(Featured image from CBC)
What’s it been since my last one of these? Twelve years? Something like that?
I meant to have this one out last week when these stories were much more relevant (although some of it is still ongoing), but I got sidetracked by other things. I considered trashing it and starting with a newer one, but I figure that I should at least show some signs of life before writing my next one. And also, it’s pretty good. But mainly because Maxime Bernier is supremely entertaining, sometimes.
Anyways, it’s a short one this week, but next time we’re talking about Saudi Arabia. So that should be fun. Or not, because good news is a luxury that we apparently can’t afford.
IF I WERE A LESSER JOURNALIST, I WOULD TITLE THIS SECTION SOMETHING STUPID LIKE “MR. SINGH GOES TO BURNABY,” OR PERHAPS SOMETHING SIMILAR, LIKE “MR. SINGH GOES TO METROTOWN.” I WILL NOT DO THIS, BECAUSE I AM A PHENOMENAL WRITER. GIVE ME YOUR MONEY.
When the New Democratic Party of Canada isn’t too busy actively trying to murder itself, it occasionally campaigns to be the next governing party of Canada. Since his election to the position of NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh has come under some scrutiny for not making it especially clear what his plan was for actually winning a seat in the House of Commons. Given that he has, to this point, built his federal Canadian political career on vague niceties about “Love and Courage,” Singh’s inability to give a straight answer is nothing new.
Once in a blue moon though, the NDP shows something resembling progression, and we certainly got that (maybe?) on Wednesday (That is to say, August 8th. Because I am bad at this), with Singh announcing that he intended to run as the NDP candidate in the by-election in Burnaby South (whose date is yet to be announced) to replace outgoing veteran MP Kennedy Stewart, who will resign his seat in September with the intention of running for Mayor of Vancouver.
To play devil’s advocate for a minute, Singh’s decision to run in Burnaby, a city that is over four thousand kilometres away from his current residence in Brampton, Ontario, makes sense on some level, mainly due owing to the fact that the NDP got swept out of the Toronto area in the 2015 federal election, and the nearest federal ridings to Singh’s former provincial riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton that currently have NDP MP’s that may or may not be convinced to bugger off so Singh can run in an election there are in Hamilton or London which, contrary to what I believed five minutes before writing this, are not suburbs of Toronto.
Asking somebody like 14-year Hamilton Centre MP David Christopherson to resign from a seat in the working-class city of Hamilton so that somebody from the suburbs of Toronto can maybe win an election there is probably not the optimal way to run things, and that’s fair enough.
However, the problem with looking outside of the GTA for a seat as opposed to simply waiting for the federal election is that you can end up looking out of touch running in a riding that you do not live in, as opposed to a hypothetical candidate who knows the challenges faced by constituents in those ridings. Granted, Burnaby South has traditionally been a strong NDP riding, and, for whatever this is worth, Burnaby’s demographics could play into Singh’s favour (Burnaby is a young, progressive-leaning city that rides the line between being urban in itself and being a suburb of Vancouver, with over 60% of the city’s population being visible minorities), but the fact remains that he doesn’t actually live there, at least not yet.
Now, Singh has pledged to move to Burnaby if he wins the election and seeks to appeal to B.C.’s opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the need for a new hospital. Burnaby South and the ridings that merged to form Burnaby South have been solidly New Democrat for the past two decades or so, making this, at least on paper, a favourable situation for Singh’s election chances. But this hold on power may be more tenuous then it seems as the Liberals mounted a serious threat to the NDP in 2015, with Liberal challenger Adam Pankratz finishing a mere 1.19% behind the incumbent Kennedy Stewart. The Liberals are likely to push just as hard in the by-election under the ever-frustrating and left-punching platform of “Anybody But the Conservatives.”
Overall, there aren’t really any conclusions that we can draw from this until the actual by-election is held (likely in early-to-mid 2019, I’m guessing), but it’s worth keeping an eye on the off chance that everything gets completely FUBAR, which, given that we’re talking about the NDP, it almost certainly will.
IN WHICH A “REASONABLE LIBERTARIAN” HAS A NORMAL ONE ON TWITTER, SPEWS FASCIST TALKING POINTS
Those poor, unfortunate wretches who have been following Canadian politics for some time now may remember Libertarian Daddy Maxime Bernier as the current MP for Beauce, Québec, or as Stephen Harper’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose most notable achievement was leaving confidential documents relating to NATO’s 2008 Bucharest summit at the home of his girlfriend, who had some eye-raising (if not conclusive) connections to the Hell’s Angels. Since then, he has somehow gotten dumber.
