Editorial—The Demise of Old Stock

The idea of “Old Stock” Canadians was something put forward first by Prime Minister Harper.  Widely derided as being a call to xenophobics and anti-immigration sentiment, the recent municipal elections in Alberta are increasingly challenging the notion that this is a demographic worth courting by political parties.

To be clear, what is generally considered as Old Stock Canadians are Canadians of European descent, typically whose families have been present for several generations.  I would qualify as an “Old Stock Canadian” for instance.

In Calgary, however, a “Take Back City Hall” slate of candidates came forward, sponsored by the “Progressive Group for Independent Business”  (PGIB), a staunchly conservative group founded by Craig Chandler, and which has received criticism even from its members for being too focussed on driving forward with socially conservative concerns.

Most of the candidates supported by the group, including Craig Chandler himself, and mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas, were not elected.

Instead, in both Calgary and Edmonton, elected candidates are fairly diverse, and both cities have elected mayors that do not fit into the “Old Stock” category.

If this is happening in Alberta, the self-proclaimed “conservative heartland”, then it is encouraging to think that simple electoral realities will soon force conservative leaders to come to grips with a world where the notion of appealing to an “old stock” group of Canadians offers no benefit.  And when we can finally dispense with the notion that familial heritage—with it’s accordant links to race and immigration—aren’t important to holding power, those who continue to attempt to do so will find themselves squeezed out of the parties and decision making processes of our government.  But the best part is that while there are many different types of ‘isms’ that prevent inclusion, more often than not, those who hold to one of them hold to many of them.

Meaning that as these people lose their ability to drive power based on any one single ‘ism’, it will, at the same time, weaken many of the others.

All of which is to say that the general course of how society improves over time is continuing.  There are, of course, bumps along the way, and the internet will, unfortunately, serve to magnify those bumps.  Those who find their views are no longer accepted by most of society will be able to find solace and comfort among those on the internet who do, and this will unfortunately lead to bubbles of misinformation, which can then spawn things such as the Capitol Hill riots as people can no longer even agree on what basic facts are.  It won’t be easy.

But overall, things are getting better.  That’s something I think we should keep in mind as we’re bombarded by companies and organizations desperate to find those stories that bypass our rational thought and instead seek to create emotional states of fear or anger—states that drive us to keep watching for any turn of events, and thus let them capture and profit from our attention for that much longer.  This doesn’t mean we can be complacent about our own portion of helping to include those who have been pushed outside, but we can at least take comfort in the notion that, over the longer term, it seems to be working.   Enjoy the read!