They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means.
Canadians prefer Obama over own leaders: poll

A new poll suggests Canadians would prefer to vote for Barack Obama rather than cast a ballot for their own political leaders, ……Obama appealed to people across Canada’s political spectrum, with 24 per cent of conservative-minded voters choosing him and 28 per cent of liberal thinkers.

Umm…. the self-definition of “conservative” seems to be beyond the comprehension of 24% of 41% of the 1,000 Canadians polled. That’s 98 people and a bit, or under 10% of the sample, well within the margin of thinking error for those educated in North American public schools after 1970. We shouldn’t make too much of it. Canada’s political spectrum is somewhat narrower, in any case.

The poll did produce some other interesting stats:

When it came to health care, 45 per cent of Americans felt Canada had a superior system, while 42 per cent thought the United States should stick with its own.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Canadians, 91 per cent, felt that Canada’s health care system was better than the United States.

This is as it should be for Canadians. Majorities of Canadians, or at least overwhelming pluralities, vote as if their health care is “free.” It is a point of national pride that Canada has superior health care. This belief is a necessary contributor to the maintenance of a certain sense of moral superiority. You may have to wait a year for back surgery, or many months for an MRI, or fly to some small town in Montana for a risky birth, but at least it’s better than being in the U.S. where so many are “uninsured,” even if they know it in advance. Propaganda scare stories about health care in the United States are a feature of Canada’s political campaigns.

OTOH, positive propaganda about the Canadian Health Caretel is standard fare from liberal American politicians. Overall, I take some encouragement from the fact that 42% of Americans prefer their system. I mean, 30% of Americans probably believe Cuba has health care superior to the U.S. after watching Sicko, but very few people in either Canada or the U.S. are likely to have seen Canada’s The Barbarian Invasions. 60% of Americans probably think Canadian health care is actually “free,” the same 60% who think speculators are the cause of high gasoline prices.

I do think Strategic Counsel’s Peter Donolo has a point regarding polarization:

“In general, I think on a lot of issues the United States are a more polarized society,” said Donolo.

Another way to phrase it is that a larger number of Americans are more politically involved and there is more public policy considered open to debate. In the United States there are actually enough people who believe in free speech and self defense that the government is not able to run roughshod over these rights.

But Donolo’s next point is, well, indicative of confusion and/or bias.

“When you look at the number of how many hardcore conservatives there are in the U.S., it’s a pretty significant number.”

10 percent of Americans describe themselves as “very conservative” according to the poll. The percent of Canadians describing themselves as “very liberal” is 12. So, especially considering that 1,000 random Canadians are not the first source you’d cite for a definition of “conservative,” where are the hardcore ideologues more prominent? Perhaps the lack of polarization makes for fuzzy philosophy.

Canadians ranked leaders from a list drawn from both countries in this order:

* Barack Obama: 26 per cent
* Stephen Harper: 21 per cent
* Hillary Clinton: 16 per cent
* Jack Layton: 9 per cent
* Gilles Duceppe: 6 per cent
* Stephane Dion: 5 per cent
* John McCain: 3 per cent

Americans, of course, were not asked a similar question because they would recognize (at most) only 3 of the 7 names. However, once familiarized with the Canadian politicians, I’d bet Americans would prefer Stephen Harper over Barack Obama.

From an American perspective Harper is center-left, like John McCain, but without the baggage. Harper would also have an “international man of mystery” appeal. Unlike Obama he does not have campaign managers who regularly have Che Guevara icons hanging on the walls of their office. He probably doesn’t have any friends who bombed public buildings in the 60’s. I seriously doubt his pastor ever damned Canada. While I realize some of these things attract Canadians merely because they trash America, it’s just not the same as if Canada had been the target. Which, if Canadians were voting for Obama, it would have to be.

So, what’s not to like about Stephen Harper?

Well, maybe that isn’t the right question. Maybe the question is, is the man going to be the leader of the world’s only super power, or is he going to lead Canada?

I mean no slight to Canada, but it is what it is. The leadership of Canada and the leadership of the United States certainly share a common bond. However, there is a vast difference in circumstance. That difference is why Canadians don’t get to choose American presidents. It’s why I think their opinions might actually change if they had the opportunity to take responsibility for that choice.

So, here’s a win-win. I am very happy today to offer Barack Obama in trade for 3 pounds of Canadian bacon and a case of Creemore. AND, IF YOU ACT NOW, I’ll throw in Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan – FREE!! They, or someone like them, will be coming with Barack in any case.

Call the program NAFDuh; North American FREE Demagogues unity heuristic.

1 thought on “"Conservative"”

  1. Thank you for this article. Really interesting numbers, however not much surprising for me. In Toronto term life we are really focused on the USA vs. Canada health care battle. I see many US bloggers praising our system and most of the Canadians put our health care on the top positions of their “why I love Canada” list during the Canada Day. However, after Costanguay’s words about our health care, many eyes have opened and many silent critics became loud, so I believe in next few years these numbers will change…Lorne