A couple of my recent chirps have alluded to the belief of Canadians that what is happening in the US can’t happen here. It is already starting to happen, however. Back in 2015/16, Donald Trump declared his candidacy for President. He had attempted before and was not taken seriously. He was again underestimated in 2016. He proved everyone wrong. Republican leaders, seeing the support Trump was receiving from the Republican base, held their noses and rode Trump’s coattails. They believed that once Trump came to power, he would start acting presidential. Never happened. His lies were neverending. Hate crimes increased. Racism increased. The far right fringe of the Republican Party became more emboldened. We all remember “stand back and stand by”. More frightening is the fact that far right fringe is becoming more the mainstream of the Republican Party. The culmination was January 6, a divided country and an acceptance of alternative facts. Qu Anon is looked at with more acceptance. Marjorie Taylor Greene is evidence of that.
A few years back, Pierre Poilievre could have been considered as being too far right wing for Canadian politics. He is now the frontrunner for the leadership position. Now that we have Marcel Bernier as head of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) Poilievre does not seem so radical, when compared to Bernier. However, when compared to the previous Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole, Poilievre is still a fair amount to the right. Tensions are much higher compared to even five years ago. Both Trudeau and Singh, leaders of the Liberal and NDP parties have been harassed at a level never seen before. Canada went through the Freedom Convoy protests and border crossing closures. Poilievre is a supporter of the Freedom Convoy ,as well as the upcoming Freedom Convoy 2, and is an strong anti vaccer. He is against all mandates. Just as in the United States, far right supporters have become emboldened. Just like in the US, more Canadians are buying into alternative facts and conspiracy theories.
It is happening here. Is it just a flash in the pan phenomenon, or is taking hold, as it appears to be in the US? One tell will be the level of disruption caused by Freedom Convoy 2. A second tell will be whether Poilievre receives the nomination as Conservative leader. Time will tell.