Monday, September 19, 2011

Warren Kinsella & His Desperate Dog Whistle Politics

As the Ontario provincial election seemingly tightens at the midway point of the election, Warren Kinsella is becoming more and more desperate.

It's actually rather ironic. Earlier in the campaign, "desperate" was his favourite word. He took to Twitter to declare the deseperation of the Tim Hudak-led Progressive Conservative Party.

Now, it's Kinsella and Premier Dalton McGuinty who are becoming desperate. But mostly Kinsella.

In a posting on his blog, Kinsella wails about the federal Conservative Party's treatment of a video taken at a barbecue Toronto Mayor Rob Ford held in July.

The guest of honour at the barbecue was Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who spoke about the upcoming Ontario election, and rallied guests to support Tim Hudak in defeating the Liberal government of Ontario.

Harper spoke of the need for a conservative hat trick in Ontario.

Kinsella's desperation in raising this video becomes clear when one considers that this non-story first came up in early August and it is now late September.

Frankly, it is precisely that: a non-story. There is nothing reasonably controversial about this video. Unless, of course, one is a Liberal voter or war room worker.

It's reminiscent of a past story in which a left-wing partisan snuck a video camera into a Conservative Party event in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper revealed that -- *gasp!* -- he and his party were working toward winning a majority goverment.

The story was not only a non-story, it was non-news. Everyone knew that Harper and the Tories had been working toward a majority government. Harper coming out and saying so was threatening only to left-wing partisans. Treating a video in which he said what everyone already knew as if it were remarkable or scandalous was nothing more than blowing the left-wing dog whistle.

Harper's words simply alert Kinsella and the left-wing partisans he's counting on to something only they will perceive as dangerous.

Now, in the middle of an election campaign, Kinsella is offering up video of Harper saying he'd like to see a conservative government in Queen's Park. In other words, video in which Harper simply says what everyone already knows. Kinsella is simply blowing the left-wing dog whistle, and in his desperation he's blowing it hard.

It's certainly Kinsella's hope that Harper's "conservative hat trick" comment will scare NDP voters into the Liberal fold. Looking at the poll numbers, looking at the embarrassing incidents his party has fallen victim to, Kinsella knows, as many other people know, that this is his party's best hopes of holding onto even a minority government, let alone holding on to their majority.

As for the federal Tories' efforts to shut the video down, chalk that up to an effort to discourage left-wing activists from resorting to the creepy means of hidden cameras in search of "gotcha" non-stories.

For Warren Kinsella, desperate times seem to call for desperate measures.

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