Rural Canada: Who Really Cares?

Here’s an absolutely pathetic “Conservative” attack video from “GritGirl” counterpart “ToryBoy” claiming that Michael Ignatieff “DOESN’T CARE ABOUT RURAL CANADA” because… get the logic here: the recent series of advertisements featuring him in a wooded setting was actually filmed at a lakeside park near Toronto.

Oh, and he lives in an “UPSCALE YORKVILLE CONDO IN TORONTO!” Well sheesh, what an elitist prick, eh! Actually, I’ve seen his condo (on TV) and it didn’t look all that fancy to me.

But wait, doesn’t Stephen Harper reside in Calgary Southwest? That’s wasn’t exactly “rural” the last time I lived in that city (average family income there is $123,000). According to the logic of “ToryBoy” I guess Harper must not “care about rural Canada” either.

Is this really the shoddy and ridiculous level of attacks the Conservatives are going to stoop to? Maybe they should take a page from the Liberals book and say: “We can do better.”

46 Replies to “Rural Canada: Who Really Cares?”

  1. Actually, Harper doesn’t even live in his Southwest riding. He “lives” (whatever that means anymore) in the hilariously named Northwest neighborhood of Tuscany in a two story house that is at least 1500+ square feet.

  2. More telling, Red, is that your party would select a yet-to-be-harvested canola field as the backdrop for its infrastructure announcement – like – “yeah , let’s just plough the crop under to get that spending on parks started”. And Gerard ran a FOOD Bank … he clearly doesn’t know where it’s grown or what it looks like.

  3. Michael — I’m not familiar with the ad to which you’re referring (embed it if you’ve got a youtube link), but personally, I think that most political ads are ridiculous and I certainly wouldn’t put much stock in something that’s crammed into a 30 second spot on TV.

    p.s. I’m pretty sure that Gerard Kennedy knows where canola is grown and how it gets processed.

  4. Actually, when Harper grew up in “Toronto” – he lived in Leaside. Old Torontonians like me know that Leaside wasnt’ exactly average. His mother was able to stay at home, as well, raising 4 boys (I think it’s 4) while in that era other mothers had to go to work.

    His dad worked at Imperial Oil (accounting). Believe me (my husband’s niece has worked at Imperial Oil/Toronto) for years and they make very good money.

    The area where Harper’s family moved to in Etobicoke isn’t exactly povertyville either.

    Average guy? LOL

    A tree is a tree is a tree…….who cares where it was shot? Rural Candad the only place that has trees? LOL.

  5. What does it matter where the commercial was filmed? There was no claim that it was anywhere in particular. Does it make sense to anyone to make a crew drive up the highway to get a shot they can get one without the added expense, time and emission of greenhouse gases? This debate about the locale of the commercial is ridiculous!

  6. This debate about the locale of the commercial is ridiculous!

    No it isn’t. It perfectly demonstrates that conservatism has become ridiculous! Run with this you buffoons. Hang this ridiculous millstone around Harper’s neck like the left did with the Birthers.

    First come up with a good name. Adlocationers? Torontophilers? Work on it. Next, get a Liberal MP or prominent party spokesman to ridicule it on a widely watched political show; like Mike Fluffy’s old gig will do nicely. Follow this up by repeatedly pointing out that this is what the Conservatives are reduced to.

    So have at it. If conservatives want to play the part of the circus clown you should be more than willing to oblige them.

  7. Are rural canadian voters dumb enuf to be swayed by those ads? Methinks they are smarter than this ad gives them credit.

  8. well I think it’s absolutely scandalous, especially with that dramatic music! How dare anybody live in an upscale condo in Toronto!!! And visit a nearby wooded park!!! And be elite!!!! This is such a stunning revelation. Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!

  9. Of all the pointless divisiveness in this country, the rural/urban split has got to be one of the worst.

    The age of authentic, bucolic pastoral people toiling the land to provide the rest of us with sustenance is long gone. There’s nothing particularly inspiring about millions of acres of monoculture brought to us courtesy of fossil fuels and giant machinery nor are the feedlots and pork factory farms all that picturesque. Very few people in rural areas are making a living doing traditional rural things. For the most part, they’re engaged in commercial activities that wouldn’t be viable if there wasn’t a massively urban population (around 80% of Canadians) to transact with.

