Reverse elitism

by Aaron Wherry

Tony Clement sort of kind of apologizes to the country’s “elites.” Or, rather, Tony Clement sort of kind of apologizes to non-elites for suggesting only “elites” cared about the prorogration of Parliament. Or something.

It is perhaps long since due that we sorted out an exact definition for that the sub-category of humanity known as the “elites.” We might start now with one simple question: Is Tony Clement not a member of this country’s elite?

A rough sketch of his credentials.

The stepson of the former Attorney General in Ontario, Mr. Clement was educated at the University of Toronto, where he obtained degrees in political science and law. After entering provincial politics, he held a number of ministerial portfolios before running, unsuccessfully, for the party’s leadership. Since entering federal politics he has held a pair of ministerial titles and is presently the Minister of Industry. He is currently entitled to a salary of $233,247. Prior to arriving in Ottawa, he worked for a national law firm and was a visiting fellow at the University of Toronto’s faculty of law.




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Reverse elitism

  1. Millionaire ministry of industry who lives in cottage country calls critics "elitists". Probably on his way to being picked up by government funded private jet.

  2. The misuse and abuse of the term "elites" for partisan politics is such a shame. What they really mean is "elitism".

    We need more elites in this country. Elite entrepreneurs, elite scientists, elite educators, elite athletes, elite doctors. We should be striving for the highest level of competence, not deriding those who do.

    While conservatives in the US and Canada use it as their drumbeat now, I wouldn't suggest that they started this dumbing down of ambitions. The left have decried "elites" for far longer, and they used to use it as an attack on learning and education the way conservatives do now. You can see it right down to the elementary school level with its lowest common denominator approach to teaching.

    In a way, it is a replacement term for outdated class terminology, in part I suppose because there really are no classes anymore. Still, the effect is to, in part, suppress the ambition to be leaders in the field.

  3. The misuse and abuse of the term "elites" for partisan politics is such a shame. What they really mean is "elitism".

    We need more elites in this country. Elite entrepreneurs, elite scientists, elite educators, elite athletes, elite doctors. We should be striving for the highest level of competence, not deriding those who do.

    While conservatives in the US and Canada use it as their drumbeat now, I wouldn't suggest that they started this dumbing down of ambitions. The left have decried "elites" for far longer, and they used to use it as an attack on learning and education the way conservatives do now. You can see it right down to the elementary school level with its lowest common denominator approach to teaching.

    In a way, it is a replacement term for outdated class terminology, in part I suppose because there really are no classes anymore. Still, the effect is to, in part, suppress the ambition to be leaders in the field.

    • Absolutely agree. We need more 'elites', not less.

      Half the country is functionally illiterate, and the other half has post-secondary education. This is not a good position to be in.

      • And an unfortunate number of those with "post-secondary education" are little better than indoctrinated fools who can't or won't think for themselves.

        • Mmm the 'education is bad' gambit again I see.

          I guess we should all remain uneducated and illiterate then eh, so we can be 'real' people and hold teabag parties and support people like Bush and Harper.

          • No, just questioning your use of "post-secondary education" as the counter point to literacy or intellectualism.

            It isn't pulp mill workers and miners that go around talking about liberal elites, it's members of the group you identify as the "other half" — the Flanagans and Harpers who have post secondary degrees, but failed to benefit from the experience.

            In other words don't just say the opposite of who you are criticizing, or you're letting someone else define your argument.

          • Ahh, okay, now I understand.

            Well certainly conservatives appear to be using this as a wedge issue, trying to encourage 'regular guys' to sneer at the arts, and 'eggheads' and all. Whether pulp mill workers and miners go for it is another matter. Many of them are working hard to put their kids thru university, so may not appreciate it either.

            I thot 'bootstraps' were the preferred Tory method for getting ahead instead of social legislation, whereas Harper's neo-cons seem to be trying to downgrade the goal altogether!

  4. I really don't like this constant misuse of the word 'elites'.

    Conservatives in both Canada and the US say it like it's something really baaaaad.

    There is instantly the impression that there are only two groups in society…the 'elites' which are projected to be any group you dislike…those with education, or blacks or gays or journalists or lawyers or fill-in-the-blank, and then there's your average working man. Joe the Plumber stuff…the 'honest hard-working taxpayer'. As tho everyone else is dishonest, goofs off and doesn't pay taxes!

    Any conservative govt naturally portrays themselves as part of the 'average working man' group, even tho they may actually have degrees, money and/or a castle in Spain. They just don't mention that part.

    It sets the stage for a class war.

    Harper has promoted this image a lot. He's a 'hockey dad', has coffee at Timmies, thinks the world of the military, doesn't like art galas, and so on even tho he's never played hockey, or worn a uniform, is never seen at Timmies unless there is an election campaign, and has a Masters in economics.

