How vaccination status might predict views on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Of note. Too much watching Fox News or sites like Rebel Media and “True” North?

Unvaccinated Canadians are about 12 times more likely than those who received three doses to believe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was justified, according to a new survey by national polling firm EKOS.

The poll found 26 per cent of those who identified as unvaccinated agreed the Russian invasion is justified, with another 35 per cent not offering an opinion. This compared to only two per cent of surveyed Canadians who said they had three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and who supported the attack, and four per cent who offered no view.

EKOS president Frank Graves said vaccination status strongly predicts views on the war, from seizing the property of Russian oligarchs to providing non-military aid to Ukraine. In each case, a vast majority of vaccinated Canadians agreed with measures to help Ukraine and oppose Russia, a view held by only a small minority of unvaccinated people.

Torstar was granted access to results of the EKOS data that show a correlation between vaccination status and attitudes toward a host of political issues, including the war in Ukraine.

The EKOS survey — conducted from March 9 to March 13 and using a random sample of 1,035 Canadians — concludes that a “plurality of vaccine refusers are much more sympathetic to Russia.” The survey has a reported margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Ten per cent of those surveyed, or about 105 people, identified as being unvaccinated. National vaccination statistics show around 11 per cent of Canadians five and up have not received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of those Canadians who received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the study found 82 per cent agreed with imposing tougher sanctions on Russia even if it meant higher fuel and food prices at home. Only 18 per cent of unvaccinated people concurred.

Eighty-five per cent of vaccinated people agree the country should take in Ukrainian refugees versus 30 per cent of unvaccinated Canadians.

While 88 per cent of vaccinated Canadians agree Russia is committing war crimes during the widely condemned invasion, 32 per cent of unvaccinated people do.

The study concludes the results point “to the highly corrosive influences of disinformation.”

“This is definitely a new and bluntly insidious force that’s contributing to polarization and disinformation and poor decision-making. And it doesn’t seem to be going away. Things are getting worse,” said Graves. “I don’t think this is because those people had an ingrained sympathy to the Russians. They’re reading this online, they’re consuming this from the same sources that were giving them the anti-vax stuff.”

The EKOS survey comes out at a time when some of the loudest anti-vaccine voicesthat supported the Ottawa occupation are pushing disinformation about the Ukraine war over social media channels that reach tens of thousands of people.

The Line Canada — its distinctive flag, depicting a red line through a black circle, visible during the Ottawa protest — tweeted unsubstantiated allegations Tuesday that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “lunatic” courting a world war and Ukraine is producing illegal bioweapons. Awake Canada, a self-described “civil rights” group that opposes pandemic mandates and has more than 116,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, compares NATO to Nazi Germany, while No More Lockdowns — the anti-COVID-mandate group associated with its de facto leader MPP Randy Hillier — pushed the conspiracy that the invasion is an attempt to stop a new world order.

“I saw it almost immediately, within days of the invasion, people supporting it and some quite stridently,” said Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta who has studied the rise and spread of conspiracy theories. “It was pro-Russia, pro-Putin, it was the same kind of dogmatic language you heard from the anti-vaxxers about the alleged harms associated with vaccines. And it was almost immediate and it was from the same crowd.”

Some of that amplification is also coming from Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, who has been a prominent figure at anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine rallies, as well as the Ottawa protest.

Bernier tweeted that he deplores the invasion but also shared on Twitter a March 3 video by Whitby PPC candidate Thomas Androvic, who said Putin was “doing us a favour” by invading Ukraine, and the country is a “money laundering industry” and “Trudeau is in on it.” Androvic did not respond by deadline.

Bernier told his 185,000 Twitter followers to watch the video, which he called “a very interesting analysis of the situation in Ukraine.”

The EKOS survey compares vaccination status with political attitudes on the pandemic, vaccines, government trust and the war to create what Graves called a “disinformation index” to better understand the influence of disinformation in Canada.

Graves said those with three vaccine doses rejected disinformation about vaccines, supported public health measures including vaccine passports, and expressed support for Ukraine.

He said the survey shows that with fewer doses, acceptance of disinformation grows, as does sympathy for the Russian invasion.

Unvaccinated Canadians are also more likely to have a profound distrust of government, science and professional health experts, Graves said, and are more likely to support the protest convoy that occupied Ottawa for nearly a month.

“So the pattern was really clear that disinformation was not just a curious feature. It was, I think, a causal ingredient of vaccine resistance.”

The population of unvaccinated Canadians is relatively small. Around 85 per cent of Canadians five years old and older have at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to federal data. Nearly half of Canadians 18 and older have received their booster.

But in recent years, the politically active elements of the anti-vaccine and anti-mandate community have proven to be adept at networking, organizing and fundraising through social media, said Stephanie Carvin, a national security expert from Carleton University. Millions of dollars were raised through crowdfunding for the Ottawa occupation, although much of that money is frozen as court cases and criminal investigations proceed.

“They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” said Carvin.

That organizational capacity may be attractive to mainstream politicians looking for support in tight election races, although wooing those sympathetic to Putin may carry its own political price.

“The convoy movement is going to have a long-term impact on Canadian political life, I think,” said Carvin.

Source: How vaccination status might predict views on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say

Hard not to agree. And it did not seem to have any effect of pulling the Conservatives further to the right:

In the lead-up to this week’s federal election, media outlets around the world wondered whether right-wing fringe candidate Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party represented an expansion of the populist, nationalist and anti-establishment sentiment sweeping the United States and Europe.

“A ‘Mad Max’ candidate offers a far-right jolt to the Canadian election,” read a headline in the New York Times. “Can populism become popular in Canada?” asked the BBC.

