Canada Election: PM Harper Loses As Tories Trounced

CANADIAN VOTERS have today terminated a decade of conservative rule, handing government to the unproven son of former Liberal Prime Minster Justin Trudeau; the defeat — whilst expected — was more savage than polls had suggested, and sees Justin Trudeau follow in his father’s footsteps at a time Western democracy has trended toward centrist liberalism.

It’s a quick piece from me this evening as I am in Brisbane — en route to the airport to return home — and more to mark the event than to delve into any deep analysis.

Another conservative leader has fallen today (Australian time) with the defeat of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in the general election in Canada; with results declared at about lunchtime our time, the Liberals — led by the son of former Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau — has won a clear majority in the House of Commons, with perhaps as many as 184 of the 338 seats up for grabs.

The defeated Conservatives fared badly, and worse than expected, winning a projected 99 seats with about 30% of the vote: a swing away from them of eight percentage points, with the consequent loss of almost half the seats they were defending.

The outcome is a stunning triumph for Trudeau Jr, whose party ran third at the previous election four years ago and was signposted by opinion polling just weeks ago to do so again; given he has never held ministerial office and comes from a tentative background as a supply teacher it would be unkind to suggest the new Prime Minister has surfed into office on his father’s name, but the conclusion is impossible not to draw.

I would share some comment from the mainstream press, replete with polling data, maps, and interactive figures, but can’t (and the fact I’m not should give potent notice of why I am about to replace my iPad with a Samsung tablet and banish the user-unfriendly, overrated Apple in favour of something that might actually be fit for the purpose it is bought for).

But I would like to note that one of the best of the present generation of world leaders has been lost; I will be the first to admit I have no idea what sort of government Harper ran on his own patch, but his voice in global affairs and in forums such as APEC and the G7 has added sage counsel and insight for many years, and this will be a loss to the rest of us as much as to those Canadians who voted to re-elect him.

The change comes at a time many Western countries are eschewing hard conservatism in favour of centrist, light liberal governance where the emphasis on personal freedom outweighs questions around the freedom and liberty of societies as wholes.

One would suggest Harper’s defeat at the hands of his own people reflects our own Tony Abbott’s demise at the hands of his own party; yet the centrist Trudeau will find much in common with Malcolm Turnbull, US President Barack Obama, Britain’s David Cameron, and Germany’s Angela Merkel — all (bar Obama) hailing from ostensibly conservative parties, but none of whom could be described as true Tories in the classic sense.

It can be funny how the world works and especially how the cycle turns in politics — locally as well as globally — but if there is to be any takeout from the Canadian result here, it probably augurs well for Malcolm Turnbull as he gears up to fight his first election as Prime Minister.

I will be back with something a little closer to home — and in a little more detail — in the next day or two.

Sanctimonious Rhiannon Lucky Not To Be Killed In Sri Lanka

CALL ME HORRIBLE if you have to, but I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for Communist Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon; filled with self-important righteousness, her expedition to lecture Sri Lanka on “alleged” human rights abuses could well have got her killed. This woman is an idiot.

“I went to Sri Lanka to be the voice the Australian government has refused to be,” begins the noble account Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon gives of herself in The Guardian today.

Really? Since when did a former Communist, in Parliament only by virtue of proportional representation and on the ticket of a lunatic fringe party scoring 8% of the vote at an election, have any right to arrogate to herself a duty to speak on behalf of this country?

On foreign soil and to another country’s government, no less?

By now I think most people know about the incident I’m talking about: Sri Lanka is shortly to hold the latest Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) — to be chaired by Prince Charles — and there are elements across the Commonwealth who urge leaders to boycott the forum in protest over alleged excesses perpetrated by Sri Lankan forces upon Tamil insurgents during the now-ended civil war in that country.

Rhiannon (along with another Greens fruit cake from New Zealand, Jan Logie) had travelled to Sri Lanka on the pretext of doing something about “human rights abuses,” but — predictably — succeeded in making Australia an international embarrassment instead.

Indeed, they are lucky they weren’t killed.

First things first: for a bit of balance, here is the article from The Guardian, and coverage from the News Limited press here and here. I’d include something from Fairfax, but there doesn’t seem to be a report on their sites (readers may post one, however, in comments).

