Fake anti-conservative incident reveals the emptiness of our political context
A viral video showing a lone woman protesting was initially believed to be a legitimate expression of conservative dissent by a surprising amount of the Canadian media and elite establishment. But as the clip made the rounds, questions were raised about the authenticity of the demonstrator herself. It was discovered that she was not a conservative, that her Facebook page expressing conservative views only began posting conservative content in the previous 24 hours, and that, despite her racist vitriol, she had been a longtime liberal. The video and the vitriol appear to be a one-woman hoax.
After she was taken into custody, it was determined that she would be transferred to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and a publication ban was placed on the case to protect the woman. There is a concern that she took these actions, an act that smeared conservative perspectives by associating them with racist rants and violent behaviour, because she has a mental illness. If so, does that mental illness negate her actions? It could certainly help to explain them.
In the recent elections, Trudeau’s Liberals and Scheer’s Conservatives aggressively clashed in an effort to win over Canadian voters.
They got about a third of the popular vote each, with the Liberals forming a minority government. Conservatives went into an uproar, some calling for the removal of Scheer as party leader and others calling for the separation of western Canada into its own sovereignty.
Despite this perceived clash of parties who apparently represent two sides of a political spectrum, when you look at the actual politics of the two parties, there is much more in common than there is difference.
The difference is in rhetoric, not in substance.
Under the hood, the Liberals and the Conservatives are fundamentally the same. Where they differ is in the values they performatively signal to voters–Liberals portray themselves as social justice progressives while Conservatives prefer to espouse more traditional values.
Unfortunately for voters and for our democracy, these differences are merely surface level. When Canadians vote, they are mostly voting against something rather than for something. They tend not to vote for policies but rather against Trudeau or against Scheer. In this way, politics gets reduced to a spectacle worthy only of reality television, not of civil discourse.
On actual important political issues, the two parties are essentially the same–they both serve the rich and the corporate class while throwing bones to the rest of us.
Let’s take a look at the policies. I’ll start with what is perceived to be one of the big differences between the two parties–the carbon tax. Both parties agree that climate change is an issue, but the Liberals are in favour of a carbon tax while the Conservatives are not.
But what do the Conservatives want instead? Their recent platform promises investments in companies pursuing green technologies and it calls for new environmental standards, with fines for businesses that don’t meet them.
So, essentially, Conservatives want to use public money to subsidize private industries that they deem “green” and they want to fine businesses that are not “green.” This subsidization of government-approved businesses opens the door to corruption and backroom deals, while the fines only serve to hurt small businesses who can’t afford them rather than going after heavy polluters, who will be more than happy to pay the paltry fines.
The Conservatives have criticized the Liberals for their corporate welfare, but their “green” subsidization plans call for more of the same.
And this is not to defend the Liberal’s carbon tax, which is also a poor policy. The carbon tax will mostly affect poorer folks and small businesses who can’t afford additional expenses. The big businesses that do most of the polluting can easily afford to pay the tax and benefit from their smaller competitors going out of business.
Both parties’ policies strengthen big business while hurting small businesses and doing little for the average Canadian. While Conservatives want to repeal the carbon tax, their environmental fines would work in much the same way.
Staying on the topic of climate, both parties have committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and both acknowledge that climate change is a reality. They both want to use public money to subsidize private industries pursuing clean energy. And, most strikingly of all, they are both champions of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, although the Conservatives wave their flag a little higher. On environmental issues, the choice between the Liberals and the Conservatives can be decided with a coin flip.
When it comes to the deficit, the Liberals have shifted their goal to balance the budget from 2019 to 2040. The Conservatives vowed to erase the deficit by cutting $1.5 billion in “corporate welfare” and by selling federally owned buildings. However, judging by their pledge to give handouts to clean energy companies, it is unclear if the cuts to corporate welfare would be actual cuts or more of a redirection to other private industries. It is also important to note that, historically, the Conservatives have contributed to debt rather than alleviating it.
