Conservative’s Attack Ad Sets Expectation For An Ignorant Canada
The Conservative Party of Canada put out two radio attack ads late last year going after Justin Trudeau’s ‘inexperience’ in Canadian politics and the Liberal’s, though directly targeting Justin Trudeau’s, stance on legalizing marijuana. Despite both advertisements being completely unfounded and complete propaganda, it’s the anti-marijuana ad that really gets under my skin. If you haven’t heard the ad yet, take a moment to listen to it using the media player at the top of this post.
Here’s the text of the commercial, feel free to follow along:
There’s so much I worry about as a mom. Justin Trudeau’s plan to make marijuana legal certainly doesn’t help. Imagine making it available just like alcohol and cigarettes. He’s sending the message that recreational drug use is “Okay”. That’s the last thing I want my kids to think. And making it easier for kids to get? Doesn’t sound like Justin Trudeau has the kind of judgement we need in a Prime Minister. [school bell rings] Authorized by the Conservative Party of CanadaConservative Party of Canada – Marijuana
Why I Take Issue With This Ad
Canadian’s Are Smarter Than That
My first issue with this advertisement is the simple fact that it is an attack ad. Plain and simple. I don’t support nor do I condone attack ads as their entire purpose is to defame political candidates on personal and emotional ground and are often done without proper evidence or statistics to back up their claims. Political attack ads rely on an uninformed and uneducated public incapable of individual critical thought. That is not to say that the Canadian population is uninformed or uneducated. In fact, Canada is the most educated country in the world. It is, however, the premise of the advertisement. So by creating this ad, the Conservative Party of Canada is already insulting you, the voter – the Canadian public, calling you ignorant and incapable of thinking for yourself. How does that make you feel?
Well you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Conservative Party’s political attack ads have failed to hurt the Liberal Party’s standings in the polls and have failed to mar Justin Trudeau in the eyes of the voting public. The ads have in-fact backfired and helped to boost the Liberals in the polls. The latest Ipsos-Reid polls put the Liberals at 35%, Conservatives at 32% and NDP at 25% of the popular vote. Clearly Canadian’s aren’t as ignorant as the Conservative Party thinks they are, or wants them to be.
This Isn’t “Justin Trudeau’s” Party
Justin Trudeau’s plan to make marijuana legal Conservative Party of Canada – Marijuana
It is no secret that Stephen Harper runs the Conservative Party. The first six years that the Harper Conservatives were in power, report after report came out that detailed how Stephen Harper micro-managed his MPs and the entire party from the top down.
The Liberal Party platform, however, is not the work of Justin Trudeau. Regardless of his personal beliefs about marijuana, the Liberal Party delegates sent to the Liberal Convention in 2012 made the decision to support the legalization of marijuana. The platform policy was voted on by over 1,200 Liberal Party members and passed with a 77% vote in favour of making it a part of the current Liberal Platform.
Recent polls also show that some 66% of Canadians, across all political parties, support the legalization of marijuana in Canada.
Alcohol and Cigarettes Aren’t ‘Drugs’?
Imagine making it available just like alcohol and cigarettes. Conservative Party of Canada – Marijuana
The advertisement blatantly demonizes marijuana in a comparison to cigarettes and alcohol, two very legal and very dangerous substances consumed on a regular basis across Canada. I can’t tell if they are trying to say that like alcohol and cigarettes the sale of marijuana can be controlled responsibly, or if they are trying to argue for prohibition on alcohol and cigarettes, because clearly they are too available for your children to buy.
So either the Conservatives are concerned about cigarettes and alcohol and would like to see those prohibited across Canada or they’re afraid that marijuana would produce so much money from taxes that even the Conservative Party couldn’t cause a deficit despite rampant programming spending cuts.
a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.
By definition, both ethyl alcohol and nicotine are drugs. The public is fully aware of the harmful and negative effects that both alcohol and nicotine can have on a person’s physical state and long-term health. Numerous studies have shown marijuana to be no-more, or in many cases, even less harmful than both alcohol and cigarettes as a recreational drug.
If we as a society can accept the prevalence of the regulated sale of alcohol and cigarettes, there really isn’t much of a leap to leagalize the non-habit forming marijuana in the same fashion.
