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Mike Harris 1995 Redux. Harper attempts Culture Wars 2 – national edition.

Did you all hear Harper’s lashing out today on growing criticism both to the cultural cuts he made, as well as to the crime proposals where he’d try to throw away the key for 14 year old young offenders with potential life in prison sentences and publicly identifying them – essentially trying to defy the Canadian Supreme Court ruling on that matter?

Here it is, in all its attempted Conservative culture war ugliness, if you didn’t. First, the attempt to paint the culture community as elitists:

Harper dismissed mounting criticism of the cuts by calling it a “niche” issue that doesn’t resonate with “ordinary” Canadians. In his strongest statements to date over the cuts, Harper said regular Canadians see a “bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough, when they know those subsidies have actually gone up.”

As for the crime proposals, he’s rejecting the advice of those who say his approach will not work – and those people happen to be ones who are actual experts on the topic such as sociologists and criminologists, but Harper dismisses them as those “who work in ivory towers” (H/T Robert)

To the cultural cuts, Justin Trudeau has the appropriate response – the artists are hardly “elitists” or involved in rich galas. Secondly, with regards to his “throw away the key” policies, Harper is not only rejecting these so-called ivory tower types, but apparently judges as well, who think the current Youth Criminal laws need tinkering, not scrapping:

…the Conservatives have rejected the recommendations made by Nova Scotia Justice Merlin Nunn in a report he tabled December 5, 2006. In his report, Justice Nunn confirms the Youth Criminal Justice Act has served its purpose in reducing youth crime, and that the legislation needs to be improved, not scrapped, as the Conservatives have proposed. A future Liberal government has pledged to enact all of the revisions proposed by Justice Nunn in his report.

You have to remember though – this is the same Harper who when confronted with Statistic Canada facts that contradicted his claims of crime rising, went on a tangent about how statistics shouldn’t fool anyone, and that everyone really knew crime was going up. Don’t let facts fool you! 🙄

Have I time-warped back to 1995 or even 1999 and am I experiencing the Mike Harris campaign in Ontario again? Or am I going through a 2004 US Election, where the Republicans decided to put a gay marriage question on the state ballot in order to energize their fundamentalist wingnut base of voters? Harper is now trying to start a culture war, for whatever reason, to motivate his base. Perhaps he just lashed out when he disliked the criticism he was receiving.

Either way, this Party and this Prime Minister are showing their true Republican-like colours and their extremist agenda. There is no “hidden agenda” here – this is a very public agenda they are threatening to impose on Canada.. and it must be stopped.

UPDATE @ Sept 24, 9:08 am: Steve blogs about this now revealed attempt at culture wars and divide and conquer politics Harper is attempting to use and points out the Dion is repeating what Trudeau said earlier – artists average salary in this country is 23 000 $/year. We’ve really gone downhill in this country if that’s the base salary we’re using to call people “elitists”. People like Harper (and Aaron in my comments section) should know better. In fact, they do know better, but politicians like Harper and their Blogging Tories shills like Aaron are using dishonesty to try and whip up resentment.


10 comments to Mike Harris 1995 Redux. Harper attempts Culture Wars 2 – national edition.

  • Stephen K

    “As far as crime goes, the truth is that anyone who has lived more than a couple of decades KNOW that violent crime and property crimes are up.”

    Paul, I am a forty year old university educated person who has himself been a victim of crime in the past. Please don’t presume to speak for me, or others who know better for that matter.

  • sigh

    Originally Posted By ALW
    Harper is playing off people who “care” about the arts, in the sense that their paycheck is directly traced to a government subsidy


    you clearly have NO clue how arts funding works in this country.

    “Ordinary Canadians DO SUPPORT the Arts, Mr. Harper. You are dead wrong” facebook group here:

  • ALW

    How much more dishonest, Mike? Well, I’m certainly nowhere near Scott yet, am I?

    If you want to debate the substance of these arts “cuts” – much like Mike Harris’ much-vaunted “cuts” to heath care in Ontario – where spending went from $17 billion when he took office to $28 billion by the time he left – that’s one thing.

    Harper’s strategy has nothing to do with Karl Rove or the Republicans, and it may shock conspiracy theorists like Scott to know that most Conservatives have little to zero interest in American politics and don’t spend their waking hours plotting how to imitate Republican idols south of the border.

    More to the point, even if we accept that Harper has cut some funding to the arts, its a tiny drop in the bucket – and the degree of outrage and foaming at the mouth is completely out of whack with the degree of the cuts. The notion that failing to subsidize artists is somehow “strangling” the arts, as Jack Latyon claims, is along the same bizarro line of thinking that holds that freedom of speech is being “censored” if someone isn’t paying you to speak.

    But you are right about one thing: Harper is playing off people who “care” about the arts, in the sense that their paycheck is directly traced to a government subsidy, and the vast majority of the population, who, if they truly cared about the arts, would attend concerts and plays and theatre, and support Canadian art and culture directly – like, perhaps, even watching the CBC. But since the overwhelming majority of Canadians don’t watch the CBC, don’t go to the opera, don’t go to art galleries, and find it extremely difficult to understand why their tax dollars are going to some up and coming band that can’t break even by selling its own records, is it remiss for Harper to point that out?

