Keep it Canadian, eh?

Ayear after the Vancouver Olympics,  we’ve been re-living the immense pride we felt and showed the world. One of my favourite moments was when NBC anchor Brian Williams blogged how awestruck he was by us Canadians, our civility, our respect for our fellow Canadians; something he hasn’t seen in his nation for decades.

But after viewing certain ads on a cable network, put out by the Conservatives, snidely slamming the Liberal party leader, I get an awful taste in my mouth. My first thought was, these had to be written by an American because instead of attacking the message of the Liberal party, it’s attacking the messenger.

This was a ploy used by the Conservative party during the early ’90’s against Chretien, ads making fun of his slack face muscles which were due to a condition called Bell’s Palsy. That ploy backfired. And so should this snide and absurd ad.

The American media talks about being fair and balanced, which is absurd when you take into consideration that it was conservative media that went after the Dixie Chicks for saying “We’re ashamed the president is from our home state.”

These three traditionally married with kids women were professionally ostracized and received death threats for this statement.

And yet we see how the current president has been disrespected by the Conservative media and Republican politicians like no other president in history.

And the level of civil discourse is rock bottom as a result.

Do we want to stoop to this level? Do we want to lose our Canadian identity of being fair, polite, civil, etc… I’m calling on all political parties, but especially the Conservative Party as that’s the one with these ads out there, to cease and desist with American-style attack ads.

I used to brag to my American friends about the realistic deficit inducing budget that our minority Conservative government put through, with extended EI benefits, job training programs, work share programs, conservation of millions of acres of Arctic land, etc… but that pride was shot down upon seeing these ads, and the fact that members of the American organization the NRA, came to Canada and lobbied our Conservative MP’s before the vote in Parliament on the long-gun registry.

And recently four top Conservative Party members have been charged with playing with local campaign funds by moving them to the national party coffers in the ’06 election.

In May 2003, I wrote a letter to this paper, stating all the reasons why we shouldn’t follow the U.S. into Iraq, and given the very close relationship Harper had with Bush when he did get into office.

I am thankful that Chretien was in office in 2003, and famously responded when asked about the so-called evidence of WMD’s in Iraq – “Proof? I see no proof!”

I’m not trying to tell anyone how to vote, I’m just calling for our Canadian politicians not to use American strategies. After all, if you can’t attack the message with facts of your own, then attacking the messenger is pretty desperate, and shows a lack of faith in your own message.

And I call on the Canadian media to restrain themselves from false equivalency tactics that are so prevalent in the U.S. media, and serve our country well by being truly fair and balanced, and a beacon of truth to the world.  Our economy, our banking regulations, our universal healthcare are envied, let’s make sure we remain a beacon of democracy in the world by having campaigns that are about different  ideas and progress, not snide, distracting insults.

Kate MacKay