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article imageCanada's Federal Government Enters NASCAR World

By Bob Ewing     Jun 19, 2007 in Politics
In order to get their Green message out, Canada's Federal government is sponsoring a car on the Canadian NASCAR circuit. According to the government the NASCAR audience is their demographic.
Is this hypocrisy in action or a wise strategy? It will all depend upon what people already believe. What seems like a crazy move, sponsoring a race car to get the Green message out may indeed be a good strategy, especially if the government is right and NSACR fans are Conservative supporters or at least open to the Conservative message.
NDP leader Jack Layton calls the move an interesting gambit but says that it will not work:I know one thing's for sure is they'll now have their name on some of the emissions here in Canada and I'm not sure that was necessarily the wisest decision. They already have enough emissions to be responsible for here in this House. The ban on leaded fuels does not apply to competitive racers in Canada, a concession that was won in 1994. Both Formula One and Indy race cars have moved away from leaded fuel, NASCAR will not do so until next year.
The current exemption ends in January 2008 and Environment Canada has releases a discussion paper which asks if this exemptions ought to be extended be extended.
Stock cars account for up to 40 per cent of the leaded fuel sold in Canada is used in stock cars, and dragsters used up another 40 to 50 per cent. NASCAR get about two miles per gallon and so use up 125 gallons of leaded fuel during 250 mile race.
NDP environment critic, Nathan Cullen, said: It's a stunt that could go very bad for (the Conservatives) if they don't think through what they're putting money into.The Green party will not be entering a vehicle in the NASCAR event quipped Green party leader Elizabeth May. Green party leader Elizabeth May dryly noted that her party won't be entering a vehicle in NASCAR:It reflects the fact there is more money than sense in the Conservative party right now. We would never be associated with the conspicuous consumption of leaded gas for the purpose of electioneering.The Conservative strategy is two pronged. They are seeking the support of the people who make cars in Canada as well as those who follow NSACAR and other car related events.
The PC party logo, a big blue C will appear on the hood of the car driven by Pierre Bourque. Borgue owns a popular Internet news aggregator that sells torqued headlines to political operatives. The battle for support has already begun on Bourque Newswatch.
This move by the Conservatives may guarantee them continuing coverage on Bourque’s site. The Conservatives will not confirm whether they are Bourque clients or not but someone who is no fan of Dion and the Liberals is spending money there.
Could this relationship with a media celebrity hurt the Conservatives even if they are not doing anything wrong? Maybe, maybe not. NASCAR‘s middle class fan base is who the Conservatives want to reach and this move may do that.
Immigration Minister, Diane Finley, said:The people who follow NASCAR are our kind of people. They're hard-working families; they're taxpayers who play by the rules. And those are the people that we're targeting.Will this work? Well people will see the big blue C but will that translate into votes? My opinion is that this is a mistake. It shows that the Conservative are not an eco-friendly party.
It shows they do not take environmental issues seriously and could drive people who are undecided on where the Conservative stand on environmental issues to either the NDP or Green parties.What concerns me is that it might just get them votes unless those who oppose them can organize more effectively than they have in the past.
I was a race car fan, many years ago and know some fans today, like all sports, race cars fans are a dedicated group and this just might get their attention and that is what worrisome.
More about Tories, Sponsor, Nascar car
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