Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A middle class pitch

There's a certain dynamic going on in Canadian politics that you may not have noticed. Or, maybe you did because you're a sharp cookie. A broader angle that gets lost in the daily hurly-burly. You may have noticed two words in particular that jumped out in yesterday's preview reporting on today's Justin Trudeau leadership launch. In the Toronto Star, for example, note a certain two words in the first sentence:
Justin Trudeau is launching his bid to be Liberal leader with a call for the party to reclaim its role as the voice of Canada’s middle class.
Then you see the words again in the Globe:
There is much political sizzle surrounding Mr. Trudeau’s bid, but his team is insisting that there will be lots of content, including a heavy emphasis on reclaiming middle-class support, in his initial campaign speech.
Got it? Middle class. A very popular target these days this middle class segment. An appeal to the middle class was Tom Mulcair's first order of business at his first caucus meeting after having been elected as leader: "Creating a budget, he said, is about priorities. He said Harper has a choice between pandering to his rich friends or defending the middle class." No more ordinary Canadians, it was noted.

You may also have noticed that Harper and his band of followers are all over the middle-class action as well. John Ibbitson has written about the concern in Conservative circles about whether they might be in jeopardy of losing these voters as inequality concerns grow:
There is a quiet debate under way within the Conservative caucus. While not everyone – perhaps not even a majority – agrees, senior figures within the caucus are convinced the party’s future hinges on the outcome of that debate, and they believe Stephen Harper shares their concern. Some Conservatives are asking themselves whether the party is in danger of losing the middle class.
And so the government heavily targets their economic message to the middle class. For example, here was Bernard Valcourt talking about trade on September 7th: “The Government of Canada is committed to promoting Canadian business abroad to create jobs, economic growth and prosperity for middle-class Canadian families.” Here was Tony Clement in Northern Ontario a few days ago: “Today’s announcement will help develop the region as a tourist destination, attract visitors to the area and create jobs for middle-class Canadian families,” said Minister Clement. Here was John Duncan at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on September 11th: "I'm talking about our government's number one priority, and the number one concern for Canadians: economic growth and creating jobs for middle-class Canadian families."

The anti-carbon tax campaign the Conservatives launched this parliamentary season has also been about "Supporting Middle Class Jobs," so they claim.

And see the campaign going on in the U.S. where the fight for support from the middle class is a central battle.

So it's understandable that a leading candidate for the Liberal leadership could launch their campaign with this emphasis.

Looking forward to the big event tonight.