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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Canada Voted: Invisible Canada

You wouldn't know it, living in the UK, where the BBC did not this morning on its flagship radio news even mention it, but after a major national election, Canadians have woken up to an historically-new nation - for the first time since its founding, the Liberal Party is in third place, rather than forming either the government or the loyal opposition.  The Conservatives have rebounded and now form a solid, stolid and right-leaning fiscally-lean government; but the big news is the new second-place party: socialists - the NDP, always also-rans, though the social conscience of the nation - now form a viable government in-waiting, with over 100 seats.  Meanwhile, the separatists at federal level, the Bloc Quebecois, once a dire nemesis in Ottawa, have been wiped from the face of the Earth, left with four paltry seats, their leader, in tears, stepping down, after two failed decades; so too has the Liberal leader lost his seat, a smart blow-in from Harvard who never caught the national mood - his future must be in doubt.  So - what now for Canada?  In the next four years, a secure government, which will tack right, but maintain the stronger economy that has left Canada more untouched by the downturn than any other Western nation; Arts funding will suffer; and other social programmes, too.  Quebec politics will be altered completely.  The Liberals will no doubt reform from their rump - the Progressive Conservatives did, after their emasculation several decades ago, and now are stronger than ever. Question: what does Canada need to do to register over in Britain?  It is the third-largest English-speaking country in the West, after the UK and America, ahead of Australia, and New Zealand - and yet, even at its most dynamic, it remains relatively invisible.
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