Canada Liberal decries "right-wing" U.S. ideology

Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:44pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Opposition Liberal leader Stephane Dion, trailing badly in the Canadian election campaign, urged voters Saturday not to follow what he called the right-wing ideology of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration.

Dion said that after watching part of the U.S. presidential debate Friday night he was struck by differences between Canada and the United States during the eight years Bush has been in the White House.

"I see the tough times coming in the United States, the mistakes they have done, terrible mistakes with its right-wing ideology of laissez-faire I-don't-care," said Dion, whose plan to impose a new carbon tax has fallen flat in Canada.

"I saw that and I think the liberal approach ... is the solution for Canada more than ever now," he said.

By a large margin, opinion polls show Canadians prefer Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper over Dion as the best prime minister, and on a party level the Conservatives are also running strongly ahead of the Liberals.

In January 2006, Harper was elected to a minority government. More than halfway through the current five-week campaign, the main remaining questions appear to be whether the Conservatives will get a majority of seats in Parliament and which opposition party will be the largest.

The Liberals have always either governed Canada or been the Official Opposition, but polls are increasingly showing the New Democratic Party, which is further to the left, nipping at their heels.

The centerpiece of Dion's platform is a C$15 billion ($15 billion)-a-year tax on hydrocarbons like diesel, fuel oil and coal, accompanied by income tax cuts and subsidies for the poor, but it has been a tough sell with energy prices high.   Continued...

<p>Liberal Leader Stephane Dion speaks at the Loyola Arrupe Centre for Seniors during a campaign stop in Toronto, September 26, 2008. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election October 14. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese</p>