Friday, May 10, 2024

Violence against Canadian politicians is a Conservative development

I've lamented many times the new "nasty" style of politics being brought to Canada by Pierre Poilievre and many of the current crop of Conservatives. But I hadn't appreciated quite how nasty it was getting until reading an article by long-time NDP MP Charlie Angus.

Angus has always been a feisty and outspoken politician, but recently he has been particularly outspoken about Poilievre, whom he sees as going beyond the pale of traditional Canadian politics, and even undermining our whole democratic system. 

Well, he has been receiving some substantial push-back for his pains. Photos of his daughters were posted online, with details of where they work, and many threats have been levelled at him, all through the anonymity of social media (no actual violence ... yet). And they call HIM a coward!

Poilievre has been vocal about encouraging his supporters to take their protests directly to Liberal and NDP politicians, and they have been doing just that. Angus recounts examples of where MPs have been called on to engage in physical fights over their support for the carbon tax, where constituency office windows have been smashed with an axe in an "axe the tax" protest, where an MPs tires were slashed and his garage set of fire, and where a young female MP was followed down the street by a man screaming obscenities about her carbon tax stance.

Liberal MP Pam Damoff has vowed to quit politics completely, and won't run in the next federal election, due to the misogyny, disrespectful dialogue and threats to her life she has received of late. Certainly, the general tone of discourse has deteriorated drastically and, as Damoff says, the level of misinformation and just plain lying has resulted in a loss of trust in our institutions among the electorate. Why would you want to stay in such a toxic worm environment?

Going back a little further, this nastiness was perhaps presaged by the physical violence against Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail in 2021 (still just a few short years ago).

It seems to me that none of this would have happened just a few short years ago. This kind of extreme anger has been deliberately stoked, and today's Conservatives are, unequivocally, to blame. I'm not just being partisan here; it seems incontrovertible to me. Maybe you could blame Donald Trump, if we go one step further back. But the Tories/Republicans are the instigators, and the Liberals/Democrats are being inexorably drawn in to respond in kind, in a depressing race to the bottom.

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