Looking back one shakes their head in wonder, how could 50-plus million people have voted for George Bush, Jr., not once, but twice by electing him with huge majorities in both the House and Senate?
Canadians from every nook and cranny shook their heads in amazement. Relations became strained between Ottawa and Washington. When travelling north Americans often discovered both chilly weather and chilly receptions.
Overwhelmingly Canadians didn't like Bush, and nowhere was it more apparent than when a Chretien staffer named Francoise Ducros shouted out within earshot of the President and his staffers the word "moron." Immediately Canadian political Opposition party members, and in particular Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney, jumped in to defend Mr. Bush. In the aftermath Ms. Ducros resigned, but not without making the following statements, "It is very apparent to me that truth has no place in Canadian politics when an obvious and time tested fact such as Bush being a Moron cannot be tolerated. I would therefore like to leave my position as director of communications immediately because the field of communications, as well as the economic and political interests it serves, seems to have lost all sense of reality."
Interesting how clearly Canadians saw the political deficiencies in the U.S. back then. There was even one Liberal MP who got into it, Carolyn Parrish. Expressing shock at the re-election of George W. Bush, she made this statement, "America is completely out of touch with the rest of the free world." Once again Canadian Conservatives were appalled, calling for her to apologize. Ms. Parrish defended herself, saying that such comments "are in the best traditions of free speech and independence of thought."
But that was then and this is now. Things change, or do they?
Well yes they do. Today the Americans have a more left-of centre President while Canada has a right-wing Conservative Prime Minister.
George W. Bush did things his way, and his years as President were mirrored with secrecy, overspending, extreme partisan politics, religion (God Bless the U.S.), wars, being an outcast at the U.N., and the financial downfall of the planet. Today the U.S. just isn’t as nice as it used to be. For evidence just look at the American 24-hour right-wing news media attacks, the Tea Party, and you're with me or against me attitude.
In the last five years Canadians have witnessed similarities. Stephen Harper also does things his way. There's incredible secrecy, overspending, extreme partisan politics, religion (Harper's closing words on his 2006 election victory were "God Bless Canada"), wars, losing our security-counsel seat at the U.N., and record deficits. Canada is no longer the nice place it used to be, as evidence just look at the Conservative attack ads, and the you've got to elect the Conservatives as a majority or the country will somehow fall into utter chaos attitude. The only reason we don't yet have a 24-hour right-wing media here in Canada was a recent decision by the CRTC, which means that at least for now, our media must strive to report the truth.
It seems that Canada is in the same position as the Americans just before Bush got elected to his second term. Looking back it's obvious the American voters got it wrong. Sadly their grandchildren will pay a heavy price for their mistakes.
I expect that a Harper victory will produce similar results in Canada. The laws of gravity and politics don’t change at the border. Regrettably, political ideology and fear often overrides truth and logic.
Vote as though this election affects everything about your grandchildren, because it does.