Immigrants a key bloc for all parties in 2015 election

posted on December 27, 2014

By Susan Delacourt, The Star | Link to Article

By Susan Delacourt, The Star | Link to Article

OTTAWA—Is Canada a more conservative country after nearly nine years of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rule?
When the election rolls around in 2015, immigrants to Canada may well cast the deciding votes on that question — or at least according to Harper’s own measure of political success.

In a rare, relaxed interview during a visit to New York last September, Harper revealed what he believed was the secret to Conservative victories in Canada.

“What’s most interesting politically about our coming to office and staying in office … the growth of Conservatism in Canada, our electoral support, has been largely, not exclusively, but largely by our penetration of immigrant voters … of so-called cultural communities,” Harper told Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker.

“Fifteen years ago, like many Conservative parties in other parts of the world, we had a very small share of that vote. Today, we win most of those communities.”

The answer was disarmingly candid, from a prime minister who doesn’t tend to talk political strategy in public. It was also intriguingly generous to Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who has done the lion’s share of the work in building the Conservatives’ political base among cultural communities. Harper, known more for his one-man brand of leadership, was essentially saying that he owes Kenney a huge debt for a Conservative stamp now placed on Canada.

“My colleague Jason Kenney phrased it this way — he said (we did it) by turning people who were small “c” conservatives into big “c” Conservatives,” Harper explained, when asked how his party had won over these groups.

“Most of these people have conservative views … They’re prepared to work hard and seize those economic opportunities. They have a very traditional hostility towards crime and criminal elements, towards the extremes of liberal social values — they’re family-oriented people.”

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