Since the Conservatives were ousted from power, Bernier has, among other things, claimed that China has “less government and more freedom” than Canada; ran in the Conservative Party’s leadership election to replace Stephen Harper; retweeted a meme used by Men’s Rights Activists (which, inexplicably, has not been deleted as of yet); lost the election to Andrew Scheer (who ended up getting more votes within Bernier’s own riding); written a book about how Québec’s dairy farmer lobby stole the election from him due to his opposition to supply management; agreed to postpone the release of said book due to party unity; continue relentlessly shitting on Scheer anyways; accused Black Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes of thinking “the world revolves around [her] skin colour,”; released a chapter from his book on his website anyway, and gotten kicked out of Andrew Scheer’s shadow cabinet as a result.
Anyways, Bernier has gotten into more shit for claiming in a twitter thread last Sunday morning that Justin Trudeau’s government is pushing an agenda of “radical multiculturalism,” claiming that “‘more diversity’ will destroy what makes Canada great and lead to ‘cultural Balkanisation”
“Western values.” “Cultural traditions.” “Ghetto.” It’s like he’s gone all in on garnering support from alt-right internet shitlords.
Bernier has been rebuked not only by the Liberal Party but also by members of his own party such as Deepak Obhrai, Michelle Rempel (and Erin O’Toole. Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer refused to condemn him, however,
as he most likely believes the same thing but isn’t dumb enough to say it out loud claiming that, because Bernier is no longer in a caucus leadership position, these values are not reflective of the Conservative Party, a party that, not four years ago, toyed with the idea of instituting a hotline for concerned citizens to report “barbaric cultural practices.”
Apparently, the authority to kick Bernier out of the Conservative caucus doesn’t lie with Scheer, but with the caucus itself, meaning that Bernier doesn’t seem to be leaving the Party anytime soon. If this is the case, it’s tough to see any real consequences in Bernier’s future, unless he does something stupid (which isn’t out of the question, obviously) like join the Libertarian Party or something. Bernier has represented his riding of Beauce since 2006, despite bumblefucking his way through Parliament for twelve years. The fact is that the remarkably non-diverse population of Beauce has put up with him this long, and him being overtly racist likely isn’t going to sway their voting preference by very much.
If anything, I may not be giving Bernier’s intelligence enough credit, in his own kind of sick, perverse, objectively stupid way. Maybe he’s trying to position himself as the right-wing
neo-fascist “anti-establishment” candidate for when Canada inevitably implodes on itself and decides to go that route. Or maybe he’s just kind of a mean-spirited shitlord. Either is possible!
Anyways, what I’m saying is that he’s definitely going to be the next prime minister. At least Jordan Peterson as Government Whip should be fun.
Since the remarks went public, Bernier has begun shitting all over the colleagues who condemned his remarks, specifically, the party leadership, who “disavowed” him for expressing a position that, as it turns out, doesn’t actually stray all that much from the party line.
Bernier may have actually hit a vein of truth here (completely unintentionally, of course); I would like to posit (and I hinted at this earlier) that what this moron has inadvertently let slip is that few of these tolerant, pro-immigrant non-Bernier Conservatives are much better than him. Not one week after condemning him, Michelle Rempel, herself prone to having normal ones on Twitter, defended a fascist heckler’s claims. Scheer, for his part, also defended the heckler’s “legitimate questions,” going on to condemn the Trudeau Government’s “[division] of Canadians” in a Twitter thread.
See, mainstream conservative’s problem with Bernier is not so much that they disagree with him. It’s more that they agree with him, but they don’t like his confrontational, faux-populist attitude, and his incapacity to articulate his hateful rhetoric in a way that appeals to the so-called “moderate” conservatives who are fine with immigrants, so long as they either assimilate enough to avoid shaking up the cultural mold and shut the fuck up about any challenges they may face, or so long as they’re already rich, because wealth is obviously what determines a person’s value in a society, and hiding their complete callousness towards the poor and oppressed with vague dog whistles about “cultural practices” and “border crises.”
Basically, they want more Stephen Harper and less Kellie Leitch. Because overtly fascist rhetoric alienates people who don’t want to see themselves as racists and only helps Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, who have semi-effectively weaponized their tolerant and progressive veneer as an effective bludgeon against the Conservatives.
Anyway, I’m not sure how to conclude this post. I think my point was to remind people that Kellie Leitch was a thing for a while.