Parents Need To Parent
There’s so much I worry about as a mom…. He’s sending the message that recreational drug use is “Okay”. That’s the last thing I want my kids to think. And making it easier for kids to get?Conservative Party of Canada – Marijuana
An open letter to the “mom” in the advertisement,
You need to step up as a parent and teach your kids about the hazards of any drug consumption and the possible effects it could have on their lives. You need to inform them about the world while encouraging them to make decisions that will improve their lives and make them a contributing member of society, as they see fit. Don’t expect others to commit to your world view because the real world is too ‘dangerous’ and ‘scary’ for you to exist in. Instead of insulating your child from the realities of the world they will one day have to survive on their own, teach them how to live in it, to be their own person and to not succumb to propaganda and peer-pressure.
P.S. I highly doubt that your ‘child’ is looking up to Justin Trudeau, or any person in politics for that matter, as their role model and learning about marijuana from them. They will learn about it from their friends on the play ground at school whether it is legal or not.
Responsible Canadians Everywhere
The War On Drugs Doesn’t Pay
“Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government is following a very different priority, working to help make our streets and communities safer. This includes combatting drug trafficking and grow-ops, especially in residential areas.” – Conservative Party of Canada Website
In 2012, Stephen Harper held a press conference where he admitted that the War on Drugs has failed and is an ineffective solution to drug regulation. Despite this, Harper’s conservatives passed Bill C-10 which would enact mandatory minimum sentences similar to the current policy in the United States, despite heavy protest and warning from Canadians and Americans on both sides of the political spectrum.
Like much of the Conservative Party’s platform and rhetoric, this advertisement relies on, and plays off of, an uninformed and uneducated public incapable of thinking for themselves.
It relies on people, like Randy here, that have zero understanding about marijuana, who buy into the propaganda out of fear and trust in a broken political system.
Should we really be surprised about this? Of course not. The Conservative party has traditionally been one to profit off of attack ads. It is the culture of the party and the culture of their target audience. Harper’s administration also dismisses the sciences and facts, as evidenced by his across-the-board funding cuts to environmental, health and the libraries that support scientists in this country.
A few weeks ago many blogs shared the list of cuts Stephen Harper has made as Prime Minister of Canada that directly impact furthering science and research in Canada. Here’s that list:
Update 2013.05.27: Undated list of science or environmental libraries closed is here: Natural Resources Canada is set to close six of fourteen libraries in 2012-2013, Parks Canada will consolidate 5 libraries into one, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Undated list of women’s programs cut since 2006, including many science or health-related, including: Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health
- Apr 2006. One Tonne Challenge funding stopped
- May 2006. Environmental Groups Call on Ambrose to Resign as Chair of International Kyoto Negotiations
- Oct 2006. Circumpolar ambassador job axed
- Jan 2008. Office of National Science Adviser phased out
- Jan 2008. Nuclear safety watchdog head fired for ‘lack of leadership’
- Jun 2008. 16 Canadian lakes are slated to be officially but quietly “reclassified” as toxic dump sites for mines
- Jun 2008. It’s the Beginning of the End for Federal Science: Expert Panel on Lab Transfers/divestment (and here)
- Mar 2009. Navigable Waters Protection Act to remove objective definition of navigable and replace it with unaccountable Ministerial discretion (and here)
- Oct 2009. Document delivery outsourced at The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (national science library)
- Feb 2010. Layoffs at The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information
- Mar 2010. Information restrictions brought in by government have severely restricted the media’s access to government researchers
- Mar 2010. Interview approval rules introduced in at Environment Canada 2007 have lead to substantially reduced requests, especially about climate change coverage.
- Jun 2010. Statistics Canada discontinues the mandatory long form census
- Jul 2010. AIDS funding announcement insufficient and disappointing, out of step with international community
- Aug 2010. Cuts to Environment Canada weather-service programs have compromised the government’s ability to assess climate change and left it with a “profoundly disturbing” quality of information in its data network.
- Mar 2011. NRC Press privatized to Canadian Science Publishing, removing Open Access to many articles
- Mar 2011. NSERC reduces funding for basic research
- Mar 2011. Tri-Council reallocates funds from discovery to industry research
- May 2011. National Science Agency Axes Food Research including nine experimental farms such as the one in Frelighsburg, Quebec
- Jun 2011. Blocks asbestos from hazardous chemicals list at UN summit
- Jun 2011. 28 term scientists laid off at Environment Canada in Downsview
- Jul 2011. Budget cuts to Climate Change and Clean Air, Substance and Waste Management, Weather and Environmental Services, Water Resources and Internal Services, Action Plan on Clean Water, the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan, Chemicals Management Plan, the Clean Air Agenda, the Air Quality Health Index, Species at Risk Program
- Jul 2011. NSERC Discovery Grants reduced
- Aug 2011. DFO scientist Kristi Miller says that the Privy Council prevented her from talking to the media about her research into the 2009 sockeye salmon collapse in B.C.
