Just a few weeks back when the Republican Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain, spoke in Ottawa the capital's senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, couldn't get out of town fast enough.
It seems no one wanted to be caught within sight of the American candidate lest they be tarred for being too chummy. Witnessed by President Bush's "Yo Harper!" invocation just a few days back, opposition members have been quick to point-out the close ties between those two politicians.
The Bush administration is deeply unpopular with Canadians, and a wide margin favour the Barack Obama Democratic candidacy in this fall's U.S. Presidential election. East Coast journalist and columnist, Dan Leger, in a recent commentary suggests in fact that Americans themselves may be becoming more Canadian. Attitudes south of the border are shifting as witnessed by the rise and popularity of the Obama Presidential bid he says.
The "Obama Coalition" as Mr.Leger describes it is a mixture of "educated baby boomers, workers, blacks and urban professionals embracing small 'l' liberal values."
It all points to a very refreshing change from the right-wing, greedy, paramilitary partisans who have been running America virtually since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1976.
Recent polls, and there are many, list the economy, jobs, energy, health care and ending the war as major concerns. These are American polls which, as observers have pointed-out, appear devilishly Canadian in their results.
A couple of days ago the "London (U.K.) Telegraph" published a flattering commentary about Stephen Harper touting our Prime Minister as one of the great leaders of the G-8 Summit which wrapped-up this week in Rusutsu, Japan. "Of all the (G-8) leaders, only Stephen Harper - the talented but curiously neglected Canadian prime minister - is able to point to a popular and successful record in office." The newspaper says. It continues: "Some will regard it as alarming that in current times, world leadership should rest with Canada. But the Canadian Tories are a model of how to behave during a downturn."
Some may argue that the spending reductions and program changes initiated by Paul Martin as Jean Chretien's Finance Minister have played a significant role in Canada's good fortune. It is true though that Mr. Harper's minority government has been able to reduce the tax burden on Canadians and keep the affairs of the country in good order.
If our great neighbours and trading partners the Americans are starting to show Canadian tendencies as Dan Leger argues; perhaps the Prime Minister is correct in seeking to distance himself from candidate John McCain, lest Canadians begin to act and vote like Americans.
Canada joined the G-8 in 1976, we will host our fifth summit at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario in 2010. Assuming Mr. Harper's successful re-election and Senator Obama's Presidency in the United States, the two leaders may there get a chance to test the boundaries of our American and Canadian stereotypes.