    Actually, there’s more thought in this comment than I intended. All I really wanted to say was: “Lord, make it stop. Please, please, please make it stop!” And by that, I mean the non-stop political advertising.

  10. Sandi — Ryan is a “food renegade”… 😉

    I’m not sure about the “profit” angle of what he said, but most people are shockingly ignorant about where their food comes from, what it’s made from, how it’s made, etc.

    p.s. Check out his website. It’s interesting.

  11. “… “Lord, make it stop. Please, please, please make it stop!”

    Ti – reflief is just a warm bath and a razor blade way – Guy.

  12. Funny – I don’t recall that Ignatieff or the Libs claimed it was a “rural” setting.

    If people don’t know what is going on in the food industry with all the info/media/Dr. Weill’s, etc. – they are stupid.

    I think they know, but don’t care – until an illness hits them or something.

    With all the publicity about foods/ingredients/recalls/pet food from China, etc. – they know.

  13. Scott — Heh. Exactly.

    Hey, there’s a forest right behind me where I’m living at the moment. I can walk to the back of the yard, open the gate and immediately be wandering through the woods… On the other hand, I can get in the car and be in downtown Victoria in 20 minutes (somewhat longer by bus). Or, I could go a few miles down the road in the other direction and be in the middle of local farm country with sheep ranches, fruit stands, etc.

    This whole notion of “rural” is questionable at best.

  14. Sandi — Although I thought this attack video was absurd and retarded it does point out something of significance with respect to the disproportionate power and influence held by “rural” ridings relative to other constituencies.

    For all of the perpetual anger and purported disenfranchisement that’s maintained by many people situated in so-called “rural” areas of the country, the fact of the matter is that they do get to call a lot of the shots even though, strictly by the numbers, they’re in the minority. For example, I pointed out the case a while back about members of a committee studying high-speed rail that were from communities with no interest in such projects…

    More generally, there’s kind of weird relationship between the sense of significance in terms of area and the number of people actually living there. In other words, the 80,000 potential voters (or whatever) of one riding spanning a huge chunk of a province might have a good deal more impact on policy than the same number of voters in another area that might just make up a tiny slice of one city or metropolitan area.

  15. Michael — Thanks for the link and clarification.

    What can I say? It was a photo-op meant to drive home some point, but the details are lost on me and possibly too muddy to waste time on.

    However, the disposition of infrastructure funding is something that I’d love to dig into, so let’s find out more about this, shall we? I’ll have another post up with more thoughts on the subject later in the day so tune back in then.

  16. No idea. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and presume “good faith”… I’ve been told this is naïve, but I just don’t have time/inclination to get all stressed out about it otherwise.

  17. No idea. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and presume “good faith”… I’ve been told this is naïve, but I just don’t have time/inclination to get all stressed out about it otherwise.

    It just that he went off-topic in the usual, boring way.

    I still don’t understand the wingnut obsession with forensic examination of imagery like this. Unless it’s done for satirical purposes, it’s just so stupid.

    On the other hand, it is kind of funny to watch the Alpha-Wingnuts (the PM’s entourage) control his appearances so that no one will be able to perform a brutal critique in the same fashion, such as when exit signs are covered up if they’re in the shot with BigDaddy.

    By the way, you don’t go to rural Canada to get the talent that’s required to manage His Harpeness in that fashion.

  18. It is truly odd for me to have to admit that I agree with TiGuy…yes, please, make it all stop.

    I will go one better and actually kind of agree with the Dipper moonbat, Robert, but with an addendum…it isn’t just conservatism that has become ridiculous…it is all sides of the political spectrum. Just look at some of the idiotic stuff the creeching left come up with. They try to hang absolutely ANYTHING they can on the PM. They even attack him for his weight! As someone slightly *ahem* husky, as my mother used to say, I find such attacks childish and petty.