    When people start complaining about “the politics of division” its a sure sign that someone’s telling it like it is: we have to choose where we allocate scarce tax dollars, and Harper is entirely correct to say that, relative to other things, the arts are not at the top of the list. The laughable “un-divisive” politics of the left amounts to everyone promising everything to everything and assuring everyone that no one will have to sacrifice anything for everyone else (when in fact, everyone will have to sacrifice for everyone else).

    Stephen Harper is betting that most Canadians will agree with him when it comes to the relative importance of arts. And I’m betting he’s absolutely right.

  • “a 8% increase in overall arts funding” so say the Conservative ditto-heads.

    This is — of course — misleading.

    From the G&M at

    “…the largest apparent boost to arts funding in recent years – which, thanks to Ottawa bookkeeping practices, was credited to the Conservatives in their first year in power – overstates the Tories’ commitment to arts funding, as a soon-to-be-published report from the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA) explains.

    Federal budget documents show the Conservatives spent $3.2-billion in 2006-07, and suggest that Liberal spending had dipped to slightly more than $2.9-billion the previous year. But the Conservative figure includes money spent by the Liberals in 2005-06. The reason: Such figures are meant to include the government’s main estimates, offered when the budget is unveiled, and its supplementary estimates, which add small amounts spent as the year unfolds. In late 2005, Parliament was dissolved before the supplementary dollars spent by the Liberals could be reported – and they were instead tacked onto Conservative estimates for the following fiscal year.

    …it’s necessary to recognize, as well, the distinction that Canadian Heritage makes between its two so-called strategic outcomes.

    The first, SO1, which supports Canadians in expressing their cultural experiences to each other and the world, details spending on arts and culture. The second, SO2, promotes Canada as an inclusive, diverse society, focusing on such objectives as intercultural understanding, citizen participation and sports. Although this second arm undoubtedly deals with “Canadian culture,” broadly defined, it’s at best misleading to include those dollars in Harper’s proclamation about funding “the arts.”

    Funding for SO1 during the Conservatives’ first year was greater than in the previous Liberal budget, but the actual size of the increase may not be quite what it seems, thanks to the budget anomaly brought about by the election call in late 2005. Meanwhile, as the Tories have continued to govern in the years since, contributions to SO1 – the bedrock of direct federal arts-and-culture funding – have fallen from $817-million to $759-million.

    Over the same period, funding for SO2 has increased each year, from $567.7-million in 2006-07 to $631.6-million in 2008-09. In the Conservatives’ first year, SO1 accounted for 59 per cent of spending by Canadian Heritage. It now accounts for just 54.6 per cent. What’s more, should the Conservatives remain in power after next month’s election, it is expected to account for even less next year – when the government transfers the $45-million saved through strategic review to Olympic and official-languages initiatives, which fall under SO2.”

    This is as if the Ministry of Defense was claiming it was spending more on our soldiers, only to discover it was spending less on them, and more on PR and advertising.

  • ALW,

    Naming 14-year-olds?Yes indeed – a return to the barbarity of ‘the scarlet letter’ – typical of those ignorant of criminolgy and human behavioural pshycology.

    8% increase? Really? Link please.

    More to Scotts point, this is typical Karl Rove strategy. Harper is engaging in teh politics of division – pitting so-called “ordinary Canadians” against “whiners” in “ivory towers” or the “elites”. Is Stompin’ Tom and ivory tower elite? The cast and crew of “Trailer Park Boys”? The Bare Naked Ladies?

    Bullsh#t, Aaron. This is a bald attempt at dividing Canadians against each other in order to win votes.

    Most of the artists that use those programs ARE “ordinary Canadians”.

    How much more dishonest can you be.

  • ALW

    Naming 14-old old offenders and defending a 8% increase in overall arts funding = radical extreme Republican Mike Harris agenda?


  • paul

    Well this is an interesting ideological slant. I suppose that a partisan such as yourself would fail to realize that the Harris superbuild program has done more to the arts in Ontario that all the successive liberal federal and provincial governments have done. Don’t let that hit you in the face too hard. As far as crime goes, the truth is that anyone who has lived more than a couple of decades KNOW that violent crime and property crimes are up. The real stats you need to look at has not been conducted by StatsCan for 3-4 years. Perhaps you can motivate your lazy liberal self to figure out which one I’m talking about. As far as Republican colors go…what about the Democrat colors that you support? The smear campaign against Palin is so like your precious grits.There are far more liberals supporting those democrats than there are conservatives supporting republicans. YOU are disconnected from mainstream Canadian values and I hope you re-evalute them after Harper completely flattens the Liberal party. I truly wish this wasn’t so but people like yourself do more to advance Harper than all the money the Cons can through at this election.

  • JimmE

    Father Knows Best!
    Mr Harper knows better than Judges, Nuclear regulators, meat inspectors, Elections Canada, climate scientists, ethic commissioners, Members of Parliament, he even knows better than his own promises. Yup, Father Harper knows best.

  • […] of Stephane Dion, instead. He wants ordinary Canadians to hate the Liberals. Stephane Dion and Scott Tribe are right; Harper is trying to start a cultural civil-war in Canada! Stephen Harper cast his lot […]

  • […] Steve and Scott picked up on this to.  We’re just more intuitive than the rest of you, that’s […]

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