Campaigning on Econo-phobia

There’s nothing like pandering to the fear of the unknown. The Conservatives knew what they were selling in these elections, and did a fantastic job selling it.

While 2008 saw monumental unemployment and debt in the United States, Canada’s economic head remained above water. Financial stability in the midst the American crisis was pinned to Harper’s lapel like a Purple Heart for bravery throughout this election, a tactic that earned him a historic victory.

Thus Harper is framed as the poster boy for fiscal responsibility, with little thought given to economic decisions made by the Liberal government, in power for 15 years prior. And it’s not like Canada had a totally crippled auto industry, either.

But of course that wasn’t in any of the campaign commercials. Conservatives preached that less money out of your pocket meant more for your family, a route radically different than Layton’s plan to help ‘Canadian families.’

The fact that companies can outsource their work to somewhere cheaper gets swept under the rug when running the rhetoric of job-creating corporate tax breaks. Not only does this leave multinationals enjoying their pick of over-accommodating states, but it ignores the need for Employment Insurance for the workers who will lose their jobs to corporate outsourcing.

Harper is good for the stock market, says the investor, while prisons are expanded and Canada continues to sport a dismal environmental policy reputation. It’s not like there’s a hope for the House to question Alberta’s oil extraction with a Conservative majority.

In the words of Harper’s old boss Preston Manning, Canada is now governed by a united right and a divided left, positioning social democrats as little more than watchdogs eyeing Harper.

Maybe a more united left will form by the end of Harper’s mandatory four years, but that depends on how much the Conservatives throw their weight around.