[ Part of The Canadian Far Right in the Time of COVID ]
Justin Trudeau announced a snap election in the hope that he could secure a majority in Parliament. This was an election that none of the opposition parties wanted and would not trigger themselves.
How it started
How it’s going
How it got here
Anti-mask, lockdown, and vaccine protesters have followed Trudeau to campaign stops across Ontario, culminating in one so large and threatening that the police and Prime Minister’s security detail could not guarantee his safety.
The leaders of the other major parties condemned the protests for their disruptive and inciting actions and words.
Trudeau returned to the campaign on Sunday, making his first climate announcements at a steel plant in Cambridge. His tour bus was delayed for an hour because of the protesters waiting for his arrival.
Protesters greatly outnumbered police even though the event had increased security in anticipation of the protest.
There are some real lunatics and zealots attached to these protesters. Attentive readers of this series may recognize some of the signs and symbols used in Bolton and Cambridge. Whoever could these protesters be?
“Lock him up” is of course an echo of the anti-Hillary Clinton slogan used by MAGA crowds, “Lock her up.” It has been deployed in Alberta since 2020 at the latest, when the separatist Wexit party bought this billboard:
Mia Rabson’s report on the Cambridge protest captured some of the more extreme details of the protest:
His campaign has been dogged by protesters at multiple stops, but the mob mentality and size of the crowds appear to have increased in recent days.
Some of the agitators have appeared at multiple events. One man showed up at a Trudeau event in Hamilton, Ont., and then the next day at one in Surrey, B.C. He told reporters he was “maybe” being paid to follow Trudeau around.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press (via CityNews)
Canadian elections are never this dramatic, and security is always very lax as a result. They are usually marked by photo ops, handshaking, maybe some mockery and pranks.
The Trudeau campaign protests are unlike anything seen in the country in decades. The PM’s security could reasonably anticipate that these crowds could become violent: the most wild outcome would be someone trying to impress Finn Wolfhard by becoming a John Hinckley Jr. copycat.
Election Image of the Day: By disrupting the Liberal leader’s event, they raise a question: what credible Canadian politician wants any part of them and their foul-mouthed crusade?Michael Fraiman writing for MacLean’s
Fraiman seems to forget the former Cabinet member and founder of the People’s Party who has been actively courting the support of these foul-mouthed crusaders:
This is a chance for the Liberal Party to retool their entire campaign. With Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives playing for the political Center and taking the lead in the latest polls, Trudeau’s Liberals need a different opponent, a foil, a villain.
They need to be able to cast Justin as the hero who saved Canadians from the pandemic, climate change, and their deniers. The Liberals need someone to represent everything that they are not, and the Tories are simply not that different from them.
Maxime Bernier and Justin Trudeau can both benefit by keeping the spotlight on one another and their antagonism.
If they were really savvy snakes then the Liberals could use the unusually aggressive protests as pretext for taking Trudeau off of the campaign trail and putting him back in front of a camera, where he has always performed best. He’s a dramatist, not a retail politician.
Bernier’s Heel Turn
Bernier needs Trudeau. His People’s Party of Canada has gained most of its support by catering to the far-right opponents of the Prime Minister. Having Trudeau in power actually benefits the PPC more than a Tory government, as it is so much easier to harness discontent against Trudeau than against a “Conservative in name only” like O’Toole. Trudeau can be presented as almost demoniac, or somehow portrayed as a Communist infiltrator and traitor.
More specifically, Bernier needs Trudeau to outperform the Conservatives. If the Conservative support starts to drop across the country then it will help his chances of winning back his riding, Beauce.
This is an enormous improvement over 2019, when Bernier lost his seat:
His xenophobic, nationalistic PPC ideologies are a perfect fit here:
The Beauce riding has the highest percentage of people who answered “Canadian” as their ethnic origin in the 2006 Census (84.0%; multiple responses).From Wikipedia, “Beauce (electoral district)”
It is also the riding with the highest percentage of Whites of European descent (99.3%).
The Bernier name has a long history in Beauce. His father Gilles was the MP from 1984 to 1997, when he was appointed Ambassador to Haiti. Gilles’ last term was won as an independent because he was not allowed to run for the Progressive Conservatives in 1993. Maxime himself held the riding from 2006-2018 as a Conservative and then as a PPC member from 2018 to 2019. Like father, like son!
[ Featured image from Global News ]
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