Stephen Harper Is Still Not Ready

10/09/2015 08:07 EDT | Updated 10/09/2016 05:12 EDT
Thomas Koehler via Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 27: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, speaks to members of the media during a press conference in the Federal Chancellery on March 27, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Koehler/Photothek via Getty Images)

After months of an on-air campaign claiming Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is "just not ready" to be prime minister, another gruelling 78-day election campaign spewing the now tired slogan and, indeed, almost 10 years in office, it's become evident that Harper himself just isn't ready for an increasingly diverse Canadian future.

The writing on the wall couldn't be clearer: between now and 2031, the population of foreign-born Canadians will grow four times faster than everyone else, according to Statistics Canada. By then, nearly half of Canadians will be either foreign-born or have a least one parent is one.

On the other hand, "old stock" Canadians are getting older. For the first time ever, the population of seniors over 65 outnumber the under 15 crowd. Given that life expectancy in Canada is about 80-84 years (depending on gender) , we're about to see a dramatic electoral shift in roughly 15 years.

Politically speaking, this means the pool of older, less diverse voters (typically the base of the Conservative party) is shrinking not unlike the Republican party base in the U.S. The duplicitous, short-term Conservative strategy of stoking racial tensions for xenophobic votes will have the long-term impact of alienating future electors who clearly hold the cards on which party will dominate federal politics in the coming decades if not sooner. In contrast, generations of immigrant families have been avowed Liberal supporters because, as recalled in accented dinner conversations across the country, "Pierre Trudeau opened the doors which is why we're here now."

It's a simple strategy the Tory campaign could've adopted (or at least appeared to) versus demonizing niqab-wearing women, sowing seeds of suspicion towards Syrian refugees and creating a two-tiered Canadian citizenry. Instead, the Tory raison d'etre will inevitably finds itself boxed in much like U.S. republicans who know they will never win the White House ever again without Hispanic support but must demonize their undocumented siblings as dangerous, would-be rapists in order to hold onto a similarly shrinking conservative base.

Ironically, it'll largely be the multi-culti set taking care of retired Canadians who can't afford private home care or companion bots. If popular social sharing site is any indication, a serious generation clash may be on the way.

The good news is that it's not too late.

A couple of decades is enough time to right the ship and ensure a future where shifting demographics is a plus for all Canadians, regardless of age or ethnic background. For this to happen, it takes a long-term vision that the current prime minister seems to lack. Despite, after Sir John A MacDonald, being the longest serving Conservative prime minister, it's clear Stephen Harper is just not ready to lead a pluralist diverse nation.

Good hair though.


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