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Harper Was Too American, And Other U.S. Reactions To The Canadian Election

On Oct. 19, Canadians voted in a Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau and defeated the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. Here's how America has reacted to the regime change in its northern neighbor.

A Big Win For Liberalism

David Frum of The Atlantic argues that Trudeau's win and the popularity of Bernie Sanders proves that, "liberals aren't what they used to be." He says their liberalism "is veering sharply to the left across the English-speaking world."

Instead of promising balanced budgets and tax cuts like liberal politicians in the 90s, Trudeau won a campaign based on a truly left-wing agenda of reducing military expenditures, legalizing cannabis, increasing the number of refugees being admitted to Canada, and running deficits to stimulate the economy.

Frum predicts that the Liberal win will have widespread ramifications in upcoming elections worldwide: "Leaders of other center-left parties around the world will note the success. Imitation and emulation will follow—across the Atlantic and across the 49th parallel."

A World Leader On Cannabis Reform

German Lopez of Vox sees Trudeau's triumph as a historic moment as Canada could become the first developed nation to legalize cannabis. And that, Lopez argues, could trigger the end of worldwide cannabis criminalization:

"This wouldn't just be an important milestone for Canada and the world; it could also send ripples across the international system of drug policy. That's because drug policy is tied not just to each country's individual laws, but to a network of treaties that effectively make the war on drugs a global effort. Marijuana legalization in Canada would act as the most high-profile rejection of these treaties, sending an important signal of the changing times as the international agreements come under a critical review in a special 2016 session of the United Nations."

Canadians campaigns are shorter, cost less

A lot of Canadians complained that the election campaign was too long, and cost too much. In a special piece for The Huffington Post, comedian Scott Blakeman said it's much worse in the U.S.:

"We should drastically shorten the campaign period, which now begins almost three years before the election. This year's Canadian election was the longest in history. 78 days. About the length of one Ted Cruz filibuster. And in contrast to the virtually unlimited amount of money by unnamed donors that flow into the campaigns of most of the candidates, the money allowed for the candidates in Canada is far more restricted. Each political party used to have a $25-million spending limit, regardless of a campaign's length, although since the Conservatives passed the Fair Elections Act, this 11-week campaign allowed the parties to spend more than $50-million."

Harper punished for being too American

Sean Kennedy of CNN lamented the fall of Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the hands of "fickle Canadian voters" after "nine years of steadily maneuvering the ship of state." He said Harper lost because his politics and policies were too American, so "the wing nuts of Canada's left came out of the woodwork, painting the Prime Minister as a tyrant in the making."

Kennedy concludes by arguing that Canada's loss is a lesson to all world leaders to beware fickle voters.

"Without Harper at the helm, the lessons of Canada's miracle - surviving the financial crisis, balancing budgets, slashing red tape and taxes while maintaining a healthy welfare state - will be lost to history as Trudeau's Liberals in a fit of pique roll back the gains the Great White North has made."


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