There is every sense that whatever Canada was in the eyes of the world has been radically altered, at least in perception. When Canadians themselves talk of the last decade in politics there is clearly a sense of jadedness, but when comparing the present context to those days when this country was highly regarded as an equitable nation and a terrific generator of Foreign Service professionals, many Canadians clearly sense a certain decline in stature.
Perhaps it's because politics itself has changed. The rustic/eloquent observer of the Canadian scene, Rex Murphy, commented last week that the two past Liberal leaders -- Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff -- were more like "boy scouts" than tough politicians. It's likely that there's some truth in this. But the victor is one who has succeeded in taking us down a number of dark alleys, where compromise is cast aside for conflict, and a sense of permanent partisan warfare replaces respectful governance.