Do the Stephen Harper Conservatives have something to teach Republicans? Probably. He has been so successful, that he has a really good shot at winning another majority – especially if the NDP drifts too far from the centre. I’d focus on three things he does right.
Control the Loons. The Conservatives have their own collection of idiots who can say outrageous things. However, Harper has imposed a fairly powerful gag and when they do go off the farm, he publicly slaps them down and takes away the small privileges they already have. I suspect that, at least in Saskatoon, the Federal party will work to nominate more mainstream candidates instead of the two loons who currently have seats.
Even more interesting, although the party would probably like to address social issues like abortion and gay rights, Harper has ruled out doing anything about either.
Make Change Gradually and Don’t Be Doctrinaire – Especially If You’ll Loose Support. Canada started working on the debt and deficit in the 1990s – it certainly wasn’t pleasant, but it was no where near the pain the U. S. might have to go through. Harper let the budget go into deficit when the 20008 financial crisis came along.
Even more interesting, when a big foreign mining company wanted to take over PCS (Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan – the largest 3 line fertilizer company in the world) – he turned them down because he would have lost every seat he had in the province. Not exactly doctrinaire free enterprise.
Show Some Respect to Minority Communities. The Liberals used to have a monopoly with immigrant communities because of the money they poured into “multiculturalism”. The Conservatives have significantly reduced this type of spending, but increased their share of these minority groups. How? By listening first. Next, by demonstrating a lot of respect for those communities. You can’t just go in and lecture them on your common interests – you have to let them lead the conversation.
Harper’s government is really quite conservative – they just don’t shove ideology in Canadians’ faces.