- Sep 2011. Arctic ozone monitoring & research unit & databases shut down as well as 40 year archive of ice cores
- Oct 2011. Canadian Environmental Network closes
- Oct 2011. Scientist David Tarasick speaks out after finding ‘record’ ozone hole over Canadian Arctic
- Dec 2011. Withdraw from the Kyoto Accord
- Jan 2012. Natural Resources Minister accuses foreign radical environmentalists of hijacking the system
- Feb 2012. Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) loses funding (later partial reprieve)
- Feb 2012. Closure of Kitsilano Coast Guard station
- Feb 2012. Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands, over the bloc’s plan to label oil from Alberta’s vast tar sands as highly polluting
- Feb 2012. Cuts to the ozone monitoring program are affecting ability to monitor air quality and ozone depletion, Canada is jeopardizing the scientific community’s ability to monitor for holes in the ozone, especially over the Arctic
- Mar 2012. Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences closes
- Mar 2012. Gutting the Fisheries Act
- Apr 2012. Cereal Research Centre cut
- Apr 2012. Muzzling of scientists at international conferences
- Apr 2012. Repeal of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, download to provinces
- Apr 2012. Sustainable Water Management Division cut
- Apr 2012. Transport Canada Aircraft Services cut
- Apr 2012. The Centre for Plant Health relocated (later reprieve)
- Apr 2012. Scientists monitored at polar conference
- Apr 2012. National Aboriginal Health Organization’s funding cut
- Apr 2012. Parks Canada cuts affect four national marine conservation areas
- Apr 2012. 47 scientists and researchers at the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics laid off inWinnipeg and Calgary.
- Apr 2012. 2012 Budget cuts Women’s Health Contribution Program, Canadian Women’s Health Network, National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, Federal Tobacco Control Strategy
- Apr 2012. 2012 Budget cuts Centre of Excellence at B.C. Children’s and Women’s hospitals in Vancouver, Quebec Network of Action for Women’s Health, Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence
- May 2012. 1000 jobs cut at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (details follow)
- May 2012. Ocean Contaminants & Marine Toxicology Program axed.
- May 2012. Centre for Offshore Oil & Gas Energy Research cut
May 2012. Freshwater Institute cut
- May 2012. Centre for Off-shore Oil, Gas, and Energy Research cut
- May 2012. Maurice-Lamontagne Institute cut
- May 2012. Smokestacks Emissions Monitoring Team cut
- May 2012. Cuts to NSERC Discovery, Major Resources Support and Research Tools and Instruments programs
- May 2012. Mersey Biodiversity Centre slated for closure
- May 2012. Transport Canada library closed
- May 2012. Environment minister Peter Kent accuses environmental charities ‘laundering’ foreign funds
- May 2012. Killer whale expert out of work as Ottawa cuts ocean-pollution monitoring positions
- May 2012. NSERC cuts to Canadian Neutron Beam Centre
- May 2012. List of cuts to NSERC MRS program
- May 2012. Limiting fish protection to “serious harm” is a serious problem, benefits oil & gas industry
- Jun 2012. Eliminate Experimental Lakes Area program
- Jun 2012. Addictions Research Centre cut
- Jun 2012. When asked if he believes in evolution, Minister of Science and Technology refuses to answer question; suggests MP who asked the question has brain damage and here
- Jul 2012. Arctic Institute of North America’s Kluane Research Station cut
- Aug 2012. Major Resources Support (MRS) Program Moratorium impacts National High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre, the Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microanalysis and the Canadian Charged Particle Accelerator Consortium and others
- Sep 2012. Revamp Species-at-Risk act
- Oct 2012. DFO Habitat Management Program cut
- Oct 2012. Declining grant success rate for Post Doctoral Fellows
- Oct 2012. Ozone science group falls victim to government cuts
- Oct 2012. Job cuts at NRC
- Oct 2012. Navigable Waters Protection Act changed to weaken environmental oversight, changes sought by pipeline industry
- Nov 2012. Bill C-45 weakens environmental laws and democracy, such as Navigable Waters Protection Act
- Nov 2012. Salmon research lab run by Frederick Kibenge at the Atlantic Veterinary College-University of Prince Edward Island targeted
- Nov 2012. Navigable Waters Protection Act altered to give developers more freedom to build around most Canadian rivers and lakes without obtaining permission from the federal government
- Nov 2012. Environment Canada scientists Derek Muir and Jane Kirk discouraged from commenting on oilsands contaminant study
- Dec 2012. Eliminating the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission
- Jan 2013. Very long list of scientist muzzlings from Democracy Watch
- Jan 2013. Canadian Space Agency battered by budget cuts, Steve MacLean leaves, sweeping changes expected
- Jan 2013. Oil & Gas Industry thanks government for changing a series of environmental laws to advance “both economic growth and environmental performance.”
