John Micklethwait on Canada

Economist Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait recently interviewed by McGill’s Karl Moore on Canada, Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper.



Not much to say about this, really…
Some interesting observations about Canada coming from the editor of a staunchly conservative publication, expressing as he does a certain degree of admiration for our universal healthcare system and multi-cultural diversity insofar as this fair-minded attitude effectively puts him quite at odds with the lunatic fringe of so-called “conservatism” in this country that’s represented online by the loose collective of right-wing nutjobs, religious kooks, racists, fearmongerers, fatuous bigots, hysterical maniacs, simpering ninnies, and intellectually whoring camp followers that operate together as the Bloggin’ Tories.

But then, moderate (that is to say sensible and pragmatic) Liberals have always had a lot more in common with traditional Progressive Conservatives (and even old-school Tories) than the extremist and radicalized factions of both those parties, consisting largely as they do of outspoken cranks that have been perverted by eccentric forms of prejudice and/or strongly influenced by rather hopeless political ideologies of one sort or another.

I quite liked the description of Harper as “a strangely resilient character.”

9 Comments

Filed under Michael Ignatieff, Political Ideology, Stephen Harper

9 responses to “John Micklethwait on Canada

  1. Navvy

    Nationalnewswatch was linking to an article in… the Daily Mail I think about the current Canadian political situation. The author wrote something along the line of: where in America Obama makes many Americans think anything is possible, Stephen Harper makes Canadians believe nothing is.

    Somewhat OT, if anyone can get a hold of an ‘Ottawa Magazine’ they have a good article about the changed political scene in Ottawa. It stated that Stephen Harper has not ONCE stood in the House of Commons to debate a bill. I thought that was pretty telling. Amusingly, that article was followed by one about disenchanted Reform party members.

  2. blackstar

    navvy, that was yesterday’s guardian and it was a good read. Canada rarely mentioned there and i check daily, so i found a whole article about canadian politics to be inetersting all by itself.

    in fact, the only mention canada gets across the pond is usually something about our obstructionist attitude towards climate change.

  3. Ti-Guy

    The only reason Harper is still around is because Canadians prevented him from coming to power earlier. If he had been saddled with the Iraq War and had been allowed to apply his neoliberal policies to the banking system longer, we and our lazy news media could easily hang the same stench on him that trails behind Bush, Blair and John Howard.

    Don’t expect Harper to be around when it’s time to clean up the current mess though.

  4. sassy

    Here’s article Navvy was referring to.

    With Barack Obama, anything seems like it might be possible. With Canada’s Stephen Harper, barely anything does

  5. Ti-Guy — Hats off to the common sense of Canadian voters in keeping Harper and his team in a minority position!

  6. Sassy — Thanks for the link. 🙂 Amusing article.

  7. Ti-Guy

    Hats off to the common sense of Canadian voters in keeping Harper and his team in a minority position!

    Too bad the unintended consequence of that is that Harper is…still here…and isn’t burdened by the fallout from the principles that define him.

  8. austin

    “With Barack Obama, anything seems like it might be possible. With Canada’s Stephen Harper, barely anything does”

    Yes, anything SEEMS like it MIGHT be possible because he has not done anything. But yes Harper’s time is done. He’s the PM and has as many ideas as the opposition, as in none.

  9. jkg

    But then, moderate (that is to say sensible and pragmatic) Liberals have always had a lot more in common with traditional Progressive Conservatives (and even old-school Tories)

    I could not have put it better myself. It is exasperating when explaining this to an ardent partisan. For long, even at the provincial level in Ontario, I used to extend olive branches in giving the partisans credit for still including some red tories (the only recent being John Tory). Recently, I found myself faced often with a subtle rejection of old school toryism that now serves as the subtext of this rising movement. This putative party renewal is intriguing because it is incorporating a view of conservatism that is borderless, almost Pan-North American. I see this as the political analogue to rise of globalization as ideas and views should flow freely as well.

    How is this a bad thing? Intellectually, it is great, but politically, it is not, especially given the fact that American exceptionalism will anchor and assert their political sovereignty continually. Here in Canada, i am not so sure because our version of exceptionalism was in fact rooted in our connection with our British institutional history . In other words, among others including old school Tories and Progressive Conservatives, at the very least, historically understood the importance of avoiding our own institutions from being diluted by our geopolitics and continentalism. Today’s Conservative partisans seem to invoke Her Majesty when it is politically expedient while the Liberal party tends to be rather indifferent yet combines this love for globalization (which Pierre Pettigrew advocated passionately) and guarded protectionism.

    The one thing I like about this gentleman is he very much articulates the moderates viewpoint quite well. I hate it when moderates get accused of having no ideology. Mickelthwait is obviously conservative, but he demonstrated that a moderate’s position can be tempered by inspecting and revising empirically the limits and benefits of an ardent ideology.

    Finally, as a random side note, the graduate school for their business program at McGill decided to make it fully funded: The tuition quintupled.

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