Josh is the main author of Northern Currents. Josh is an electrician of 10 years and has been interested in radical politics for even longer. Follow me on Twitter at @josh_nc.
Initially, the Conservative party generally supported the truckers convoy, even as figures of Justin Trudeau in a noose were on full display on the first day of the circus sideshow.
“Freedom, not fear, Truckers, not Trudeau,” said Pierre Poilievre.
As the general public grew tired and annoyed of the convoy-turned-occupation in Ottawa, the Conservatives switched course, calling on occupiers to remove their trucks and go home. Their message had been heard.
While the leaders of the convoy were far-right extremists of different sorts – Wexiters, QAnon supporters, or outright white nationalists – the vast majority of convoy supporters were simply anti-mask, anti-vaccine, or anti-mandate. The Conservative Party has embraced the ideals of the convoy supporters; their ideals around the pandemic and vaccination are one and the same at this point.
Covid protections out the window
Whereas earlier in the pandemic, there was some support among Conservatives for public health measures, now, mainstream leaders have taken up the anti-mandate cause.
Candace Bergen recently stated her opposition to vaccine mandates by denouncing Trudeau and the Liberals as “backwards and regressive in their thinking when it comes to the need for restrictions.” She also went on to say that “vaccine mandates are so yesterday.” Many scientists and healthcare workers disagree. The pandemic isn’t over yet.
MP Michael Barret praised Saskatchewan and Alberta for being the first provinces in Canada to lift restrictions, vaccine passports, and mask mandates. The first question that comes to my mind is this: Is being the first area to remove all Covid protections a good thing? Isn’t that a sign of being too hasty?
Pierre Poilievre, who most likely will be the next leader of the Conservative Party, didn’t hesitate to grandstand. “1000 people packed the house last night in Regina to send a message that I’ve been hearing across our country.” These 1000 people (including Pierre) also appeared to be entirely maskless and without any thought to socially distance.
Finally, an article about Conservative Party wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Jason Kenny. What’s he up to anyway? Unsurprisingly, he is also parroting his federal counterpart’s party line. As stated earlier his province has already lifted nearly all of its Covid protections. But that hasn’t stopped him from fighting municipalities that want to implement their own public health rules. American Republicans would be so proud. It also hasn’t stopped him from railing against Federal travel restrictions, which he calls “pointless.”
Hard turn to the Right
After unsuccessfully trying to appeal to the centrist voters via Erin O’Toole, the Conservative party has made a turn to the hard right. No doubt they want to swallow up lost voters further to the right that have turned to the PPC.
What this means in practice is an outright rejection of any public health measures that actually prevent Covid infections and transmission. It means siding with capital over public health. At this point, the Conservative party is effectively the political arm of the trucker convoy.