As for the Conservative’s plan to sell federally owned buildings to private owners, this is a potentially disastrous act of privatization that seeks a short-term gain in exchange for long-term prosperity. Real estate is a great asset to have and selling it off for what are likely to be garage sale prices to private hands could prove extremely costly in the long run. Not to mention the huge risk of corruption involved in privatization.
And sure, Trudeau’s deficit spending has gotten out of control, but redirecting corporate handouts, cutting public services, and selling federally owned real estate to private companies is not the answer. And judging by the Conservative’s history of debt accumulation, it is hard to believe that they would reverse the trend on the deficit.
On other issues like childcare, education, Indigenous rights, and housing, neither party really distinguishes itself from the other. Both parties are severely lacking on Indigenous issues, both support the Canada Child Benefit–which does little to alleviate the soaring costs of childcare in big cities, neither party offers any solutions to student debt, and both parties offer meagre home buyer benefits while doing nothing to help renters.
On healthcare, Liberals plan to take “next steps” towards pharmacare while effectively doing nothing to pursue those next steps. The Conservatives are a little more honest and dismiss pharmacare entirely. Both parties want to increase spending on mental health through health transfer payments, a meagre solution for a growing problem. Again, more of the same from the allegedly vastly different parties.
With regards to immigration, both parties want to increase the number of immigrants to 350,000 by 2021, with most of those being economic immigrants, and both want to crack down on “asylum shopping” and illegal border crossings. If immigration is your issue, Scheer and Trudeau are interchangeable.
Another big issue for a lot of Conservative voters is taxes. Both parties promise to lower taxes for the middle class, but they do this within Trojan horse policies that overwhelmingly benefit the rich. The Liberals are reducing taxes through an extension of the Basic Personal Amount (BPA) exemption while the Conservatives propose a universal tax cut. Let’s look at the numbers:
For those of us making less than six figures annually, the Liberal plan provides a slight advantage in savings. But for those lucky few making more, both parties plan to fill your pockets, with the Conservatives being a little more generous towards the rich. It’s no wonder that wealthy donors often choose to max out donations to both parties.
Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau lead parties that serve the interests of the rich and of Canada’s corporate oligarchy. While they paint themselves as different–Trudeau, in the past, opting to literally paint himself–they are depressingly similar. Both are dishonest in their messaging and try to win over average Canadians while pushing policies that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and powerful. But since Trudeau is actually running the country, he deserves more criticism.
Trudeau is a perfect con artist, depicting himself as a progressive champion of the people in speeches and then turning around and going back on his word behind closed doors. This was never more perfectly displayed than in the climate march where Trudeau took to the streets to march against the actions of his own government.
Trudeau has turned his back on our Indigenous population, he turned his back on electoral reform, and he expanded the oil and gas sector after running on a promise to transition to clean energy. From 2015-19, he could’ve easily upheld his promises with a majority government and NDP support for his progressive proposals. He chose not to.
Instead, he did mass infrastructure privatization, he weakened Canada’s access-to-information system and muzzled journalists and scientists in the process, he sold arms to Saudi Arabia who then used them to commit genocide in Yemen, and he signed the CETA, giving foreign companies the right to sue our government for introducing laws that might cut into their future profits.
Trudeau positions himself as the “woke” candidate, but the fact of the matter is if you’re running the government for the benefit of the rich, Canadians could care less if you have a diverse cabinet. When it comes to corruption, it doesn’t matter if it’s being done by an ethnically diverse and gender-balanced cabinet or a cabinet full of white men–the results are the same.
However, as I’ve laid out here, Scheer and the Conservatives are no better for the average Canadian. When political campaigns are run on empty rhetoric, performative wokeness, divisive attacks, and fear-mongering, voters don’t get to engage with actual policy proposals and the end up voting emotionally rather than logically.
When we vote against a character like Trudeau or Scheer instead of voting for popular policy proposals being pushed by other parties, we end up going back and forth between two parties who both serve the interests of the elite and the ruling class.
It’s time to dump our two-party system, which is, in reality, a one-party oligarchy.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says “we are going to see more of the same from this Prime Minister” after his discussion with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer also met with the PM.
Both men expressed “disappointment” in their individual conversations with Trudeau.
