Does Stephen Harper scare you?

That's the question asked by this poll, which wmtc brings you via ALPF.

While not a majority, a significant number of Canadians replied "yes" to the questions "Would you say that Stephen HarperÂ’s position on social issues such as abortion, the death penalty, and same-sex marriage scares you or not?" and "Would you say Stephen HarperÂ’s pro-American position scares you or not?". In this survey, more Canadians were scared by Harper's pro-American stance than his position on social issues.

In WorldNetDaily - which isn't as loopy as it first looks, though obviously not my own editorial slant - Ted Byfield gives his take on why Canadians fear conservatives. In a word: religiosity.
. . . what price for all this conduct can the Liberal party expect to pay in an election?

The answer, according to the first poll made since the party survived a crucial parliamentary division by a single-vote margin nine days ago, is no price at all. Liberal support has not been reduced by a single percentage point, a Leger Marketing poll found. If the election were held tomorrow, 38 percent of Canadians would vote Liberal, only 27 percent Conservative.

Their reason for shunning the Conservatives, however, was a telling one. Was it Conservative leader Stephen Harper, the pollsters asked? Not at all, came the reply – the electorate think Harper has far greater integrity than Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. It's the Conservative Party as a whole they don't trust. They suspect and fear its "social" policies.

By this, of course, they meant the Christian influence. . .
Byfield notes that the in Canada, the "religious divide is also a geographic divide", as "the party which 38% of Canadians fear and distrust draws about three-quarters of its numerical support from the four western provinces." Then he seems to makeveiledled threat of Western secession/revolt/radical change:
If the Conservatives want to form a government, the Globe and Mail endlessly lectures, they will have to suppress and silence their "socially conservative" wing. That is, the Conservative Party can only be elected if on social issues it becomes identical with the Liberal Party.

A rather large assumption is implicit in this line of argument – the assumption that if people are made to choose between their country and their faith, they will naturally choose their country. The Globe and Mail could be mistaken about that.
Full column here. (Thanks ALPF.)

Feel free to discuss. I will be among the ancient Phoenicians.


Rognar said...

I don't have a whole lot more to say about this, since I have said it all before. I will say one thing, though. I am a scientist and an agnostic with atheistic tendencies, so I am as concerned or more so with the Christian social conservative wing of the CPC as anyone. Yet, still I vote for them. I see it this way. If the CPC is going to form a government, it will need about 60 to 70 seats in eastern Canada. This represents a lot of people like Peter Mackay and the recently departed Belinda Stronach, socially-liberal, fiscal conservatives who could dilute the influence of rural, western socons. The "scary" old Reform/Canadian Alliance bloc will not dominate a Conservative government in Ottawa the way the neocons dominate the current Republican administration in Washington.

Anonymous said...

The poll results are nothing new in this country.

Canadians do tend to be somewhat relaxed on governmental positions on social issues. Despite platforms ranging across all sides, the one thing in common with most governments empowered in Canada is they have traditionally listened to the will of the people and will generally consider bending their platforms if the demand to strengthen or relax their stance on a particular issue exists. All parties do it - it's good democratic government to give the people what they want so long as it is within their capacity to do so.

But anything having to do with being compared to the US is a hot-button issue. Not because we hate them or anything - it's more a question of identity, that age-old skeleton in Canada's closet that comes out to haunt us every now and again. We are our own country ... but that's about as far as our identity has ever really developed. Because of this, such insecurity exists that too close a tie to anyone else may bleed their identity onto us, whereas we desperately want to find our own. Hence the fear of being seen as one and the same with the US - which given global standing in the world today, that fear is justified as it is not such a good thing to be seen as the same right now. Sorry, USA, but it's true.