Poilievre, the Monet of politics

Poilievre, the Monet of politics
Poilievre, the Monet of politics

We now know the sequence. During question period Tuesday, the Conservative leader called Justin Trudeau and his drug policies “crazy” (“wacko“). Faced with his refusal to withdraw his unparliamentary words, the president expelled him. Conservative MPs followed him in solidarity.

How did we get here? Faced with their persistent delay in the polls, the Liberals decided to go on the attack. They intend to highlight the “extremism” of Pierre Poilievre and his flirtation with “white supremacy, anarchy and misogyny”. To do this, they recall that he is praised by the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and that he visited a camp of opponents of the carbon tax where an acronym of the Diagolon group was seen.

Alex Jones is the radio host who for years tormented the parents of 20 toddlers who died in the Sandy Hooks shooting by claiming it was staged. He was ordered to pay them $1.5 billion. As for Diagolon, opposed to health measures, their black logo crossed out by a white diagonal was seen on the weapons seized in 2022 in Coutts, Alberta, in the convoy which blocked the passage there.

Pierre Poilievre refuses to distance himself, pleading that he does not have to worry about what certain Americans think of him. True, public figures don’t control who likes them. Also true, he may not have seen the little logo inside one of the trailers he visited. But this refusal to disavow these elements forces us to conclude that he knows he is popular in these circles and does not want to lose their support.

The Liberals dream that Canadians will end up seeing a resemblance between Pierre Poilievre and Donald Trump. They did not fail to point out that at the same time as the conservative leader was expelled for inappropriate remarks, in New York, the former president was fined by the judge presiding over his trial for a similar reason.

A game played by two people

Wanting to expose Pierre Poilievre’s dark tendency to inflame people’s minds is justified. But we must ensure that in doing so, we do not contribute, at the other end of the spectrum, to radicalizing opinions. Perhaps this is impossible and this is the most pernicious side of this conservative approach: it generates a symmetrical response that sucks everyone into a downward spiral. However, the Liberals are helping to make the situation worse.

Their repeated accusations of “extremism” exacerbate tensions in Parliament.

The rigidity of President Greg Fergus, who refused to allow Mr. Poilievre to replace the word “crazy” with “extremist” and sanctioned him, but not Justin Trudeau who had criticized him for “devoid of backbone” leadership, fueled the impression of partiality.

Finally, outrage is selective. In 2020, when Jagmeet Singh was expelled for calling a Bloc MP “racist”, Justin Trudeau excused him in the name of his status as a “racialized” leader. We cannot compare the NDP to the Conservative Party. The latter is the main responsible for the deterioration of the parliamentary climate, multiplying marathons of useless votes, partisan summons and inflammatory declarations. There is still an impression of double standards.

Damn drug

All this bickering is against the backdrop of Pierre Poilievre’s approach to law and order. He promised to use the notwithstanding clause to restore conservative laws struck down by the Supreme Court. We are talking about minimum sentences. Consecutive periods of parole ineligibility for multiple murders. Refusal to release on bail. It is Stephen Harper’s entire legacy that he wants to resurrect. Liberals are fooling themselves by predicting that conservatives will also use it to limit women’s right to abortion.

Mr. Poilievre should be careful. A few days ago, an Ontario man was acquitted of the murder of a police officer whom he drove over while fleeing. Reason? The police officers who tried to apprehend him were in civilian clothes. The father of the family, otherwise without incident, had thought it was a robbery. Without bail, he would have languished in prison for three years for nothing. Doug Ford is criticized today for having denounced his release at the time. Justice and politics rarely go hand in hand.

There is also talk of opioids. Pierre Poilievre tries to make us believe that it is because of the decriminalization authorized a year ago by Justin Trudeau in British Columbia that overdose deaths are increasing in the country — more than 42,000 since 2016. As if the same crisis did not exist in the United States. He is taking full advantage of the province’s request to once again ban public consumption.

If you have listened to the excellent series Dopesick Or Painkillers, you know how complex this public health issue is and will not be resolved through imprisonment. We must show sensitivity in offering drug addicts care and reintegration, without being naive and allowing anything to happen or turning a blind eye to the misuse of legal substances. This problem, which destabilizes entire communities, deserves better than slogans and a dialogue of the deaf between “crazy” and “extremists”.

Despite the superficial denunciations, everyone is exploiting the situation to the fullest. Liberals and conservatives appealed for funds after the expulsion. The Liberal Party is pleased that this is its most lucrative collection of the month. On the conservative side, “wacko» — a term dear to Donald Trump — has become a rallying cry.

This week, Ontario Liberal MP Pam Damoff announced her upcoming departure. She despairs of the deterioration of public debate. “Elected officials’ toxic race for likes and impactful clips on social media harms constructive conversations, exacerbates our differences, and diminishes our ability to empathize with one another.” These are very wise words that everyone would benefit from meditating on.

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