Saturday, May 16, 2009

Unlike the Globe, the Guelph Mercury are purveyors of the truth

......on Harper's tax leakage, on Harper's xenophobia

See also: Flaherty's miscues give us reason to worry

Conservatives' attack ads target Ignatieff, and Americans

May 16, 2009
Guelph Mercury

The latest Conservative party television advertisements attacking Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff are among the most offensive smear ads I've ever seen.

In particular, I'm referring to the one that's on television all the time now. If you watch TV at all, you can't miss it. It seems to be on every five minutes.

The ad is unabashedly anti-American, appealing to some of the worst prejudices in this country. "With no long-term commitment to Canada, he's just in it for himself. Michael Ignatieff, just visiting," says the narrator.

Ignatieff, according to the ad, has spent a big chunk of his life outside of Canada, residing in the United States and Britain. The narrator suggests that Ignatieff's first love is the United States.

"He's not in it for Canada -- he's in it for himself," proclaims the narrator of this Karl Rove-esque piece of nonsense.

Defending the advertisement, Pierre Poilievre, the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said, "He called Britain his adopted country and he called America his home. That doesn't make him a bad person but it's open for debate."

But if you've seen the commercial, you know that Poilievre is peddling a load of bull. You don't have to be a Liberal -- I'm not -- to be offended by these attack advertisements.

Poilievre's just plain wrong when he insists the ads aren't making Ignatieff out to be a bad person.

Ask yourself this: If Ignatieff had come to Canada from another country -- say, India or Germany or Chile - would the previous place he lived be subject of such shrill ridicule and scorn?

That's a rhetorical question, of course. The answer is obvious.

These Conservative attack ads appeal to the basest sort of anti-Americanism by stirring hate toward the United States.

I make no secret of the fact that I grew up in the United States and spent most of my life there. I returned to Canada, the country of my birth, in the late 1990s because I accepted a teaching position at the University of Waterloo.

This is my home and I intend to remain here. I raise my kids here, pay my taxes, volunteer in the community and take pride in my Canadian citizenship.

I also remain an American citizen and I'm proud of that, too. I'll never give it up because it's an important part of who I am.

If these latest Conservative attack ads are to be believed, then people like me, who immigrated to Canada from the United States, are all suspect. Our patriotism has been called into question in an unbelievably crass way.

In the past, I've defended Harper as a moderate on many key issues, especially when compared to conservatives in the United States. He's more a pragmatist than an ideologue. If he lived south of the border, he'd be out of place in today's Republican Party.

Harper has never struck me as anti-American in the least bit. Presumably, he approved of these advertisements, though. After all, they originated from the party that he leads. The buck stops with him. What was he thinking?

If recent opinion polls are to be believed, the Liberals are now enjoying stronger public support than Conservatives. These oft-repeated attack ads, which emphasize that Ignatieff has spent 34 years in the United States and Britain, are desperate attempts to slow his remarkable momentum.

But they've done so by appealing to xenophobia and bigotry. In the past, sensible Canadians have rejected such nonsense. I suspect the same will be the case this time.

Andrew Hunt is an associate professor of history at the University of Waterloo.

1 comment:

Dr Mike said...

At last a paper that does not try to suck & blow at the same time.

Well done Guelph Mercury.

May You live long & prosper!!!!!

Dr Mike Popovich