Friday, January 23, 2009

How Obama's win affects Canadian Politics

While reading the blog Laur Lore recently, I came across an interesting post about Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper following Obama's lead on key issues. (Image: CBC) As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I find it hard to fully understand how it must feel to have a genuinely inspiring political movement occurring in my country, as Americans have this election year. I did expect, however, exactly what is described over at Laur Lore -- that is Harper emulating Obama.

Most politicians are followers not leaders. Their goal is to get elected by appealing to the most broad base that they can. For most, this means that they choose to meet the status quo, not push a real agenda. Here in Canada, Stephen Harper may be the follower of the time, but I don't believe any of the leaders of the major parties would be any better in this regard.

During the Bush years, there were a few instances where Canadian politicians stood up to United States policy. The main example of which was Canada's refusal to dedicate combat troops to the Iraq invasion. Canada instead took up the slack in Afghanistan, so it's hard to argue that the Prime Minister then was standing up to Bush.

When it gets down to it, Harper is about the same as any other politician. I am not defending him by any means, as I can hardly stand him, but I am saying that it's not that odd for Canadian politicians to follow a United States President's lead.

In the case of Barack Obama, more than just Canadian leaders are seeking to emulate his policies in an effort to catapult themselves through his success. In fact, even countries with rocky relations with United States under Bush, such as Cuba and Venezuela, are beginning to warm to Obama and embrace the "hope" message.

Hopefully political leaders, here in Canada and around the world, choose not to only emulate Obama's methods, but also to embrace his message in a genuine way.