August 17, 2015 11:02 am
Updated: August 17, 2015 4:28 pm

Stephen Harper criticized in international newspapers


WATCH ABOVE: ‘I might have had a chance to read that’: Mulcair on NYT article blasting Harper

Two international newspapers held nothing back in separate columns criticizing Conservative leader Stephen Harper as the Canadian election campaign enters its third week.

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The New York Times opinion piece “The Closing of the Canadian Mind” is written by Toronto-based writer Stephen Marche and accuses Harper of having a “peculiar hatred for sharing information.”

“Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education,” Marche wrote. “But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government.”

Marche goes on to criticize Harper’s relationship with media (one of “outright hostility”), the muzzling of government scientists (which Marche calls Harper’s “war against science”), and says his reign as prime minister is “one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in Canadian history.”

READ MORE: Tories lead on the economy, NDP on health care, cost of living

Marche’s column is decidedly anti-Harper and doesn’t mention Justin Trudeau or Tom Mulcair at all. The editorial does come close to saying a non-negative thing about Harper allowing him the fact that “he’s beaten bad polls before” and that his years as Prime Minister “have not been terrible; they’ve just been bland and purposeless.”

Harper hasn’t commented on the column, though has in the past noted the newspaper is “no friend of ours.”

But the New York Times wasn’t the only newspaper to attack the Conservative leader. The Guardian questioned “is the Stephen Harper era over?” in a column printed earlier this month.

“[Canada] is heading toward an election that will determine whether it will continue along the predictable rightward course set by Stephen Harper as prime minister over the past decade or whether it can recover some of the verve and originality that once marked its politics, not least under Pierre Trudeau, whose son Justin is one of the contenders,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.

READ MORE: Leaders’ debate, attack ads and a week of campaigning have little effect on voters, Ipsos poll shows

The editorial begins with a familiar roasting of Canada’s place on the world stage suggesting we’re “almost invisible” and “often ignored by its powerful neighbour” while being “regarded with only distant affection” by England and France.

The Guardian mostly ignores Mulcair and Trudeau only mentioning them through the lens of how they interact with Harper’s campaign; Trudeau attacked by “just not ready” ads and Mulcair’s criticism of Harper’s policy.

And, like the New York Times, the editorial says little good about Harper’s time as prime minister but admits that with polls projecting a tight race between all three parties, there’s a chance he could win again.

“The political contest in Canada this time is particularly difficult to predict since the three big parties each have about 30% in popular support. Any of the three could end up in government, alone or in coalition.”

Seat projections ahead of the Oct. 19 election are close, but the NDP has been able to hold on to a small lead across the country, according to poll analysis done by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP).  Projections published by Global News on Aug. 13 suggest Mulcair holds a small lead and would form a small minority government.

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