Fourteen months after Canada’s ruling Liberal Party clung to power in an election that reduced them to a minority of seats in parliament, embattled Prime Minister Paul Martin is soon expected to call another national election.
Damaged by an ongoing investigation of his party’s involvement in what is considered the biggest political scandal in Canadian history and political fall-out from the vote in parliament earlier this year to permit gay marriage, Martin and the Liberals could well be on their way out after 13 years of rule in Ottawa.
Should the Liberals be destroyed in the next balloting, profiting from their demise will be the new Conservative Party, a merger between the Progressive Conservatives (the traditional opposition party to the Liberals) and the Reform Party, a relatively recent movement with a strong following in western Canada.
As Financial Times put it, Conservative leader Stephen Harper, under whose aegis the party gained 26 seats in parliament in the last election, and his inner circle “have more in common with U.S. Republicans than the more liberal mainstream of Canadian politics.”
“Unless something surreptitious happens, we expect another election soon,” Stockwell Day, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, told Human Events. Along with Harper, Day (who would become foreign secretary if Conservatives came to power) led the fight in parliament against gay marriage legalization backed vigorously by Martin—in part, many pundits believe, to satisfy the far-left National Democratic Party whose support helps keep the Liberals in power.
“The prime minister was desperate to ram it through,” recalled Day, noting how almost all of the Liberal and NDP lawmakers supported changing the definition of marriage while 95 of the 99 Conservatives opposed it.
Day outlined other issues on which his party differed from Martin’s Liberals. The Conservatives, he said, stand “for a robust promotion of democracy in the world, along the lines of Natan Sharansky, a hero of mine.” The party wants to tighten Canada’s open immigration policy—a red-hot issue, according to Day, in a country where more than 32,000 illegal aliens have been served deportation papers and can stay in the country for years because of a wide range of legal appeals. Day also called the United Nations “full of bureaucratic waste and inefficiency” and added, as a former provincial finance minister, he could suggest ways the international body could “shape up.”
At this point, Canadians await word from Justice Minister John Gomery on reports of advertising companies getting kickbacks from the government and passing them on to Liberal politicians during the tenure of Martin’s predecessor, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien.