Governor DeSantis sent out the above fundraising letter today. It effectively involves the Governor in a domestic political dispute in Canada, and one which is not supported by the majority of Canadians, except those who are vocal on social media.
In November, at the Latin Builders Association, DeSantis made patronizing and insulting remarks about Canada and Australia. DeSantis claims, as he often does he is giving inspiration to those who feel trapped by COVID mitigation efforts in locales with responsible leaders. This is certainly true, as DeSantis national following can be attributed to his shameless self-promotion regarding the regressive views he had on fighting this deadly virus.
But DeSantis attacking Australian policy while distasteful and enhancing the Governor’s brand among outcasts in the Anglosphere, (the same has happened in the UK, btw where DeSantis now has a big following among Tory rebels) probably won’t have the negative impact on Florida that attacking Canada does.
Florida is heavily dependent on tourism and investment from Canada. Every winter Canadians invade the state, hitting our beaches, staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants. Yet, Governor DeSantis and his allies feel the need to continue insulting and attacking Canada as part of his continued cultural warrior stance on anything related to Covid. DeSantis is openly aligning with a hyper-minority of Canadians, which very well could turn some of those in the majority north of the border against Florida.
Canadian visitors and part-time residents are very much part of the fabric of the service-based, tourist-dependent economy, a growing Florida has come to rely on more and more, in the absence of meaningful economic development. The failure of GOP-driven tax schemes to attract manufacturing and industrial jobs to the state make us dependent on the goodwill of wealthy Canadians and Europeans than we should be.
With this in mind, Governor DeSantis should be more responsible and careful in his rhetoric with regards to opinions that represent a minority view in Canada. While he might be enhancing his own brand of COVID denialism and “freedom” over community, he could hurt the image of the state in a place we cannot afford to be hurt. But he probably doesn’t care about that, does he?