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Triumph of the Conservatives

Are they now the natural governing party of Canada?

May 16, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 33 • By FRED BARNES
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Nonetheless, private clinics have sprung up, particularly in quasi-socialist Quebec. “The provincial and federal governments have been afraid to shut down the illegal clinics because they realize there would be a huge outcry from patients,” says Sally Pipes, a native of Canada who runs the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco.

Harper will have a chance in 2014 to ease the health care rules when the transfer act is renegotiated. “There’s an opportunity, but Harper has not publicly stated if his government will loosen the strings for the transfers,” says Niels Veldhuis of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver. If he does, “reforms might include everything from insurance experimentation and parallel private systems to the use of health savings accounts.” Any major reforms would be enormously controversial as well as politically risky.

A more immediate result of the election is the demise of the Liberal party, the party of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, and Jean Chrétien. It hadn’t fallen to third-party status since the 19th century. BQ was massacred at home, in Quebec, by the NDP, which won 58 of the province’s 75 seats, the BQ only 4. The BQ’s role in the national parliament has always been conflicted, given its aim for the province to secede from Canada and become a sovereign nation.

For Harper, the NDP is the ideal opposition. It’s leftwing but also flaky. Many of its Quebec seats were won by placeholders or college students. One NDP candidate spent part of the campaign in Las Vegas and won anyway. With 102 seats, the NDP might seem formidable. It’s not. With their majority, Conservatives won’t need NDP votes.

For Harper and Conservatives, it doesn’t get any better than last week’s election.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of  The Weekly Standard.

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