Canadian conservative leaders react to Obama re-election
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 9th, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Obama’s re-election on Tuesday night has sparked a flood of reaction on what it portends for the future of America’s pro-life and conservative movements. But the election will also have a significant impact internationally, not least on America’s closest ally and cultural counterpart – Canada.
Richard Bastien, editor of Canadian Observer magazine and an associate fellow at the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, says he believes the re-election of the United States’ most pro-abortion and anti-family president “will help consolidate the secularist and statist agenda of our federal and provincial political parties.”
“Religious freedom being under attack, particularly in Quebec’s and Ontario’s educational systems, there is a real risk that the implicit endorsement of the HHS mandate will bolster the efforts of Canadian politicians seeking to limit religious influence on school curricula,” he said.
The election, he added, “will most likely result in an escalation of the culture war being waged in Canada between a culture of death and a culture of life.” “Obama’s support for unfettered access to abortion will significantly weaken the prospects of regulating the provision of abortion services in Canada,” he suggested.
Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women, said she finds it unlikely that America could push Canada further to the left on life and family issues, but also noted that another four years of Obama will likely bolster the left-wing movement in Canada.
“The Americans will be catching up to us. It’ll just make it all the more politically challenging because both countries will be on the same wavelength,” she said. “It may make left-wing views more socially acceptable.”
Obama is “the antithesis of anything anyone would want from the Christian perspective,” she said. “He’s going to do an enormous damage, not just the economy but socially. He doesn’t care anymore because it’s his last term. He was bad enough in his first term, but now he’ll have a free hand.”
“In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, frankly I don’t give a damn whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is the president,” he said. “The deep cultural work that has to be done to reinvigorate the culture of life and renew social architecture in North America isn’t something that will be won by an election campaign costing six billion dollars.”
“If anything, Obama’s election should be a positive occasion for everyone involved in renewing social architecture and reviving the culture of life to examine their strategies, tactics and commitment for the years ahead,” he added. “But that might - might - have been only slightly less the case had ‘Moderate Mitt’ been elected. We’re in this deep and long. Stuffed suits in a chair don’t matter a damn.”
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, noted that Obama is so popular in Canada that he would have probably won 90% of the vote were he running here. “We’ve got the young people in Canada thinking that Obama is some sort of an answer,” he said.
The election result was “discouraging,” he said, because Obama is “one of the most pro-abortion if not the worst pro-abortion president the US has ever had. I think he is a very real danger to the democratic rights of ordinary people, especially pro-life and pro-family people.”
Hughes said, however, that “in the end it won’t be a setback,” because having Obama in office will “toughen up” and “smarten up” the pro-life movement.
Brad Trost, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt, said he expects “very little effect” in Canada because it was basically a “status quo” election with Obama maintaining the presidency, the Democrats control of the Senate, and the Republicans control of the House. But he did note that a big concern for social conservatives in the years ahead will be Obama’s appointments to the Supreme Court.
According to Joseph Ben-Ami, president of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, the election is “a wake up call for conservatives, especially social conservatives.”
He emphasized the real challenge of mobilizing the conservative base because it appears to be shrinking, or at least not keeping pace with the growth of those who are unengaged on issues important to conservatives.
“How do we connect with this constituency, and how do we counter the immense appeal to them of a progressive agenda that offers the promise of an easy, pain-free and stress-free life?” he asked. “We conservatives have to stop talking to ourselves and start marketing our vision to those whose support we need if we are to succeed electorally,” he added. “As I often say to my friends in government up here, to win the argument, you first have to make it, sensibly and effectively.”
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