Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Harper's Putin-bashing on the election trail was an epic fail

The so-called Ukraine crisis has pretty much been run off the front page by the ISIS crisis, but I'm sure you recall Putin's "annexation" of Crimea and his "invasion" of the Donbass region. The reason you remember is because Big Steve put a lot of electoral eggs in his anti-Putin basket, and our media never tired of retelling the same tired tale; we have to stand up to Putin's quest for world domination. Yup, Bad Vlad was trying to rebuild the Soviet Empire for sure...

Serious people understood all along that Harper's jingoistic rhetoric was aimed squarely at the Ukrainian Canadian vote in the upcoming election. Apparently the Conservative Party brain trust was convinced that third and fourth generation Ukrainian Canadians would reflexively vote Harper if the anti-Putin slanders were loud enough.

Alas, it was not to be. Not that the rhetoric wasn't loud enough, or that Harper's grand-standing (remember Australia?) wasn't silly enough; it was simply too silly. In the end, the Conservative showing in Ukrainian Canadian ridings shrivelled mightily.

The other so-called ethnic vote Harper was excessively pandering to was the "Jewish vote." That was probably something that went beyond mere electioneering considerations. If you look at the agenda of the Alliance Missionary Church types who were heavily over-represented among Harper's inner circle, it's not hard to see the "Christian Zionist" sub-text that permeates their ideology.

Nevertheless, there can be no question that the Harper gang was aiming for a sweep of the most populous Jewish ridings with their incessant pro-Likud rhetoric. How did that work out? Not so great. Three out of four went Liberal.

Why? Those "Christian Zionists" made the mistake of assuming that every Jewish Canadian automatically supports everything the government of Israel does. When the government of Israel is in the hands of a racist settler clique, there are many many Jewish Canadians who have grave reservations about giving unqualified and unquestioning support to the state of Israel.

Harper's politics of division went far beyond Ukrainian and Jewish Canadians of course. It was native against non-native, old-stock against immigrant, old immigrants against new immigrant... wherever the Harperites found a fissure to bang a wedge in, they went for it.

On the other hand, Trudeau built a campaign around inclusivity and tolerance, and Canadians bought in big-time.

Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

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