Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why the Canadian election was good for anti-Communists

Now that Canada's election has come and gone, it's time to take stock of how the new Parliament differs from the old - and, for those of you reading this outside Canada, why you should care. Normally, Canadian elections matter to Canadians and few others, but the outgoing American Administration losing all sense of courage regarding North Korea (Washington Post) despite the latter's continued antics (BBC and Newsmax) combined with serious flaws in either potential successor means the free world will have to look elsewhere for leadership against the Long Arm of Lawlessness (Epoch Times) and the ever-growing poisoned product scandal (BBC, BBC again, CNN, the Daily Mail, UK, and The Epoch Times).

Even so, Canada's election looked like a sleeper at first for anti-Communists. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a tremendous early record, but was disappointing as of late (especially with the appointment of ex-Liberal and always "engagement" backer David Emerson as Foreign Minister). Meanwhile, during the campaign itself, the Chinese Communist Party were largely relegated to the sidelines (most likely where they preferred to be) while the election centered around domestic issues, especially the economy.

That change dramatically in the final weekend, as Liberal candidate Wendy Yuan revealed the cruel face of the Liberal Party regarding human rights in China. Compounding the outrage was Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who not only refused to rebuke his Vancouver-Kingsway nominee but actually criticized Harper for being to hard on the Communists. Suddenly, Communist China was an issue again, forced to the table by the Liberals - of all people.

So what did the election hold for anti-Communists? A lot of good news, and not just because the Liberals did poorly. Harper's weakness at the end of the previous Parliament made it clear that one cannot simply pick one party over the others on things like this and assume all will be well if it wins (although yours truly did think that, in the end, the Conservatives' re-election to power was essential). A deeper look is required. For anti-Communists, though, that deeper look reveals an even better situation than one would expect just from the stronger Conservative victory.

For starters, the return of Communist China to the front burner was the major news event of the final weekend, meaning one could expect it to have at least some impact on voter decisions (especially for the late-breakers). The results themselves bear it out - the Liberal vote tanked nearly everywhere. In fact, two of the three greatest shifts from Liberal to Conservative happened in the two areas with the most visible Chinese-Canadian presence: southern British Columbia and Southern Ontario (the third Tory surge was in New Brunswick).

Liberals most closely associated with "engagement" were roughed up badly. Yuan herself not only lost Vancouver-Kingsway to the New Democratic Party, but she nearly finished in third place (as an added bonus, the NDP winner will replace the retiring Emerson). Just next door in the Richmond riding, Raymond Chan - who served as Secretary of State for Asia and the Pacific under Beijing-friendly Jean Chretien - was bounced in an upset by an anti-Communist Tory. Meanwhile, leading anti-Communist Conservatives such as Jason Kenney, Rob Anders, and Stockwell Day cruised to re-election, as did anti-Communist NDP MP Pat Martin.

Even where the Conservatives were weaker than they'd hoped (Quebec, although they held their own with 10 seats), it wasn't the Liberals who capitalized, but the Tibet-friendly Bloc Quebecois. In fact, all the Liberals could do was make up for the loss in Outrement (to the NDP) with a victory in Papineau (although if the winner of that riding, Justin Trudeau, is anything like his father on Communist China, Election 2008 could be rued until enternity for that result alone).

What makes this all the more important is that the Conservative surge and Liberal drop-off were largely unexpected, meaning that the events of the last weekend shifted more than a few voters away from the Liberals and toward the other parties (mostly the Conservatives). The effect of the anti-Communist late surge may be best shown in Scarborough-Guildwood (Ontario), won once more by John McKay - one of the very few anti-Communists in the Liberal caucus. While the Liberals were losing 6% of their 2006 Ontario vote share, McKay shed less than 3%, and still won the riding with a majority of all votes cast. A general anti-Liberal wave would have impacted him far more greatly than what was seen.

In other words, what we saw was more than just an improvement for the Conservatives, more even than a rejection of the Liberals. The voters rejected of Beijing-friendly Liberals, in favor of the nearest anti-Communist they could find.

No matter what party one supports or what country one calls home, that makes the Canadian election a night to remember and celebrate (with the Trudeau caveat, of course).

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