Is Canada a land that tolerates demagogues and populists and bigots? And do we know one when we see one? Demagogues are politicians who tell you what they think you want to hear. A populist is a demagogue who appeals to the lowest common denominator among voters. And a bigot is a politician who sorts the population into groups and tries to turn one group against another for political advantage. We would like to think of Canada as a land free of such chicanery.
But sorrowfully, it is not. And if we continue to let these people go unleased and brazen and with power, we could be signing the death warrant of our democracy.
No doubt you can add more to the list but let me name three of these people who are a serious threat to-day to democracy in Canada.
The first is MP Pierre Poilievre. This man has weaseled his way through the political systems of our country to the point where he is on the brink of becoming leader of the conservative party of Canada. He is a demagogue. He has used the frustrations that people feel in coming through a deadly pandemic to build a following of discontents.
He tells these followers that it is the present government—the one that brought us through the pandemic, so far, with fewer deaths than most advanced nations—is responsible for the current ‘world-wide’ inflation. He also lies about the Bank of Canada and lauds cryptocurrencies.
The second is premier Doug Ford of Ontario. This man has bluffed his way in politics. He poses as a populist. He makes promises for the simple minded. Nobody would vote for him who would think through all his promises. He has no compassion for the environment or for people. His party’s slogan in the last campaign was that the conservatives will “Get it done.” He forgot to add the words: ‘For their friends.’
The third of these politicians is premier François Legault of Quebec. Legault is a demagogue, poses as a populist and is a proven bigot. In pandering to the francophone population in Quebec, he discourages freedom of religion, fails to protect the rights of people who speak English and even wants Quebec’s language police (l’Office québécois de la langue française) to search without warrant.
I expect that democracy only becomes precious when you lose it.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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