The Economist on Canada: Criticism from Mother England Stings

8 01 2010

The Economist used to have a favourable impression of Canada. Think of the famous 2003 cover image of a cool Canadian moose wearing sunglasses. Alas, the Canadian chic is wearing thin with the London-based magazine. The sunglasses are off and the moose has been shot and carved up for meat. This week’s issue is very critical of the decision of the Harper’s government to prorogue parliament.

For Canadian reaction to the Economist‘s comments on suspension of parliament, see here, here, and here. The Economist‘s condemnation is getting a lot of press in Canada. Perhaps this is because the British magazine once condemned Paul Martin as “Mr Dithers” and endorsed Harper in 2006 and 2008. I also think that Canadians are stung by the fact a publication in Britain, which is the fountainhead of our political institutions, has suggested that the actions of our Prime Minister fly in the face of constitutional convention. Many Canadians may dimly remember from high school the part of the British North America Act 1867 that reads: “Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom…”

I don’t agree with the decision to prorogue parliament. However, it disturbs me that in 2010, the opinion of a British publication could carry so much weight in Canada. Is this colonial cringe?