11.15.2016 09:56 AM

Values: Kellie Leitch made me go back to one of my books

Fight the Right, to be precise. here’s what I found. It’s what Leitch is doing, and with some success, too.

“…Conservatives like the ones gathered at the Values Summit believe their values are American values because, well, they are. That’s just the way it goes, and if you don’t like it, you’re with the terrorists.

But, fair’s fair. It’s not a uniquely American conservative point of view. Up here in the Great White North as well, conservatives have been claiming for years that conservative and Canadian values are interchangeable – after all, how else do they keep winning election campaigns, right? So, right after the 2011 federal election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his annual visit to the family-friendly Calgary Stampede. There, beneath a Stetson, he bashed his opponents (as expected) and insisted his Conservatives are super-duper winners (ditto). But then he said this: “Conservative values are Canadian values.” And: “Canadian values are Conservative values.”

Hoo boy! When he uttered that little syllogism, the progressive side of the commentariat promptly went bananas. Liberal Leader Bob Rae — whose party Harper amusingly described as relevant as “disco balls and bell bottoms” — declared that Harper was sounding pretty arrogant, which was true. One of the Globe and Mail’s pundits, Lawrence Martin, agreed (and the Globe would certainly know arrogance when it is sees it). So did a Saskatoon Star-Phoenix columnist, who opined it reeked of “annoying arrogance.” In the Winnipeg Free Press, Frances Russell — not noted as a Harper cheerleader — concurred that the Stampede tub-thumper was a lot of triumphalism, hubris and arrogance. You get the picture: “Arrogant.”

It was indeed “arrogant” to say Conservative values and Canadian values are the same thing. (Although, truth be told, I thought Harper’s crack about disco balls and bell bottoms was pretty funny, coming as it does from a guy so square, he needs to walk around the block to turn over in bed.) So when Harper’s Stampede stump-speech and his “values” claim came up during my appearance on Krista Erickson’s Sun News Network show, I shrugged. “Meh,” said I. First off, I reminded her, I am a Calgarian who — like most sane Calgarians — is no fan of the Stampede. The Stampede, I suggested, is mostly an opportunity for uptight businessmen and repressed Easterners to descend on downtown Calgary, drink too much, contract venereal diseases, and throw up in public. “If you’re a true Calgarian, Stampede’s a good time to leave town,” I said to my horrified host.

Secondly, I suggested, Canadian conservative politicians have been claiming their party’s “values” are identical to Canadians’ “values” since Jesus was a little feller. Before he became prime minister in 1978, Brian Mulroney gave a speech in honour of a conservative bagman suggesting that Tory values were “real values” and Canadians deserved “no less.” In the same vein, the aforementioned Stockwell Day once speechified as Canadian Alliance leader that “new leadership” – that is to say, his – was need to “reflect [Canadians’] values.” Ditto Preston Manning, the former Reform Party boss, and Harper and Day’s predecessor, who made the same claim: “As conservative values become more Canadian values…that’s something Conservatives should be happy about.”

It’s the same, in fact, for every other recently minted Conservative leader to emerge from Alberta (as all of them do). Conservative politicians can always be seen insisting that theirs are identical to yours, because they know that whomever controls the “values” debate tends to always win.

That doesn’t mean we progressives should let them, of course. If we want to start winning – if we want to defeat the conservative hordes – we need to show that we, too, have the values that resonate with ordinary folks. That means getting better at appealing to the hearts and minds of voters, and our fellow citizens. For progressives, it’s a valuable endeavour, you might say.”

10 Comments


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    dave constable says:

    One kind of leadership is that of the person, or group, that best tells the story of the group they are leading. So,I guess a person trying to be leader will claim to own that story.

    Yesterday, I began to think that Leitch is getting as much exposure on this issue as is given to all the other CPC candidates on all their issues put together. So, in that, she seems to be successfully using Trump’s playbook.


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      redraven says:

      Hey Kellie ain’t dumb. Look who’s running her campaign and if a Kardashian can fake a robbery dammit then Leitch can fake a break-in knowing the press will give her all the oxygen in the room. Kinsella is right. This values horseshit can get you elected. I don’t who is the dumbest; the press or us.


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        Matt says:

        Sun columnist wrote today he has family in Leitch’s neighborhood.

        There have apparently been a rash of garage break ins in the area.

        So, I would say if indeed it did happen, it probably has nothing to do with her leadership bid.


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    redraven says:

    Depends on your point of view.

    Imagine you’re deciding whether to get a dog or not. they don’t serve any real purpose and you don’t really need one but sometimes they listen just enough to bark when needed and are a reason to get out of the house and go for a well needed walk. more you than the dog.
    But before you get the dog you do some mental due diligence.
    Imagine a giant stack of dog food floor to ceiling and an equivalent pile of dog shit and another huge pile of money to cover the cost of food, vet bills, training, medicine, toys, limosines, boarding, orange juice and occasional camembert.
    You’re no longer so sure but the kids are begging and your folks say dogs are great and this is the way things have always been done. Dogs are Canadian values to the max. Ya gotta have some.
    A Conservative politician on the other hand sees this like the dog. Hoo boy. If I act just the right way, bark the right things at the right time, blow hard on this dog whistle I can get this stupid human to eat the dog food, pick up all my shit while I steal the money and spend it on steak. Sure I die after 12 years but another member of the pack picks up the slack and Bob’s your uncle we get to do it all over again.
    Whoever said dogs were dumb animals never met a human, especially a Conservative one.


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    Ron says:

    If you have been to the Stampede sometime since 1950 and found a ladies shoe it belonged to my mother.

    She lost it in the mud.


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    Vancouverois says:

    Liberals also claim that their values are Canadian values, and vice versa; and it’s equally offensive coming from them.


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      Warren says:

      Can you read? I didn’t say it was offensive. I said progressives need to do it too.


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    Matt says:

    Reading an iPolitics article earlier that a prominent Newfoundlander and early endorser of Leitch’s leadership bid, Steve Kent I think it was, has pulled his endorsement of her.


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    Richard says:

    She is definitely using the Trump playbook to success. Who had ever heard of Kelli Leitch before all this? Now, like Trump, she is getting maximum exposure for saying outrageous things. The media, eager to cook up a story and see if Trumpism can fly here because it’s ratings, lets it all air without condemnation, opprobrium, or opposition.

    Hopefully, progressives, Liberals, and smart-thinking conservatives will have taken the lessons from America seriously, and condemn her garbage before the platform gets too far off the ground.


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      monkey says:

      I hope so to and I say as a moderate conservative. The GOP really should have tried to knock Trump out before he even won the nomination. Hopefully the Tories will keep Leitch out and while I have no way of predicting what will happen, it will be a run off ballot and I am not sure how many second choices she will get never mind every riding gets equal weight so she cannot win by running up the margins in the staunchly conservative parts of the country. Probably the best thing would be for the alt right to go form their own separate party like they have in Europe as they would probably be stuck in single digits while we could at least have three reasonable options.

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