U.S. magazine calls Stephen Harper an ‘exceptional leader’

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

It's no secret that American conservatives have a political crush on Stephen Harper.

Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous op-ed pieces in U.S. newspapers praising his leadership, his foreign policy and his stewardship of the economy coming out of the 2008 recession.

Well, another right-leaning magazine has jumped on the pile of praise.

[ Related: 4 former prime ministers, 4 rebukes of Stephen Harper’s foreign policy ]

In the current edition of the National Review — the bi-weekly founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955 — the editors call Canada "the best governed country in the North America" and call Stephen Harper an "exceptional leader."

Canada came out of the recent recession in a stronger position than virtually any other country. Harper has cut taxes repeatedly, able to boast to Canadians that they enjoy “the lowest federal tax burden since John Diefenbaker was prime minister.” (That was during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.) The government indulged in deficit spending, when the financial crisis hit, and now they are about $21 billion in the hole. But they expect to be in balance in 2015. Forbes magazine ranks Canada the best G-8 country in which to do business. The corporate tax there is famously low — 15 percent, down from 21 percent when Harper and the Conservatives took over.

Paul Ryan cited Canada’s kindness to business in the vice-presidential debate last fall: Why can’t we be more like Canada?

Jay Nordlinger, senior editor of the magazine and writer of the article, appeared on Sun News with Ezra Levant on Monday.

"Stephen Harper is a very impressive. People ought to pay attention, especially conservatives wherever they live," Nordlinger said.

"Harper kept getting my attention in domestic affairs but particularly in foreign affairs, he seems such a departure. He seemed un-Canadian in a way or at lease un-Trudeaupian.

"Here is a man who is so staunchly pro-Israel, who didn't mind talking back to the UN, who withdrew from the Kyoto protocol and...who opened an office of religious freedom. This was something new under the Canadian sun."

Nordlinger added that Harper rises above other conservative leaders in the world such as Cameron in Britain, Merkel in Germany, Netanyahu in Israel, and Singh in India.

[ Related: Ezra Levant issues on-air apology for Roma comments ]

"I think Stephen Harper is a leader of the west, he sticks up for the principles and values of the west," he said.

"This is a guy with some clarity, and I find it very refreshing and it's surprising for me as an American...to see it in Ottawa. I think a lot of us thought Canada would be pretty much a social democratic...or a Scandinavian style welfare state.

"And here comes Stephen Harper and he is sort of a breath of fresh air from the west."

For, what's it worth, Nordlinger also calls Levant a sort of "regular folk hero" in some U.S. conservative circles.

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