Thursday, January 12, 2006

Will Canada Shift to The Right?

The elections in Canada are only 10 days away. But Canada is struggling whether to undergo an ideological shift. The Liberal Party has been the recent subject of RCMP investigation into a scandal, although nothing has so far been proven or officially charged. And while the Conservatives have been able to take some political advantage of these problems, the Liberals have been forced to defend themselves from the appearance of the investigation.

Unlike the U.S., Canada has four major parties, with the Liberals and Conservatives the largest, but the more liberal social democratic, New Democratic Party, and the French-Canadian seperatist, Bloc Quebecois Party, also have pockets of strength throughout Canada.

While blantant antiAmericanism has helped South American leftists to garner power in recent years and even has another antiAmerican leftist in the lead in the Mexican presidential election as well, Canadian Liberal leadership such as Paul Martin has only gently compared Conservative Steve Harper to the right wing movement in America. But fears of cuts in social services and a claim that the Conservatives may cut into legal abortion rights are giving some Canadian voters fears of a turn to the right. Others in Canada may dislike having a government seen as too similar to that of George Bush, and many voters may simply be just too wary to have a government so similar to so many U.S. policies which are broadly disliked by Canadians. Canadians are friendly to the U.S., but there is always the yearning to have an identity seperate of the large U.S. shadow. A government seen as too much like that of George Bush may threaten this sense of independent Canadian identity, and most voters may reject the Conservative Party in the end. But with four parties in Canada, the progressive elements represented in the Liberal, New Democratic and Bloc Quebecois Parties may be too fractured, and the Conservatives could form a minority government if they win more seats in the Canadian Parliament than the Liberal Party.

One recent poll has the Conservative Party with a nine point lead, but whether this a real trend, or fears of becoming too similar to the U.S. , and fears of right wing shifts in policy will give enough voters reason to reject the Conservatives is not yet known. The next ten days will be interesting to watch for political shifts or trends.

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