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The Conservative Party IS the culture war party.

The Conservative Party is upset that Frank Graves, President of Ekos research, advised the Liberals to engage in “culture war politics” when going after the Conservatives – so upset they’re apparently trying to use it as incentive for their supporters to donates money to them, as well as encouraging them to write into CBC to protest Frank Graves being the CBC pollster – apparently because pollsters aren’t allowed to have political opinions, or something.

I find this mock outrage to be amusing, because in my opinion, the Conservative Party has been engaged in “culture war politics” for several years now. The attempts to kill the gun registry, supposed “get tough” crime bills, etc., while demonizing the opposition as “being liberal bleeding hearts” are all attempts by the Conservative party to divide the electorate in 2 groups over hot-button issues. Their hope is they get one large group coalescing around them supporting their measures, while the other group opposing their measures gets fragmented amongst the several opposition parties, which they reason will lead to a chance of them winning more seats/votes. This is nothing new either; former Conservative Premier Mike Harris employed the same culture war politics tactic in Ontario when he went after certain professions, deriding them as “lobby groups”, trying to marginalize them with the Ontario electorate in justifying his actions of cutting funds or programs.

So, when the Conservatives get all up in arms over a pollster advising this type of strategy to the Liberals on their own hot-button issues, they’re not REALLY upset at Graves for suggesting to the Liberals bad or inflammatory advice; they’re just trying to ensure the Liberals don’t copy their own strategy that they’ve been employing in one form or another for many years.

UPDATE: In a related post, I’ll agree the Conservative Party is part of a broader conservative movement that seeks to find a good soundbite.

20 comments to The Conservative Party IS the culture war party.

  • Mark McLaughlin

    For once Scott, you are absolutely right. There’s nothing a politician loves mroe than to get all righteous on something or someone.

    The Conservatives are very successful at segmenting the population. Calling it a ‘culture war’ is a bit dramatic, and wouldn’t work as well in Canada as it does in the USA. This strategy would work better for the Liberals in a two party system. The Cons employ it because they have no rival on their right flank.

    Grave’s strategy isn’t likely to work here, at least not to the benefit of his beloved Liberals.

    The proof that the Cons are better at this than the Libs; Graves will be gone as CBC’s pollster in a matter of months. When his contract is up, he’ll quietly be replaced by Environics or something.

    • Ti-Guy

      @Mark McLaughlin,

      It can be a culture war while not looking like one by simply focusing on those positive values that Graves listed which stand in contrast to the narrow, illiberal ones, the holders of which have found a home in the Conservative Party.

      It should also be limited. We’re not talking about a decades-long culture war; just one element in the Liberals communications strategy.

      I loathe culture wars (which are, in fact class wars). Too bad the Conservatives started one.

  • Dave

    The police are the biggest special interest lobby group around. Funny that we don’t see them in that light when they cheerlead those “tough-on-drugs-except-if-your-name-is-Rahim” measures.

  • Jenny

    Isn’t it rich that the Liberals announced a rural policy just days after Frank Graves said their new strategy was to ignore them?

    It must be very frustrating for Liberals like Frank Graves that the conservatives have such a hold on power.

    • ck

      Oh Jenny, dear, the Liberals started their rural policy before Frank Graves even made those comments, regarding forgiving of student loans to doctors, nurses and nurse practioners who go work in rural areas…Jenny, you’re going to have to do much better than that.

      Oh, and your precious Harpercons, are polling at under 30% today…

    • Ti-Guy

      @Jenny,

      When did Frank Graves say the Liberals should ignore rural Canadians?

      Epistemic closure much?

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Ti-Guy, okay I’ll say it. The Liberals should ignore Jenny.

        • Ti-Guy

          @Jon Pertwee,

          Generally, ignoring these people is a bad move. They should be engaged, understood, helped if at all possible and if not…then ignored.

          In Jenny’s case, we are at the last stage, obviously.

  • Bill Karfoon

    His personal politics is one thing but Frank Graves company recieved some $61 million in government contracts.
    That should be mentioned each and every time he opens his mouth.

  • Jenny

    The issue here is Frank Graves.

    Frank Graves is a liberal hack who cannot be trusted with polling numbers. The conservatives have finally outed him and will out anyone else with an agenda against them. Look out CBC and Toronto Star!

    If the Liberals want to write off rural Canada, they obviously have not done the math.

    • Ti-Guy

      @Jenny,

      Sorry, your two-days worth of fauxtrage is over.

    • ck

      Oh dear, dear Jenny. How misinformed you are! You obviously don’t keep up with the news, do you? http://www.liberal.ca/ruralcanadamatters

      Just to give you an idea of what the Liberal’s proposed ideas are on that front.

      The conservatives have finally outed him and will out anyone else with an agenda against them.

      Are you also advocating for no opposition parties whatsoever? A Harpercon totalitarian regime, perhaps?

      If Frank Graves EKOs polling was sooo unreliable, why do you give this any air time whatsoever? Why pay any attention to his numbers?

      • Jon Pertwee

        @ck, it seems the real issue in this thread is why people like Jenny so fervently support these dodgy moves by Harper and Co. Is it that she’s so partisanly blind she’d let them do anything whether detrimental or not to her?

        So stupid…

  • Big Winnie

    Bang on Scott!! Their faux outrage is laughable at best. I mean one just has to look at Levant’s and Tenycke’s (sp) appearance on Power and Politics last week.

  • Guest

    Ironic too that a taxpayer-funded Senator, Doug Finley, is doing electioneering when he should be attending to the Senate’s business.

    Of course, Senator Demers is broadcasting hockey games.

    So in the bizarro Harper world of accountability, both of these things are okay.

    But if a pollster speaks his mind, and makes a fool of himself in the process, watch out!!

  • Dot on. Exactly what is going on. The very essence of NeoCon politics is “culture war”. One only needs to look at their “guide manual” South of the border. Conservatives here have been using Republican advisors for several years now…

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