    Honestly, since I took some time away from being a political junkie and stopped directly supporting ANY party, I have become a better, more compassionate human being. Plus, now I can ridicule conservatives with equal aplomb.

    Some of you should try it!

  19. Ti-Guy — I don’t know that there was much of a “topic” here to start with, so I can’t blame him for that. A lot of my posts are just meant to be launching points for discussion, so that’s no big deal.

    I was more curiously interested in the rural/urban thing as a concept in our present discourse, but didn’t have piles of time to fully explore the issue or work up some windy polemic about my opinion on it because it’s kind of formative notion just rattling around in the back of my head..

    “Alpha-Wingnuts”… That’s a good zinger. I’ll have to remember that.

  20. “… Is Michael St. Paul’s the same IP-spoofing idiot who’s been trolling here?..

    Guess it depends on what you mean by “IP-spoofing”, Ti. And “idiot” and “troll”.

    BTW, Ti, I’m a big fan of your insights on Chucker Canuck, Guy. On that poll, you’re the troll.

  21. Jim — Indeed. There’s far too much vitriol (I’ve been guilty of engaging in that too) coursing through our political discourse and we need to get back to some level of, dare I say it… “civility” in how we interact with each other.

    I’m just revolted, distressed, and depressed sometimes by the comments that are made on various blogs, YouTube sites and so on to the point where I just want to walk away, shut off the computer and say “screw it”…

    It’s good to be thoughtfully engaged, but not the point where it does nothing but whip up anger, resentment and hostility.

  22. “… There’s far too much vitriol ”
    I agree, Red. And it all started with Barney the purple dinosaur. And maybe it will end when the dino-meister is exposed in all his cynical emptiness. Until then though, the bar keeps lowering.

  23. I was more curiously interested in the rural/urban thing as a concept in our present discourse, but didn’t have piles of time to fully explore the issue or work up some windy polemic about my opinion on it because it’s kind of formative notion just rattling around in the back of my head..

    It’s complicated, that’s for sure. I’m convinced it’s driven more by suburbanites/ex-urbanites than it is by rural residents, something the Conservatives were smart (and morally bankrupt) enough to exploit.

    Suburbia has, without a doubt, created a large demographic of people who are strangely detached from normal, healthy ways of living and socialising and consists of an environment that is only bearable as long as one is affluent. I’m sure, deep in the subconscious of the suburbanite, is the abject terror of knowing that without the expensive accessories suburban life requires, life would be very bleak and hostile indeed. I think it’s this insecurity that the Conservatives have exploited.

  24. BTW, Ti, I’m a big fan of your insights on Chucker Canuck, Guy. On that poll, you’re the troll.

    And who are you, sock puppet?

    Like so many before me, I’ve given up on ol’ FuckerCanuck. He was the last Conservative I thought was remotely sensible and had a sense of humour but after a few weeks of constant and increasingly retarded attacks on the Liberals (and the exposure, of course, to the regular coterie of brainless and bilious wingnuts), I decided that it simply wasn’t worth it.

    If you check around, you’ll see I don’t bother with any other Conservative blog, at all, and haven’t for quite some time.

  25. Red. And it all started with Barney the purple dinosaur

    The only mistake is that it stopped with Barney the Dinosaur.

  26. UU4077 — Yeah, that was referenced in the comments to an earlier post. It’s hilarious stuff. I quite like the idea of Ignatieff (or any politician for that matter) being attacked by a rampaging bear in the woods. As I said previously, someone should forward this to Stephen Colbert.

  27. What exactly is your (or any “conservative’s”) problem with the purple dinosaur. Is it that you believe that humans kept dinosaurs as pets? Are you defending politician’s rights to say absolutely batshit crazy things without being called on it? Does the colour purple remind you of the gays?

    And on what level is suggesting the Liberals are anti-rural because they shot an ad in Toronto the same as telling Stockwell Day he’s an idiot because he is an idiot?

