Gift From The Washington Times?

NewspaperPatrick Basham's commentary in The Washington Times from earlier this month is entitled "Gift From Canada?" and it's all about Stephen Harper putting a big ol' smile on Dubya's face. According to Basham, Harper may be Canada's Christmas gift to Bush. Here are some excerpts from the article.

Why does President Bush hope Christmas comes a little late this year? Because on Jan. 23, Canada may elect the most pro-American leader in the Western world. Free-market economist Stephen Harper, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, is pro-free trade, pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto, and socially conservative. Move over Tony Blair: If elected, Mr. Harper will quickly become Mr. Bush's new best friend internationally and the poster boy for his ideal foreign leader.

Though still a young man in political terms, Stephen Harper may not receive a better opportunity to gain power and to steer Canada in a more conservative direction. If he and his fellow Conservatives can seize this opportunity to recast the policy debate, it will reveal a great deal about the evolving nature of Canadian political culture.

A Harper victory may prove to be the exception to the international rule -- a rare foreign event that manages to put a smile on President George W. Bush's face.

If you ask me, Basham's "Gift From Canada" is actually a gift to the Liberal Party from The Washington Times. The verbal duel this week between David Wilkins and Paul Martin is further proof that being perceived as America's bedfellow negatively impacts a party's popularity at home in Canada. Does the average Canadian want to put a smile on Dubya's face by giving him a gift? No. Does the average Canadian want a "pro-free trade, pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto, and socially conservative" leader? No. Do we really want our Prime Minister to become "Mr. Bush's new best friend and poster boy for his ideal foreign leader?" Absolutely not.

We already fear Harper's hidden agenda and conservative rhetoric, Basham simply reminds us of what we could be in store for. If a vote for this guy is a vote for Dubya, Martin just received everything on his Christmas wish list and more.

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