Right-wing backlash on display in both the federal Conservative and B.C. Liberal parties
Sometimes, the political pendulum moves in fairly predictable ways in Canada.
Liberals rule for a while, and then they're replaced by Conservatives, often after about a decade.
Here in B.C., the same thing happens, though the "Liberals" in this province go by the name "NDP" and the Conservatives are called "B.C. Liberals".
But let's not kid ourselves. NDP premier John Horgan is a close ally of Justin Trudeau.
They agree on so many things, including the Site C dam, the giant liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, the new federal childcare plan, and imposing modest tax increases on high-income earners to show voters that they're not right wingers.
Horgan was happy to be photographed with Trudeau shortly before the election writ was dropped
However, the B.C. premier was not willing to be seen with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during the campaign.
New B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon is more of a true-blue right winger than Erin O'Toole ever was as leader of the federal Conservatives.
O'Toole's red-Tory inclinations are the reason why he was punted by the caucus. The new interim Conservative leader, Candice Bergen, is shamelessly right wing as is the likely permanent leader, Pierre Poilievre, who was one of former PM Stephen Harper's chief attack dogs.
Here's what I found interesting about the recent B.C. Liberal leadership race—anyone who could be perceived as being a real liberal was trounced.
The second-place finisher, Ellis Ross, has demonstrated his right-wing street cred around the climate. He once questioned in a documentary why it's even worth having a conversation on this topic when "scientists and the experts can't agree on what's really going on".
That drew a sharp rebuke from one of the only real liberals in the B.C. Liberal leadership race, Val Litwin.
"As leader of the B.C. Liberal party, I would not be confused about climate science," Litwin said. "Climate change is real and it is happening now."
Litwin received only 5.8 percent of the votes on the first ballot compared to the 26.7 percent for Ross. It demonstrates where B.C. Liberal members stand on this issue.
Ross only received three endorsements from caucus members. But one of those was Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, who refused to answer a reporter's question last year about whether he believes climate change is real and if it's caused by humans. The other two came from MLAs who represent natural-gas and coal-producing regions in B.C.
Meanwhile back in 2017, Falcon endorsed federal Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, who has claimed that there is no scientific consensus on whether human beings are causing dangerous global warming.
Bernier was voicing that position long before he became leader of the People's Party of Canada.
So, Falcon can't try to claim that Bernier only arrived at his anti-science viewpoint after leaving the Conservative caucus.
The third-place finisher in the B.C. Liberal leadership race, Michael Lee, has branded himself as a more middle-of-the-road voice in the party in recent years. But the reality is that he was a Progressive Conservative for many years, not a federal Liberal.
In the end, Lee was annihilated, as was Gavin Dew, who tried to make environmental leadership a pillar of his campaign.
Another candidate, Renee Merrifield, was the preferred choice of the anti-abortion group RightNow and she was also crushed. Falcon was RightNow's second choice—and he won.
From these results, it's safe to assume that the B.C. Liberals appear ready to take a right turn. Falcon has even suggested changing the name of the party.
The federal Conservatives are also moving to the right. Don't be surprised if Poilievre reverses O'Toole's position and rejects a carbon tax.
It's a fact of life that the farther right a party drifts, the more likely that it will evolve into an anti-intellectual beast that rejects the findings of scientists and has contempt for academia.
We saw that in the U.S. Republicans' response to the pandemic and the former federal Conservatives' attempts to shut down a supervised injection site in Vancouver.
With the pandemic underway, rising overdose deaths across the country, and a climate emergency, we probably need to listen to scientists now more than ever.
Harper always thought he knew better than the scientists, so he pushed ahead with his dream of making Canada a fossil-fuel energy superpower.
So does Bernier, which is witnessed by his disgust for public-health orders and rejection of climate science.
To Falcon's credit, he listened to scientists in responding to the HIV crisis when he was health minister.
But Falcon also showed little regard for climate science as the minister of transportation and infrastructure when he barrelled ahead with his beloved Gateway program. Combine that with Falcon's support for Bernier and there's a big red flag over the B.C. Liberal leader when it comes to global heating.
The people most likely to disagree with the scientific consensus on climate change are libertarian-minded males of Falcon's generation and older. No wonder he supported Bernier.
As for Poilievre, he was always a loyal lapdog to Harper's anti-science agenda.
Is this really what the country needs at this point in our history?