I won’t waste much time directly addressing the attempted coup that took place in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday this past week. Others have already covered it in considerable depth, and the fallout will no doubt take months or more to sort out.
However, Maclean’s decided to publish something today that I think deserves to be smacked around for continuing exactly the patterns that I have become increasingly critical of conservatism in Canada for following.
The column, entitled “Let’s Not Waste This Crisis in American Democracy”, and is written by former Harper-era communications guy Andrew MacDougall. Please, go and read it. When you are done reading it, I’ll explain just how twisted it really is.
First, MacDougall, is correct about one thing: The same poisons that led to last Wednesday’s attempted coup exist in Canadian politics. We absolutely should not believe that because we are north of the 49th parallel that somehow we aren’t affected by Trumpism. It's here, and it has been for some time. Whether it's Erin O'Toole adopting "Take Canada Back" as a slogan, or his "Canada First" policy, it's there and it's right in front of you.
... and here is where he twists for the first time. Note that MacDougall correctly notes that "agreeing on facts" has become a problem. He's correct, but then he slides responsibility for that onto someone else's plate - in this case, the incoming "left wing" Biden administration. This little bit of deft, but dishonest, sleight of hand sets the stage for the rest of MacDougall's arguments. He's not arguing that _conservatives_ need to change. No, instead, he's trying to make it a "systemic" problem. Oh, the media's "biased", or Facebook is "biased", or Twitter is a cesspool, etc.
... and now MacDougall slides right into the swamps of "BothSideism". We are to understand that "both sides" are bad here, and both sides are "poisoning" political discourse. Except that really isn't the case. Yes, periodically, left wing politicians get caught out in a lie of one sort or another. Usually that's a single politician getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or having done something stupid in the past. (Although, I will admit that I find the current Federal NDP's leadership has been a little too quick to repeat CPC talking points on the WE "Scandal"). Kenney in Alberta reflexively went to lying in his press conference about his wayward MPs who travelled abroad over Christmas ... in a pandemic ... claiming that he had "no idea they had travelled abroad" - a lie which was called out almost immediately on Twitter.
... and here Mr. MacDougall doubles down on BothSideism, claiming that "the left" is too quick to lump conservatives together as being racist. While not all conservatives are racists, it's stunning the regularity with which we find the conservatives giving a political home to racism. Whether that is going back to the prairie roots of the Reform party, or turning up in anti-immigration policies like "The Barbaric Cultural Practices" hotline, it's still racism. The political left didn't give those people a political home, conservatism chose to do so starting in the 1980s. Fast forward to Kenney forming the UCP in Alberta, and a surprising number of UCP Candidates had espoused some pretty awful ideas, party officials have made comments criticizing anti-racism efforts, or were found to be partying in the company of racist groups. Further, cynicism about the concept of racism shows up in the UCP's actions once in power.