This election is bothering me. The Conservative ad style is certainly part of that, but the thing that gets me is not that their ads so obviously appeal to racism and irrational fear, but that people so clearly fall for it. It isn't even subtle - the last Conservative ad I saw was a picture on Facebook of a fighter jet in flight asking "Do you want your government to protect you from terrorism?" Fighter jets are basically worthless in protecting us from terrorism and even if fighter jets were doing something useful against terrorism, terrorism is one of the smallest and least significant threats I can name.
Television sets falling on people and killing them is a far greater safety concern than terrorism. Bathtub falls, being killed by moose, and food poisoning are all more dangerous than terrorism to Canadians.
All of which makes it clear that ads suggesting that the Conservatives are going to be the best party to protect us from terrorism are ridiculous. Who cares who is the best on terrorism? Far more important to be the party against television sets!
The niqab thing is just as bad. A handful of women who have revealed their faces to secure their identities want to wear a veil during a public ceremony. Or, you know, do the ceremony in a private space with only women around. Either way, it is entirely irrelevant. There is no threat of people somehow sneaking in the back door this way (they have to have been here long enough to qualify for citizenship!) so the only reason for this debate is to stir up xenophobia and racism to get people to vote Conservative.
The niqab debate is a tiny, niche issue, which appropriately would be addressed by a minor bureaucrat putting an addendum on a procedure noting an exception to custom. Which will be used once a year. The idea that the government ought to be hugely concerned about this is ridiculous.
And yet, the public is all about this stuff. Conservative support is surging, and not because of the economy where Harper has a terrible record, or transparency where his government is awful, or indeed anything else of substance at all. They are surging on racism, and ridiculous fear based on even more racism.
That is the sad thing here. Not that a bunch of politicians are trying to make us vote for them on the basis of racism and fear... but that it appears to be a good strategy.
Canada, please be better than this.