Stephen Harper: Big government liberal

Writing in Huffington Post Canada, J.J. McCullough (who maintains Filibuster Cartoons) argues that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has abandoned his conservative roots in all but one area:

Old Stephen Harper opposed big government and runway spending. New Harper has presided over a 22 per cent spending hike. Old Harper was critical of unchecked immigration and multiculturalism. New Harper brags about ratcheting immigration rates to 57-year highs. Old Harper felt no shame embracing the cause of social conservatism. New Harper couldn’t stand up for gay marriage fast enough the second the rumour mill started grinding against him.

Yet a CBC interview with the PM this week revealed that in at least one important realm Harper’s stripes have barely changed at all. Speaking of the nuclear threat posed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran, the Prime Minister declared himself officially “frightened,” before lapsing into the same sort of rhetorical bluster he’s used since his days as an opposition bench booster for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Well, he’s still pretty tough-on-crime and, despite recent increases, his government has been openly hostile to immigrants and refugees, but Mr. McCullough is correct to note his transformation to a booster of big government who no longer trucks with social conservatives.

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. Much like being an Israel booster I don’t think the Canadian government taking a tough stance towards Iran makes the slightest amount of real difference. We don’t have the power projection ability or economic clout to really affect anything that goes on in the Middle East. So this has to be just for domestic consumption. I didn’t think this kind of thing really mattered until the last election where I found out that a friend with nominally Liberal aligned views voted Conservative because “Harper is the best friend Israel has right now.”

    Ironically, this mirrors a lot of the Iranian bellicose rhetoric, which is likewise probably primarily intended for internal political purposes.

    • I never thought there’d be many people who base their ballot choice on being a friend with Israel. I hope there aren’t too many people doing that.

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