Tim Louis: Dark clouds on the political landscape

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      There are very dark clouds looming on the Canadian political landscape.

      On September 9, 2022, the membership of the Conservative Party of Canada elected Pierre Poilievre by a landslide to be their new leader.

      Pierre Poilievre is Stephen Harper on steroids. He has all of the pseudo-populism traits of Donald Trump but without the bombast.

      Poilievre’s background is steeped in politics. His own words portray him as intensely partisan, articulate, and extremely dedicated to small government.

      Born in Calgary in 1979, he became active in the Reform Party of Canada in his mid-teens, canvassing for Jason Kenny at age 16, and at 17 acting as a delegate to the party’s 1996 national convention.

      Studying international relations at the University of Calgary, he became increasingly committed to supporting more ideologically conservative positions, arguing in an essay that if he were prime minister, he would give individuals as much social, economic, and political control as possible.

      In that same essay, Poilievre advocated for a two-term limit for members of Parliament, stating that politics should not be a lifelong career.

      It is notable that he was first elected to Parliament in 2004 at age 25 as MP for the Nepean-Carleton riding under the newly merged Conservative Party of Canada. He has now served seven terms as an MP, rising to increasingly senior positions under successive Harper governments.

      He qualified for full government pension when he was only 31.

      During his time in Parliament, he appears to have changed his values a few times, arguing against Canada’s same-sex marriage law in 2006 and now claiming that law is a success, and over the years voting in favour of anti-choice bills and motions while now saying he is pro-choice on abortion.

      He questioned in 2008 whether the compensation package given to Indigenous survivors of residential schools was getting value for all the money, then later apologized for making hurtful remarks.

      More recently he has criticized Elections Canada, has vowed to take more control of Canada’s central bank, and has promoted cryptocurrencies.

      Pierre Poilievre talks a good line about being opposed to the elites. In fact, he is in the pocket of Canada’s elites, strongly advocating for tax cuts, which will benefit most those with higher incomes. If elected as prime minister, he will be at their beck and call.

      He is opposed to workers successfully negotiating better wages and benefits through their unions. In fact, he is opposed to unions altogether, knowing that a unionized worker earns on average far more than a non-unionized worker.

      Poilievre has consistently said he stands for more freedom for Canadians. This is code for opposition to mask mandates, which is also a code for opposition to vaccine mandates. It is code for “me first” no matter what the consequences are for families, friends, neighbours, and fellow workers.

      Do not be fooled by this very dangerous, extremely right-wing chameleon. He is so far to the right that he gave open support to the weekslong trucker convoy in Ottawa.

      We must keep a careful eye on federal political polling that will occur over the next few months.

      If it appears as though Poilievre has any real possibility of being elected prime minister, it will be absolutely imperative that a broad-based progressive coalition be built—a tent in which Liberals, New Democrats, the Bloc Québécois, and the Greens are all welcome, united, and determined to prevent at all costs this very evil, destructive and dangerous being from running our country. 

      Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]

      Latest daily total (Sept 15, 2022): 414.73ppm

      One year ago (Sept 15, 2021): 413.42ppm