Saturday, January 06, 2007

Primary Colors

The Conservatives are taking aim at ethnic voters. Read this bizarre quote from Jason Kenney:
"It's no secret that with high levels of immigration, Canada's demographics are changing, and the government has to be responsive to that, as does any successful political party," Mr. Kenney said.

"We think that their values are essentially conservative. There's a natural coalition. These are people who by and large are extraordinarily entrepreneurial risk-takers who want lower taxes and less red tape . . . and often tend to be quite traditional in their cultural and social views, they tend to be quite conservative in that respect."


Kenney lumps all immigrants into some monolithic entity. Their values? Who are they Jason? I'm confused, are you targeting the light browns, the dark browns, the blacks, the yellows, what? All these people are the same apparently, one policy fits all. With such advanced knowledge of cultural diversity, it really is hard to believe the Conservatives haven't scored better with those ethnics.

Warning, the picture below might require protective glasses, due to the white glare:

Conservative Caucus

21 comments:

Werner Patels said...

Great post!

RugbyJamer said...

looks like a white out to me in their caucus!!!

Kuri said...

Yeah, I remember conservative types patting themselves on the back because they thought the "ethnics" were all going to reward them for being anti-childcare. Some did, many didn't. But no reason for common sense to get in the way of a good, unfounded generalization.

Olaf said...

Steve,

I think this post is making something out of nothing, to be honest. He used so many qualifiers and wiggle words the statement was effectively meaningless: "we think" "by and large" "often" "essentially" "tend to be".

It generally recognized that many new Canadian immigrants from developing countries have more traditional, conservative social views (eg. gay marriage being a prime example) than the majority of Canadians, and he was making a broad generalization based on that.

Kenney lumps all immigrants into some monolithic entity.

If he said "Every immigrant holds conservative values", he would be wrong, but saying "many immigrants often tend to hold social views essentially similar to the conservative party" is, to me, unobjectionable. See the difference?

Their values? Who are they Jason? I'm confused, are you targeting the light browns, the dark browns, the blacks, the yellows, what?

And this is just ridiculous. What about when Stephane Dion says "Canadians want _____" when describing the appeal of his personal priorities. Which Canadians Stephane? White? Black? Women? Men? Seniors? Children? Quebecers? Albertans? Who, exactly Stephane? Why are you lumping all Canadians into a single monolithic entity? Bad form Stephane, bad form!

Politicians make general statements like this all the time to make it sound like they're supported by a larger group than they're actually supported by. And if you grant this, than why is this occasion so different?

And I'm shocked to see all the "progressive" Liberals cheering on this line of reasoning. But before you all get on your high horse about how diverse the Liberal party is compared to the Conservative party, take a look at your 8 leadership candidates (and consider the one that came in last place, behind Joe Volpe). And I'll remind you that your caucus is also overwhelmingly white men (see picture).

We ain't so different, you and me.

(p.s. where is your member of parliament in a wheelchair? Are the Liberals anti-disabled people?... hey, making up ridiculous criticisms is fun!)

Olaf said...

Since I can't sleep and don't think I've spouted off quite enough yet (although you surely beg to differ), I'll also point out that the "progressive" NDP, has all of 1 "non-white" members of parliament, the lowest proportion of all the parties.

By my count, the Libs have 11 and the Cons have 8. 3 MPs is not a substantial difference in my humble opinion, especially considering Liberal/NDP dominance of the three largest city centres.

Point is, cut the Conservatives a break - they're just getting a hold of this new Canada thing. There's a learning curve. Who knows, maybe they want to become more accomodating to "new Canadians" (as evidenced by cutting the fee for immigration in half), which wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Ok, I'm done.

Peter Loewen said...

Two questions: first, is the Liberal caucus more diverse in terms of ethnicity? Second, haven't Liberal politicians made similar statements about ethnic voters for years?

Steve V said...

olaf

I guess what set me off was Harper's presser with Khan. The way Harper found it necessary to point out that the Conservatives already had a Muslim MP seemed strange.

Ti-Guy said...

By my count, the Libs have 11 and the Cons have 8. 3 MPs is not a substantial difference in my humble opinion, especially considering Liberal/NDP dominance of the three largest city centres.