  28. Michael — And it all started with Barney the purple dinosaur. And maybe it will end when the dino-meister is exposed in all his cynical emptiness. Until then though, the bar keeps lowering.

    Your claim is factually wrong on many levels, but that’s beside the point. Regarding the incident in question that you’re referencing; not being a particular fan of Warren Kinsella (who has baselessly attacked me a number of times), I’d certainly agree with your characterization of him as embodying “cynical emptiness” (although I might describe it otherwise with even more unpleasant terms), but I’ve got some difficulty taking issue with his mockery of Stockwell Day’s fundamentalist religious views.

  29. What exactly is your (or any “conservative’s”) problem with the purple dinosaur.

    Given how vicious and coarse the Conservative attacks have been (calling Liberals pedophiles, French traitors, American traitors, Taliban-huggers, anisemites, baby-killers, etc. etc.), Barney the Dinosaur looks playful and good natured in comparison.

    The conflation of Creationism with a legitimate Christian belief (which it is not; it is a primitive superstition) has gained quite a bit of traction in the last few years to the point where Conservatives parrot this barely-remembered event as an intolerant attack on religion, regardless of whether they believe that or not.

  30. The woodlot doesn’t look familiar to me and I work with the city forestry dept. The ad shows species that would’t survive dowtown anyhow.

  31. I grew up in Toronto, but I now (for nearly 20 years) live in rural Ontario. The town itself is changing – professionals, artists, computer people, etc. and we even have a jazz festival (so elitist). Then there’s the farmers who vote what pappy and grandpappy vote – values – and you seen them in the honky tonks on a Friday night drinkin and pickin up w’men….(married guys).

    The “elitists” go to the local (English style pub) drink and have conversation and laughs, in groups – friends, couple, singles – all having fun – how elitist.

    The population is now about 16,000 (was about 9,000 when I moved here).

  32. Red:

    The canola field presser he refers to was the one Ignatieff and Kennedy held to announce Kennedy’s well researched and fully documented accounting of Harper’s infrastructure spending, how only 12% of it had actually been spent and how of that measly amount a vast vast amount had gone to Tory ridings.

    They chose that particular canola field, not because they happen to like turning canola fields into parkland, but because, according to the Conservatives’ Action! Plan website, it was already supposed to be in the process of being turned into parkland with stimulus funds. Thus, the choice was particularly deliberate and poignant because, as anyone could see from the footage, not a milimetre of that canola field had ceased to be… a canola field.

  33. Jay — The “woodlot” as you amusingly describe it, is presumably Cherry Beach, that Wikipedia funnily notes:

    …has also gained a reputation as being a location where police officers sometimes take homeless and intoxicated individuals to be beaten, a practice that has been dubbed the “Cherry Beach Express”

    Again, I just took the advertisement’s setting as “outdoors” but then I may lack the imagination of others (such as Andrew Coyne who dubbed it “Narnia”).

  34. Ted — Thanks for the clarification and additional detail. I haven’t been tracking in depth on these things of late, being preoccupied with other matters, so the factual background info is appreciated.

    In truth, I wasn’t aware of the Kennedy-Iggy stim-busting photo-op at all until Michael misrepresented it to make his assertion that Liberals don’t know where canola comes from and are clueless about the origin of the food they eat… or something.

  35. I have to say, I grew up, in “Rural Canada,” and I would read my local newspaper, and that rural/urban divide is very much a go to source of sensationalism. In fact, it was that very regionalistic discourse that turned my once long Liberal riding into a Conservative one (represented by a former Alliance MP, by the way).

    What annoys me is that this type of discourse essentially will marginalize any hint of democratic reform or simply just basic local government initiatives. Heck, installing a bike path in my area amounted to a townies versus farmers debate in which the central issue was government “infringing” on property rights (even though the proposal involved using existing municipal land). The project was abandoned because of all the bad blood, so people just stopped volunteering their time towards such projects, and quite ironically, more letters of the editor came in talking about how lazy the people in the community became (sent by the same people who complained of the bike path no less). It is not a coincidence that the Conservatives are capitalizing on this because by painting the Liberals or the NDP for that matter as an regional, urban, not-salt-of-the-earth parties, this could mean the Conservatives could finally take enough Ontario seats to get a majority.

