Canada’s Conservatives show how dangerously skewed US politics have become

Canada's Conservatives show how dangerously skewed US politics have become

Canada, now in the midst of a tight election campaign, boasts a robust middle class and a citizenry not prone to American-style insurrection or deadly political violence . How did Canadians avoid the extreme political, cultural and social polarization afflicting the United States? In a nutshell, America’s political centerline skews to the right compared to most other advanced, industrialized democracies. Indeed, the deep social and cultural fault lines dividing America are largely absent in Canada. Perhaps more importantly, a relative dearth of money and corporate influence in the Canadian political system helps to sustain its vibrant middle class. A comparison between Canada’s Conservative Party and the Republican Party illustrates these striking differences. In stark contrast to Republicans, the leader of Canada’s Conservatives is pro-choice . A Conservative Party source tells me that merely hinting at restricting abortion in Canada would amount to political suicide for any party seeking to govern. But what explains this extraordinary cultural disconnect between America and its northern neighbor? For one, the 1980s saw the rise of the Religious Right in the United States. In the span of a few years, Jerry Falwell & Co. mobilized millions of evangelicals and conservative Catholics by weaponizing religion for political gain. No similar mass movement materialized in Canada. Similarly, American conservatives may be surprised to learn that Canada’s Conservative Party supports reasonable gun control measures. To be sure, Canada does not have an American-style Second Amendment . But guns only became a deeply divisive political and cultural issue […]

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