03.24.2011 08:35 AM

The “Ethnic Vote” – One of the reasons the Reformatories are ahead

Yesterday, I spoke at Marketing magazine’s conference on marketing to so-called “ethnic” communities.  I was critical of the Young Richard Nixon (ie. Jason Kenney), but I also grudgingly gave him credit – he and his party have made major inroads into minority communities in the past few years.  When you consider that they were the main Canadian political repository of xenophobia, nativism and flat-out racism for many years before that, that’s impressive.  It’s also one of the reasons they are nipping at Liberal heels in tight urban races, or moving ahead.

Here’s the deck I used to illustrate my points.  Feel free to staple, spindle and mutilate.



  1. MIchael Behiels says:

    Thanks Warren for this set of PowerPoint slides on the Young Richard Nixon’s, Jason Kenny, role in recruiting votes for the CPC amongst certain targeted groups of ethnocutlural communities throughout Canada.

    The politics of race and religion has always been a central theme in Canadian history going all the way back to the Conquest of 1760.

    The Reformers played, and continue to play, a very nativist approach because it worked successfully in helping them build their base in small town, rural Western Canada.

    This highly nativist approach to the politics of race and religion, Harper was convinced by his advisors from South Western Ontario including the Irish Canada Jason Kenny, would prevent the Conservative Party from achieving its majority with additional seats from the 905 region.

    Kenny convinced Cabinet and many but not all Reformatory MPs that the Conservative Party adopt in central Canada a very different and more inclusive approach, an approach that emphasizes similarities rather than differences. Kenny’s policy asks members of certain ethnocultural communities not to stress their cultural uniqueness but rather to discover what they have in common with White, Anglo-Saxon, Christian Canadians.

    For those who know Canadian history, Kenny’s approach resembles the old British-Canadian Policy of Anglo-conformity, a policy that was pursued by the Conservative Party from Robert Borden all the through to George Drew. The policy of Anglo-conformity was best expressed by a German Canadian. PM John George Diefenbaker insisted that there should be no hyphenated Canadians and that the census should include only one category, Canadian.
    This policy of Anglo-conformity had the support of British-Canadian Protestants including most Irish Catholics. This policy was preached and applied via the dominant Christian churches, schools (public and private), and community organizations.

    The Conservative Party, under Kenny’s leadership, has set out to convince leaders and members of specific ethnocultural communities ( certainly not the Arab and Muslim communities) that they share the same Judeo-Christian moral values as the British-Canadian Evangelical Christian nationalists who helped Manning and Harper build the Reform Party. Kenny’s approach is one that emphasizes a convergence between certain ethnocultural communities and the still politically dominant British-Canadian majority throughout Canada. It is a policy of Anglo-Canadian conformity.

    Most second and third generation members of Canada’s long-established ethnocultural communities, those in Canada for over six decades, are now highly educated, middle class professionals with good paying jobs in the public and private sectors. They see no need to continue to identify themselves as hyphenated Canadians and they have become critical of the policy of multiculturalism that they argue fosters segregation and marginalization for their communities and themselves.

    Jason Kenny, in short, understands this transformation in the mentality of many ethnocultural community members and he has found ways to exploit it for political gain by using the political marketing tactics and strategies outlined by Warren.

    • Ted says:

      They also know that they and their parents would not be here because of conservative xenophobic policies, and that because of Harper’s own policies right now fewer of them will be here in the future.

      The Conservatives have reduced the number of immigrants allowed into the country, reduced the number of countries from which immigration is allowed/encouraged, made citizenship more difficult for landed immigrants, cut ESL program funding, cut the ability of Canadians to sponsor their own family coming over, etc.

      It’s the same dilemma as for homosexuals with conservative values. You may share a lot of values with them and agree with broader policy directions, but they don’t want you, like you, or think you should have any influence or say (other than your vote and your money, which they want lots of).

      • Ted says:

        What is poppycock?

        That the Conservatives under Harper have not done all of that? Because they have.

        Or that, despite taking all of that anti-immigrant action, they still love the immigrant?

        • Ted says:

          Like cutting funding to ESL programs Gord? Like not helping in recognition for accredited professionals? Like not allowing them to be close to and give aid to their family?

          Which is all in addition to the reasons Harper has to muzzle the rest of his caucus.

        • Ashia says:

          You’re both right and wrong. Gord, the Harper government cut some funding to Citizenship and Immigration Canada back in December which affected many of their immigrant settlement services including funding for ESL programs.

          Ted, Immigration hit an all time high in 2010. Now the CPC has decided to pull that rate back because they see it as unsustainable, but I’m sure you think that they’re doing it because they’re racists.

  2. JStanton says:

    Some good insights here.

    I find irony, however, in the fact that some immigrants evidently admire aspects of the Harper Government that they previously abhorred when under the yoke of the despotic regimes they fled.


    • Northbaytrapper says:

      That’s a ridiculous statement…meant to conjure up the most horrible actions of horrible regimes; none of which have happened here. The most glaring despot move by the current government appears to be to not fully disclose the cost estimates of a proposed bill…a bill the other parties can easily vote down.

