views from canada’s left coast

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maybe Harper is the best we have to take on a protectionist America

While I am certainly not happy that Stephen Harper was re-elected last month, now that Barack Obama is president elect, and Congress is strongly held by the Democrats, Harper may be the best person to take on a Democratic US government.

The Democrats are known to be far more protectionist in nature than the Republicans. Obama made comments during the primaries that he would re-open NAFTA to better protect workers in the USA. While NAFTA is certainly not perfect, it has become such an important part of the Canadian economy that we cannot afford to have it tampered with in any drastic way. I think that Harper, more than any other Canadian leader today, will not be afraid to stand up to Obama on trade issues.

Harper does not seem too concerned with who he angers, both at home and abroad. While I am sure that Harper will work hard to establish a good working relationship with Obama, I also do not think he will worry about clashing with Obama. It is clear that Harper and Obama do not share much of the same ideology. Harper can afford to be seen to oppose Obama as Canadians who vote for Harper are not politically that similar to Obama.

I guess I am just searching really hard for something positive about Harper and the Conservatives, but I honestly hope that I am right, and that Harper stands up for Canada in trade negotiations with the US.

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November 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

two observations about the US election

Firstly, the win was not that big. Obama won comfortably, but I would not say that he blew McCain away. The states that were expected to be close were for the most part quite close. It was expected that Obama would win, he won convincingly, but the Republicans did surprisingly well in my view. George W. Bush is as unpopular as any sitting US president has ever been. It would have been unthinkable for McCain to actually win given how unpopular the Bush regime is. The Democrats also did not exceed expectations in the House or the Senate. Sure they picked up seats in both houses of Congress, but they did not win by a landslide.

Secondly, gay people in the USA lost big time last night. California and Arizona passed bans on same sex marriage. Florida also passed a constitutional ban, even though there was already a law in place banning same sex marriage. Perhaps most depressing of all, though not surprising, is that Arkansas passed an initiative prohibiting gay people from adopting children. The rights of gay people in the US took a major step backward last night, at the same time that the nation says it is taking a major step forward by electing the first black person president in the history of the nation. While it is laudable that Obama, a black man, has won the presidency, the state of gay rights in the US just highlights how strong bigotry still reigns in many parts of the USA. Hopefully Obama’s victory will usher in a new era of race relations and America will finally being to truly confronts its horribly racist past, and its still racist present. Hopefully while healing the wounds of racism, Americans begin to look at other people in their society who are not treated equally.

So while I am happy that Obama won, I think that the night was terrible for gay Americans. I also think that Obama’s victory was not as big as it should have been given how charismatic he is, and given how unpopular the Bush regime is. I have faith that Obama will be a good president. He seems to be very intelligent, very careful, and very calm, all qualities that are lacking in George W. Bush.

After nearly two years of campaigning, and nearly non-stop coverage for the past year, I am glad to be done with the election. I am also very glad that I am Canadian. Not only do we have a much more sane political system, we also protect the rights of all minorities, and not just those with substantial political power.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | Leave a comment

“The good will overcome. Trust in that.”

The title of this post is actually a quote from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I am never sure why, but certain movie quotes stick in my head and I think of them often. Good will overcome is a very nice sentiment. Such a simple statement gives me hope. At the same time, I do not really believe in evil, which is usually considered the opposite of good. I do believe in something that I will call “better.” This means that there is no right and wrong, but there are choices, ideas, etc. that are better than others.

With that strange and disjointed introduction, I want to write a little bit about the upcoming USA election. I am hoping that “The good will overcome” this Tuesday. I do not think that John McCain is evil, in fact I think he is a great American and in other circumstances he may have made a great president. Right now though, given the past 8 years of Republican rule in the White House, I think that it is necessary for the “good”, or as I prefer, the “better”, to have Barack Obama and the Democrats control the US executive for at least the next four years.

I do not think that George W. Bush is a bad person. I actually think that he is motivated by a great internal will to do “good.” I think that George W. Bush is simply too simple to be a good leader. He views the world in terms of good and evil and the world is just not that simple. The Bush approach to foreign affairs, and to the economy is just far too simplistic and destructive. The United States, and the world as a whole, needs a US president who understands subtlety. Barack Obama may be relatively inexperienced, especially compared to his opponent John McCain, but he is also clearly a very bright person, with a sophisticated view of America and the world.

I am hoping that Obama does not just win on Tuesday, but that he absolutely obliterates McCain. I am hoping to see 60 Democratic senators and a strengthened majority in the House of Representatives. I would like to see Obama win around 380 electoral college votes. I want to see such a strong mandate for the Democrats that no one can say they do not have the authority to introduce the type of change that America, and the world needs. US foreign policy needs to change drastically. US economic policy needs to change drastically. The US health care system needs to change drastically. To make the kind of change that is needed the Democrats need an overwhelming mandate. The past 8 years have done such great damage to the US both domestically and internationally that strong, swift, and decisive change is needed. That kind of change can only come with Barack Obama, and with a strong Democratic congress.

I have little doubt that “The good will overcome” on Tuesday. I just hope that enough Americans realize just how important this election is, just how important it is to bring about change. The world needs someone like Barack Obama to lead the US during these trying times.

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | 1 Comment