This is really...jejune. How exactly did you go about determining "non-whiteness?" Did you you use the Pantone colour system to assess skin shade? Did you caliper lips and measure the prominence of epicanthic folds? And how did you handle hair and eye colour?

Liberals have always considered immigrant issues as issues important to immigrants. If the CPC manages to move away from the tokenism it seems to be engaging in to pander to communities that traditionally don't vote for the party, I might start paying attention (probably not...Conservatives have never told me anything useful in my entire life) But, as you said, the learning curve is steep, as your last comment attests to quite clearly.

ottlib said...

Ti-guy:

You hit the nail right on the head.

Canadians, and that includes immigrants, do not want to be pandered to. They want to be listened to and get the feeling the the government actually addresses their problems.

That has been the problem of the conservative movement in this country for decades. They do not listen, they dictate. They do not try to understand the deeper needs of Canadians, they find a "wedge issue" and try to exploit it. They do not try to understand Canadians. They pander to them.

That is the reason why the Progressive Conservative Party and the Conservative Party have only enjoyed success after Canadians finally get tired of Liberal governments and why Conservative governments usually do not last past two terms.

Vijay Sappani said...

While we shun the conservaties, the truth is that they have managed to make inroads into some communities. They have no success in the Tamil community, some success in the Muslim community(the Lebanon crisis won some support, but their position on Palestine backfired) They have made good inroads in the Indo-Canadian and Chinese community, two of their target communities that do not vote as a bloc and two communities that are very successful in Canada. Go to a Tory fundraiser in the GTA and you can see the level of support they have now.

I know a lot og my friends who have shunned the Tories, but have donated to the CPC in the recent past.

BTW the Tories has a Muslim MP and a Hindu MP much before the Grits had one and the Liberals dont have a single Hindu MP yet!

It is time the Liberals start to understand the real challenge they face and start working towards addressing it and not take immigrant communities for granted.

Olaf said...

Ti-guy,

This is really...jejune. How exactly did you go about determining "non-whiteness?" Did you you use the Pantone colour system to assess skin shade? Did you caliper lips and measure the prominence of epicanthic folds? And how did you handle hair and eye colour?

Wow. Good for you. To be honest, I had some time so I went though the names and pictures of the people in caucus. The ones who I thought looked white, with what I thought caucasian names, I called white. Terribly unscientific, I know.

It was the most simple method I could think of, which you can feel free to dispute if you want, although I'm sure your point was to somehow reveal me as being insensitive or simplistic in someway or another. Mission accomplished!

But I think my point that as far as "diversity" goes, the Liberals and the Conservatives aren't that different, as much as the Liberals paint themselves as the party of diversity.

Ottlib,

Canadians, and that includes immigrants, do not want to be pandered to. They want to be listened to and get the feeling the the government actually addresses their problems.

Which immigrants, Ottlib? The white immigrants don't want to be pandered to? Or the black ones? Or the asian immigrants? Are immigrants some monolithic entity to you?

That has been the problem of the conservative movement in this country for decades. They do not listen, they dictate. They do not try to understand the deeper needs of Canadians, they find a "wedge issue" and try to exploit it. They do not try to understand Canadians. They pander to them.

You know when you're a blind partisan when you make sweeping generalizations about and entire movement, concluding that the people in one movement are fundamentally worse than those in the movement you might prefer. I mean "they don't listen, they dictate"? What a dumb thing to say.

The Conservatives find "wedge issues" to drive the country apart, while the Liberals go around doing whatever is best for Canadians because they really care and don't care about themselves or power but just about putting smiles on the faces of little children.

Seriously, take a step back. Think about it.

It's no different than when a Conservative says "Liberals are all corrupt, period". It's something stupid for a partisan to say to make them feel better about their choice of party.

ottlib said...

olaf said:

"Which immigrants, Ottlib? The white immigrants don't want to be pandered to? Or the black ones? Or the asian immigrants? Are immigrants some monolithic entity to you?"

If you read the comment Olaf I stated Canadians do not like to be pandered to. I only threw in concept of immigrants because that is the general topic of this post.

Of course, you did read the comment and you are just being willfully obtuse for some reason.

But you ask a reasonable question that I really cannot answer. So I will ask you, do you know of any Canadians who like to be pandered to?

