Leading Canadians off the cliff

November 11, 2022

From the November-December 2022 issue of News & Letters

Halifax, Canada—Canada’s Conservative Party held a summer-long leadership contest before it chose Pierre Poilievre as leader. Poilievre is still an outspoken supporter of the so-called Freedom Convoy of last January and February which occupied the capital Ottawa and blocked border crossings in Alberta and between Detroit and Windsor. Then protesters in SUVs and pickup trucks pretended to be acting for over-the-road drivers, who, by overwhelming numbers, had already been vaccinated, to demand an end to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and maybe seize power.


Poilievre had also denounced Prime Minister Trudeau invoking the Emergencies Act (which an inquiry is currently investigating) when Ottawa police proved complicit with reactionary protest leaders. Poilievre, despite calling his tech savviness an asset, was called out by tech savvier people who discovered that all his YouTube videos for the last four years tagged a misogynist white supremacist cult.

Danielle Smith, new Premier of Alberta and newly chosen leader of the province’s United Conservative Party, checks off the same boxes and more. Not only has she railed against mask and vaccination mandates, she recently called Alberta’s unvaccinated people the most discriminated against group in her lifetime.

She is notorious for raising doubt that dead bodies of Indigenous children had been uncovered on the grounds of Residential Schools. Supposedly, the institutions intended to “kill the Indian in the child,” even as more than 1,000 bodies have already been unearthed. It’s unsurprising that researchers found that Smith had made two citations to an anti-Semitic website.

Syrians in Canada in solidarity with Ukraine. Photo by Majd Khalaf, March 5, 2022.

Equally worrisome was her regurgitating Putin’s propaganda in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by blaming Ukraine and NATO for provoking Russia. She suggested that with annexation Russia could rectify post-World War II political boundaries. Given the size of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Alberta, Smith has walked back those claims a little.


What propelled Smith into power was her advocacy for enacting the Alberta Sovereignty Act, and a vow to nullify or ignore any decisions of Parliament or the Supreme Court that she might deem harmful to Alberta.

Some observers feel that neither Poilievre’s confessions nor his exposures disqualify him from outdistancing Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the 2023 elections for Parliament. After all, in recent weeks overtly fascist parties have seized shares of power in Sweden and Italy, and MAGA candidates in U.S. states, leading in the polls, are promising, like Trump, to accept election results only if they win. So much for Canadian exceptionalism.

—Angry in Halifax

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