“Today I did not hear a commitment to moving forward with those items” of importance to the people of Saskatchewan,” Moe told reporters afterwards, namely to “put the carbon tax on pause to see if the province can achieve those kind of results, and replicate them if other provinces so choose.”
Scheer went into his meeting declaring that the country “Is more divided than it’s ever been”, then coming out noted “a little disappointed” that he’ll have to wait more than three weeks to face-off against Trudeau in the Commons.
Parliament will reconvene on Dec. 5 for selection of Speaker of the House to be followed by a Throne speech given by the Governor General, in which Trudeau will present his plan for the country that will hold the Commons’ confidence, or not.
After MPs are sworn in, the first order of business is electing a speaker which is open to any member who is not part of cabinet or a party leader.
The last time a speaker was chosen and Throne speech given the same day was in 1988 – the Canada-US free-trade election – after Brian Mulroney and the Progressive Conservatives lost 34 seats in the contest, but held their majority government.
John Turner managed to double Liberals’ Opposition standing but it was not even close after they cratered to 39 seats in #elxn33 (1984), the federal party’s second worst defeat when Mulroney posted the largest ever majority.
Trudeau’s ability in 2015 to do what Turner could not, and his political staying power not unlike Mulroney’s, is something to behold, amidst a string of scandals that would have toppled his antecedents on either side of the aisle.
Following the Oct. 2019 general election, Trudeau’s Liberal Party came up 13 seats shy of a majority with 157, and could be propped up by either the New Democrats’ (24 seats) support, or the Bloc Quebecois (32 seats). Scheer and the Conservatives occupy 121 seats, an overall gain from the previous parliament.
But before a Speaker is elected, Canadians will have a fortnight and a day to ruminate over Trudeau’s cabinet choices for this 43rd Parliament.
With Liberal stalwart Ralph Goodale and Amerjeet Sohi among party casualties in #elxn43, there are important Public Safety and Industry portfolios to fill for Trudeau’s Nov. 20 announcement next Wednesday.
During his brief remarks made after greeting Scheer this morning, Trudeau promised “affordability for Canadians, growth for the middle class and the fight against climate change.” – or as Moe described it, “more of the same”.
Trudeau’s words came off glib compared to Moe’s straightforward ask that Trudeau put “policy in place to get our goods to market…beyond the Trans Mountain pipeline”.
“That is how we create wealth in our province and that is how we ultimately share it with the rest of the nation,” Moe told reporters.
Scheer also said he wants Trudeau to revisit a “national energy corridor” and “demonstrate a roadmap for Trans Mountain to be completed to show western Canadians that there’s going to be progress on that.”
On Nov. 8, Trudeau had individual meetings with Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated the last time a House Speaker and Throne Speech were given on the first sitting day of Parliament occurred in 1984. This was incorrect and has been amended in the story. From 1930 up to 1988, the election of the Speaker occurred on the same day as the Speech from the Throne (the Opening of Parliament).
EXTRA, EXTRA: Reporter evokes Old Testament, asks Scheer if homosexuality a sin, belabouring non-issue
Politics in Canada and media’s coverage of it bear little resemblance to the real-world street these days, and Parliament Hill is a great example of this troubling and widening divide.
On Wednesday, rookie and returning Conservative MPs who voters sent to Ottawa gathered with senators for a caucus at West Block to discuss the federal party’s future and its leadership in the aftermath of a losing, Liberal minority government finish on Oct. 21.
Under the shadow of petroleum icon EnCana’s HQ exodus last week to Denver, Colorado, a nationalized $4.5 billion “leaky pipeline” that cannot get twinned, soured relations with China and uncertain USMCA trade deal ratification stateside, some reporters remained fixated by embattled party leader Andrew Scheer’s position on gay sex.
I use the term “gay sex”, because one reporter’s combative entrée and followup question during Scheer’s scrum, after he survived his first leadership test at caucus, was phrased in rather Biblical terms: “Do you believe that being gay is a sin?”
And the reporter did not stop:
This line of questioning is inspired by a facile notion that if Scheer won’t march in a Pride parade, which he hasn’t, then the public is left with no other option than to believe the Conservative leader would roll back LGBT rights to the Age of Antiquity.
