- The Washington Times - Friday, July 14, 2000

There are two brand new faces one in Mexico, the other in Canada whose arrival on the neighborly scene of North America represents momentous news for American politics and diplomacy in the 21st century.
Our Latin neighbor to the south has just elected Vicente Fox Quesada, 58, a devout Catholic and a successful business executive who speaks excellent English, as the country's president, thereby, one hopes, ending the seven-decade rule by corrupt Mexican politicians of the once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party. Mr. Fox, a strapping 6 foot 5 inches tall, will not take office until December, as provided by the Mexican Constitution.
Our neighbor to the north has just formed a genuine conservative party, the Canadian Alliance (CA), headed by a new face in national politics, Stockwell Day, 49, a true-blue conservative in the Ronald Reagan tradition. The CA, a successful merger of the 13-year-old Reform Party and defectors from the dead Progressive Conservative Party, hopes to oust the ruling Liberal Party at a national election expected next year. So the telegenic Mr. Day, an evangelical Christian social conservative from the conservative-run province of Alberta, will first have to get elected to the House of Commons. Mr. Day is said to speak passable French, a big plus in this legally bilingual country. He is presently Alberta's treasurer, where he has introduced a flat tax effective in 2001. And as a topper, to demonstrate his opposition to Liberal Party gun-control legislation, he now owns a .38 caliber handgun.
For American conservatives, the good news about Mr. Day is his platform: a 17 percent flat tax on incomes, reducing the size of government, a cut in the capital gains tax, promoting family values, tougher anti-crime legislation, national referenda on abortion and other morally sensitive issues, and no special treatment of gays, especially by legalizing gay marriage. Since he is a fitness buff, his Liberal opponents derisively refer to him as "Archie Bunker on roller blades." The good news for William Buckley is that Jason Kenny, Mr. Day's 32-year-old campaign manager, reads National Review magazine.
Although the growth of the Reform Party (now the Official Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons, under its founder, Preston Manning) was remarkable, the party's prairie populism message hasn't made a dent in Eastern Canada, specifically Ontario. A recent poll of Ontario voters gave 19 percent support to the CA with 57 percent for the Liberal Party.
There is little chance of CA making any gains in Quebec, where the Bloc Quebecois, dedicated to secession from Canada, holds 54 of 75 seats in parliament, the remaining seats belonging to the Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, a Quebecois.
The key to success in Canadian national politics is Ontario with 103 seats up for grabs. Even though the Liberal Party in the last election captured 101 seats, the Ontario electorate has elected and re-elected a conservative, Mike Harris, as its provincial premier (equivalent to governor in the United States) despite bitter opposition from labor leaders and government employees. The question today is whether Mr. Harris would in the upcoming national election throw his support to the CA or to the vanquished Progressive Conservative party which at its zenith in 1984 had 211 seats in parliament, sank to two seats in 1993 and has a mere 19 seats today.
The importance of these Canadian political developments to the United States (trade between Canada and the U.S. amounts to a billion dollars a day) cannot be underestimated. The socialist New Democratic Party is disappearing as is the Progressive Conservative Party which for years masqueraded as the voice of the Canadian right but which in actual fact was one of the most statist, interventionist tax-grabbers of the industrial democracies.
A CA electoral victory would mean a new kind of Canada with a genuine market economy and a far more prosperous citizenry than today. After-tax income of a Canadian family, according to The Economist, is about one-third lower than in the United States. The Canadian Tax Foundation has pointed out that a salary of $100,000 (in Canadian dollars, $168,000) places the U.S. taxpayer in the 25 percent tax bracket versus 50 percent for the same salary in Canada. That's why there is a Canadian brain drain to the United States by many Canadian professionals.
What the rise of the Canadian Alliance reflects is a rebellion of the middle class, which won't take it anymore. The Liberal Party's minister of finance, Paul Martin, is sensitive enough to this rebellion and has begun a timid tax-cutting program, but Mr. Chretien has braked Mr. Martin's program.
The future of the CA and Stockwell Day is getting rosier by the day.

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