Despite the presence of many excellent Canadians in the blogosphere (such as this splendid chap) I don’t know all that much about Canada. My first and only visit to that country was some fifteen years ago and rarely does Canada merit any coverage in the UK media.
However, from what little I have learned I get the impression that it is a country where the left-of-centre political culture is pretty much set in stone and the ruling (and misnamed) ‘Liberal Party’ is a perennial electoral shoe-in.
Could that be about to change?
The leaders of Canada’s two rival right-wing parties said on Wednesday they were very close to agreeing on a merger to form a united conservative movement to challenge the ruling Liberal Party.
Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper pulled out of a town hall meeting in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta, to fly back to Ottawa for talks with Peter MacKay, leader of the Progressive Conservatives.
“We haven’t (yet) come to an arrangement but we’ve had some very positive talks and I expect to have some more very shortly, and I am very optimistic about things developing,” Harper told reporters at Calgary airport.
“It’s not often that the political landscape is altered in a big way so quickly but I think we’re very close to doing that,” he said. The tentative name for the united party would be the Conservative Party of Canada.
Interesting as far as it goes but it does beg quite a few questions, such as:
1. Is this ‘merger’ likely to happen or is this all aimless flapping?
2. If it does succeed then is the Conservative Party of Canada going to commit to rolling back the Canadian state?
Polls give the Liberals the same support as all four opposition parties combined, but also show that a single right-wing party could mount a serious challenge.
3. What are their chances of climbing that electoral mountain any time soon or at all?