Every time there's an election in Canada, it seems to happen like clockwork: some far-left organization rolls out Stephen Harper's 1997 speech to the Council for National Policy, an American conservative think tank.
"Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. Canadians make no connection between the fact that they are a Northern European welfare state and the fact that we have very low economic growth, a standard of living substantially lower than yours, a massive brain drain of young professionals to your country, and double the unemployment rate of the United States."Of course, Canada's left hopes Canadians will listen to the first sentence of that passage, get disgusted, and stop reading. They tried it in 2004, again in 2008, then again in 2011.
But instead, something amazing happened; something the left never expected.
Canadians thought about it. And they realized Stephen Harper was right. They realized that Canada had for too long settled for government-cushioned mediocrity. Each time the left has rolled out the "Northern European welfare state" quote, more Canadians voted for Harper.
Because it's rather simple: Canadians don't want to live in a Northern European welfare state. Certainly, there are those who have convinced themselves that they do. But they haven't paid attention.
Having not paid attention, the left continually wanted Canadians to mistake this quote as an expression of contempt for Canadians (and because they never learn, they'll probably try it again in 2015), as opposed to what it was: a warning.
It's hard to say if Herman Cain was in Montreal in 1997 when Harper delivered that speech. But it's clear that he must have heard about it. Because one can hear a lot of Harper's solemn caution in Cain's declaration that Republicans and conservatives will not allow President Barack Obama to turn the United States of America into the United States of Europe.
Canadians don't want to live in a Northern European welfare state, in any sense of the term. Nor do Americans.