$8 million for the War of 1812
The Conservative government has blown $8 million on promoting the War of 1812. Yes, those ads you've been seeing in theatres about the War of 1812, that's part of it. And this has made made Malpeque (P.E.I.) Liberal MP Wayne Easter fighting mad.
Easter lambasted the mighty Conservatives' freewheeling spending and latest folly, citing on the War of 1812 as a “war of propaganda”. He said recent reductions in Employment Insurance in the Atlantic region has left “people coming into our offices in tears”, even as millions were being blown to promote a war from over a century ago.
To the Conservative government, however, getting out Canada’s new historical fantasy of Canadians as Rambos in big funny hats apparently beat out finding solutions for the lives of 2012 Canadians.
Producing and promoting a Hollywood-style ad with noble-looking Canadians (actors) fighting off a U.S. invasion, and showing it at an Olympic Games in London was worth spending $1.45 million for one moment of glory to the turbo-empowered Conservatives.
"Two hundred years ago," a tough-guy voice in the ad narrates.
"The United States invaded our territory. But we defended our land. We stood side by side."
But the story the Conservatives tell, Mr. Easter says, isn’t used for the sake of depicting Canadian history accurately, but to promote the Conservative agenda.
He calls Harper’s communications strategy the best propaganda machine Canada has ever seen.
“The problem with their advertising money is it’s not as much about Canada and its history, it’s about them,” he told The Hill Times.
“It’s just more of the Stephen Harper machine, where we’ve seen more money spent, taxpayers’ money, on propaganda, on advertising to promote themselves and try and make themselves look good, to confuse people on the facts, to get their mind off the reality that they’ve cut employment insurance, that they’re laying off the public and cutting services."
Propaganda aside, Canada really was swept into the war that was technically between the U.S. and Britain over shipping and maritime rights. It ended in 1814. But the Americans did invade a number of times.
Then U.S.-President James Madison thought “the invasion would be welcomed by the Canadians and that Canadians would be easy pickings."
And now, it’s the Chinese seeking larger stakes in Canada’s resource companies who might get the idea that Canadians are “easy pickings.”
Watch the ad, China.
And don’t cry, PEI. An election's coming up in less than three years.
Such misguided vanity, giving the beaver a gun.