With this philosophy in mind, it is curious that Harper chooses to engage in such a high-profile "outreach" with the Bush administration. In Canada, there are few things as unpopular as the government to the south:
The poll also found that 69 per cent of Canadians believe Mr. Bush's election was a bad thing, compared with 58 per cent who thought the same way right after he was given a second term. By contrast, 19 per cent think his election was positive, down seven points from November of 2004...
The survey, for example, found that in Quebec, 81 per cent of those surveyed thought Mr. Bush's re-election was a bad thing. The poll also found that 70 per cent agreed with the statement that, although they value the United States and its citizens, they disagree fundamentally with the government.
With public sentiment in mind, Harper hardly benefits from comments such as these:
The trip also sent a message to Washington, according to John Hulsman, an analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
''That was to show the cavalry is back in town, that they're not going to be anti-American,'' he said. ``Harper, like Bush, has a black-and-white, good-and-evil view of the world -- they're cut from the same cloth...''
''If George Bush can't get along with Stephen Harper, he can't get along with any world leader,'' said David Taras, a political science professor at the University of Calgary. ``They're ideological cousins, if not twins.''
Politically speaking, the last thing Stephen Harper needs is the perception that he ideologically similar to an essentially "radical" Bush regime, particularly in Quebec where anti-Bush sentiment is strongest. This policy will serve as an achilles heel that the opposition can capitalize on. Given, Harper's priority of offering political goodies to win votes, he may want to reconsider his "closer" ties with Bush. Harper's strategy is even more confusing, given the current climate in America, where elected Republicans have found it necessary to distance themselves from Bush if they hope for re-election this fall. In aligning closely with Bush, Harper reveals the mirage that he is a moderate and the opposition should exploit the contradiction.