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Election Diary Episode 1– Tories: “We heard wonk and we thought Wonka”

John Bell

August 18, 2021

Dear Diary, I’ve decided to keep track of the high and low points of this dumbass, unnecessary election. I predict we’ll see few of the former and plenty of the latter.

Let’s begin by kicking around everybody’s favourite hacky-sack – the Conservative Party of Canada. They jumped out of the gate before the writ was even dropped, with that commercial. You know, the thoroughly sexist “parody” of Willy Wonka. With the technical expertise of 3 adolescents, and wit to match, the ad landed like a turd at a buffet. It probably violated campaign spending rules (parties are not supposed to buy ads before the writ drops) but this ad backfired so spectacularly that I doubt other parties will complain. Even Tory candidates lined up to denounce and distance themselves from CPC HQ. Proof positive that the Tory boys in short pants are merely Oompa Loompas.

O’Toole and his O’Tooligans followed up by releasing their “platform”. Unlike other parties’ policy papers, they decided to glam theirs up: the cover is a note-perfect rip off of Cosmo. There is Erin O’Toole (or is it Bruce Willis), biceps bulging, the product of months of working out. You can almost hear him whisper, “I have a particular set of skills and I WILL get my daughter back.” Or maybe just give everybody a tax cut, one or the other. One thing is sure, he’s going to “Secure the Future”.

Expect to hear the word “secure” a lot, dear diary.

I won’t go into detail of the platform contents today. The crackpot scheme for individual “Personal Low Carbon Savings Accounts” alone is worthy of its own evisceration. But here are a few noteworthy Tory promises:  

The O’Tooligans will scrap the one positive thing the Liberals achieved–affordable daycare–and replace it with yet another tax cut that will favour the wealthy. Like so many things that hurt working people, it is done in the name of “choice”.

Tories like stunts to make them appear like us regular folks. Enter their Christmas present–a promise to suspend the GST on retail purchases for the month of December. They crow that it will reduce our “cost of living”. Either they don’t understand what cost of living is, or they’re straight up lying; there is no GST on food or housing. Remember, diary, I’m a senior on fixed income who buys few presents. This tax cut would put about $10 bucks in my pocket. 

But for the wealthy, it is a golden opportunity to buy that new monster truck or Tesla, replace that furniture suite, take that big trip. The richer you are the more you benefit. It’s the Tory ethos in a nutshell.

We’re going to be treated to lots of flattering images of O’Toole, framing him as fearless leader. On August 17 he issued a breathless tweet: “#UPDATE: I’ve just had an emergency briefing on the situation in B.C. The federal government must offer B.C. all the help it needs.” “Things are bad there,” he says in his best leaderly voice. The B.C. wildfires have been raging since June. The town of Lytton was destroyed at the start of July. But sure, have you “emergency” briefing 2 months late. What more can we expect from the party whose majority of members refuse to admit that climate change is real.

Diary, I’m sure that various Tory candidates will distinguish themselves for bigotry and backwardness as we grind along, but I must give props to “star” candidate Pierre Poilievre. Sensing that his party is headed for disaster, Poilievre dropped several early (again illegal) ads promoting his own “brand”, with no mention of his party its leader. The final ad featured him in a Fonzy style leather jacket and aviator shades, promising to save the economy by making “stuff”. At the end he asks fans to share it around before it gets taken down, as if he expects to be victim of some cancel-culture conspiracy. Soon after it was taken down, by PP himself because…illegal (see above).

This campaign is only a day old, diary, and already I tire of the thoroughly scripted photo-ops and motherhood statements. I’ll leave off with this: up to now the Tories have been controlling their own message, and they have unrolled a veritable clusterfuck of PR fails and self-inflicted wounds. Could any party top them for ineptitude?

Maybe next time we’ll look at the Greens.

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