To hear the country's conservative media tell it, and the majority of the country's media is, Canada has undergone a vast, transformative change in the 2000 decade, and is now a uniformly western, english-speaking, religious and conservative place. Climate science is junk which will kill the economy, and the East is a dubious entity of liberal socialism funded by western natural resources that the West worked so hard to find itself sitting on top of. The public broadcaster and the cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are the deluded and doomed few remaining fragments who buy into outdated "liberal Canadian values", and they should really get with the times and the program. This country wants low taxes, an aggressive militaristic international stance and conservative blue, blue, blue M.P.s from sea to shining sea.
When you read analyses like these, that seems to be the message to take away. I'm no fan of Mike Ignatieff and doubt I'll be able to hold my nose and vote liberal, and I'm not interested in offering the liberals up as an alternative or defending them. But the liberals are the only other option the conservative media even considers, and that makes their job easy, given the knack Ignatieff seems to have at constantly setting his party up to be a punching bag.
No. This posting is to respond to this line of thought that I see penetrating into columns and commentary in the nation and wish to attempt to debunk before it becomes false dogma. That 33 million Canadians woke up one day and discovered they were dyed in the wool partisans of the Reform/Conservative party.
First of all, I would bet money that these columnists all live in the very cities they accuse of blocking their beloved government's agenda with outdated political taste. There's a good chance that they do, given that between 11 and 12 million Canadians live in either the GTA, GVA, or GRM. And if that slice of the population is too small, if they're still convinced that the "urban liberal conspiracy" is out to get them, then I will expand my criteria to the 9 metropolitan areas that 80% of Canadians live in or the 20 that over 90% live in.
Face it: this is an urban nation and we suffer from the same problem of disproportionate representation, albeit to a less absurd degree, as the American electoral college. Why does Scarborough (population 800,000) have 5 or 6 seats while Saskatchewan (population 950,000) has 12 or 13? I guess Saskatchewan's votes matter more, that's the only explanation I can think of. Any argument in favour of this disproportionality amounts to saying that some Canadian citizens' votes are worth more than others based on where they choose to live.
All right, all right. I know. I'm trying to re-draw the electoral map around Toronto, stupid insignificant Toronto with the 1 in 6 Canadians who live there. Let's set aside divisive urban/rural talk and the total lack of political decision making cities have relative to their power and importance. Let's look around instead at some other different, smaller areas of Canada. Take out a map and get ready for the cross country tour. Victoria, BC. (NDP) Let's see...hmmm...Manitoba (Provincial NDP, 3 NDPs) Northern Ontario; they're all hicks up there right? (No Conservatives). Newfoundland? (No conservatives) PEI? (One out of 4 MPs is Conservative) Halifax? (NDP, Provincial government also NDP). Kingston, Ontario? Northwest Territories? Markham ? Moncton? Mississauga? London? Edmonton-Strathcona? That last one is in ALBERTA; the Cons are even missing a seat there. That's not to say they lack support or even that they have no support in urban centres - of course they do and I realize that. They also don't have every single vote in the ridings they win. Which is why I believe the current first past the post system is broken and undemocratic. But I'm arguing with the media here over their perspective here, the people who love the politics of division à la Karl Rove that is the government's modus operandi and call them genius for using it.
MSM, (that means "mainstream media" in blog speak) please turn down the rhetoric already. The conservatives don't have a majority, so stop acting like they do. They should, with all the propoganda and praise you heap on them, but they don't. All the propoganda and praise for the leader, I should say. Have you ever wondered who actually is in the government? Those 143 Conservative M.P.s that were elected to represent their districts and are forbidden to speak without PMO permission? No, me neither, and I really wish the media would stop wasting everyone's time on Lisa Raitt and Helena Guergis. That two women in this government get lambasted over smoke and mirrors, I think, is a shame, given how few there are in the caucus to begin with. No, I'm talking more about M.P.s from the heartland, the base territory, the bedrock CPC areas. Check these guys out. Get to know some members of the government. Of course you've never heard of them; they're not allowed to speak to anybody.
Maurice Velicotte, M.P., Saskatchewan - Lengthy proven track record as a prominent defender of white people's rights and priveleges over inferior natives, who make up the majority in his province (only province where that is the case.)
Gerry Breikhautz, M.P., Saskatchewan - Gun lobbyist and enthusiast, Canada's answer to Charlton Heston, mainstay at gun lobby/events conventions
Gerry Ritz, M.P., Saskatchewan - Agriculture minister and agriculture subsidy pork barrel extraordinaire and GMO/Monsanto patent lobby defender at home and abroad.
Ken Epp, M.P., Manitoba - Ardent pro-lifer who has introduced anti-abortion private member's bills.
Gary Goodyear M.P. - Ontario - Chiropractor, science/technology minister who also happens to be a creationist evangelical and threw the Canada Research Council out of his office after he turned their meeting into a screaming match.
Maxime Bernier, M.P., Quebec - Recently wrote in La Presse that while it was possible that climate change was caused by humans, it was equally possible that it wasn't.
Vic Toews, M.P., justice minister, Manitoba - I owe Dan Savage for this one because the Canadian media didn't report on it. This guy, a leading crusader against gay marraige, cheated on his wife of 25 years with a much younger woman and knocked her up! What happened with that story?
Well, this is our government. Google each one of those guys; I'm not making stuff up. And I would like to tell the folks at the Post and Macleans and yes, even the Globe, that the government is not on the verge of a massive sea to sea landslide. I'm not saying these guys are evil incarnate, I'm just saying to stop portraying them as destined heroes that are the greatest thing Canada can aspire to be led by. I don't want to get caught in regional bashing and undermining, but as much as you feel the need to constantly remind Toronto that not everyone in Canada lives there, it needs to remind you that not everyone lives in North Battleford or Lethbridge or Cambridge or Steinbech or any of these other towns that seem to revel in electing corrupt reactionaries. Our country is diverse, and while I can appreciate that one vision monopolized it for a long time (Trudeau/Chrétien) and marginalized the vision of the current government, the current government is now trying to impose its vision as a monopoly. Because we're a monopoly-loving country. But I believe it is our duty as citizens to be critical and criticize these monopolies, real or imagined. And I will continue to, despite the efforts deployed by the MSM to convince me that I live in a conservative utopia.