    • Nobody accuses black people on the whole of being among the elite, unless its some sort of Steynian "look how coddled those minorities are! Will special interests ever cease keeping down the white male!" kinda thing.

      • Well there's Obama, and the idea that 'elites' are forcing blacks, gays etc on 'normal society' and the Joe the Plumber teabag set.

    • I just want to point out that holding Joe the Plumber up as the "honest working man" ignores the fact that Joe the Plumber was not a licensed plumber. I have no information on whether he's gotten his plumbing license now, but if he did he was shamed into it, and it did not reflect an honest attempt to be on the same level of playing field as the honest working men.

  5. If anyone gets the chance could they please ask Tony Clement to recall his time as Ontario Minister of Health & Long-Term Care when he had the OPP secure the elevator for him at Hepburn Block everytime he went to and fro from his 10th floor office. Apparently he didn't like having to ride it with his staff or OPS employees. No other minister since has done this…

  6. Also heard first hand story of him returning a package to a staff by throwing it on the floor for her to pick up rather directly hand it to her…

  7. You know which elites really ticked me off? All those ivory tower, big thinkers during the Age of Enlightenment. If it weren't for those guys I assume my life today would be awsome!

  8. It seems that the federal Conservatives have opted to use "elites" the way the Alberta PCs use "special interest groups": as a catch-all category for those whose interests don't coincide with theirs. Strangely, this results in the alleged elites or special interest groups outnumbering those people whom the governments in question actively represent.

    • Damn your avatar… I couldn't keep the voice in my head from reading your post as Leonard Nimoy. :-)

  9. The only thing that gives me any sense of optimism about the way this country is going is that there's still a largely vibrant press prepared to call these people out when they do stuff like this. Decades of persistent attacks on the media from the U.S. right wing meant no one really had the balls to point out what Bush and co were doing and the result was an absolute disaster.

  10. Elites are the 60-70% of people who don't support the Tories. You bastards.

  11. The quickest way to dissolve "the elites" would be for Tony Clement to join them. One of the great room-clearers, there.

  12. If elites are bad, why do we encourage them? Presumably, we should have no wealthy, well-educated people. Impose 100% tax rates above $100k and shut down the universities. This is what the CPC want, right?

  13. e-lite

    A Conservative email explaining why prorogation is necessary to stabilize the economy

  14. I got one of those e-lites from my MP Guy Lauzon. Really.

    "Thank you for your email regarding Parliament being prorogued. T he decision to prorogue was primarily taken so that we could make government function as it should."

    OMG!

    • Send that over to Colin Carmichael, the creator of No Prorogue's website.. so he can post that lovely defence.

    • It's going to take up most of the Conservatives Not-an-emergency Emergency Caucus just to apply the shut-up.

  15. This shows exactly the problem with social networking as a way to reach politicians. If the administrator of the Prorogue Eacebook Group would have insisted on a few extra clicks, he could have sent each MP a list of constituent protestors, and then Tony Clement could (and would) respond.

  16. Canada Needs to Count Her Blessings!__We need to be greatful we don't have a leader like Obama who works non-stop against his citizens and hires Czars like the following Marxist to help rip the USA apart! If we had people like this in our Government ( of which Iggy would like to give us ) you'd have something to belly-ache about! Re: http://www.infowars.com/obamas-favorite-for-supre… Sunstein, president Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and the man who outlined a plan for the government to infiltrate “conspiracy groups” in order to undermine them, is in direct line for a promotion to Supreme Court Justice.

  17. .In effect, Obama's information czar wants to tax or ban outright, as in make illegal, opinions and ideas that the government doesn't approve of.When he's not going after those evil sunlight lovers, Sunstein advocates Internet censorship via enforced and regulated links in news pieces to opposing opinions.Sunstein has also called for the re-writing of the First Amendment, and has even proposed a mandatory celebration of tax day in America.Sunstein is on record attacking the Second Amendment. Watch in the following clip as he says “The Supreme Court has never suggested that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to have guns.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flfHZgT-SeI&fe
    Also: Check out what Government is doing behind your back at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU

  18. In answer to the title, Reverese elitism! An elite in todays term comes from the term Global Elitists: Which came into definition during the engineered economic crash of 2008! It was Elite Foreign Off – Shore Bankers from the World Central bank and the Private Federal Reserve that caused the crash by design! It is these Elitists who are working to form a "One World Communist Government" from the management of members of "The Bilderberg Group", "Trilateral Commission", "Council on Foreign Relations", "The United Nations", "International Monetary Fund" Top Head Edmund de Rothschild and David Rockefeller!

  19. Yeah, whatever, Paulrevere. Interesting choice of a pseudonym on a Canadian blog thread, btw.

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