I wonder what former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper will make of the success of the scary far-right Alternative für Deutschland party in Sunday’s elections in the South German state of Bavaria?
Apparently, significant numbers of Bavarian voters have concluded nothing could possibly go wrong if they elect a bunch of reconstituted Nazis. After all, it’s not like anything like that ever happened there before … Oh. Wait.
Mr. Harper, of course, has a strong connection with Bavaria’s capital city, Munich. Munich, at any rate, is also home to the headquarters of the international organization of right-wing political parties the former Conservative PM nowadays heads, the so-called International Democrat Union.
How much time he actually spends there is anybody’s guess, since like his visits to the Trump White House that’s not the sort of stuff ordinary folks in Canada are permitted to learn about.
Regardless, this comes to mind because of Mr. Harper’s recent comments about the relative merits of President Donald Trump versus those of British Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn or U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Earlier this month, Mr. Harper told a Global News reporter that Mr. Trump barely bothers him, “but the Bernie Sanders of the world or the Jeremy Corbyns in Britain are the ones that really, really frighten me.”
According to Mr. Harper, what he loses sleep about is the possibility that if elected someone like Mr. Corbyn or Mr. Sanders could do “irreversible” damage to global markets.
I’m assuming by this Mr. Harper means they might make the uber-wealthy folks he now represents pay their fair share of taxes, or put limits on buying and selling elections.
Now, as it happens, the Christian Social Union – the IDU’s member party in Bavaria – lost about 10 per cent of its votes in Sunday’s election compared to the last time it went to the polls. The AfD went from less than a percentage point to just a little over 10 per cent. What do you want to bet this was a move to the right by the same voters?
The Greens also posted big gains.
As part of Germany’s ruling coalition, we’re told this the CSU’s troubles could spell big trouble for Chancellor Angela Merkel. We’ll leave that question to German political commentators who know what they’re talking about.
What I want to know in the mean time is if the rise of the AfD leaves Mr. Harper as untroubled as the depredations and corruption of President Trump’s government while he tosses and turns at the thought of a social democrat practicing democracy in the United States or the United Kingdom.
Andrew Scheer adopts new slogan: mine would have been better
Speaking of Canadian Conservatives, Mr. Harper’s successor as leader of the Conservative party of Canada seems to have a new slogan.
In a Tweet published Saturday, Andrew Scheer said “Conservatives would not have had to sign the new #USMCA, because we would have negotiated a better deal for Canadians.” Says the attached meme: “I would have signed a better one.”
Never mind that Mr. Scheer, as dozens of people were pointing out on Twitter yesterday, was screaming for a complete capitulation before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s negotiating team closed the updated version of the NAFTA trade deal that had been demanded by Mr. Trump.
Given this new information from CPC HQ, however, I wonder else what Mr. Scheer and the Conservatives could have done better?
As former Alberta deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk Tweeted yesterday: “Conservatives would have carved a better David sculpture, Scheer says.”
Conservatives would have built a better airplane, Scheer tells Wright Brothers (Yours Truly).
Conservatives would have won more Stanley Cups, Scheer tells Habs (Andrew Koster).
I think there’s potential here. I invite readers to join the fun.
Canned Conservative candidate condemns competitors
How much longer will fallout from the Soldiers of Odin invitation continue to plague the United Conservative Party?
On Saturday, the UCP nomination candidate who was kicked off the ballot by party officials on Thursday for posing for selfies with the unsavoury visitors at a constituency association beer night now alleges he was disqualified for refusing to lie.
In a social media post on Saturday afternoon, Lance Coulter also accused his two former competitors to represent the UCP in the Edmonton-West Henday Riding of lying about the invitation to members of the Soldiers of Odin anti-immigrant vigilante group.
The Soldiers of Odin turned up at the event the previous weekend in their biker-style colours with their organization’s name emblazoned on their jackets, hats and T-shirts.
“My appeal to be reinstated as a nomination contestant for Edmonton-West Henday has been denied and I was not given the chance to speak to the board,” Mr. Coulter said in a short post on his campaign Facebook page.
“I condemn racism in the strongest terms,” he wrote, but continued: “I was disqualified because I refused to lie when the party asked me to, unlike the other two candidates.”
Mr. Coulter did not respond to queries yesterday about the form the party’s request took, whether it was implicit or explicit, and who made it.
Whatever happened, unlike nomination candidates Leila Houle and Nicole Williams, who made a joint social media statement saying they had no idea who the Soldiers of Odin were or what they represented, the former aide to Edmonton Griesbach MP Kerry Diotte told media he not only knew who the Soldiers of Odin were but that they were coming to the event.
To make matters worse for the would-be candidate, this contradicted a statement by UCP Leader Jason Kenney that the guests had “crashed” the party, although evidence soon surfaced that not only had they been invited, they had RSVP’d.
After that, UCP Executive Director Janet Harrington sent Mr. Coulter a letter saying he was out of the race.
UCP members in Edmonton-West Henday will vote to choose between Ms. Houle and Ms. Williams on Oct. 22, 2018.
Derek Fildebrandt is to be named permanent leader of the Freedom Conservative Party on Oct. 20. The wrong date was posted earlier in this blog. AlbertaPolitics.ca regrets the error.