What we heard last night was Stephen Harper at his core, the philosophy behind the policies, the angry guy with the harsh view, the anti-intellectual ideologue. A brief moment, but a telling one and hopefully one that doesn't get lost in the relentless propaganda:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sparked a culture war in the federal election campaign with a claim that "ordinary people" don't care about arts funding.
Under fire for his government's $45 million in cuts to arts and culture funding, the Conservative leader yesterday said average Canadians have no sympathy for "rich" artists who gather at galas to whine about their grants.
"I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people at, you know, a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough, when they know those subsidies have actually gone up – I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people," Harper said in Saskatoon, where he was campaigning for the Oct. 14 election.
Dion was even more pointed.
"We need to stop this man. He wants to pit everyone against everyone, Canadians against their artists," the Liberal leader said at a North Vancouver film studio.
Rejecting Harper's suggestion artists are privileged, Dion said their average wage is $23,000 a year.
"Most of them need to rent their suit and beautiful dresses at these galas," he said. "We have a great arts and culture industry. We need to protect its freedom. This man wants to censor our movies."
A direct shot, at the promised land:
The Prime Minister's comments appeared to be aimed at Quebec TV stars who railed at the government's arts and funding cuts at the annual Gemeaux awards over the weekend in Montreal. The Gemeaux are the French version of the Gemini Awards.
People tend to get dressed up for big "elitist" events, whether it be the arts, receptions or even posing with millionaire hockey players:
For Harper to characterize the arts community as a bunch of elitist "wine and cheesers" demonstrates a breathtaking ignorance, not to mention a decided us and them mentality, attempting to create a artificial wedge. This is what happens when you dare to challenge Harper, he belittles and creates division.
Harper has muzzled the Heritage Department, not allowed to comment until the election is over, but he slipped up yesterday, his self censor routine failed for a brief moment. Harper hates artists, and he demonstrated this fact in stark terms by attacking a celebration of their medium. The fact he directed his attacks at Quebec artists will be all the talk today on the election trail, because it cuts through the vote buying fog, Harper doesn't give a lick about culture.
Back to the sweaters, back to shutting down every vehicle which has the potential to derail, back to the complete bullshit being presented to Canadians. If there is one thing that strikes fear into Conservative strategists, it's ad lib commentary, the last thing they want, people to get a sense of the real character and motivations. T