    Mind you, it would be foolish to paint “Rural Canada” as monolithic, but it doesn’t help when the supposed spokespeople of the rural constituency plays the victim whenever the government falters, though curiously, the federal conservatives seem to get a pass. As some people pointed out, right now, the ridings are actually favouring the rural areas, but when redistricting occurs, it will allocate more towards urban ridings as that will reflect the true population density and distribution. I won’t be surprised when the so called vanguard or spokespeople of “rural canada” will cry foul when that happens.

    If I have to summarize it, I think that there is this implicit association with individualism, property rights, and salt-of-the-earth ethic and the Conservatives regardless of any examples to contrary in most rural areas. It is also a question of influence and resistance against a clear trend towards urbanization. With more technology allocated towards agriculture and the rise in vertically integrated food and agribusiness, displaced labour will find a market in cities. I observed that very trend when graduating from my rural high school. Most people moved to the city while a small percentage stayed in my small town, and even then, they use it as a bedroom community. This probably exacerbates the situation even more for three interrelated reasons.

    One, it is usually based on a common idea that raising a family is more beneficial socio-economically outside the city (this logic probably applies to the desire to live in sub or ex-urbs). Second, there is this nostalgia of living in a quiet, safe, and simple setting that rural areas present, and since they do provide essential services for raising a family, these residents get the best of both worlds presumably (though they will drive into the city for a day of shopping; in fact, one of reasons we got a shuttle service into Ottawa was to accommodate exactly that; I am trying to use it to visit my family out in my rural home town). The underlying stream of thought is still the same: The city cannot be trusted enough to provide for everything; only enough for earning income and for discretionary spending. What this does is the local establishment who lived in the community for decades as they view this sort of thing as just leeching, since residents historically used to put all their hard earned dollars into where they lived thereby contributing to a thriving local economy. As a result, the urban/rural tension heightens even more, since there is comparative lesser input by residents.

    As for politics, I always suspected that there was this populist fear of being isolated in politics, which itself is a chimera for the simple reason that the farmer lobby is quite powerful. If tobacco farmers can still demand and receive government subsidies, I find the complaints of lack of representation over blown.

    If my own experience in living in both settings is any indication, this rural/urban constructed tension is hardly going to abate and makes easy pickings for political gain.

  36. Oh, and to inoculate: I’m a generation and a half from the farm, my wife is one generation. I know about farming, not from doing it but from listening to my family bitch and moan about it.

    But here’s the thing “In 2002, almost half of all Canadians lived in the eight largest metropolitan areas. They are, in order: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa-Hull, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, and Winnipeg” (source:

    Part of me cares, but part of me really, really couldn’t give a shit. Why are people who work in what amounts to partially outdoor agri-factories more important than someone who lives in Toronto or Montreal?

    And what the fuck is up with this “elitist” bullshit? Stephen Harper has never held a so called “real” job in his entire life (well, mb he shoveled manure as a teen, I suppose it’s possible). He’s a wonk, an academic, a think tank dwelling, university educated policy geek. So the knock against Dion and Iggy is that they are as well? Or is it that Harper’s just pissed that they were better at being academics than he was?

    I have to tell you, the distance from home makes me realize how pathetic the current crop of idiots are.

    One of the great ironies of Canadian politics is that the only guy I like/trust to lead the place is the one who wants to break it up.

  37. Cameron, Stephen Harper worked in the Petro Canada mailroom in the early 80s. That’s his last real job. We are governed by a mail room attendant (from the rural heartland of Leaside, Toronto).

  38. So we’ve got this going on in Vancouver now:

    We built our own “urban farm” this summer and grew all of our own vegetables organically. So if urban Canadians are beginning to grow their own food organically on allotments of land within or around cities does that make us more in tune with the land than some Agribusiness or some commercial Pork Farmer in rural Canada?

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