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The most recent CPC appeal to voters is rooted in xenophobia, even racism, but carefully constructed to afford a sliver of plausible deniability. Only a sliver, at most. I think it is outright xenophobia, rooted in racism, and should be pulled. Even by the shoddy standards of political parties and Canadian society it is a prejudice too far, it seems to me. If they continue to run it, then the ad and the motivations of its makers are fair game for commentators. If you want to play the sickest game possible, xenophobia and racism, then you deserve to be called on it, and suffer the consequences. Only the PQ and ADQ have gone this far in recent Canadian politics I think, although there was a lot of anti-Italian prejudice instrumentalised against the LPC in English and French during the Martin years.
In case anyone didn't already know, I'll note again, as I have before, that the entire Harper CPC strategy has been, from the very beginning, to adopt Thatcher's "One of Us or Not?" views and tactics. From 2006 and "Tim Horton's "normal" conservatives vs. corrupt weirdo ethnic french italian elite Starbucks-drinking foreign elite liberals" to 2008 and "Normal Anglo Steve" vs. "Freaky Geeky Dion the FROG with his weird voice, gestures, accent" to now, 2011, with the Ignatieff attacks, and of course, as many noted, the unbelievably shameful decision not to withdraw and apologise but to double down on sleazy groundless defamation of his father's life story because it is at the heart of their strategy. If cultivating cultural minorities to win votes in suburbs seems to contradict the general xenophobia, it does not. Remember, the Cosby Show was the top-rated show in South Africa in the 1980s, for Whites as well as Blacks. Or as white South Africans would explain about "their problem", looking for understanding: "your bleks aren't like our bleks, you see". And recent arrivals are looking for acceptance. Nothing binds people together like rejecting the next bunch of arrivals. By being prejudiced about the next round of migrants, the recent arriver adopts the majority position, integrating into it, and receiving the validation of it ("you may be Jamaican, but you're OUR Jamaican!"). Reciprocally, the majority members feel connected to the the minorities, and are comforted in their views. An increased sense of social cohesion is achieved, on the backs of possible newcomers, now deemed outrageous.
But this most recent ad carefully plays on racism and xenophobic themes not directed at one individual, which is bad enough, but at an entire inchoate mass of outsiders arriving on boats (Valpy noted the heightened visceral fear boats seem to provoke, as opposed to outsiders on planes, etc.). Its words faux-piously claim to distinguish between legitimate migrants and "smugglers", but the visuals tell a very different story. Everyone gets this, but I ask, in recent memory, has anyone consciously whipped up general xenophobia as part of an electoral strategy, the PQ and ADQ excepted?
I assumed that when the CPC used xenophobia and racism upon arrival of the Sun Sea, it was to distract from all the issues (census, parliament, etc.) that were bedevilling them. I was naive enough to think their standards were such that evil as it was, it was a momentary tactic. But to consciously put it at the front of one's re-election strategy? I worry about these people's souls. Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they proud of themselves for such ads? Someone should really find out and tell Canadians. If they're going to make such ads, we should know the decision-making process, who signed off, all the details, including who agreed to do the voiceover. If an actor, I'm sure her colleagues would be intrigued to hear about her work.
Anyone who observed Thatcher in politics recognises this shit. Even her greatest admirers admit her wrongs on this stuff, and are usually embarrassed and try to change the conversation. Even back then, when the Economist was unhingedly Thatcherite, it rebuked her for it. What strikes me is the CPC is a one-trick pony. All they have is the "One of Us" trick. they just hammer away at it, over and over. The problem with that is eventually people reject you, and unconsciously using your own logic against you, reject you as "one of them", and destroy you, as the British electorate did to the Tories in 1997.
Anyway, it's a new low, but how many times has one said that. It deserves to be exposed. It really is shocking. Using xenophobia and racism to win elections. It might work against them if exposed.
For those who don't know, read up on Thatcher's "rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture", Powell's "rivers of blood" and all that. As many have noted, this guy among others, this instrumentalisation of xenophobia and racism does not end well.
Finally, I found a pic of the One of Us cover, and I don't know about you, but isn't it striking how similar Harper's face now looks to Thatcher's? Weird. Like people joking that Hague was her illegitimate child. Och aye, difference is Thatcher looks just a touch more manly than Harper, who is getting more girlish by the day. His flouncing, "STTOPP questioning me, MMOOMM!", "my way or the highway", "I'm not taking anymore questions", secretive, manipulative, controlling, defriending, self-centred, narcissistic nature makes it clear we've got our second female prime minister. Unfortunately, she's 15. And Stephanie seems stuck at 15 forever.