Friday, April 23, 2010

A Losing Proposition for All Canadians

Frank Graves calls for "culture war" in Canada

EKOS pollster Frank Graves recently offered some advice to Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff that should make the blood of all Canadians run cold.

“I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy,” Graves is reported as having said. “If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”

Once upon a time, as many Canadians will recall, it was the Liberal Party that accused the Conservative Party of divisive politics. Now, it's the Liberal Party's favourite pollster encouraging them to do the very same.

Then again, this is really nothing new.

Under Jean Chretien, the Liberal Party thrived off of false chariactures of their principal opponents. In the discourse offered by the Liberal Party, Preston Manning was transformed from a forward-thinking conservative on matters such as language policy (his proposed Fair Language Policy would have been a multi-cultural upgrade on official bilingualism) into a thinly-veiled bigot.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. But under Chretien, the Liberals were willing to do anything -- anything -- to gain or keep power. Even if it meant stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian taxpayers.

To make matters worse, Lawrence Martin -- who brought Canadians reports of Graves' commentary -- seems to think that Ignatieff has taken this advice, and that his attempt to exploit issues like the long gun registry and abortion as ideological boilerplate mark the first steps in a stark turn down the low road of politics.

This can only serve to transform Canadian politics into something darker, more divisive, and dishonest.

It takes a particularly dangerous brand to ideologue to look at the divisive and destructive political canflaguration in the United States, then tell one of Canada's political leaders that we need that here. Canadians cannot afford to turn their back on Frank Graves.

His advice to Ignatieff would make for a losing proposition for all Canadians. Hopefully, any attempt to spark a culture war will make like everything else Michael Ignatieff has attempted to date -- and blow up in his face.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Montreal Simon - "Frank Graves and the Way to Beat the Cons"

Sort of Political - "Kory Teneycke ROCKS!!!"

BC Blue - "Stunning Advice to Iffy by Liberal Pollster"


  1. I'd say it's stale advice - the CPoC already uses these tactics. Culture clash is what the whole "academic elitist" rhetoric is based on isn't it?

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  3. As I have said on numerous post the 1990's Donolo's strategy won't work. The advantages are all gone. Ontario, Quebec shifted away from Liberals to CPC in 2006-2008.

    The NDP, Green vote in Ontario has blocked any Liberal resurgence last majority 2000.

    The Anatomy of Liberal Defeat-McGill Study- must read.

    The West,Quebec voters left the "old boys club" Toronto-Montreal political parties a long time ago.

    It is Groundhog Day for the Liberals. They have repeatedly asked for the left to unite under their banner to stop the CPC majority. The NDP, Green are not weak in Ontario.Invoking the cultural war, dividing Canadians has NEVER stopped.

  4. @Stageleft:

    There's a big difference between suggesting that more faith could be placed in the judgement of ordinary Canadians rather than academics and suggesting that a political party divide Canadians by accusing broad swarths of them of being racist and homophobic.

  5. You can deny that the CPoC is encouraging culture clash/war if you want Patrick, but that won't change what they are attempting to do.

    Is it worth pointing out that Graves is a pollster offering advice to the LPoC as opposed someone speaking for the Liberal Party?

    Is it further worth asking how Graves became a "CBC taxpayer funded" pollster as opposed to an ECOS pollster?

    And is it further worth my time to take a quick look around and find (because I know I could) a CPoC supporter offering advice on how to bring about the death of the Liberal party and doing a post on it titled "Conservatives Plan to Drive LPoC into Extinction"?

    It is the wet dream of every party leader to divide Canadians and win elections Patrick, that's why they all engage in the practice and politics of deception, half-truths, innuendo, and divisive rhetoric isn't it?

  6. You know, sl, you can just keep saying it over and over again, but that doesn't make it true.

    At some point, a person would expect you folks to try to pony up with some actual evidence -- not just elaborate conspiracy theories and campfire horror stories.

    I'm well aware that certain individuals in the blogosphere have been waging what they consider to be a culture war for a long time. The difference between some of the conservatives doing this and Frank Graves is that very few of these people are having their advice solicited by the Conservative Party. The Liberals seem to have solicited an awful lot of advice from Frank Graves, and rewarded him with an awful lot of government polling contracts.

    And, let's face it: the Liberal Party spent the better part of 20 years waging cultural warfare. The only difference between now and 1993 is that they haven't been successful at it recently, and for good reason: Canadians have tired of fear mongering and having their intelligence insulted.

  7. Who is "you folks"?

    -- and I did give you the most current example, you don't seem to think it's valid }}}shrug{{{

    Just to add to the mess you're trying to build - Graves offered his advice to the LPoC via in an interview with a print media journalist, IOW, wasn't solicited by the LPoC.

    And finally, are you ever going to put some sort of "email me updates when someone comments" system here? What with summer activities rapidly taking centre stage with me I almost forgot we were having this little discussion?

  8. sl, I think you may need to double-check the original article to ensure that you aren't in error.

    Graves is reiterating to Martin Lawrence what he had already told the Liberal Party.

    "I told them that they should invoke a culture war."

    Past tense.

    Moreover, I Google searched the blog post you refer to, and Google could not locate it. I'd be willing to examine a link, but don't get your hopes up.

    There's a huge difference between one Conservative blogger making this suggestion to the vacuum of the interwebs, and a professional pollster telling it directly to Liberal Party brass. Worlds of it, in fact.


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