For ten years, Stephen Harper drew his inspiration from the Republican Party. He is now in hiding. Whoever replaces him, Lawrence Martin writes, would be wise not to drink from the same well that Harper did:
While there probably isn’t much cross-border spillover from the Grand Old Party’s madness, it hardly helps the conservative brand. For Canadian Tories, it would be best if the Republican Party just went away.It’s especially the case now, but it has been this way for a long time. Going all the way back to the Eisenhower era, the Republican Party, with one big exception, has served to hinder the interests of Canadian Conservatives. By contrast over the same period, the Democratic Party has served Canadian Liberals well, the latest example being the hug-in between Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama last week.
It's all about values, writes Martin. And Republican values -- despite Harper's repeated insistence -- are not Canadian values:
Before the GOP descended into the Trump trough, it served up the troglodytes of the Tea Party, a source of ridicule. In presidential sweepstakes, Canadians have favoured Mr. Obama by a wide margin over George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and John McCain. In the 1990s, the Newt Gingrich brand of Republicans found little favour here.Richard Nixon’s presidency served as a thorn to Tory interests. When he visited Ottawa in 1972, officials took hot-water hoses to the snow on Parliament Hill for fear he would be pelted with snowballs.
If Canadians could vote in American elections, most of us would be Democrats:
The reasons why Canadians favour Democrats, as pollsters such as Mr. Nanos and Frank Graves attest, is because they see Republicans as considerably more distant from Canadian values. That’s particularly true as the GOP has moved further right. Republicans like guns, they like war, they’re retrograde on the environment, they’re more inclined to survival of the fittest, they’re more xenophobic.Canadian conservatives are a far cry from the demagogic excesses of Mr. Trump and Ted Cruz. But one of the reasons the Tories lost the most recent federal election was their display of intolerance as reflected in their attitudes toward the niqab, on promoting a snitch line, on being seen on board with former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Instead of bringing together Canadians, the Tories pursued a divide-and-conquer strategy.
Republicans have gone -- in the words of Senator Lindsay Graham -- "batshit crazy." And the Conservative Party of Canada would be wise to keep the elephant out of the room.