Assaulting the Prime Minister is not how Canadians are supposed to act.
Disgusting displays of violence towards Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau continued on his campaign trail during this Labour Day weekend. What is being called a group of right-winged anti-vaxxers, hurled obscenities, racial slurs, and literal rocks at the Prime Minister while he was campaigning in London, Ontario. Canadians have the right to peaceful protest, but what we are seeing on the campaign trail is a coordinated group of extremists that have the mentality of one of Trump’s MAGA mobs.
The far-right ideology of the US has emboldened many Canadians to become far-right extremists. Those who once lurked in the shadows for decades now feel justified and comfortable bringing their regressive dogma to light. These groups are more than just keyboard warriors spreading misinformation, they are violent, they are harassing candidates, they are destroying property. Unsurprisingly, many believe in conspiracies; the illogical belief that their rights and freedoms are being taken away when asked to vaccinate is commonly held amongst far-right extremists.
These extremists believe that vaccines contain microchips, allowing the government to track the inoculated’s every movement. Ironically, they have no qualms about using cellphones and sharing all their personal history on social media. They are being forced fed daily doses of misinformation through Facebook. Their arguments are devoid of any semblance of truth and are often rooted in racism against multiple groups of people. The ludicrous beliefs of anti-vaxxers not only harm themselves but other people. When they get COVID, they allow the disease to easily spread through their disregard to public orders. This reduces vaccine efficacy rate, increases the number of variants and extends the pandemic.
Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole has condemned the violent behaviour towards any candidate seeking election. However, a campaign slogan like “Taking Back Canada” and refusing to support mandatory vaccines for his candidates and essential workers, are in line with many of the violent far-right mobs’ views.
Then there is Maxime Bernier, the leader of the Peoples Party of Canada (PPC) and former cabinet minister in Harper’s Conservative government. Bernier’s far-right ideology is dangerous and fits right in line with Trump and Steve Bannon. His party ran a small slate of candidates in 2019 but they were all repudiated by Canadians. The PPC is anti-immigration, anti-masks, anti-vaccine, and in favour of eliminating the ban on assault rifles and dangerous firearms. They want to “Make Canada Great Again.”
Canadians have already seen the horror and destruction of what a far-right president can do to a nation and its economy. We are already a divided nation that will forever be reconciling with our past, and far-right leaders will only hinder the notion of building a better dominion.