      Your statement is foolish.

  3. Mulletaur says:

    The federal Conservatives really do this well. That’s more than I can say for the federal Liberals. They have rested on the legacy of Pierre Trudeau far too long.

    • The Doctor says:

      It reminds me of what that Conservative lackey Lawrence Martin (irony alert) wrote in the Globe the other day — LM criticized the Liberal platform for its “poverty of ambition”. There has been precious little in the way of policy renewal. What about that ideas/thinkers conference that Ignatieff held a while back? Is there anything notable that came out of that and that’s reflected in what the LPC plans to do in this election campaign?

      Sitting in the cheap seats saying that Reformers are/were racists is not really an effective strategy for the LPC to gain its fair share of the ethnic/multicultural/visible minority vote, IMO. This is my basic problem with what I see coming out of the LPC these days — way too much negativity, and not enough positive reasons being put forth to vote Liberal.

      I agree with Mulletaur about the living in the past thing, there’s too much of that. That is fabulous that Paul Martin slayed the deficit, but for Crissakes, that was a decade and a half ago.

      • Philip says:

        Very true. But it won’t happen over night and it probably won’t look very smooth either. But the LPC will be back as a powerhouse on the national stage again. I believe this election will help that process. The contempt and ethics issues are important enough to bring the non-confidence motion forward. All the LPC can do now is run a strong campaign, see what the Canadian voters have to say and then take the lessons onboard. Moving forward as a party is crucial. As you say, living in the past isn’t an option any more.

  4. Darren says:

    Honest Question: Does the Liberal Party have any organizational system even close to CIMS?

    • Warren says:

      Ask them. I’m a media person now! And – based on what I am hearing is coming out tonight – I am very happy with the view!

    • H Holmes says:

      Every Party has voter tracking software.
      Some derived from the US where ethnic voter tracking is a huge issue.
      The difference is the conservatives have a large lead in the managed side of the data, because when the joined parties they had to link all of the processes of both parties together,

      The liberals are catching up however, it takes a lot of resources and money to get a full system integrated and everyone to buy in.
      The big thing is to get ridings to pass on data back to the party, not everyone feels comfortable about doing this.
      The conservatives didn’t really have the problem as they didn’t have a plurality of incumbents when the parties merged.

  5. Patrick Deberg says:

    If the ethnic communities want to find out what the right wing CPC faction think of them they should come out to Jack McClarens little festival on the 31th at the Corel centre. They can mingle and mix……sort of….

    • Ted says:

      Curious – Scotiabank Place doesn’t even list it as an upcoming event. No surprise there.

      (And it’s McLaren, I believe, not McClarens)

  6. Patrick Deberg says:

    Sorry ,

    I mean Scotiabank place here in Ottawa.

  7. billg says:

    Why Patrick? Whats going to happen at Jack McClarens little festival. I got on invite right in front of me…I live in the area and work with the farmers..so…enlighten me? Just curious.

    • Ted says:

      Take a head count and survey and let us know the ethnic demographics. Just curious.

    • CQ says:

      er, whiter than an 2011 Ottawa Notebook, ?.

      • Northbaytrapper says:

        Because most farms of multi-generational, it stands that the majority of farmers in this province are white.

        That’s like complaining that there are too many natives on reservations.

      • CQ says:

        My comment above is meant as an opposing criticism against the progressive posings of Globemedia’s current political reporting group, also in Ottawa. However, the G&M isn’t strictly a family business. The same could also be said for CBC’s competing national news At Issue Panel. They have had generations already to more accurately reflect their overall national audience.

  8. eattv says:

    Nice deck. I’m very pro-immigration and I do believe Kenny is sincere in his support for the same. Rather than just looking for groups to pander to in trade for votes, it seems to me that Kenny understands that immigration is the way forward for the population’s growth and sees new Canadians as a group to be learned from. I can respect that, even though I have no love for his party.

    My refrain over the last few years is that the Liberals don’t seem to have really learned from their spankings yet. Ignatieff seems to me as a figurehead put in place by a party that is trying to repeat past glories. Until the current roster of “let’s try this old guy” politicians has been exhausted in the party, I doubt it will see much success in the polls. I just hope Ig and the others can keep the Cons to a minority this time.

    I’m more and more impressed with Brison, of all people (surprising because I lean far further left than he does). His pedigree as a red Tory plus his obvious experience as a politician both lead me to believe he may in time be the guy the Libs need in order to break with the past and present a party that stands for something smart again.

  9. hugger says:

    Not to Carp but, but this poll puts the Libs and Cons at 42% and 41%.


  10. Just for Fun says:

    Hey Warren,
    Not to defend JK but if he’s a young Milhous, does that mean that at one time you were a young Lee Atwater? Sticks and Stones.

    • Just for Fun says:

      That’s the Kinsella spirit we have come to know and love!
      Sorry if I touched a nerve. Pissing off now

  11. billg says:

    At the event or the area, because, the area is mostly farming and mostly white. You guys do know that the Ottawa Valley is mostly white with generations of farmers and loggers right? Great fiddlers too!

