Monday, July 10, 2006

National Leadership 101: lesson from a magazine

A hobby of mine is to look at The Economist magazine's “The World in (insert up-coming year)” a year after its publication and see how its predictions measure up to the out-going year. Of course we're only mid-way through 2006, but I recently stumbled across an article in The Economist dated Sept. 27th, 2003 that made some bang-on predictions. Rather, they were suggestions, but Prime Minister Harper has seemingly taken them to heart to the very last detail. Alright, alright, it may be only for my own amusement that I'd like to think Harper's actions are motivated by magazines. So, I post this comment somewhat in jest. It could be that the Conservative's interests may merely be coinciding with the opinions held by The Economist, but for now I will just conclude that somebody got something right. Let me first make clear that this is not my effort to promote the Conservatives. In fact, the Conservatives have never had my vote. Anyway, here's what I'm getting at. The “Leader” section of The Economist states:

“...there are some big things that Canada continues to get wrong, and other big things that could go wrong without preventive action. In general, Canada still taxes too much. Firms...need positive reasons to invest in a market that is only a tenth the size of America's. This implies that Canada should continue with the tax cuts that Mr Martin launched as finance minister.”

Check. Tax cuts arrived this month.

“Canada...enjoys a free ride in defence from the United States.”

Did Harper not invest much-needed funds into procurement for the Canadian Forces? This is in addition to “an extra C$5.3 billion for defence spending over the next five years.”

“(Canada) needs to work harder than Mr Chretien has done at keeping the trust of the United States.”

Only last week President Bush was complementing “Steve's” effort to beef up border security. Bush also seems content with “Steve's” eagerness to come to an agreement over the softwood lumber dispute.

“At some point, however, [tax cuts] will damage the welfare state on which Canadians set such store....To keep its new cool, Canada must therefore overhaul the way its government allocates power and money.”

Beginning last month, families could begin claiming $100 per month for each child under the age of ten. I found this to be a surprising move and I'm interested to see the impact it may have on the labour force for women in low-skill jobs in particular.

The Economist applauded Canada because, “While other rich countries suffer a racist backlash over immigration, Canadians welcome migrants and are proud of their tolerance and cultural diversity.”

The Conservative's seem to play into this, too. Harper issued the first formal apology to Chinese immigrants for the racist actions made against them upon their immigration to Canada years ago.

In fact, there is only one criticism in the entire article that has not been touched by the party:
“Without an effective opposition, much of the job of holding the government in check falls to the judiciary, policing a Charter of Rights which on one view, unlike America's Bill of Rights, tilts too far towards the rights of groups rather than individuals.”

Of course, the ineffective opposition at the time were the Conservatives! And so, what does The Economist have to say about the Conservatives now? If Harper hopes to turn his minority government into a majority, articles in The Economist would lead us to believe that Harper has at least one magazine's support. Or, perhaps the magazine has his studious support!

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