Below the surface of the proposed British exit from the European Union is a sense of great consternation in the smaller countries that make up the United Kingdom. Having lived, studied and worked throughout the U.K. for the past two years, the divisions within the country are striking and broader than most North Americans realize.
Right now, 71 per cent of Canadians do not want Canada to accept above the original target of 25,000 Syrians. The warm feeling of moral righteousness is not particularly useful for devising a policy at a time when 60 per cent of Americans agree with Donald Trump's proposal to ban entry of all non-citizen Muslims to the United States.
Canada's Liberal Party leader, Justin Trudeau, has been riding high in the polls and many observers consider him well-positioned for the October general election. Yet Britain's election results contain some warning signs that Trudeau should heed. Voter behaviour in an actual election provides an insight into the complicated mood of a comparable electorate, and it would be a mistake not to observe and learn from Britain's example less than six months before Canadians go to the polls.
A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a video of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament. I hit "play" expecting the general "as polls show..." but before Farage was half-way through his speech, my sides were splitting. It was the greatest and most eloquent utterance on the topic of the EU I have heard from any British public figure since Sir Jimmy Goldsmith spoke at a conference in 1996.