Poilievre says vaccine mandates are based on ‘political science’ not medical science in conversation with Jordan Peterson

Candidate Pierre Poilievre makes a point at the Conservative Party of Canada English leadership debate in Edmonton, Alta., Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press.

Conservative Party of Canada leadership frontrunner1Polling shows Poilievre has the edge in early stages of Conservative leadership campaign https://thehub.ca/2022-03-25/polling-shows-poilievre-has-the-edge-in-early-stages-of-conservative-leadership-campaign/ Pierre Poilievre joined Dr. Jordan Peterson2When asked at the latest CPC leadership debate in Edmonton to name a current book he was reading, Poilievre cited Dr. Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life, calling it a great book containing “a lot of good lessons. We all need to improve ourselves and I think he has a lot of good wisdom in that book that could help anybody.” on the Jordan B. Peterson Podcast, released Monday, to discuss his candidacy and a number of issues animating the campaign, including housing and inflation, defunding the CBC, and the Freedom Convoy protests that paralyzed Ottawa for several weeks this past winter. 

Poilievre reiterated his support for the peaceful protesters among those that gathered at the nation’s capital, saying that the vaccine mandates targeting the truckers were “unscientific and malicious” and that “this was never about medical science, it was about political science. It was about demonizing a small minority for political gain, and I’m proud of the fact that people stood up and fought for their freedoms in that case.”

To prevent future impositions on civil liberties, Poilievre pledged to reexamine the Emergencies Act:

“I’m consulting with legal scholars on how we can curtail the power and limit the use of the Emergencies Act in the future. I want to be very careful though in how I do it because this is an incredibly blunt instrument—in times of war or foreign attack or something like that you can understand why there might be an occasion where these powers might be needed—but I do think we need to craft changes to the Act that will prevent it from being abused for political purposes like this again.”

In contrast to the first official CPC leadership debate3Bitcoin takes a beating in the markets and the Conservative leadership debate https://thehub.ca/2022-05-12/bitcoin-takes-a-beating-in-the-markets-and-the-conservative-leadership-debate/ where candidates were forbidden from speaking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s name, Poilievre here took the opportunity to forcefully denounce Trudeau, calling him an “egomaniac” and “objectively unpopular.”

Trudeau was not the only political figure to draw criticism, as Poilievre also took aim at Steven Guilbeault, the minister of environment and climate change, labelling him “bonkers” and a “total nut.” Peterson in turn characterized New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh as “stunningly and singularly devoid of ideas, and I haven’t seen anything come out of the NDP federally that isn’t woke nonsense.”

Poilievre also expounded on many of the messages that have served to draw substantial crowds to his rallies, including the importance of removing gatekeepers4Going after Canada’s elite gatekeepers could be a winning strategy for the next Conservative leader https://thehub.ca/2022-02-21/going-after-canadas-elite-gatekeepers-could-be-a-winning-strategy-for-the-next-conservative-leader/ and increasing freedoms, commenting that there is a growing gap between the “the have nots and the have yachts.” 

Summarizing his own motivations for leadership, he contrasted his message as one of hope for Canadians of all classes, especially the workers who are being left behind:

“What bothers me most about politics in Canada is that there is a comfortable establishment that sits on top and governs for itself at everyone else’s expense, and the people who do the nation’s work—the plumber, the electrician, the truck driver, the police officer—have almost no share of voice. I want to empower those people and disempower the political establishment. That’s my mission, that’s my purpose, and I believe in it. I actually do believe in what I say. I truly believe that the ideas and the political approach that I advance are right. So having that purpose allows me to persevere through all of the nastiness and the exhaustion of political life.”

Also in the line of fire was the CBC, which Poilievre again committed to defunding if he were ever to become prime minister. He says he is unworried about the backlash from Canada’s mainstream media, who he claims were just as unfair to his Conservative predecessors even though they did not challenge the CBC directly.

“Yeah, they’re going to come after me guns blazing, I know that,” he said, “But they would do that even if I weren’t taking the principled stand on defunding them.”

Appearing on Peterson’s podcast might be a sign that Poilievre is doing an end-run around traditional media outlets, preferring to bypass the “left-wing media,” as he described them in the first leadership debate. To date, his media strategy has prioritized non-traditional, direct conversations to reach voters, such as this March 29 video from Tahini Mediterranean Cuisine’s YouTube channel that featured Poilievre smoking shisha and discussing Bitcoin.

Peterson’s podcast is a platform with a substantial reach that even outstrips traditional news channels. Peterson’s YouTube page has nearly five million subscribers and his videos average over half a million views. The Poilievre interview had more than 200,000 views by mid-day on Tuesday.

Peterson, who Tyler Cowen has called “one of the world’s leading public intellectuals” and who David Brooks described as “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world,” rose to prominence due to his opposition to the federal Bill C-16, which he resisted on the grounds that it legislated compelled speech.

While Peterson has generally stayed uninvolved in Canadian politics outside of his youthful dalliance with Alberta’s New Democratic Party, Peterson did interview the People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier during the last federal campaign.

Speaking with Poilievre, Peterson commended his courage for agreeing to be interviewed:

“I’ve asked other politicians, including some on the conservative side, and I’ve had some agree to speak with me, but generally they seem intimidated by the span of time that stretches out in front of them. Or perhaps, [they’re] not cognizant fully of the power of YouTube dialogue.”

Peterson has grown increasingly critical of Trudeau’s vaccine mandates and his recent handling of the Freedom Convoy protests, calling him a liar and a narcissist in an interview at the Hoover Institution on May 9. On February 19, Peterson released an original song, “Wake Up”, that was “Dedicated, under the current unfortunate conditions, to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau.”

At the height of the protests on January 31, Peterson took to Instagram to directly appeal to several conservative politicians, naming Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Ontario Premier Ontario Doug Ford, and then-opposition leader Erin O’Toole, and urging them to support the movement and remove the vaccine mandates.

“What in the world are you waiting for? It’s your moment. You’ve got a huge number of Canadians occupying Ottawa, expressing their dismay with the suspension of our charter rights in the face of this so-called emergency,” Peterson said. “Our prime minister has literally abandoned the city, run away, as far as I can tell.”

He continued, “You’re not going to get a better opportunity. This is your moment, conservatives in Canada.”

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