  12. jbro says:

    thanks warren, that’s an interesting look into the wtf file

  13. james curran says:

    “RMN was an extreme introvert, who trusted almost no-one and who – no-one knows why for sure, perhaps his dad was the cause – had a deep rage against his opponents, a rage that pushed him into probably illegal acts”

    So RMN and Steve Harper are most similar then.

    • Ted says:

      Nixon won in part because of splits in the opposition. They have that in common.

      Nixon was willing to do anything to win and would never admit fault to the point of his own demise. We’re not at Harper’s demise just yet (at least 37 days before that) but otherwise another compatible point.

      Nixon and his underlings to his knowledge played around with the law, not too worried about going over the line. Offering “financial considerations” to Cadman, in-and-out, ignoring subpoenas, ignoring Parliamentary orders, calling the RCMP to investigate opponents, etc. Another similarity.

      And I disagree with you about the rage against opponents. He has an unabiding, well documented rage/hatred for the Liberals and it drives way too much of what he does as PM. But for that rage/hatred, I have no doubt whatsoever he would have had his majority a long time ago.

      • Ted says:

        Harper’s hatred of the Liberals – not liberals – is very much equivalent. Martin even wrote a book about it quoting many Conservatives. Its akin. And so are their hatred for media who don’t cater to their communication whims.

        Beyond the Liberals, you may have a point. I don’t sense such a hatred of Harper for the many friends/colleagues he’s knifed in the back, like Manning or Day. That was just opportunism and power hungriness, not personal hatred.

        As for crimes: it is from Harper’s own mount that we know he and his party offered Cadman “financial considerations” for his vote; 4 of his closest and most senior advisors are up on election fraud charges in a complicated scheme to break the law; another former senior advisor had the walk of the cabinet it seems in illegal lobbying and is under RCMP investigation; new investigations seem to be announced almost daily; he is still covering up the conduct of his Defence Department and what they knew about detainee abuse. Maybe Harper is not like Nixon but Nixon is like HArper.

      • Ted says:

        And I completely forgot:

        Nixon: “If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

        Harper: “I make the rules.”

  14. billg says:

    1. Man its hard to poke fun at people anymore.
    2. Man that was a long comment that no one probably finished reading Gord.
    3. Gord, see #1

  15. allegra fortissima says:

    And if there won’t be enough “Ethnic Votes” for the Conservative cause, will anyone get the “blame”? N’est pas battus par l’argent, mais par des votes ethniques liberals?

  16. This looks great on a certain tablet that, *ahem*, supports flash.

  17. billg says:

    I gotta give James Curran that round.

  18. Al in Cranbroook says:

    Looks like the overriding question is going to be: Coalition?

    Radio talk show hosts this morning are pounding this topic for all it’s worth…and in no flattering manner for Liberals or Dippers. Worth noting, too, because I’m reasonably certain a helluva lot more voters listen to their programs during the day than P&P or Power Play come even close to.

    Me thinks there’s likely a lot of opposition MPs choking down more than their fair share of Gravol for lunch today.

    Just sayin’…

  19. Michael Bussiere says:

    Tactical thinking for sure. Then there is the Conservative Party reality on the ground, personified by one Lowell Green. This Ottawa talk show Con booster holds his audience close by such ideas as expressed in his latest book “Mayday Mayday”. A loosely veiled bit of racism and fear mongering about immigration, multiculturalism and the end of Canada as we know it. Moronic really considering the Canada we do know is about immigration and multiculturalism.

    Draw the b*stards out and let Kenney explain, I say! Read the nut here:


  20. hugger says:

    An interesting tidbit on the coalition meme;

    Blake Richards, CPC Wild Rose AB, referred to a coalition as evil and Barbaric in the HOC earlier today.

    • Al in Cranbroook says:

      Harper and the CPC get called evil and barbaric regularly. So?

      • Nastyboy says:

        Hugger has stated in other threads that all Albertans are racist and all Conservatives Nazis, so it’s only wrong when they do it.

    • hugger says:

      1. Savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal.

      evil definition
      morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life. 2. harmful; injurious:

      Further to that Big Al and Darryl, the HOC isn’t supposed to be part of a Pub crawl. So? says big Al, and Darryl just makes shit up as he goes along.

  21. smelter rat says:

    How many Conservatives bailed when the Reformers took over the PC Party?

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      Clark, Brison, kieth Martin. Lots did. Either to the Libs or out of politics all together. I know lots of Liberals who would support the cons before they would ever side with the ndp.

  22. Warren,

    I love the document, way to trisect the approach.

    Incrementalism is very very hard to defend.

    A Liberal should be looking at how to become more involved in the new natural governing party, like John Manley did.

    Perhaps an incremental take over of the CPC ?, just don’t include Joe Clark and David Orchard.

  23. Cameron Prymak says:

    That’s an interesting defense/rehabilitation of Nixon’s image. Looks like you’ve read Conrad Black.

    Thank God for Woodward and Bernstein.

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