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It appears that Harper’s greatest chance of ever winning a majority government lies in placing all polling stations inside Starbucks outlets. Who’d have thought it would be possible to vote conservative, and still be able to pronounce a word like “macchiato?”

√Čric Grenier counts the Starbucks density across federal ridings, and blows froth at the idea of the coffee chain as a fortress of wise-ass Liberal elites and their hip spectacles.

Does easy access to Starbucks latte really make you vote Liberal?

Some of the more striking figures:

– There are 31 ridings in Canada with a “high Starbucks density” of 10 outlets or more. A full 17 of them are held by Conservatives, 9 by the NDP and 5 by Liberals.
– Liberal ridings have the lowest average number of Starbucks outlets of the three federalist parties, at just 3.8 stores per riding
– Every single B.C. riding is home to a Starbucks. Alberta has more Starbucks outlets than the rest of the country (excluding B.C. and Ontario) combined.

No surprise to Westerners, I would think. My own retired parents suffer the ignoble fate of living in one of B.C.’s safest Conservative ridings, yet there are more Starbucks stores in their shopping mall than there are public washrooms. Long queues of pick-up trucks and SUVs snake around Starbucks drive-thru lanes at any hour of the day.

It’s coffee. People like it.

Disproving stereotypes of a supposed “elite class” is all good, but we remain left with this rampant classism itself. Why has it become acceptable to snarl at things like a university education? To treat anything remotely urban as distinctly “un-Canadian?” As evidenced by Rob Ford’s election, even Torontonians hate Toronto now.

Maybe it’s down to Palin contagion. A kind of vicarious Tea Party envy. Or, quite likely, a moribund media culture that sands away the sharp edges of a critical political discourse.

Oh well. So long as Starbucks doesn’t rebrand its range of Christmas coffees as an all-inclusive “festive season” range, Canada’s right wing will remain gloriously unperturbed.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , , , ,


November 2010

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