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Who Wore It Better: Political Edition

Iain Hill & Dylan Robertson (2Ls)

In the increasingly polarised and heated political climate of two different groups of Neo-Liberals, there is one essential question that has gone unanswered. That question: which of the two Canadian political parties sells the best merchandise. Thanks to the efforts of this publication’s investigative team, it is a question no longer. Please feel free to use this article as a guide for all your Christmas-shopping needs. As someone who once got his relative a pro-Rachel Notley book as a gift, let me tell you. Your relatives will love these gifts.

The difference in clothing selection was the first place we looked, and we found that it provided an interesting representation of both parties and their respective bases. It is pretty clear that each party caters their merchandise to their stereotypical voter. The Conservative Party offerings consist of a couple of plain bunny hugs, polo shirts, and t-shirts with painful slogans like “This is what a Conservative looks like” slapped on the front. The CPC logo is front-and-centre on everything as well, meaning these shirts are only for those who are truly proud about their political affiliation. It is the type of clothing I could see my uncle wearing on the golf course, which is honestly the most perfect description I could provide if someone asked me to describe a conservative.

On the Liberal side, the shirt options – like Trudeau’s notoriously fabulous hairstyles when compared to Scheer’s $5 Supercuts special – are more diverse and much more fashionable. Several of the Liberal offerings make the smart choice of minimizing the party affiliation in favour of messages promoting support for things like diversity and equality; the few shirts that emphasis the party or Trudeau himself are without question the worst offerings and approach that creepy level of idolatry which is seemingly required of the modern Liberal supporter. Some of the designs are actually quite sharp considering they are being offered by a political party, and it is clear they were designed with a much younger and cosmopolitan wearer in mind. By focusing on positive messaging instead of the party, the goal here is clearly to get people to wear the clothes without realizing that they’re doubling as a political billboard. Given we’ve never seen anyone wearing any of it, we question how successful that tactic is.

One major difference that we noted between the two stores is that the Liberals emphasized that their goods are either made in Canada or produced in socially or ethically-sound factories, while the Conservative store does not say anything similar. We found this to be quite surprising given the Tories are usually the party that most loudly advocates for Canadian manufacturing, but then we realized that – like most Canadians – they probably don’t even realize they sell clothing.

Best Item

Dylan – The best item is clearly the baby onesie sold by the Liberals that says “Made by Liberals” on the front. It is so ubiquitously Liberal that it hurts. It perfectly sums up the modern party: it is corny as hell, incredibly obnoxious, and the only reason you’re a part of it is to make your dad angry.

Iain – I would have to say that the best item is the Conservative Party’s “Insulated Travel Tumbler” because it is currently 15$ off the list price.

Worst Item

Dylan – For the worst item, I would have to go with the Conservative ball-cap. I like to consider myself a hat connoisseur, but this hat looks like the headwear equivalent of a smushed Big Mac.

Iain – The worst item is easily the “Andrew Scheer Dad Socks.” They look like stock Wal-Mart socks with the Conservative party logo, and unless they were previously worn by Andrew Scheer (wherein they would win both the “worst” and “most absurd” categories) they are both telling and terrible.

Most Absurd Item

Dylan – The most absurd item is definitely Andrew Scheer’s Dad Socks. Similar to the Liberal onesie, there is no item which better captures the modern Conservative Party than a dad strutting around in a pair of dirty-looking thigh-high socks thinking he’s owning those libs with clever political satire.

Iain – The most absurd item (barring Andrew Scheer’s laundry) is the “Touch Screen Gloves.” While their utility may be valid, their design (if not their price) puts them in the same camp as the bargain bin gloves you can pick up in grocery stores. The contrast of “touch-screen gloves” and the cheapest possible glove design make for a stark contrast.

Final Verdict

Dylan – Overall, I have to give the win to the Liberal Boutique. Their merchandise is simply better: the political affiliation is less prominent, some of the designs are approaching genuine fashionable status, and they have a bigger selection. The Conservative’s merchandise is far too tailored towards using wearers as a walking billboard for the party. Given that I can only envision old white dudes wearing a polo shirt, I can’t say that’s a very appealing billboard.

Iain – I’m with Dylan on this one. While “genuinely fashionable” is a bit of a stretch (their hoodie is a far cry from CDG), it does look a spot better than the Conservative fare. Which is to say, it isn’t intended for generally fashion-brain dead old men. That said, wearing apparel of any political party seems generally unseemly.

P.S. It turns out there are Federal parties aside from the two mentioned. None of them have stores, thankfully, although the United Conservative Party does.