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

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Conservative Party of Canada leadership frontrunnerPolling 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 PetersonWhen 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 debateBitcoin 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 gatekeepersGoing 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.”

A new party sees an opening on Doug Ford’s right flank

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On an unseasonably scorching May evening in Ottawa, an eclectic crowd gathered in a small conference room in the city’s west end. The Ontario election has mostly elicited yawns from the electorate but this meeting of the New Blue Party had an electric undercurrent.

It is a classic trope of political campaigning for organizers to book a smaller room than needed and lure journalists into stories about overflowing halls and extra chairs being brought in to satisfy the demand.

Cramming more than 100 people into the tiny conference room at the Hyatt Place in Nepean seemed to be a genuine miscalculation, though, as supporters squeezed together uncomfortably in the warm temperatures and spilled into the hallway.

Belinda Karahalios, whose husband Jim Karahalios leads the party, said the event “tripled our expectations.”

The party is only a year-and-a-half old and is a result of some personal grudges against the governing Progressive Conservatives and a resilient sense among some voters that the PCs have campaigned to the right and governed to the left.

Like any grassroots party, it scorns the establishment, whether it’s Doug Ford’s PC Party or Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.

Party leader Jim Karahalios wrapped up his speech at around 8 p.m. while, across the country in Edmonton, the Conservative Party leadership candidates were getting ready to hold their first official leadership debate. No one in the packed conference room seemed to know or care.

In a series of speeches given by local candidates, followed by former PC MLA Belinda Karahalios and then Jim Karahalios, the mainstream parties were mocked and pilloried. Belinda Karahalios was booted from Doug Ford’s PC caucus after resisting a bill to give the government sweeping emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic and her main promise to voters is that she will represent them, rather than succumb to party whips or lobbyists.

“That party is rotten to the core,” she said, during a short speech that mostly told the story of her battle against the party machine.

Jim Karahalios resisted the “right wing” label for his own party, referring to it simply as a grassroots movement and describing its supporters as people who believe the system has been hijacked. The key applause lines in Jim Karahalios’ speech, though, were all issues that target Ford’s right flank, from taxes, to fiscal policy, to school curriculum, which he says is infested with critical race theory.

Jim Karahalios described the Ford government as “the provincial wing of the Justin Trudeau federal Liberal Party” and an “extension of the McGuinty-Wynne government.” His speech decried the industrial carbon tax brought in by the PCs and pointed out that even after removing COVID-19 spending, the size of government in Ontario has grown under Ford.

The New Blue Ontario Party is not the only party to see an opportunity on Ford’s right flank.

The Ontario Party is led by former federal Conservative malcontent Derek Sloan, who was booted from the party by former leader Erin O’Toole. After running as an independent in the 2021 federal election in the Alberta riding of Banff—Airdrie, Sloan was soundly defeated by the local Conservative incumbent. On the campaign trail, Sloan has been voicing his opposition to vaccine mandates and declaring his enthusiasm for freedom.

During a recent speech in Sudbury, Sloan warned about the “ongoing and encroaching surveillance state” that he said resembles Communist China, decried plans by the World Economic Forum to put “microchips in our bodies and in our heads,” and said there’s a “strong libertarian flair” to his party, according to a local news site.Ontario Party Leader Derek Sloan talks ‘freedoms’ in Sudburyhttps://www.sudbury.com/local-news/ontario-party-leader-derek-sloan-talks-freedoms-in-sudbury-5345587

Sloan was recently banned from Twitter, which he believes is due to comments that were critical of COVID-19 vaccines.

At the New Blue Party event, an eclectic group of local candidates took turns delivering short speeches, with most of them successfully toeing the line between opposition to vaccine mandates and pandemic policies and the insidious conspiracy theories that have been seeping into right wing politics on this topic. When one candidate broke into a rant about vaccine side effects and insulted a CBC cameraman, he admitted to the crowd that he was getting head shakes and disapproval from party members assembled just outside the door of the room.

Although the two parties haven’t been getting much media attention, they represent an ongoing phenomenon in Canadian politics as the country emerges from a two-year pandemic. Anger about COVID-19 restrictions has sparked a movement in Alberta to oust Premier Jason Kenney, who will learn the results of an extraordinary review of his leadership on Wednesday. Earlier this year, Ontario was a focal point of a massive protest against vaccine mandates and various other pandemic policies. Truckers and heavy vehicles seized downtown Ottawa for weeks and border crossings were blockaded by protesters, causing a major trade disruption.

The trucker protests, which Jim Karahalios attended in the first week, have been a similar mix of genuine opposition to pandemic policies combined with extremism about overthrowing the government, vaccine misinformation, and conspiracy theories.

In last year’s federal election, the People’s Party of Canada tallied its best-ever numbers by winning five percent of the popular vote and hosting raucous rallies around the country. In Ontario, the PPC out-performed its national vote shared by earning 5.5 percent of votes.

It’s likely the PPC pulled voters angry about pandemic restrictions away from the Conservative Party and possibly cost the party seats by splitting the vote.

In the 2021 federal election, a calculation by Global News found that the Conservative Party’s margin of loss was smaller than the PPC vote share in 20 ridings, possibly costing them many of those seats.Canada election: Did the PPC split the Conservative vote? Maybe — but it’s not that simplehttps://globalnews.ca/news/8212872/canada-election-conservative-vote-splitting/

According to pre-election polling, about half of the PPC’s voters said the Conservative Party was their second choice. A deeper analysis conducted a month after the election by Global News found that not securing those voters cost the Conservative Party six seats, with five of them going to the Liberal Party. The Liberals secured a minority government with 160 seats.People’s Party may have cost the Tories 6 ridings on election nighthttps://globalnews.ca/news/6071771/ppc-conservative-spoiler-election

If Ontario’s new right wing parties can combine to match the popular vote performance of the PPC of 5.5 percent, it would be greater than the PC margin of victory in the previous election in a dozen ridings in the province.

And a recent poll by Leger and Postmedia last week shows that the New Blue Party seems to be attracting disgruntled conservatives. The party attracted three percent support, which is up from two percent the previous week and is only one percentage point behind the Green Party.Ontario election: Ford’s PCs pull away from Liberals in new poll that should worry Del Ducahttps://nationalpost.com/news/ontario-election/ontario-election-fords-pcs-pull-away-from-liberals-in-new-poll-that-should-worry-del-duca

Most of the pandemic restrictions have been dropped in Ontario and the summer weather is pushing the pandemic down the list of voter priorities, but the province’s new right wing parties are hoping that voters remember that the PC government imposed the longest school closures in North America and Toronto residents endured one of the longest indoor dining bans in the world.

At the event in Ottawa, Jim Karahalios declined to answer what victory would look like for his party, whether it was winning a seat, building up vote-share, or simply successfully running candidates in all 124 ridings.

“If we stop, things will get worse a whole lot faster,” said Jim Karahalios.