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Stephen Harper took time off from his Canadian summer tour to speak at a convention of center-right parties from around the world meeting in Washington DC this week. Looking to invigorate his image abroad and to repair some of the damage to Canadian-US relations over Iraq and missile defence, Harper proclaimed that a Tory government in Canada would start getting serious about counterterrorism efforts:
A Conservative government in Canada would move aggressively to step up efforts in the war on international terrorism and create a single office to oversee Canada's spy and security forces, Opposition Leader Stephen Harper promised yesterday in a speech to right-wing fellow travellers gathered in Washington.
"In particular, Canada can play a stronger role in the war on terrorism," Mr. Harper told a receptive audience of representatives of centrist and conservative parties from more than 60 nations attending the triennial International Democrat Union meeting.
The G&M reference to "fellow travellers" sounds suspiciously close to the anti-Communist phrase in the 1950s. It adds a discordant note of disapproval to Paul Koring's coverage of Harper, a distasteful association that may be more apparent to American readers than those of Canada. The use of that term does nothing to reverse the reputation of the G&M as a mildy to moderately biased news source in Canada.
Koring does report that Harper pledged to start increasing Canada's investment in its security forces, reversing a years-long trend under Liberal Party rule that has seen Canadian security become less robust. Harper also explicitly stated that he wants to integrate Canada's security closer with American continental efforts, although he avoided talking about missil defense for the moment. After the London bombing, such a message might resonate with Canadian voters. The nature of the attack and its perpetrators, most of whom appear to have been second-generation British citizens, should alert Canadians to the dangers they also face. Their Muslim communities face many of the same issues in assimilation as did the British (and Americans, for that matter, should also consider this).
Canada's Conservatives need to take terrorism seriously, including better border security cooperation and overall immigration and visa processing. The Liberals have clearly decided to err on the side of an open-door policy, giving Islamists a potential toehold on North America. Harper could position his Tories to address the real concerns of Canadians regarding lax security and lack of investment in the forces that should protect them from attack. His Washington appearance shows that he aims to do just that, despite the ankle-biting of the press.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Note to Stephen Harper: Be More Specific! from A North American Patriot
Captain Ed has a post about Stephen Harper's trip to Washington, and the speech he made, to the deligates there. I wanted to get more information on what he said, but I'm having trouble finding anything, in the news. A [Read More]
Tracked on July 19, 2005 12:52 PM
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