Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Canadian Right's desire to copy the American Right

One of the features of the contemporary Canadian right that I have always found interesting is their desire to copy the issues and policies that are put forward by the right in the United States, particularly those issues and policies put forward by the far right in that country.

The Canadian right cleaves to the ideas of the American right on economic and fiscal policies, which is not surprising.  However, on such issues as abortion, same sex marriage, capital punishment, gun control, health care and other social issues the Canadian right tends to fall into step with the ideas put forward by the far right in the United States as well.  This is unique to the Canadian political right.  No other right wing party or government in the industrialized world makes any of these social issues a priority.  They tend to mimic the US economic and fiscal policy to a certain extent but they do not bother with the social issues.

Why is the Canadian right so enamoured with the ideas of the American right?

To a certain extent I can understand their desire to mimic the economic and fiscal policies of the American right.  Despite its troubles the United States still has one of the most dynamic economies in the world.  The Canadian right believes that such dynamism is the result of the low taxes and regulations on business in the United States.  So their argument goes that if Canada can set up a similar tax and regulation regime the Canadian economy will take off like the US economy.

On the surface this argument might have some merit but if you dig a little deeper it is patently false.  The US economy has been the driving force in the world economy for decades because innovation is the watchword for that economy.  Innovation in products, innovation in processes, and not being afraid to take risks is the reason for the dynamism of the US economy.  That was true during the height of the welfare state US economy of the '50 and '60 and it is true of the current Darwinian economic model in the US.

If Canada wants to have an economy like the Unites States the players in the Canadian economy will need to adopt such an approach to economic activity.  Canadian companies and government will need to be as innovative and as willing to take risks as those in the United States.

That's not going to happen.  Canadian companies and government do not take these kinds of risks.  They do not engage in that kind of innovation.  You just need to look at the history of Canada's economic activity, as I pointed out in my previous post, to see that. 

So Canada's right is barking up the wrong tree on the economic front.  Until there is a sea change in how business and governments approach economic activity in this country no amount of copying the US policies will create an economy as dynamic as the US economy.

On social issues I do not understand the Canadian right's desire to copy the American right.  Virtually all of the social policies that the American right pursues in the United States tend to resonate with a sufficient number of Americans to make it worthwhile to pursue. 

The same in not true in Canada.  None of those issues are front and centre in mainstream Canadian thought.  In fact, with the exception of health care most Canadian are quite content not to rock the boat by bringing up those other social issues that the right is so enamoured with.  As well, whenever these issues do break through the consciousness of Canadians their opinions tend to be different from those of the Canadian right.

Canada has unique issues that need to be dealt with in both the economic and social realm of Canadian society.  Perhaps, the Canadian right could use their energies to come up with original thoughts on how to deal with those issues instead of just regurgitating the thoughts and policies of their cousins to the south.


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