Hope that you’re having a nice summer with Sophie and the kids.
I’m sure that heeding the advice of a longtime conservative columnist, political pundit and speechwriter to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn’t at the top of your list. Even so, I hope you’ll give some consideration to the free advice I’m about to offer you.
For a year, you have regularly used this slogan in speeches, “Canada is back.” Liberal partisans enjoy hearing it, much the same way Tory partisans cheered when the phrase “Canada’s New Government” was used. And yes, I know it’s a play on words – and the Liberals aim to bring back the pre-Harper Canada in the post-Harper era.
But the 60.53 per cent of Canadians who didn’t vote for you (which is slightly higher than the 60.38 per cent who didn’t vote for Harper in 2011) are bored of it.
It’s nice to say “Canada is back,” but when did it ever leave? Was it hiding behind an enormous tree? Did it go on an extended vacation, and suddenly return under a cloak of darkness?
I don’t think so.
You see, Canada didn’t have to come back under the Harper Tories. In the eyes of many world leaders, Canada arrived.
For example, our country became a leader on the international stage and the war on terror. We stood up to tyrants, totalitarian regimes and tinpot dictators, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, along with terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIS. In turn, we defended the cherished values of freedom, liberty and democracy with a mighty roar.
Canada also replaced the U.S. as Israel’s greatest friend and ally. Our nation was tough on China for its horrendous record of human rights. We were also critical of the inept United Nations, supported Kosovo’s independence, and played an important role during the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Harper and the late finance minister Jim Flaherty successfully protected Canada during the global financial crisis.
The Tories balanced a large deficit with a significant stimulus package during the crisis’s worst period. They kept long-term expenditures and the bloated bureaucracy in check, stabilized tax rates for individuals and corporations, and phased out the penny, among other things.
Canada’s economy was recognized as one of the strongest and most successful among G20 countries during this period. Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary under former President George W. Bush, and Jacob Lew, Treasury Secretary under President Barack Obama, both praised the Harper government for its fiscally sound economic strategy and responsible financial agenda.
Sure, the Tories made plenty of mistakes. I pointed them out for years.
It’s also true that Canada had positive leadership under former prime ministers, like Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien.
But this country truly became a leader rather than a follower under Harper.
What have you done exactly, Justin?
Under your leadership, Canada is back to an extended period of political and economic mediocrity. Proposing to run three consecutive federal deficits of no more than $10 billion was incredibly foolish, especially when it nearly reached $19 billion in the first year. Your decision to tackle income inequality and increase taxes for the wealthy can be easily described as socialist. Your obsession with selfies and vapid media interviews is hardly anything to be proud of, either.
When it comes to foreign policy, world leaders don’t have the slightest interest in your views. For the first time in years, Canada is firmly back at the kiddie table – and that’s entirely a result of your leadership.
Why should we be euphoric that “Canada is back” when our country, which never looked stronger under the Harper Tories, looks much weaker under the Trudeau Liberals?
I look forward to your response, Justin. Take care.
Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and Washington Times contributor, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.