As Scheer attempted to reiterate his party’s inclusiveness–something he’s repeated ad nauseam since longtime Liberal minister Ralph Goodale (defeated this election) tweeted a 15-year-old speech against gay marriage Scheer made as a backbencher –the reporter interjected:
“But you’re not giving your personal opinion,” demanding that he come clean.
Scheer: “My personal opinion is that I respect the rights of every single Canadian… and to always fight for the rights of every single Canadian, including the LGBT community.”
Goodale’s August 22nd Tweet, boosted a day later by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Svengali of divisiveness, Gerald Butts (no longer available on Twitter), triggered media who in the moment, conveniently forgot that like Scheer, and on two occasions himself Goodale also voted against the notion of same sex unions in the Commons.
Goodale’s bit of craven hypocrisy was ably noted by National Post‘s Chris Selley in the same 24-hour news cycle, but the media remained hellbent on the subject, pestering Scheer about it prior to the official election period and throughout, tossing in abortion too because why not – all Christians hate that, too, right?
Even the U.S. Democratic Party took a similar anti-gay marriage position up until the end of President Barack Obama’s second term in 2012.
But besides the mainstream media’s selective application of its religiosity matrix that lit the firestorm over Scheer and Pride, America’s first black POTUS’ endorsement of Trudeau in the 11th-hour of a campaign blighted by #TrudeauBlackface was ironic in itself, on top of a gleeful reception of it by Butts and Co.
On the matter of Old Testament crime and punishment, affixing it Scheer’s Christianity and employing conjecture that he would impose “God’s law” on Canadians were he ever PM, it’s worth taking some time to unpack this to understand the level of cockamamie logic it took to arrive at such an idea.
So come on a journey back through time to a relatively lawless period about 1,000 years after the invention of soap, and some 3,100 years before the discovery of penicillin, when Genesis was written.
Interpretations differ on what actually happened between Noah and his son Ham in the Old Testament’s first chapter, when God populates the Earth, gives humans free will, then gets very angry when they misbehave.
Some believe Ham sodomized his father, others insist Noah walked in on Ham railing one of Noah’s wives.
Regardless, Ham’s fate for his transgression leaves his son Canaan “cursed”; his descendants known as Canaanites are enslaved by the Israelites, who later murder them all after God commanded the children of Ham be annihilated.
Harsh punishment indeed, and similar incidents pepper the Bible for all types of sexual sinning including God’s destruction of the twin dens of iniquity, Sodom and Gomorrah. Leviticus edicts set down around the 6th century BCE–Babylonian times–have been interpreted as injunctions on incest and homosexuality; citations later weaponized by the Church to persecute gays well into the 20th century.
Though the issue of gay marriage rights in Canada is settled in law, and has been since 2005 when we became the first country outside of Europe to legalize such unions, a largely esoteric debate about Old Testament scripture and “God’s word” on homosexuality continues in theological circles and online forums.
But by and large, anti-gay interpretations profited by those clamouring for the gay marriage law to be reversed, have largely been reduced to fringe views in wider Canadian society.
Unfortunately, outside the castle walls of places like Canada in which hate crimes are pursued and prosecuted, the body count continues to rise for scores of unwitting LGBT victims of Islamic State, Iran, Putin’s Russia and myriad global backwaters where life is cheap and human rights codes, non-existent.
The 20th century is littered with state sanctioned and monitored behaviour regimes, ideological impositions–religious or irreligious–that ended with the murder of millions in places like China, where this very moment the regime rounds up Uiyger Muslim men for re-education camps, Uiyger women left to be raped by the local Chinese.
These parallel applications of guilt-by-association or non-association, in the extreme–and that’s what we’re talking about here, the extreme application of ideology whatever that happens to be–are reduced to trifling footnotes whenever next year’s pride roll call is taken by some of the more militant Pride committees.
While Scheer’s attendance at such an event is demanded to prove his “solidarity” with LGBT, conversely some Pride organizers prevent community police officers from marching in solidarity, or put caveats on their attire; either anathema to the original Pride mantra of inclusiveness and love, regrettably lost as well in this fog of cognitive dissonance.
