This week, Tucker Carlson, the controversial American Twitter/X host, headlined two packed speaking events in Alberta. One took place at Calgary’s Telus Convention Centre, where he had a “fireside chat” with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. The other was held at Edmonton’s Roger’s Place.
Prior to arriving in Canada, the fired former FOX News TV host teased the events by calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s media phone line, saying that he was coming to “liberate Canada.”
Not everyone in Canada was happy Carlson was coming to town. Two weeks prior, an Edmonton petition was launched, imploring Rogers Place to cancel the event. It garnered 18,000 signatures. The petition claimed hosting Carlson, who has been criticized for what have been called racist, homophobic, and sexist comments, put some peoples’ safety in jeopardy.
Here are five tweets demonstrating the division of opinion when it came to his visit.
Those in attendance celebrated Carlson’s admission that he actually had Canadian ancestors, with some relatives still living in Nova Scotia:
Others drew attention to the size of the crowds, a reported 4,000 in Calgary and 8,000 in Edmonton:
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressed joy attending the evening event in Edmonton, having privately dined with the media figure during his visit. She thanked Carlson, former newspaper baron Conrad Black, and professor Jordan Peterson (who were also in attendance):
Others, including the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour Gil McGowan, told the premier the event couldn’t be called a “free debate”, given that he saw “three dudes on stage who agree with each other (parroting the same extreme right MAGA lines ad nauseam).”
During his appearances, Tucker called for more freedom of speech, more oil production, and weapons for self-defence. He criticized what he called the destruction of the crowd’s culture, Canada’s “unrestrained immigration”, MAiD, and mainstream media, including the CBC. He said he was sad Montreal was being “cleansed of its Anglo legacy.” He called Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland a “demagogue” with fascist tendencies.
During her discussion with Carlson, Premier Smith ridiculed Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, saying “I wish you would put Steven Guilbeault in your crosshairs.”
Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden was appalled by Smith’s remarks, tweeting she was “encouraging violence against politicians that she disagrees with.”
Various Liberal ministers denounced the visit. One said Premier Smith was responsible for “summoning the dogs of MAGA Trump.” Guilbeault called on Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre to condemn the crosshairs remark.
Later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned Tucker Carlson at the Liberals’ caucus meeting:
He also called out the Conservatives for what he said was their lack of support for Ukraine.
“Pierre Poilievre and his Conservatives chose to vote against support for Ukraine, calling it a ‘faraway, foreign land’, to appease Putin apologists like Tucker Carlson and those who enable him,” Trudeau said.