America’s Tea Party Republicans, Canada’s Reform Party, Quebec’s Parti Québécois – Herding You To The Right?

It is a very interesting time to be a Wary Lemming.

In the US, the Presidential election campaign is hitting full stride, beginning with the nomination conventions. I will be taking some time in the coming weeks to point out what each party has revealed about themselves during these conventions – focusing on what they said, and just as importantly, what they did not. As always, I will let the facts speak for themselves.

The Republican Party is sending out Mitt Romney, a somewhat centrist former Governor of Massachusetts, while at the same time undergoing a transformation from a party of classical liberalism, to one beholden to the extreme right. The micromanager Mitt will need all of his skills to hold this gang together until November.

Meanwhile, Republican Governors in many US States have taken the measure of implementing new voter ID laws. These laws, in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, will make it far more difficult for voters who traditionally trend democrat to take part this November.

While it is reasonable to expect a voter to be eligible, it is highly doubtful that this was the primary concern of the legislators. With no proof of any kind that voter fraud is rampant, why the need to rush these laws to the books?

I think Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s own words offer a likely explanation. This is what he said while listing off his party’s accomplishments: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: Done”

Oops. Yes Mike, you said that out loud

In Canada, a member of the former Reform Party, a party that could be explained simplistically as Tea Party North, is now the Prime Minister. A regional party of rather extreme right wing thinkers managed to create the conditions necessary to win a federal election. The US Tea Party ought to take note of this.

Due to the vagaries of Canada’s first past the post parliamentary system, they formed a majority government, giving them at least 4 years in power, with just over 1/3 of votes cast and just over 25% support of all eligible voters.

As a result of that election, Canada is in the middle of an ongoing investigation of fraudulent phone calls. Nearly every one of Canada’s 308 electoral districts reported suspicious phone calls on election day. These robocalls told voters, among other things, that their polling station had changed. When the voters showed up, there was no polling station to be found. It has been widely reported that these calls went mainly to voters who had been contacted by the Conservative Party and had also indicated they would not be voting Conservative.

In Canada’s Province of Quebec, voters appear to be veering back to a provincial government whose main goal is to declare sovereignty and secede. This party also hopes to ban religious symbols from the workplace, unless of course, that symbol is a crucifix. What once was described as a left-centre party is now heading so far to the right, that they are unrecognizable.

What makes it even more surprising is that this electoral development comes on the heels of these same voters electing a far more socially conscious, left leaning federalist group of NDP candidates in the last national election.

Knowing this, do Quebecers really want to separate from Canada now? Do they agree with the PQ’s stance on religious symbols, limits on running for office based on language, or banning students from attending english language post-secondary schools?

All over North America, it appears that governance is moving to the right. In some cases, to the extreme right.

Are we witnessing a shift of ideals in the general population? Have these two countries, their states and provinces, decided to embrace this more extreme brand of conservative ideology?

If not, then what in the world is going on? More importantly, is it a risk to the majority? Should we all follow the herd?

In the days and weeks ahead, this Wary Lemming will try to find out.

 

UPDATE:

On the heels of a Pennsylvania court upholding that state’s voter ID law, a US federal appeals court in Washington struck down the Texas voter ID law requiring photos for voters at the polls, calling it racially discriminatory.