It’s so predictable in a way, and even used as comedic device in a 1990s Seinfeld episode, where Kramer’s attendance at an NYC March for AIDS is insufficient and he’s beset upon to “wear the ribbon”.
But these contradictions never seem to bother reporters too much, except when the aim is to smear, as Vice magazine did when it “outed” then-Conservative Foreign Affairs Minister John “Rusty” Baird in 2013.
In this abject bit of gibberish–Is Canada Run by a Gay Mafia?–the author remains seemingly oblivious to the fact that if Baird is gay, he likely wanted it kept a secret whilst travelling to commit statecraft in backwaters that still handed out cruel and unusual punishment for homosexuality.
If you can stomach the snark, it is insightful reading for a taste of the mainstream’s paragon of virtue mindset, considering that outside of Western and westernized nations, it’s a hard time whatsoever finding a Pride event, let alone getting any sort of LGBT rights, particularly in the Old Testament’s cradle.
Unless of course, you happen to reside in modern day Jerusalem for example.
In the Holy Land and not far from Jerusalem Pride, LGBT rights are pretty much non-existent. The political strife in Egypt has seen LGBT there harassed and arrested, Syria is in ruin following civil war and Islamic State infestation, and in nearby Ramallah or Gaza Strip, forget about it.
Asylum seeker John Calvin–a Christian convert and grandson of Palestinian terror group Hamas’ co-founder–told CNN in 2015 as much, before his asylum claim was denied by Canadian authorities and Calvin sought refuge in New York City.
Yet Scheer’s Pride avoidance–perhaps a national record of some kind, like his claim he won the “strongest majority government in Canada’s history” in #elxn43–remains a constant source of aggravation for members of the press gallery, despite plenty of issues arguably more worthy of asking Opposition members’ to opine upon.
Our country is on the brink of total Balkanization. There is no doubt about that. It’s spurred by separatist sentiments in the West, a resurgence of separatists Bloc Québecois and Indigenous leaders, like Treaty 8 chiefs caught in the middle who are speaking out. The situation only becomes more contentious with Bloc MPs holding a go-to power balance in the Commons.
When this East-West divide couldn’t get any worse, we remain a doormat for illegal migrants making bogus asylum claims that further burden an already overloaded immigration system.
Given this totally unnecessary, quasi-domestic/foreign affairs baggage and presented with former Immigration critic for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel, media still required a few minutes from her to opine on Scheer’s Pride no-shows.
Here is a two-minute exchange on the issue that occurred during Conservatives’ Wednesday confab, when MPs slip out to fill news slots and talk politics without divulging any specifics about ongoing caucus deliberations. In this context, without anything else to talk about, reporters were primed and so was Rempel.
But how many will pay any mind or attention to other aspects of Rempel’s response–a laundry list of real discrimination LGBT folks in Canada still face and how her party is committed to addressing them.
For G.T. Lem–who bills himself on Twitter as “1 Source For Videos That Cut Through The Right-Wing Noise & Counters The Anti-Liberal Bias Narrative With FACTS”–his takeaway is that Rempel “DEFENDS” Scheer’s choice, while downplaying her (rather accurate) description of what’s become a “symbolic” political litmus test.
Forget that there are LGBT people who do not go to Pride, for whatever reason and non-LGBT folks, who love it. Having freedom of choice and rights also means the right not to participate or being kowtowed to do so, but if you’re Scheer or anyone who takes a position contrary to supposed mainstream progressivism, then look out.
If you had just arrived from another planet, or were transported by time machine from Ancient Babylon, you’d probably think the entirety of Planet Earth had gone mad; mankind’s inhabitants anyways, or as Trudeau calls us: Peoplekind.
Whatever the collective mental state of the nation, CBC’s Rosemary Barton is also under the spell of Scheer’s take on LGBT rights and took to Twitter to punctuate his response to the low-rent ‘is being gay a sin’ query.