- Jan 2013. Leona Aglukkaq, MP for Nunavut and Minister for the Arctic Council, prioritizes resource development in her vision for the North’s potential rather than issues such as food security, community health or engaging youth. (and here)
- Feb 2013. Restrict how researchers can share data
- Feb 2013. Department of Fisheries & Oceans muzzles its scientists
- Feb 2013. Information commissioner investigates ‘Muzzling’ of federal scientists, called a threat to democracy
- Feb 2013. Prairies Regional Office: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency closes
- Mar 2013. Muzzling of scientists
- Mar 2013. Experimental Lakes Area environmental research project loses funding
- Mar 2013. The government votes against public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making
- Mar 2013. $100 million cut from Department of Fisheries & Oceans over three years
- Mar 2013. National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy closes
- Mar 2013. Centralizing, Slashing Federal Web Info
- Mar 2013. Quit UN anti-drought convention
- Mar 2013. Unnecessarily sabotaging ongoing research at the Experimental Lakes Area and deliberately robbing international and domestic scientist of the 2013 field season
- Mar 2013. Environment Canada/Peter Kent give mixed messages to First Nations and oil industry about reform of conservation laws
- Mar 1013. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says that Canadian oil imports are greenest option for US, as rationale for Keystone XL support
- Mar 2013. Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program and the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (BIEAP-FREMP) closing
- Mar 2013. 2013 Budget cuts: Health Canada’s Controlled Substances and Tobacco Program, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, Drug Treatment Funding Program, Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund, Public Health Agency of Canada, Patented Medicines Prices Review Board
- Mar 2013. ELA research programs being prematurely wound down
- Apr 2013. Create barrier to public participation in pipeline hearings
- Apr 2013. Environment Canada name removed from its weather website, replaced with government promotional links
- Apr 2013.Closure of Department of Fisheries & Oceans libraries
- Apr 2013. Prime Minister & cabinet take over power to dictate collective bargaining and terms for other salaries and working conditions at the CBC and three other cultural or scientific Crown corporations
- Apr 2013. Scientist at National Water Research Institute in Saskatoon muzzled
- Apr 2013. Minister blames David Suzuki, Environmental Groups To Blame For Pipeline Opposition
- Apr 2013. Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver condemns climatologist James Hansen, says he should be ‘ashamed’ of his ‘exaggerated rhetoric’ on exploitation of tar sands (andhere)
- Apr 2013. Conservative MP Ryan Leaf has been peddling what researchers describe as “bogus” information on polar bears and citing U.S. climate skeptics as experts on the iconic creatures
- Apr 2013. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the editorial board of Montreal’s La Presse newspaper that “people aren’t as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees.”
- Apr 2013. Agroforestry Development Centre wound down (and here)
- Apr 2013. Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration with numerous environmental benefits closed
- Apr 2013. Amends list of industrial projects requiring environmental reviews
- Apr 2013. Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear remarks that “no government in the history of this country has supported science as much as this government has.”
- Apr 2013. Kenora MP Greg Rickford hides from constituents rather than talk about ELA closure
- May 2013. Minister of the Environment Peter Kent refuses to correct Conservative MP’s crackpot views on polar bears
- May 2013. Minister of Natural Resources insults oil sands critics
- May 2013. National Research Council overhauled to do business-friendly research rather than basic science
- May 2013. Hundreds of jobs cut at Agriculture Canada
- May 2013. Agriculture Canada cuts including Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Semi-Arid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre and various centres for beef and dairy research
- May 2013. Free-speech report takes aim at Harper government’s ‘culture of secrecy’
- May 2013. Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre budget reduced by a third
- May 2013. Science, Technology and Innovation Council finds that Canada losing ground in global science race
- May 2013. Astronaut MP Garneau snubbed at museum opening of Canadarm exhibit
- May 2013. Government identifies PR challenge of promoting both energy efficiency & green programs at the same time as massively supporting oil & gas industry
- May 2013. Prime Minister Harper tells US Keystone XL pipeline ‘needs to go ahead’ — in spite of how bad an idea it is
- May 2013. Canadian Government PR campaign in US targets Keystone XL, including newspaper ads, websites and visit to NY
- May 2013. The federal government removed some oilsands projects from a list of those requiring environmental screenings, after being told in an internal memorandum that this form of industrial development could disturb water sources and harm fish habitat (and here)
- May 2013. Montreal’s Biosphere museum’s future in doubt
- May 2013. NRC morale is very low
- Jun 2013. Environment Canada convened a ‘secret’ meeting on climate dangers in 2012 but Canadian spy agency, top security officials invited but didn’t attend
- Jun 2013. Genome Canada to stress practical results
- Jun 2013. The federal government employs nearly 4,000 communications staff in the public service, an increase of 15.3 per cent since the Conservatives came to power in 2006
- Jun 2013. Centre of the Universe education centre in Saanich closing by summer’s end in bid to pare costs
- Jun 2013. Northern cod threatened by new fisheries rules: A Department of Fisheries and Oceans plan to increase northern cod quotas could devastate the species.
