O, Canada. You’ve certainly seen more than your share of imports from our neighbors to the south. Some, like the Vietnam-era draft dodgers and conscientious objectors, have been a blessing to our society. Others, like the KKK and this guy, make me understand only too well why our Latin American friends are constantly yelling “Yankee Go Home!”:
Michael Prell, who bills himself as a “strategist for the Tea Party Patriots,” has joined the campaign of Tim Hudak, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Hudak is part of a new generation of politicians pulling the Progressive Conservatives further to the right. He pledged to abolish the Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example, in a deal to secure his position as party leader. In 2009, while speaking to a Canadian Christian right group, the Association for Reformed Political Action, he declared that he was opposed to abortion and had signed petitions calling for the defunding of abortions. He has also supported taxpayer funding to religious private schools. Recent proposals for tax cuts and changes to the healthcare system are very Tea Party-esque.
Hudak’s campaign manager is Mark Spiro, who founded the Canadian company Crestview Public Affairs in 2004. According to the company’s website, “In 2009, Mark coordinated the voter contact strategy for the successful campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” It is apparently Spiro who managed to insert Prell into Hudak’s campaign. In turn, Michael Prell claims, in the Acknowledgments of his book, the Spiro is his “best friend and business partner.”
Michael Prell’s book, Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power, pillories the poor and those that take up the causes of the poor and disempowered. It reads like a 21st Century justification for Social Darwinism and American Exceptionalism. Prell proudly declares his allegiance to the Tea Party Patriots faction, and his website indicates that when people buy his book on site, “100% of Michael Prell’s royalties go to the Tea Party Patriots.” Not surprisingly, Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots declared that “Underdogma is the first great Tea Party book. All Tea Party Patriots should read Underdogma.”
Nice, eh? Tim Who-Dat is taking lessons in victim-blaming from his gringo counterparts. Seems so fitting somehow.
The only problem is, politics of THAT stripe are not welcome here:
Opposition to the Tea Party is not a partisan issue in Canada. Alicia Johnston of the Liberal Party of Ontario warned that “the extreme right wing Tea Party movement in the US is routinely exposed for lying, being incoherent, vacuous and deeply divisive.” And former Progressive Conservative Premier Ernie Eves warned against Hudak’s wing of his party were becoming “the Tea Party version of Ontario politics.”
…not even among Conservatives. Or at least, not the ones who still bother to attach that old and increasingly less fitting “Progressive” prefix to their party name. That is to say, the Ontario PCs, who I recall actually being somewhat progressive, many years ago. (I still have fond memories of our PC “education premier”, Bill Davis, who is still living…and not only properly horrified by THIS particular brand of conservatism, but also critical of that of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, our last two Tory premiers. They were god-awful, but Hudak is bidding fair to make them look like the good cop.)
The federal Reform-a-Tories, on the other hand, have always been strictly regressive, and therefore are more than happy to take “lessons” in uncompassionate conservatism from the worst of our neighbors to the south. And it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that someone at the federal level turned Who-Dat onto Prell & Co. They’re looking for a “hat trick”, remember?
Now, if we only knew who it was, so we could kick him the fuck out of Ottawa. After all, that’s a city in Ontario, too. And one that has suffered more than its share of evangelical conservative fools from all over the friggin’ place.