December 19, 2018

Canada’s Rightward Turn

“Canada has been moving to the right—something my country hasn’t experienced in many years. Even when Conservative Stephen Harper was prime minister from 2006-15, the majority of provincial governments leaned left.

The current rightward trend started when Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives won big in Ontario on June 7. Mr. Ford set about eliminating a cap-and-trade program introduced by the provincial Liberals last year, reducing gasoline taxes by 10 cents a liter, and moving to shrink the Toronto City Council from 47 members to 25.

This was followed by a Sept. 24 victory by Blaine Higgs in New Brunswick. Atlantic conservatism—sometimes called “red Toryism”—is more liberal than in Ontario or Western Canada, but it’s still a shift to the right. The previous Liberal government is clinging to power and may try to govern without a majority. But that rarely lasts, and Mr. Higgs’s Progressive Conservatives will likely form a coalition with either the right-leaning People’s Alliance or the left-leaning Green Party.

The biggest conservative triumph occurred Oct. 1. Francois Legault and the Coalition Avenir Québec won a huge majority in Quebec. This seven-year-old party, which merged with the now-defunct Action démocratique du Québec, has elements of conservatism and populism. It will form the first right-of-center government in Quebec since the now-defunct Union Nationale was defeated in 1970.”

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