- Jun 2013. Environment Minister Peter Kent fields questions from Conservative colleagues about climate change. He defends the science yet the government does little about it. This gives weight to idea that they are more beholden to industry than science they appear to agree with.
- Jul 2013. Federal government reducing science and tech spending: Science and technology investment down steadily since 2009-10, Statscan says
- Jul 2013. Libraries consolidated (ie. trashed) at Department of Fisheries & Oceans, making it harder to find obscure information
- Jul 2013. Greg Rickford, new Minister of State for Science & Technology, has the ELA in his riding and toed the government line on its fate (and more)
- Jul 2013. Cabinet shuffle continues tradition of poor science knowledge and lack of clout in science-related departments (and here)
- Jul 2013. Minister of State Greg Rickford will also focus on the economy in his new role: “our science and technology has to focus on job creation, economic growth and developing our prosperity”
- Jul 2013. The government included communications strategists in closed-door discussions that led to an estimated $60 million in cuts at Environment Canada in the 2012 federal budget
- Jul 2013. Government maintains an enemies list (and here)
- Aug 2013. Stats Can’s cancelled University and College Academic Staff System (UCASS) report no longer provides the policy community in government or universities innovation data
- Aug 2013. Experimental Lakes Area process for handover to private operator, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, begins with final handover in 2014
- Aug 2013. Scientist miffed Tory MP Joyce Bateman takes credit for saving ELA
- Aug 2013. Beaver Lake Cree case reveals flaws in environmental review process
- Aug 2013. Government touted a special funding program for environmental community projects that is seeing its budget reduced, mainly to supposedly eliminate administrative costs.
- Aug 2013. Canada’s Emissions Trends Report 2013, usually out in August, has been delayed and is still not released likely due to Keystone XL context
- Aug 2013. Government supports putting a price on carbon emissions as part of a global climate change strategy yet still harshly criticizes opposition for supporting similar things when it’s called a carbon tax
- Aug 2013. Government says some of Canada’s best known environmental groups are doing “significant” policy analysis and research even though it has described them as radical foreign-funded groups trying to wreck the Canadian economy
- Sept 2013. Canadian cuts to scientific research spending are almost as bad as in the US under sequestration
- Sept 2013. PM Harper cuts off questions about muzzling scientists while in New York
- Sept 2013. Is Health Canada bringing measles back by approving ineffective homeopathic remedies?
- Sept 2013. Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science & Technology, thinks universities vet researchers’ work same way his government does
- Oct 2013. Dramatic drop in NRC publications since Conservatives took power.
- Oct 2013. “I was in Oslo, just recently at the climate ch- ah climate conference, ah environment ministers conference, sorry” — Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq (from here)
- Oct 2013. Stephen Harper’s environment minister casts doubt on climate change
- Oct 2013. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq turns IPCC report into an opportunity for partisan attacks rather than substantive discussion and action
- Oct 2013. Despite the abundant evidence, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said heroin-assisted treatment for addicts isn’t a safe and effective option
There is one thing that Stephen Harper and I can agree on. In 2006, Harper told the world:
You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with itStephen Harper
He was right about that. I for one don’t like what this country has become over the last eight years. In the last eight years Canada’s government has turned it’s back on the environment, science, peacekeeping, social healthcare, and refugees. This isn’t a matter of nostalgia for the ‘good old days’.
Canada still has another year before we see a federal election. How much more damage will Harper’s Conservatives cause before they’ve run their course?
Sincerely and solemnly,