Reading through the coverage of the Liberal television ads that were pre-released to the Web yesterday, I found the comments of Patrick Muttart quite striking. A former senior Conservative campaign and PMO staffer who played a big role in the party's demographically-targeted campaign strategy, Muttart is expected to be back in a key campaign role for Stephen Harper in the next election.
Patrick Muttart, a Conservative who had a hand in developing his own party's advertising, argues the Liberal ad actually does the opposite, playing to a "rich, urban, internationalist" segment of the population.
"Quite frankly, he doesn't need additional "snob" votes as there are none left on the table," said Muttart, former deputy chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper now at an American public affairs firm.
"He's got a lock on this corner of the political marketplace."
Gee, with an attitude like that, by demonstrating such disdain for millions of Canadians, is it any wonder the Conservatives have had continual difficulty penetrating many urban centers across Canada?
But this is indicative of the ingrained attitude held by so much of the current Conservative leadership. There's whole groups of people they just don't like, and they don't care if you know it. Indeed, they're not above pitting one group of Canadians against another group for political gain. Like decrying fancy arts galas to stoke hatred of mythical urban elites, or attacking BQ politicians as illegitimate to gain support in the West.
The Conservatives seem to be against internationalism, against success, against education. It's no mistake that, in those poll numbers I mentioned yesterday, those with university degrees are much less likely to vote Conservative. They look at education as something to be mocked, not valued.
Is this really the path to success in the 21st century? Because if we're going to build the economy of tomorrow, if Canada is going to compete and succeed in the global marketplace, we're going to need higher levels of education. Government should be encouraging it, not mocking it. And we're going to need internationalism. It's the only way we're going to succeed. The world isn't getting smaller, and Canada is just one small corner of it.
When contrasted with Muttart's arrogant and short-sighted remarks, it makes the contrast with the Liberal message of competing globally, of embracing our internationalism and reaching out to the world, all the more stark.
By the way, you know who actually agrees with me on the value of internationalism? Why, Patrick Muttart. Because, when Muttart joined the mass exodus from the Harper PMO he moved to the United States to further his career, taking a position with Mercury Public Affairs, an American political consultancy.
But don't worry, he'll still visit Canada to help the Conservatives on the next campaign. And then go back home to the U.S. after.
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