Monday, June 2, 2014

Canadian Politician Bashed For "Secret" US Think Tank Meetings

Here is the story from The Globe and Mail:
Tim Hudak turned to leading lights on the American right – from Tea Party-linked think tanks to anti-tax crusaders – in his effort to craft an unabashedly small-government platform.
In the week after Easter, 2012, when the Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader was revamping his agenda after an unexpected election loss to the Liberals the year before, he visited Washington and met with a half-dozen top conservative thinkers.
The Liberals, who on Sunday released an itinerary of the trip, dubbed it a “secret” series of meetings with “right-wing radicals.”
The itinerary, previously obtained separately by The Globe, lists meetings with Chris Edwards, director of fiscal policy at the libertarian Cato Institute; and labour expert James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank led by a former Tea Party senator. Mr. Hudak also dined at the home of David Frum, the Canadian author and former George W. Bush speechwriter, the schedule says. [Frum worked at AEI and is now at the think tank R Street Institute.]
Mr. Hudak is also listed as having met a policy analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. Earlier this year, the Tories hired AEI economist Benjamin Zycher to estimate the number of jobs some of their current platform planks would create. But Mr. Hudak had to distance himself from the economist’s political views after it turned out Mr. Zycher had once accused Princeton of only granting Michelle Obama a degree because of her skin colour, and has questioned the existence of global warming.
Mr. Hudak said the Washington sit-downs were organized by Mr. Frum, whom he counts as an adviser.

This story notes that Mr. Hudak also met with scholars from the Brookings Institution, but does not mention that Brookings is not exactly a bastion of conservative thinking...

Of course, some think tanks in the US have a bit of a fascination with Canada.

In case you were wondering, Canada has 96 think tanks, and the US has 1,828 think tanks, according to the latest University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  In other words, the US has nearly twenty times the number of think tanks as Canada.