And so the inordinate amount of time spent on Scheer’s Pride record, apparent harbinger for low information voters and media types who believe a Conservative Scheer government would quash all and sunder rights for our LGBT neighbours, friends and colleagues. Nobody credible seriously believes this garbage, yet media remain transfixed it’s a totally real possibility and one the day’s most pressing issue.
Unfortunately, or fortunately–depending on one’s political persuasion or adherence to social mores–the Q&A moment about alleged gay sinners competed against what was perhaps Scheer’s finest stump speech hour, given in fewer than seven minutes to reporters, and seven weeks too late.
With a nod to “a frank discussion (in caucus) about the last election campaign”, acknowledging his disappointment and desire “to get it right the next time”, Scheer launched into a rebuke of Trudeau that rings as true today, as it was when the campaign began on September 11.
“The sad truth is, Trudeau has left this country more divided than ever before,” said Scheer. “Picking fights with premiers, pitting region against region, Trudeau has set the stage for a national unity crisis… this is Trudeau’s mess but Conservatives are here to clear it up.
Though it’s never too late for Scheer to attend one of Canada’s smorgasbord of annual Pride events, even in a far flung place like Inuvik, Northwest Territories, for Conservatives’ governing fortunes, their leader’s newfound gumption isn’t going to re-order the planets or turn back the clock to August 22.
That’s when Scheer and his advisors should have hit this head on. But they didn’t and here we are in this parallel universe of litmus tests and virtue signalling, heading into the 44th federal government frame, a minority government no less, as serious national challenges boil in realpolitik, both domestic and foreign.
After his caucus voted down a change to the party’s constitution enabling it to toss their captain–a mandate that still remains within party’s membership purview–Scheer emerged swinging for the fences promising to restore “ethics and accountability” and getting “the energy sector back to work.”
As Trudeau spent the last few days at his favourite surfing spot in Tofino, B.C., home of Pacific Rim National Park, Scheer demanded the PM return to Ottawa and blasted our G7 surfer dude for “stok(ing) the revival of the separatist Bloc Quebecois and has sown the seeds of disunity in the West”.
“These are pressing issues of national importance that need to be addressed so I am calling on Justin Trudeau to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible, to do so.”
So will Canadian voters give Scheer a second chance and will media extract the same pound of flesh from Trudeau for his perceived shortcomings? That remains to be seen. Conservative Party members will have the first say anyways, at a mandatory leadership review set for their April convention next year.
As for Trudeau, his immediate future will depend on the confidence of the House, pretty much a sure-thing given he can tack right or left for support without having to compromise with Conservatives.
And as for Scheer and the LGBT issue, stay tuned for Pride Month June 2020, if he even lasts that long. In the interim, Scheer said that Baird has been tapped to conduct “a thorough and external review of the campaign”.
During the Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday, the CPC Members of Parliament have chosen not to remove incumbent leader Andrew Scheer from his leadership position. The meeting started at 1:00 PM and lasted for well over three hours as the CPC caucus struggled to solve structural problems from within the party. One of the four questions the caucus had to answer was whether the MPs should give themselves the power to launch this leadership review.
The CPC MPs voted in favour of electing a caucus chair. They have also voted in favour of forming a method to kick MPs out of caucus. Finally, they then decided to vote against having choosing an interim leader due to their rejection of the leadership review.
Despite Conseravtive MPs rejecting to trigger a leadership review today, Scheer will still have to face a mandatory leadership review in Toronto this April.
According to well-connected figures within the party, both Erin O’Toole and Peter Mackay were preparing to leadership bids, with O’Toole eyeing up a possible no confidence challenge during the caucus meeting. For the confidence vote to be triggered, at least 25 MPs would have been needed to sign the notice.
When The Post Millennial approached Mackay with these rumors, the former Harper minister vehemently denied them. MacKay, however, did aggressively criticize Scheer, telling reporters that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay added that Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau “was like having an open net and missing the net.”
In the Ottawa airport on Tuesday, Hamish Marshall, who is Scheer’s campaign manager, was confronted by CBC journalist Katie Simpson. When Simpson asked Marshall about the caucus meeting, Marshall responded that “it was none of her business.”