Remember when guilt by association used to be taboo? I actually don’t. Ever since I’ve started paying attention to politics, just before the U.S. 2016 election circus started, all I can remember is people pointing their political fingers, preaching from pulpits about their virtue, and accusing people of actions because of who they may have spoken to at one point in time.
The association fallacy is a common one, and it manifests in more ways than one. A popular way to indict someone for no wrongdoing is to guilt them by association, as an ad hominem fallacy. Basically, if the argument attacks a person because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument.
Here is a perfect example to demonstrate, as provided by Wikipedia:“My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?”
This all leads me to the fingers being pointed at Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer by political adversaries.
Scheer is a fairly centre-right Conservative Party leader. “Outspoken” is not really a word that many would use to describe him. He has even received criticism from those both inside and outside of the political world. Notably, Beauce MP Maxime Bernier went so far as to leave the Conservative Party all together, and started the People’s Party of Canada.
In February of 2017, Scheer appeared on On the Hunt, a show produced by online news media outlet The Rebel. The show, which is now cancelled, was hosted by far-right provocateur Faith Goldy.
Goldy, a U of Toronto graduate, had a decorated list of credentials to her name, including The Catholic Register, the Toronto Sun, Bell Media, ZoomerMedia, and even the National Post.
Scheer appeared on the show, where he discussed the topics of “Islamophobia” M-103, parental leave, mental health, and property rights. The conversation was brief, with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary occurring in his 15 minute appearance.
Though Goldy had already released a number of controversial videos, her videos discussing Canada’s changing demographics with titles like “White Genocide In Canada?” started in March, after Scheer’s appearance. Scheer, and whoever agreed to appear on this show for him, had no way to predict where Goldy’s political views, and future were headed.
In August of 2017, Goldy decided that it would be a good idea to go to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to cover the events surrounding the removal of Confederate monuments. In her stream, Goldy captured video of the car attack which killed Heather Heyer, a counter-protester.
Goldy was fired shortly after by Rebel co-founder Ezra Levant after she appeared on an alt-right podcast hosted by The Daily Stormer, a website that has open discussions surrounding the “Jewish Question,” white genocide, and other far-right conspiracy theories.
Levant claims that he told Goldy not to cover Charlottesville, and that her appearance on The Daily Stormer was “just too far.”
Scheer’s politics, which are closer to the centre-right than many would have liked, garnered him a bad rep not just with Maxime Bernier, but from far-right media outlets like The Rebel.
The Rebel, an outlet on which he had done at least two interviews on—one with Faith Goldy in 2017, and one with Ezra Levant in 2016—were turning on him. In October 2017, The Rebel published a video titled Andrew Scheer needs “to grow a spine—and fast.”
Scheer had already long-began his disassociation from The Rebel, who were in hot water for their editorializing and far-right views. Scheer had appeared on CBC news, where he stated that he would not appear on The Rebel again, as they had crossed a line in covering the Charlottesville protests.
Since then, Scheer’s relationship with The Rebel is practically non-existent. Not another appearance, not another mention.
Unfortunately for Scheer, midway through February of 2019, in rolled the Yellow Vest convoy. Loudly and without apology, the #UnitedWeRoll convoy came to our nation’s capital of Ottawa. Their mission statement clearly posted on their GoFundMe:
We are in favour of pipelines to move our products in the oil and gas sector to the rest of Canada as well as the rest of the world. We are apposed to the current format of the carbon tax as well as the UN impact on Canadian borders.
In essence, the United We Roll convoy were on the political right, and it would have benefitted Scheer to be present at this event. Although the Yellow Vest movement of Canada’s Facebook page had been in hot water for commenters making inappropriate threats, these generally not indicative of the mindset of most Yellow Vesters, who tend to be patriots demanding answers from a government not representing their views.
But guess who else decided to show up the the convoy? Not Hope Silver, nor Chastity Bronze, but none other than Faith Goldy.
Goldy decided to host a live stream, where she walked around interviewing Yellow Vesters in a ramped-up Hoser accent. Scheer addressed the crowd of Canadians, but not once did they cross paths. They did not speak together. And no, they did not take photos together.
There was no love affair between Andrew Scheer and the alt-right. There never has been, and there never will be. Though Scheer was lambasted for his presence at the event, it should be made clear that he is not alt-right. He is not alt-right adjacent. And no, he does not need to be disavowed.
With Goldy having recently been banned from Airbnb, Facebook, Instagram, and other apps, she has made news cycles for a few days now. This has re-ignited interest in her and Scheer’s relationship, having been mentioned more than once in the House of Commons this week. The Liberal Party website is even suggesting that Goldy is recruiting for Scheer.
Guilt by association is a dangerous game to play. But it has been weaponized, and done so quite effectively by those trying to take down their political enemies.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.