Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Minority Government

Canada's Conservative party, led by the academic Stephen Harper, swept into the government benches last night with a divided mandate which ended 13 years of Liberal rule at Ottawa's Parliament Buildings.

Wining 124 contests for the 308-seat House of Commons, the CBC reported that Harper's caucus will be 10 seats smaller than the minority government of his predecessor, Paul Martin, who was able to hang onto power for 30 months during which the Liberals were scarred by scandal and internal divisions.

Beyond the new government's first pledge of accountability -- an emphasis which played heavily on the Liberal scandals of the last half-decade -- Harper's intended measures to lower taxes, strengthen defense and reform the justice system to better respond to inner-city crime will all encounter fierce resistance from the opposition blocs which will together command 60 more seats in the Commons than the new government.

And how do Americans see Canadian polity, again? This snip from the National Post fills us in:

A Fox News vehicle appeared on the streets of Ottawa on Monday apparently in search of a new socially conservative best friend and to report on how anti-Americanism was fuelling the Canadian election campaign.

Brown, who must have lost the newsroom arm wrestling contest, got the Great White North election assignment and referred to being "up here in Canada'' like he was covering the seal hunt rather than the federal vote.

"We're at a polling place in a neighbourhood in Ottawa, which is Canada's national capital,'' he told his viewers, acknowledging the reality not too many of them would know that.

Fox has enjoyed playing the dark Liberal ad that accused Stephen Harper of being George W. Bush's buddy-in-waiting and this was a perfect opportunity to run it again: "The Liberals have tried to blunt the Conservative charge by running some anti-American TV attack ads.''

Cue Anti-American attack ad.

That's right, folks. In the (regrettably) dominant American mindset, even when it's not about America, it's still about America.