Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Canadians Like Barack Obama

Cartoon (Toronto: 2009) © Ujjal Peter D'Costa

President-elect Barack Obama has only four more days for being inaugurated the 44th President of the United States. He won 52.9% of votes in the country-wide election of November 4, 2008. His popularity was not limited within the US borders but overflowed into Canada and many other countries of the world.

The US is the immediate big brother neighbour of Canada. Moreover, the Canadian economy is closely interlinked with that of the US. Naturally Canadians are interested in US politics and presidential election campaigns.

From the beginning, Canadians had been eagerly watching the campaign news. Initially they knew little about Barack Obama and took him to be a neophyte in contrast to stalwarts like Hillary Clinton, John McCain and others.

As they started to listen to Obama, see his congenial gestures and postures, and come to know of his priorities and plans, most of them began to get attracted to him. Gradually groups like Canadians for Obama grew up whose members even volunteered in different ways with the Obama campaign.

Obaman Magnetism in Canada

The main factors that influenced Canadian likings (some came from my interviews of common people and others from official polling agencies) are as follows:

  • Obama is a democrat, and a greater number of Canadians favour democrats and liberals.
  • He is young, sprightly, and full of enthusiasm and verve.
  • He is intelligent, eloquent and knowledgeable on topics he speaks on.
  • Being a biracial, he could encompass both the whites and non-whites.
  • He is positive in attitude and exudes hope for others.
  • He comes from a humble background with which most Canadians find a commonality.
  • He is calm and forgiving in face of bitter criticism, opposition and even racial slurs.
  • He strives for unity among resenting opponents.
  • His healthcare plan includes the common men and women.
  • He is a caring husband and a loving father to his daughters.
  • He wants to bring about a long-term change in the US and its policy abroad, including quick termination of the Iraq war and renewed fight against terrorism.
  • He wants to create an integrated environmental energy policy.
In mid-May, 2008, a Canadian Press - Harris Decima poll had found that, if Canadians were to vote, 56% of them would vote for Barack Obama and 15% for John McCain.

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