Satire: the rise of consumer politics
In 2009 Stephen Harper appeared at a press conference at Tim Horton’s corporate office, extolling the virtuous Canadian values of hockey and doughnuts. Back then it seemed clear, Mr. Canada was endorsing the corporate coffee machine with his super-hero star powers. But why stoop to coffee salesman while still in office?
In hindsight we see the reverse to be true. The coffee is actually advertising the Prime Minister. Millions of Canadians guzzling double doubles as they put Tim Bits hockey jerseys on their children in the wee hours of the morning. Harper simply hacking the political mind in a brilliant strategy: children = hockey = coffee = Harper. A vote for Harper is a vote for your children, and who wouldn’t do that?
But is there a darker side to all this political chicanery? Wasn’t it Harper who radically expanded the Temporary Worker program in 2012? And doesn’t Tim Horton’s benefit from the ability to import workers to keep wages down? Should employers who aren’t interested in attracting domestic workers through fair wages be trusted with the keys to the immigration system? It’s no wonder we see allegations of abuse emerging around the country – the foxes are now in charge of guarding the hen house.
Sure, perhaps no one dipped their fingers in the worker wallet without permission when nobody was looking – that’s theft. But what do you call leading vulnerable workers to believe they will be deported if they don’t give up wages and work for free? It must be a mutually beneficial gift! And anyways, aren’t we doing the Canadian economy a favour by stemming the tide of currency exportation via the Temporary Worker program? Bravo friends, we can justify anything!
Meanwhile back at the hen house: consumer voters sneer at rising unemployment figures projected onto flat screen TV’s while waiting in line for another dose of aspartame laced java. Ideals replaced by products; products replaced by politicians; freedom and democracy replaced by indentured servitude and caffeine.
With the bait and switch complete, welcome to the new consumer political world order.