Maybe its coincidence, or perhaps its just me...but it seems like Conservative minded Canadians have felt their cajones swell with Stephen Harper's electoral triumph. Yes, sixty per cent of Canadians voted for the so called 'reckless coalition', but in Canadian politics forty per cent has long been the litmus test for legitimate majority rule.
I think right wingers would be wise to take note of those numbers though. Most Canadians did not want a Harper majority, but our system is what it is and I'm not going to bemoan the result. It seems that Harper's Reform base is looking to push some issues quietly into the national discourse.
Remember the Reform Party? They stormed into Ottawa and quickly earned a reputation as being something of a Bible thumping red neck party. Against a woman's right to choose, against same sex marriage, and against immigration.
Conservative commentators are starting to bring up topics like abortion, and main stream corporate media outlets are giving them a forum.
A great example of right leaning, corporate media is of course tabloid rags like the Toronto Sun, where headlines such as this are not uncommon: Anti-abortion protesters hope Harper will re-open debate
Then came this headline today: Immigration costs Canada billions: Fraser Institute
Everyone knows the old line about: "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics". Well the Fraser Institute attempts to use statistics to prove that immigration is a huge burden. I can just hear Preston Manning's old Reform choir singing...'Hllelujah" and screaming "Amen Brother".
Now, before going ballistic on a story like this I like to look at the source, in this case The Fraser Institute. What I found out was interesting to say the least. While claiming to be non-partisan and interested in doing "meticulous" research into a variety of issues...a look at their 2009 annual report is very telling.
The numbers they provide show an organization that raised and spent in excess of $12 million that year. But while individuals comprised 84% of their supporters, those individuals only chipped in with 12% of total contributions. Where did most of the money come from? Foundations and organizations at 54%and 34% respectively.
In other words some very deep pocketed groups looking to push an agenda from where I sit. One that is cleansed by the guise of being academic and non-partisan.
Sadly I don't think Canadians are sufficiently engaged to notice. They'll read a headline about "Immigrants costing us billions" and Canada will become just a little less opening, a little less tolerant and a little more mean spirited.
I do hope I'm wrong.
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