Academics slam Conservatives over 'inflammatory' campaign tactics

In an open letter published online, a group of academics from across Canada says it's concerned about “the ugly and dangerous turn we have recently witnessed in the election campaign.”

587 Canadian academics sign open letter criticizing 'ugly and dangerous' approach

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has 'flagrantly crossed the line' with his campaign tactics, says a group of academics in an open letter. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Hundreds of academics across Canada are condemning the "nasty" campaign tactics of the Conservative Party.

In an open letter published Friday on the public affairs blog In Due Course, the group says it's concerned about "the ugly and dangerous turn we have recently witnessed in the election campaign."

"Increasingly, the Conservatives seem to have been opting for a particularly nasty form of 'wedge politics,'" the letter states.

"However, by injecting the inflammatory rhetoric of 'barbaric cultural practices' into the current campaign, the Conservative Party has flagrantly crossed the line."

The letter is signed by 587 Canadian academics.

Daniel Weinstock, a law professor at McGill University, was one of its authors and lead signatories.

"We think there's something very sinister in making those kinds of divisions between Canadians," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Friday.

The Conservatives have made identity politics a key component of their campaign, especially in Quebec, where there is widespread support for a ban on niqabs during the citizenship ceremony.

Last week, the party also pledged that if re-elected, a Conservative government would establish a tip line for reporting "barbaric cultural practices" to the RCMP.


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