Saturday, July 18, 2009

Politics of Civility

Recently, Professor Geoffrey Stevens wrote a column in the Guelph Mercury which went after Prime Minister Harper for his lack of "civility".

I responded with a letter to the editor, which the Mercury has yet to publish.

So I will reprint it here:

In the column “What we know about Harper isn’t nice,” July 13, Geoffrey Stevens complains the “loss of civility in the politics of the Harper era is startling.”

And one of the things which startles Stevens is the Conservative Party’s use of “attack ads.”

Yet the Conservatives are not the first party to use such ads to score points against political opponents.

The Liberal Party of Canada, for instance, ran vicious attack ads in the 2004 federal election designed to make Conservative leader Stephen Harper look like a war-mongering, woman-hating, gun-loving, clone of Satan.

I wonder if Stevens condemned those ads as uncivil, or is it only when Liberals are attacked that he takes offence?

The fact is, uncivil or not, attack ads work.

That's why both the Liberal and Conservatives have used them in the past; it's why they will both use them in the future.


Kit said...

Professor Geoffrey Stevens has the unenviable luxury of writing whatever he wishes from his Ivory Tower, consequently he would have no clue what reality looks like, and no connection with people not sharing his privileged position. Which is perhaps why he has such an affinity with the Liberals and their unelected - undemocratic leader.
I wonder what his classes are like?

Robert McClelland said...

The Liberal Party of Canada, for instance, ran vicious attack ads in the 2004 federal election

We're not in an election right now, Gerry.

Alberta Girl said...

The scariest thing is his title "Professor" - which means he is teaching young minds to think like him! Yikes!

Blame Crash said...

Good Grief !

Those quackademics sure like to stick up for one another.

His little spiel sounded like it was hatched at Liberal Party headquarters.

Is it any wonder why people think universities are more about indoctrinating ideology than true education.

This is a excellent example why many people have so little time or inclination to support the print or broadcast media. They give a “professor” a platform to publish free advertising for the Liberal Party, and yet they can’t afford to publish your tame rebuttal

Blame Crash said...

What's your point mccelland.

If it was the Liberals who were running attack ads when there wasn't an election, their supporters would automatically take the position that it's "normal as can be".

Besides, the Liberals have the Toronto media to supply them with their vicious attack ads, and they do it free of charge.

Rural and Right said...

Professor Dion, Professor Ignatieff, Professor Stevens ... too much time in academia, not enough time in the real world.

Enough said.

Unhypentated Canadian said...

Civility Is A Subjective Term And Not Limited To Politics especially when it comes to blogging. When you have a mass media, like blogging, with virtually no restriction on who can participate you will get a few, and I stress few, individuals who either are borderline illiterate, have a limited vocabulary, have an obsession that limits their comprehension and can hide behind the anonymity of the medium and "normal" people will ignore but will still publish their comments. I will guarantee both us will hear from these individuals.

Robert McClelland said...

The point is people expect and will tolerate a nasty campaign battle but don't expect or tolerate it spilling over between them. Between elections we expect our politicians to act will a certain level of civility toward each other in order to govern this nation.

Anonymous said...

"What's your point mccelland."

I'll make it simple for you. A campaign is a campaign, the rest of the time a government is supposed to govern. Get it? Instead we get this spectacle of Harper mailing out adds to Quebec ridings insinuating Bloc MPs as a bunch of pedophiles; and a cheap partisan attack on the leader of the opposition from a G8 podium in front of global media. What a rank buffoon.

Blame Crash said...

Point taken Robert, but we are in an election campaign, whether it’s official or not. Was it not Iffy and his Crew that was threatening to vote bring down the Conservative minority government? That’s my point Robert, and I’ll chalk that one up as a win for me.

Liberals like Anony@1:38 long for the days when the Conservatives had a leader like Clark or Stanfield. Someone who can be easily ridiculed and conned into being nice.
Then , when the time is ripe and without warning, the Liberals and their media collaborators will sneak up behind the Conservatives and out they’ll whip their Barney Doll and butcher knife and then proceed to tack it between the shoulder blades of the Conservative Party. Of course the media will be there with their cameras to spin it to favor their beloved corrupt Liberals.

Hey, wait a minute! Why that’s what they just pulled off, only they used a “host”. To bad it didn’t work for them! LOL!

“Rank Buffoon” indeed Anony.

I’ll be so bold to again pencil this one in as another win.