The Culture War comes to Canada - The Intrepid

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Culture War comes to Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada is currently poised to win the 2008 Election with a strong minority or maybe even a majority government. However, it is somewhat disheartening to see the realization and success of some of the more underhanded American political strategy in Canada. From sleazy ads and mud flinging, to trying to stir up a culture war the Conservative campaign is starting to mimic the worst parts of the McCain and Obama campaigns.

Earlier this week, Harper defended his $45 million cuts to the arts. “I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people at, you know, a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough, when they know those subsidies have actually gone up – I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people.”

The brunt of Harper’s attack isn’t directed at the arts, or art funding. Harper's attack is designed to enforce rural perceptions of elitism in urban Canada. To win this election the Conservatives are using a tactic straight from the Republican playbook: build rural support by starting a culture war.

The worst part is that it’s working. Through these tactics, the Conservatives are trying to divide Canadians. On the one hand, there are hard working ordinary Canadians and on the other, rich snobbish elites in their ivory towers.

The key to this strategy has been Dion himself. By looking the part of the elite, the Harper campaign has feverishly tried to paint him as an aloof Professor, completely out-of-touch with the needs of normal Canadians. The Liberals are of the party of elitism and the Conservatives are the party of the average joe. While this comparison lacks any grounding in reality, most Canadians seem to be buying it.

“Bashing the elites is certainly simplistic,” writes Maragret Wente of the Globe and Mail, and unfortunately “it works.”