by Ranjit Bhaskar in Toronto
The Harper Conservatives seem to be looking across the Pond more and more for ideas.
After co-opting the services of Lynton Crosby, the Australian campaign fixer credited with turning around British Prime Minister David Cameron’s re-election campaign, the Tory campaign in Brampton, Ontario seems to have been inspired by a Hindi music video from the playlist of their British cousins.
The “Neela Hai Aasma” (“The Sky is Blue”) video, launched in the run-up to the May 7 British general elections, is clearly the template for its Canadian clone titled “Harper Sarkaar, Fir Ek Baar” (“Harper Government, Once More”).
Harper Sarkaar, Fir Ek Baar! - Vote for Naval Bajaj
Proud to be a part of the Conservative Team! Only Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have built a strong relationship with the South Asian Community. Watch "Harper Sarkaar, Fir Ek Baar" and vote for Naval Bajaj on October 19th! #BramptonEastPosted by Naval Bajaj on Thursday, October 1, 2015
Federal Defence and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney was among those who shared it on Facebook when it was released last week.
“By far the best musical jingle of this campaign, #Desi-style,” Kenny wrote.
The video is a montage off clips and images of Stephen Harper’s interactions with Indian-origin communities in Canada and from his trip to India three years ago.
It begins by flipping through news clippings while the voiceover intones highlights like super visa approvals. It then transitions into song.
The lyrics, in Hindi with a fair sprinkling of English, are all about Harper increasing trade worldwide, making the economy strong, cutting taxes, creating one million jobs, bringing thousands of immigrants to Canada, showing youth the way to success and strengthening the country’s relationship with India.
If attentive, Bollywood fans can catch a glimpse of star Akshay Kumar in cameo.
The over three-minute-long video ends with an appeal to vote for the Conservatives, and specifically, party candidates Naval Bajaj from Brampton East and Jagdish Grewal from Mississauga-Malton.
The awkward bit here is that Grewal, the editor of a Punjabi newspaper, was dumped by the party on Tuesday, hours after media reports surfaced about a contentious article he wrote in March on the topic of homosexuality and the idea of using therapy to turn gay youth straight.
The Conservative Party said in a statement that Grewal's comments do not reflect the views of the party and he was no longer an official candidate. Grewal says key parts of his article were misquoted because of poor translation from Punjabi to English.