As for my sweeping generalization you just have to look at the political history of this country to see there is alot of truth in it.

With the exception of the current government the Conservative governments of this country have been centrist, not very different from Liberal governments. So if Canadians are as centrist as everybody says they are the Liberals and Conservatives should be pretty even in the amount of time they governed this country.

Of course that is not the case and since we already know that they were not very different ideologically during most of Canada's history we have to find other reasons for the disparity.

However, you are correct that I cast my net a little wide in saying the Conservative movement. The Progressive Conservative Party and the Conservative Party all demonstrated those qualities that I stated.

John Diefenbaker went from the largest Parliamentary majority in history to utter defeat, in just one term, because he dictated what he wanted to Canadians instead of listening to them.

The PC Party was destroyed because Brian Mulroney did the same and he pandered to the soft nationalists in Quebec to the detriment of the rest of Canada.

Stephen Harper has gone from majority territory to fighting for his political life, when the Liberals were disorganized and demoralized, because he has exibited all of the behaviours I stated.

All this to say Olaf, that I stand by my original statements and that they are not based on blind partisanship, although you will never be convinced of that I am sure.

Olaf said...

Ottlib,

If you read the comment Olaf I stated Canadians do not like to be pandered to. I only threw in concept of immigrants because that is the general topic of this post.

Do you think broadening your generalization makes it less a generalization? Ok, which Canadians? White Canadians? Chinese Canadians? Etc. Ad infinitum. I was taking a friendly jab at the logic of Steve's original post with that comment, I must admit, and in fact had nothing to do with you. Sorry to drag you into it.

So if Canadians are as centrist as everybody says they are the Liberals and Conservatives should be pretty even in the amount of time they governed this country.

Wow, you've taken things to a whole new level of simplicity with this one. There are SO MANY FACTORS that go into which party is or isn't popular at any given time, you can't make such broad proclamations and expect them to carry any weight.

All this to say Olaf, that I stand by my original statements and that they are not based on blind partisanship, although you will never be convinced of that I am sure.

Does it bother you at all that no historian and no political scientist, has ever posed this "pandering/dictating Conservatives vs. understanding/listening Liberals" in explaining 20th century Canadian politics?

Not only that, does it bother you that your simplified explanation for why the Liberals have been successful (and the various Conservative parties less so) flies in the face of the great number of historians who posit a multitude of different factors explaining such a phenomenon?

If it's such a brilliant masterstroke of political analysis on your part, if you can reduce the history of Canadian political movements by their predisposition to "listening" or "dictating", you should write a book. It would be an instant classic.

In the book, you could give all the examples where Trudeau listened (never dictated, because he's a Liberal) and all the times Paul Martin understood (but never pandered, because he's a Liberal).

I look forward to you enlightening every political observer this country has ever had with your brilliant listen vs. dictate thesis.

Sorry if I come off rude, but I have a great deal of trouble accepting suggestions that group A does good things, group B does bad things. It's kinda like racism I think, but more socially acceptable.

Ti-Guy said...

It was the most simple method I could think of, which you can feel free to dispute if you want, although I'm sure your point was to somehow reveal me as being insensitive or simplistic in someway or another. Mission accomplished!

It wasn't personal, I assure you. It just struck me as rather foolish.

The only value I place on the whole concept of "visible minority" is to address bigotry based on the (contrived) notions of race. Other than that, I think we shouldn't even bother talking about it and certainly not with regard to to elected MP's. Immigrant issues are a different thing altogether.

lance said...

ottlib: "So I will ask you, do you know of any Canadians who like to be pandered to?"

Umm, the gov't could pander to me. Please?

Cheers,
lance

Olaf said...

Ti-guy,

It wasn't personal, I assure you. It just struck me as rather foolish.

I'll take rather foolish over insufferably incompetent any day.

The only value I place on the whole concept of "visible minority" is to address bigotry based on the (contrived) notions of race. Other than that, I think we shouldn't even bother talking about it and certainly not with regard to to elected MP's.

Hardly a left wing position, that. But interesting.

ottlib said...

Olaf:

You still did not answer my question.

With the exception of Lance, do you know any Canadians who like to be pandered to?

And yes you are rude and except for sarcasm and ridicule you have not come up with arguments that actually refute mine.

