Less than 48 hours ago, Canadian voters narrowly chose the Conservative Party to govern their country. From the other side of the 49th parallel, we naturally viewed this result with joy. We endorsed the Conservatives when the campaign began, and we were happy to do it.
That said, the victorious Prime Minister-elect, Stephen Harper, has now moved past the celebration and into the difficult task of forming his government. We are already hearing whispers about the post that is of greatest importance to us - Foreign Minister - and we are getting very worried. Admittedly, Canada's government is, in the final analysis, Canada's business. However, a Foreign Minister represents Canada to the rest of the world, and as such, as an American, yours truly is a one of many who inhabit that space. Therefore, for whatever value this has, I would plead with Mr. Harper to appoint Stockwell Day as Foreign Minister.
Most Canadians, including many Conservatives, might be surprised to read that, since Day was best known for his admittedly sub-par performance as leader of the Canadian Alliance from 2000 to 2002. However, since 2002, he has served ably as the CA/Conservative Foreign Affairs critic. In fact, he has become one of the most knowledgeable and eloquent Canadians on the horrific tyranny that is the Chinese Communist Party, as he showed in a speech given last year at the University of Toronto (which I now recommend for the fourth time at least).
Therefore, those of us in the pro-democracy/anti-Communist community, both native born (such as myself) and exiles from Communist China, know Stockwell Day very well. Many of us supported the Conservatives in no small part due to the expectation that Day would become Foreign Minister. To saw we would be sorely disappointed is an understatement.
However, Mr. Harper and his fellow Conservatives should not merely given Mr. Day the portfolio simply because a bunch of Americans and Chinese exiles want it. Mr. Day should receive the post because he is the most qualified person for the job, and not only because he has served so well as Foreign Affairs critic for nearly four years.
Canada has always prided itself, and not without reason, as the conscience of the free world. In recent years, as Jean Chretien and Paul Martin repeatedly embarrassed themselves (to say nothing of their fellow Canadians) in their dealings with Communist China, that role has been lost. Stockwell Day's appointment, all by itself, would put the tyrannies of the world on notice that Canada's new government will no longer look the other way on human rights and security threats to the democratic world. Days' appointment would bring immense hope not only to the long-0suffering Chinese people, but also to many others who suffer under tyranny in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even parts of Europe.
I understand that the "politically safe" move would be to appoint someone else to the Foreign Ministry, but that is due to how (some) Canadians see Mr. Day, not how we see him from outside Canada. The Foreign Minister represents Canada to the globe, and the globe knows - and admires - Stockwell Day a great deal.
Again, this decision is ultimately up to the man Canada chose to make it: Stephen Harper. This is as it should be. However, if he is interested in what the outside world thinks about his future Foreign Minister, it would be this: you can do far, far worse than Stockwell Day, but it is highly doubtful that you could do better.