CANADA'S MIDTERM BLUES: THE HARPER GOVERNMENT HITS ROCKS
By David T. Jones, former Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa
That alarming headline suggests Canada's Tory party might lose its hold on power when it next faces the voters. In a lengthy essay, Minister Jones assesses the issues that trouble the government of Prime Minister Harper.
The first political threat is a corruption scandal involving several Tory senators whose unjustified claims for expenses led to the resignation of Harper's chief of staff, who had approved the payments. Other political developments also threaten the Tory's future: Growing tension between the Tory party's traditional Progressive Conservatives with their business orientation and western members of the Reform party demanding more attention to social and cultural issues; a Tory backbench eruption over disclosure of the high salaries of public servants; emergence of more effective leadership within the opposition New Democratic and Liberal parties. Approval of an EU free trade agreement and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would help the Tories draw public attention away from the troubling partisan issues.
The military budget poses another sort of problem. Canadian ground forces have never been better and now operate with U.S...