Anti-Trudeau mobs fuel Liberal campaign by turning prime minister into an object of sympathy

Angry crowds are reinforcing the governing party's message that Conservatives are willing to gamble with Canadians' lives

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      Warning: This article contains swear words.

      I've spent this morning watching some videos of mobs who were raining expletives on Justin Trudeau this week.

      Here are some of the insults hurled at Trudeau in a video on Katrina Elizabeth Conlan's Facebook page, It was from a Trudeau campaign appearance in B.C.

      0:25 "Coward"

      0:27 "You fucking goof"

      0:36 "Coward"

      0:56 "You fucking goof"

      1:02 "Fuck your fan club, buddy"

      1:07 "You fucking goof"

      1:27 "He's a dick"

      A "goof" is prison slang to describe informers, molesters, child killers, and all inmates segregated from the general population in protective custody, according to the Urban Dictionary

      On the same page, Conlan noted that she made Trudeau look at her mother's euthanized body.

      Another video is on James Davidson's Facebook page

      "We're going to have a Nuremberg all over again," Davidson says before Trudeau arrives in reference to trials of Nazi war criminals.

      Then, at 1:42, Davidson says: "What happend the last time there was crimes against humanity? A lot of Nazis hanged. A lot of people had to die, though, for their stupidity." 

      When Trudeau arrives at 2:47, the expletives come pouring forth.

      Trudeau is called a "fucking prick" and a "goddamned weasel", among other insults.

      Hotel workers were also on-location. Hugs Over Masks leader Marcella Desjarlais interviewed one of them in the video on Davidson's Facebook page. This worker, who wouldn't go on camera, mentioned how she and her colleagues were laid off while the owner continues making money by running a "quarantine hotel".

      The message seemed to be that the mob's expletive-filled rage at Trudeau—including the comment that a lot of people had to die because of their stupidity—is somehow justifiable.

      Last night, Trudeau cancelled a rally in Bolton, Ontario, because another angry mob gathered. They're furious about Trudeau's support for funding COVID-19 vaccine passports.

      Members of this crowd were again hurling the "Nazi' charge. In the minds of some, taking public-health measures to contain a pandemic, including imposing mandatory mask mandates, is somehow the equivalent of systematically murdering six million Jews.

      Video: Justin Trudeau explains why he had to cancel a campaign rally in Bolton, Ontario.

      Not surprisingly, this has turned Trudeau into an object of sympathy for many Canadians, precisely when he needed a campaign boost.

      The Liberal leader is being bullied and most Canadians don't like bullies, even when their target is a powerful politician. No wonder this behaviour was condemned by Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. They can foresee what impact it's going to have on Liberal fortunes.

      Let's be clear about what's happening to Trudeau.

      A bunch of people who disagree with mask mandates and other public-health measures to stem the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant are trying to prevent him from speaking and holding campaign events.

      Many of these angry demonstrators simply don't believe what public-health officials are saying even though most of these protesters probably never even took a Biology 12 class in high school.

      Governments have atttributed 4.5 million deaths to COVID-19  around the world, including nearly 27,000 in Canada. Yet many of these protesters feel that we should all be living our lives as we did before the pandemic.

      That's because they think they'll probably survive COVID-19 if they catch it. And they think that those who won't survive are mostly old people, so it doesn't matter anyway. Or these protesters are living in a fantasy world in which COVID-19 is as harmless as the common cold.

      Or they think that all we have to do is separate the immuno-compromised from the general population, and everything will be fine. It's a ridiculous idea, given how much care some immuno-compromised people need in their day-to-day lives. They also have to buy groceries like the rest of us.

      Most Canadians disagree with the idea of killing off many people with Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases, let alone cancer survivors. Yet this is precisely what would happen if the conspiracy theorists get their way.

      I have no doubt that if Trudeau articulates this on the campaign trail—and is seen by this majority of Canadians as the only serious candidate for prime minister speaking sensibly on this issue—his poll numbers will improve.

      "The bottom line is that the Cons are dangerous and a direct threat to what the majority of us believe in," one federal Liberal told me this week. "They have gambled with our lives by pushing conspiracy theories and promoting dissension against health protocols."

      It's a compelling message for many voters, regardless of O'Toole's denials or how exasperated some of us are over Trudeau's policies on the climate, Indigenous issues, or the opioid crisis. And it's a narrative that I expect the Liberals will drive home more aggressively in the final weeks of the campaign.

      The conspiracy theorists who've been hounding Trudeau have helped reinforce that story line.

      If Trudeau keeps his dignity—and doesn't succumb to the temptation of giving them the finger, like his father did to protesters in Salmon Arm—he just might end up on September 20 with the parliamentary majority that he craves.

      In 2017, Justin Trudeau responded to a young boy who asked why his dad gave the finger to protesters.