It’s an anniversary worthy of note: seven years ago today, the Canadian Establishment got a nasty kick in the backside.
Seven years ago today, the Canadian electorate decided it had had enough of the smugness of Paul Martin’s Liberal Party, and decided to “test-drive” a government led by a Calgary-based policy wonk.
They weren’t enthusiastic about it. It was only a minority. But after five years of watching him in action, and five years of watching the people whom the self-proclaimed Elites sent to oppose him, the voters decided he had done a good enough job to earn a majority.
So what does the record look like?
On the negative side: deficit spending (albeit in response to a recession). Less openness in government information. Reduced confidence in the parliamentary process.
On the positive side: Cutting the GST. Reducing tensions with Quebec. Increased pride in the military. Renewed interest in Canadian history. Eliminating wasteful programs such as the Long Gun Registry. Ending the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board. Helping the cause of free speech by fixing the Canadian Human Rights Act. Taking a small step in privacy by eliminating “mandatory” from the long form census.
There are other points on both sides, of course. But no one will deny: in his seven years as prime minister, Stephen Harper has made a permanent impact on the Canadian political scene. The nation can never go back to the way things were during the Chrétien / Martin era; too many things have happened.
Kinda makes you wonder how he’ll do in the next seven, don’tcha think?