Sunday, September 28, 2008

The pathos of apathy over ideology

According to Frank Graves the president of EKOS Research, who studies such things there is a big difference between Canadians and Americans when it comes to the importance they place on ideologies, with regards to the political process, party affiliation, or political leaders in general.
“Americans are much more ideological than Canadians. They tenaciously hold on to their ideological orientations and they are much more conservative, much more moral, with more religiosity and so forth.”

"Canadian voters on the other hand can’t really define left or right, or in reality care. More and more of us apparently think of ourselves as non partisan and non ideological."
To some extent I think Graves is right.

Most of the people I communicate with on a daily basis (present company excluded) do not look at issues with a political vent or veil.
Their reaction to the Listeria outbreak is to stop eating cold cuts, not get upset at Harper for deregulating food inspection.
Arts funding cuts, no big deal really.
Other than a few Canadian bands, most are not really aware of Canadian artists, or go out of their way to read Canadian authors or watch a Canadian movie.

They demonstrate more surprise than pride when they discover that the writer, director, artist or actor is Canadian.
As for the environment, they have a more fatalistic approach.
They all have children, nephews etc. and would like to see the human race continue after their death, but the main concern in buying a more efficient vehicle would be the price of gas used as opposed to to amount of carbon emissions created.

Purchasing a new furnace, or windows or longer lasting light bulbs saves money on heating and electrical costs, not the environment.

And when it comes to the tar sands development. Hey it’s Alberta’s boom or bust economy. Right now they are booming so let them make money. Bust always follows out there.
Although they suspect that oil is what Bush, Cheney and Iraq are all about, they do not see a comparison between the PNAC and NCC (let alone know what they are) or consider the idea that Harper is implementing the same oil led corporate ideologies in Canada.

When it comes to political leaders a majority of Canadians, believe that the parties pretty much look alike, with Jack Layton on the left and Stephen Harper on the right as an identical pair of suits and according to Graves this trend is increasing.
In the late 1980s, early 1990s, 40 per cent of Canadians self-identified left of center, 25 per cent identified as right of center and 35 per cent said they were neither.

Today, he says, 28 per cent identify more towards to right, 24 per cent more towards the left and a whopping 48 per cent say they are neither.
According to the article a conservative party insider last week put their party's core support at 27 per cent which somewhat matches Graves estimation of the number of Canadians that ideologically lean to the right.

As for the smaller number of left leaning Canadians, their numbers are fractured between competing parties.

So as we sit here, half way through the election, the polling numbers are starting to make sense to me. 

With a majority of voters not really giving a shit, a combination of attack ads and puppy dog tales can produce an apathetic majority for Harper.

Well screw it. I ordered my lawn sign yesterday and have signed up for going to door to door next week. All I can worry about is my own riding right now.


Have a good weekend.







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