Ti-Guy said...

Hardly a left wing position, that. But interesting.

I have no idea what you're talking about. Stick to what you know, Olaf.

Croghan27 said...

"Canadians, and that includes immigrants, do not want to be pandered to. They want to be listened to and get the feeling the the government actually addresses their problems."

oh yes - immigrants, both new and old do have problems ... they include, but are not limited by, the environment, medicare, access to childcare and our forces being in Afghanistan.

They chose to come here to be Canadians, and are Canadians - maybe with a special flavour that only adds to their (and our) glory - but Canadians nevertheless,

Olaf said...

Ti-guy,

I have no idea what you're talking about. Stick to what you know, Olaf.

If I had to stick to what I knew, everyone would hear a lot less of my uninformed speculating, which would be a first rate tragedy.

In reference to your quote: "The only value I place on the whole concept of "visible minority" is to address bigotry based on the (contrived) notions of race."

I found it interesting, because usually formal equality is a right wing virtue, where as the left tends to support programs such as affirmative action which places value on the concept of visible minority. Most of your opinions seem to be leftish, so I was slightly surprised, is all. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying.

Ottlib,

With the exception of Lance, do you know any Canadians who like to be pandered to?

I know tons. Specifically, the ones that vote Conservative. By your logic, Conservatives pander, while Liberals listen, ipso facto, if you vote Conservative you like to be pandered to.

And yes you are rude and except for sarcasm and ridicule you have not come up with arguments that actually refute mine.

I like to think that sarcasm and ridicule can often serve the purpose of exposing a particularly thoughtless argument (see above).

The idea that all Conservatives act one way and all Liberals act another is a broadly ridiculous leap of faith on your part, and as such it's difficult to refute the idea to your satisfaction. It's like telling a Christian there is no God. It's pointless.

ottlib said...

Olaf:

"I like to think that sarcasm and ridicule can often serve the purpose of exposing a particularly thoughtless argument (see above)."

Without presenting a counter-argument you just come off as someone blowing alot of hot air.

"The idea that all Conservatives act one way and all Liberals act another is a broadly ridiculous leap of faith on your part, and as such it's difficult to refute the idea to your satisfaction."

I blame myself for your misunderstanding on this point. I did say the "Conservative movement" in a previous comment but I amended it in a later one to mean the Progressive Conservative Party and the Conservative Party. You seemed to have missed that amendment. But a nice cop-out on your part nonetheless.

I also gave you three examples.

Here are a couple more that show the contrast between the PCPC/CPC Parties and the Liberals.

Brian Mulroney forced the FTA on Canadians after they voted by a large margin against it. Yes, he did win the 1988 Free Trade election, which gave him the right to do so, but the 57% of Canadians who voted against him voted against the FTA. He could have considered that in his further decision making but he did not. Instead, he went ahead with it anyway, using a Constitutional provision that had never been used before in Canada's history to stack the Senate so as to eliminate them as an obstacle.

That is dictating not listening and that decision and the actions that flowed from it marked the beginning of the end of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Contrast that with Jean Chretien's implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. After the Protocol was ratified by the Canadian Parliament he had to come up with legislation and regulations to make it work.

At which point his government embarked on several years of consultations with industries that would be effected by the Protocol and with the Provincial governments. While those consultations went on the Chretien government did not pass a single Act to implement the Protocol. Those consultations lasted about 5 years and when they were over the effected industries still had input into writing the legislation that was enacted to begin implementing the accord.

Olaf, the effected industries are the energy companies, which are mostly located in Alberta, which has not voted Liberal in over a generation. He could have imposed his will on them with very little political cost. He did not.

Indeed, his decision not to act unilaterally has come back to haunt the Liberals. If he would have dictated instead of listened the government would have been well on its way to meeting Canada's Kyoto targets and none of the other parties would be able to claim "13 years of Liberal inaction on the environment".

"I know tons. Specifically, the ones that vote Conservative. By your logic, Conservatives pander, while Liberals listen, ipso facto, if you vote Conservative you like to be pandered to."

You accuse me of an unreasonable leap of logic and then come up with that gem.

But again it is just another indication that you really do not want to discuss the merits of your argument, instead you use cheap debating techniques to try to prove your point. And fail I might add.