruthless (some would say "amoral") pragmatism. Nevertheless, America's Conservative Establishment media, in its endless search for the Great White Northern Hope, persists in characterizing Harper as a true-blue conservative in the Reagan mold.

As a reading of their  policy declaration [PDF, highlights in HTML] proves, the Conservatives—formed in 2004 after a merger of the mildly populist Canadian Alliance with the parlor-pink Progressive Conservative Party—are distinctly to the Left of the U.S. Democratic Party.

What does Stephen Harper support? "Choice," even unto partial birth abortion. Canada's communistic "single-payer" health system, even after our Supreme Court ruled against it. "Equal pay for work of equal value." A Canadian version of the disastrous Americans With Disabilities Act. Official multiculturalism. The extension of official bilingualism, i.e., no top jobs for Anglos in the Canadian civil service. Increased foreign aid. An end to "racial profiling" against suspected terrorists. Hate speech laws. The entire edifice of the secular theocratic managerial state.

And yet, Stephen Harper remains an enigma. He has been bedevilled in two consecutive elections by charges he harbors a "hidden agenda." It is easy enough to dismiss this as scaremongering, but I can say with all honesty (and I have studied the man extensively for a decade) that I have absolutely no idea of what his agenda really is. Harper is a man of many surprises. It would be foolish to suppose his trick bag is empty.

3. The National Question Is About To Be Answered

The trick that Harper sprung on the Liberals this year was to return to his roots as a disciple of former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney and a devotee of his  praxis vis-à-vis French Quebec. Mulroney won two consecutive elections by out Liberaling the Liberals in pandering to Quebec, delivering much more money and many of the appurtenances of the sovereign state.

Of course, it all ended in tears. The Conservatives were utterly destroyed  in the 1993 election. Two years later, the Quebec separatists came within 50,000 votes of winning their freedom in a provincial referendum.

As revealed by the Gomery Commission and other investigations, the 1995 referendum was rigged by the federalists. It turns out that much-demonized former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau was speaking nothing but the truth when he blamed the defeat on "money and the ethnic vote." Federalists bribed prominent Québecois with millions in under-the-table payments, bought every billboard in Quebec to shut out separatist advertising and engaged in numerous other flagrant violations of the law.

The Québecois have responded to these revelations with disgust. Their amour propre was so outraged that the Liberals finished in third place in Quebec last night, a shocking result without parallel in modern times. Harper made a minor breakthrough in Quebec, largely at the expense of the Bloc, which had earlier threatened to sweep the province. He achieved this by promising Quebec much more money and even more of the appurtenances of the sovereign state.

Given that Harper knows well the lessons of the Mulroney debacle (and benefited greatly thereby, in an earlier political incarnation) one might ask: What sort of game is he playing? It is possible he has figured that the only way he could win and then maintain even a minority government was an unofficial coalition with the Bloc. But it is also possible that Harper intends to get the jump on 2008.

In that year, Quebec provincial election must take place. The separatist Parti Québecois will almost surely win. They have promised a third referendum (no funny business this time). Should they win, which seems likely, they have promised an immediate and unilateral declaration of independence.

This would mean the end of Canada. Stephen Harper, in the not-so-distant past, was a quasi-separatist himself, an Alberta separatist. (See the "Alberta Agenda" for details.) At that time, he opined that the Canadian federation was little more than a vast blackmail-bribery scheme. Now he is Prime Minister of that federation; and together with the Bloc commands a majority of seats in Parliament.

As the example of Czechoslovakia proves, countries can be brought to an end without referenda; they can be dismantled legislatively. Could it be that Stephen Harper's "hidden agenda" is a Czech-style Velvet Divorce?

In any event, the National Question is being answered. Like all open marriages, Canada's union is doomed. Quebec has become a nation-state, and the Confederation of Canadian is now nothing more than a not particularly convenient administrative convenience.

It has taken 40 years, but the English Canadian provinces have discovered that they too can play the Patriot Game: give us more or else. It started in Newfoundland , which demanded successfully that its burgeoning oil revenues not be counted against its dole money ("equalization payments.") Nova Scotia was next. Even Ontario, the richest province and self-selected repository of the mythical "Canadian values",  is demanding its "fair share."

Like Gorbachev's Soviet Union, Canada has been dissolved by the acid bath of "openness." Canada's glasnost has taken the form of a savage 40-year (and counting) assault on its traditions and history, its symbols and institutions, its British and royal foundations and—through immigration—its founding peoples.

After four decades of institutional revolution, the Left hates Canada because it is insufficiently European social democrat, while the Right hates Canada because it is insufficiently American capitalist. Patriotism survives only as the last refuge of the rent seeker.

As Gorbachev discovered, a country that has lost its animating principle is a house of straw. Canada's house is soon to be blown down. Yesterday's federal election is most likely the last.

Kevin Michael Grace (send him email) lives in Victoria, British Columbia. His blog,, features original commentaries.

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