Monday, October 13, 2008

Informed Opinion Says Vote Conservative.

The endorsements for Stephen Harper have come fast and furious. The Economist, an international magazine based in Britain started things off on Thursday with the ringing endorsement, Stephen Harper does not deserve to be dumped. Despite their distance, they've actually a good read on the situation:
Canadians have not warmed to him [Harper]: he comes over as a bloodless control
freak. But he is hardworking, and a skilled parliamentary tactician. He governs a rather successful country that needs incremental improvement, not a revolution.
The Globe and Mail has a similar, though less entertaining assessment. Identifying many of Harper's faults, they also state that he's a competent leader. More importantly they identify that Harper has been able to grow in office:

Indeed, the most important characteristic Mr. Harper has shown over 33 months in
office is a capacity to grow. There is no reason to think he won't continue along the same trajectory if re-elected — a good thing, too, since there is much more for him to learn. . . .

Whatever you think of him, the Stephen Harper of today is not the Stephen Harper of 2004 or earlier. The "firewall" temperament has largely subsided, despite the odd recurrence on matters such as artists who choose free expression over popularity. He is in better control of his emotions. He is smart enough and adaptable enough to recognize that his tendencies toward pettiness and hyper-partisanship hold him and his party back.

By and large, Canadians still don't really trust Mr. Harper and so he has not yet earned their comfort with a majority government. If he prevails next Tuesday, it will be as a default choice, not a popular choice. Voters generally respect him — and, right now, competence trumps the unknown — but if he ever hopes to complete the
construction of a governing party of the right and be remembered as more than a middling, minority prime minister, Mr. Harper will have to show as much capacity to grow over the next four years as he has over the past four.

It's true there are reasons to doubt Stephen Harper. He's incredibly shrewd and I'm sure that he will change his mind on any issue if he sees an advantage, the Globe calls this 'growing'. However, even though I've been disappointed on some issues - beginning with his decision to merge the Canadian Alliance and PC parties - his judgement has been incredibly sound.

The Vancouver Sun has also joined the chorus summing up the decision quite neatly:

While the Liberals and NDP have tried to use the economic uncertainty to their advantage, it's clear to most Canadians that our government can't be blamed for the downdrafts we are starting to feel here.

That understanding defines the economic issue as "who can best manage the economy in uncertain times," rather than "who is responsible for the mess we're in."

This has been the Conservative message. Steady leadership for uncertain times. It's the right answer especially since the markets in New York posted their largest one day gain ever today, proving Stephen Harper's calm reaction to the recent weakness in markets was once again the right decision.

Finally the strongest endorsement from a national newspaper belongs to the National Post. The National Post slams into the Liberals hard and provides a new take on why it's best to vote Conservative:

Most importantly of all, Mr. Harper has avoided the temptation to impose any large-scale Trudeauvian social-engineering schemes on the country, of the type the Liberals seem to cook up every few years. Yesterday's Tory platform, largely a rehash of previous announcements, is admirably stingy. It contains no multi-billion-dollar pharmacare program, no federally micromanaged daycare, no new National Energy Program. And for that, Canadians should be thankful.

It's true, and very similar to the point I made in my last post. Too often politicians are trying to sell us a new bold agenda that is taking us some place we don't want to go (think Green Shift).

So, I'm not going to tell you how you should vote ~ cough Conservative cough ~ but bear in mind that most major publications in this country have offered solid reasons to vote Conservative today!

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