I’m not going to get into a discussion of the rights, wrongs or otherwise of the atrocities Rhiannon claims to be fighting against; “human rights abuses that the Sri Lankan government is allegedly involved in” (my italics) is the way she puts it in her own words.

People who want to know about that can simply read her justifications and excuses from The Guardian, which is why I have put a link to it in this article.

But I would make the observation that Sri Lanka, until relatively recently, was engaged in a brutal and bloody civil war: what did the Senator think would occur in such a conflict? A game of chess over a cup of tea?

Never mind though: whatever it is, loopy Lee Rhiannon from Australia and her kooky counterpart from Kiwiland will sort them all out.

Spare us!

Wars, by their very nature, involve violence and bloodshed and what Rhiannon would deem “atrocities,” and it seems no accident that her stunt just happens to coincide with Remembrance Day — the commemoration of the end of the first World War on 11 November 1918, and of the fallen from that and all subsequent wars.

This crusade by two politicians who should know better — even from the Greens — demeans the honour of Australians who fought gallantly in those conflicts and, frankly, is an insult to their memory.

Who the hell does Rhiannon think she is?

“I was very concerned that my liberty was denied to me for more than three hours,” Rhiannon said on her return to Australia yesterday, in a statement certain to fill her Sri Lankan captors with guilt and remorse.

People (and especially those supposedly imbued with the responsibility of elected office, like Rhiannon) must understand that when they travel to another country, Australian laws, customs and practices do not apply.

Rhiannon is lucky in the sense that here in Australia she’s free to say — and largely do — whatever she likes; as an adherent of the hard Left, a swag of United Nations treaties and the clauses of legislation around anti-discrimination also allow her to peddle material that is, to many, simply offensive and noxious.

But to go to a country like Sri Lanka and start lecturing the local government about this and that…if the worst they did to her was to lock her up and basically deport her, she should be counting her blessings.

There are some countries in which the activities Senator Rhiannon engaged in whilst in Sri Lanka would have got her shot. It’s no laughing matter.

Yet in the meantime, she’s safely back in Australia. Isn’t that lovely? I’m sorry if I am meant to feel any profound sense of relief, because I don’t.

And as ever with the Left, she still can’t get the story straight as she continues to peddle her odious agenda.

CHOGM is an important international forum; the 53 nations of the Commonwealth cover about a third of the world’s population, and CHOGM meetings represent opportunities for those countries to discuss and advance initiatives in trade, in tourism, and  in investment.

Rhiannon doesn’t think Australia should attend, as a show of defiance against the “alleged” human rights abuses she writes about, and points to boycotts of the forum by the leaders of India and Canada as showing the way forward.

Yet whilst Canadian PM Stephen Harper might well be boycotting CHOGM, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been at pains to point out in recent days that despite appearances to the contrary, his non-attendance at CHOGM is due to purely domestic political factors within India only.

So much for that.

The Greens are not harmless; behind the carefully confected shroud of giving a stuff about the environment and encouraging “harmless” protest votes lies a (global) movement that really does aspire to engineer societies that are truly socialist — or even Communist — in nature, which is why I keep banging on with the suggestion that readers who don’t believe it should get hold of the Greens’ platform and read it.

At the very minimum, it’s highly undemocratic: and “anti” most of the things reasonable people accept are fundamental and critical tenets of ordered, decent society in a civilised western democratic country such as ours.

It is offensive to the point of outrageous that Rhiannon and her ilk traipse around the world on their crusades, daring to suggest they speak for the Australian government when they do not, and having the temerity to point the finger at others when their own stupidity reaps its own consequences.

In this case it could have been far worse, and Rhiannon should be thankful she is alive.

Mercifully, the Greens neither constitute nor represent the Australian government, and — with the benefit of hindsight available to future Parliaments — the folly of the Gillard government in according this dangerous outfit such status must never be repeated.

Yet even if it was, Rhiannon speaks for nobody: a former Communist and Soviet sympathiser now sitting on the ultra-hard left flank of the Greens she may be, but in world terms (to say nothing of right here in Australia) she is an insignificance — and rightly so.