My girlfriend and I broke our yearlong hiatus from filmgoing this weekend by attending the adorable and surprisingly weighty Happy Feet. We attended a matinee ($12 at Silvercity Yonge & Eglinton, Toronto) where we were welcomed with a full but cheerful theatre full of starry eyed pips and their parents.
In the way of pre-movie commercials the 25 minute double-dip hadn’t subsided much at all since we saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last year. What had changed, however, was what passes for a commercial:
Above is a compilation of the Canadian Army recruiting propaganda currently propagating on Canadian television. Despite Canada’s traditional role and image as peacekeepers, these ads unabashedly show individuals carrying and firing assault weapons, tactfully surveying ruins and homes, deploying in hot zones in helicopters, and carting away wounded civilians.
One such advertisement played, in all its big screen and surround sound glory, before a gaggle of kindergartners. And then the penguins started tap dancing.
What does the army have to do with a children’s (rated PG) movie? What indeed.
The purpose behind these ads is that Canada’s Conservative government wishes to transform our military from support and humanitarian troops to a front-line aggressor. The goal: to fill our newly desert-coloured camouflage fatigues (our fighting force was green in more than experience in the early 90’s gulf war) with temporarily warm Canadian bodies.
To glamorize war to children is unnerving and irresponsible. Highlighting action-packed yet safe clips of wartime deployment forcefeeds an unrealistic soft-lensed idealism upon our impressionable youth.
But really, to sell anything to naive children, MUCH less war, is immoral. On this topic, the Canadian Marketing Association has this to say in their Code of Ethics and Standards of Practise:
Marketing to children must not exploit children’s credulity, lack of experience or sense of loyalty.
And what is marketing if not the exploitation of these human traits?
Our Conservatives largely won our vote for putting a megaphone in front of the Liberal party’s floundering following a sponsorship scandal in which corporate and individual political sponsors were overly compensated monetarily for their assistance. They completed this one-two punch with a smear campaign showing Canadian citizens shaking their heads in disapproval while listening to the promises of the Liberal party. In my opinion the Conservatives won the vote by capitalizing on the now active Federal Accountability Act which was claimed, or perhaps just implied, to help enforce policies on campaign sponsorship.
It is therefore confusing to see the same Conservatives, mere months after enacting the policies, propose a loophole amendment to exempt them from having to rationalize millions of dollars in unaccounted lobbyist donations.
Steven Harper and the gang are simply bait-and-switch artists who dangle a carrot in front of the populace and don’t tell them about the maggots within and pesticides without until after they convince us to enjoy a good crunchy bite. The Conservative party is poisoning our government with its lies and sabotaging our youth with its half truths.
After many years of disillusionment I was convinced to cast my vote in the last federal election. By researching the issues and choosing the party that matched my ideals I hoped to assist the increase of mass transit service, preservation of environmental resources, reduction of gun violence in urban centres, assistance to the underprivileged, continuation of social programs, continued abstinence from war, increased unity with Quebec, and strengthening of Canadian identity. The Conservatives were elected and they have worked tirelessly to ensure the opposite of each of my wishes occurs.
Remind me please, why am I voting again?