Judging from Monday night’s results, the answer appears to be a resounding no. The dismal outcome — the People’s Party clinched zero seats and less than 2 per cent of the popular vote — did not come as a surprise to political watchers, who said Tuesday our first-past-the-post system “inoculates” us from fringe parties. Plus, they said, Bernier’s brand of populism was just too extreme, particularly when it came to his views on immigration.

While Bernier, who lost in his own riding of Beauce, Que., insisted in a concession speech that the movement was “only getting started,” experts said the People’s Party likely would not survive.

“The PPC is rather easily seen now as a vanity project of Bernier’s, and as a very ineffectual attempt to come up with a latter-day Reform Party challenge to more moderate conservatism,” said David Laycock, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University.

Bernier, who held the Beauce riding since 2006, had served under the Conservative banner until last year when he narrowly lost the leadership contest to Andrew Scheer and then formed his own party. On Monday night, he garnered 28 per cent of the vote and placed second to Conservative Richard Lehoux.

Some of the party’s other higher-profile candidates, such as Renata Ford, widow of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Lee Harding, former Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, barely made a dent — coming in fourth in their respective ridings of Etobicoke North and Cypress Hills-Grasslands and capturing only 2.8 per cent of the vote.

Bernier blamed “nasty and shameless attacks” from opponents for the PPC’s poor showing. (Late last week, The Globe and Mail reported that strategist Warren Kinsella and his firm Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservatives to “seek and destroy” Bernier’s party and portray its supporters as racist. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny the allegation. Bernier filed a complaint with Elections Canada over the affair).

But experts suggested it was the party’s policies that did them in. While certain aspects of the PPC platform — support for libertarian principles, small government and a repeal of the carbon tax — dovetailed with the Conservatives, the party’s stances on immigration were controversial.

Bernier vowed to repeal the Multiculturalism Act and severely curtail immigration levels. Stealing from Donald Trump’s playbook, he even suggested building a fence along parts of the Canada-U.S. border to thwart irregular migration. Critics accused the party of providing a home to people peddling hate.

“Canadian voters don’t and won’t soon support the kind of overt racism that Bernier courted,” Laycock said. “Comparative public opinion data on immigration and multiculturalism show that while Canada isn’t the multicultural utopia that some commentators contend, Canadians don’t feel comfortable with explicit attacks on minority groups, and value ethnic diversity far more than most Europeans do.”

If Bernier had discussed multiculturalism in a more nuanced way with specific policy proposals, his messaging may have resonated more, said Tamara Small, a political science professor at the University of Guelph.

“The idea of multiculturalism is very important to people — definitely in English Canada,” she said.

Bernier had initially not been invited to take part in televised leaders’ debates, but that decision was reversed by former governor general David Johnston, head of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, who cited the party’s  “organizational capacity,” legitimate chance of electing more than one candidate and the media attention the party had received.

But Laycock and Small said the party received more news coverage than it deserved.

“I can’t think of a party in recent history that has polled at less than 3 per cent that got the amount of attention that he got, frankly,” Small said.

But if the media had ignored the PPC during the campaign, they would have been accused of not giving attention to the broad spectrum of political parties, said Bessma Momani, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo.

“Frankly, populists would have used the absence of coverage … as a way to suggest that the media is overtaken by liberal interests.”

Asked what message the defeat of the PPC now sends to the Conservative Party as it rebuilds after failing to topple the Liberals, Small said there is nothing to be gained by pushing further to the right.

“There’s no more people there. There’s none,” she said.

“If there’s going to be a leadership race, a Kellie Leitch type of candidate probably doesn’t dominate,” Small added, referring to the one-time Conservative leadership hopeful who had controversially proposed screening immigrants for “Canadian values” and setting up an RCMP tip line so people could report “barbaric cultural practices.”

However, there is a chance, Momani said, that backers of right-wing populism may still want to work with the Conservative Party, in the same way the Tea Party movement in the U.S. worked with the Republican Party to elect Donald Trump.

The People’s Party itself though is “probably” dead, Laycock said. Bernier’s poor showing in Quebec indicates there isn’t a regional base for his conservative alternative.

Furthermore, “it is very hard to attract media attention without any MPs, especially when your leader can’t win his own seat.”

Source: Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say

Bernier challenged over ‘extreme multiculturalism’ tweet during leaders’ debate

For the record:

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier was directly challenged during the federal leaders’ debate over his past comments about “extreme multiculturalism” and the effects diversity has on Canada.

Debate moderator Lisa LaFlamme read several of Bernier’s past tweets about immigration and diversity aloud, challenging the leader over his use of the words “ghettos” and “tribes” in describing new immigrants to Canada.

LaFlamme also pressed Bernier over his concerns that newcomers bring with them “distrust” and “potential violence.”

“Are these the words of someone with the character and integrity to lead all Canadians and represent us on the world stage?” LaFlamme asked.

“You must tell the truth to Canadians if you want to be the leader of this country,” Bernier said.

“What I’m saying about extreme multiculturalism, it is not the way to build this country. Yes, this country is a diverse country and we must be proud of that, but we don’t need legislation like the Multiculturalism Act to tell us who we are.”

Bernier has campaigned on a promise to significantly reduce immigration levels to Canada. He says the number of people allowed to enter the country as permanent residents should be cut in half — to about 150,000 new immigrants a year.

“We must have fewer immigrants in this country to be sure for these people to participate in our society,” he said.

Other leaders respond

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was quick to attack Bernier on his past positions regarding immigration, calling his tweets “pretty horrible.”

“It should come as no surpise to you that I believe a leader is not someone who tries to divide people or to pit people against each other. A true leader is someone who tries to find bridges, bring people together,” Singh said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also criticized Bernier.

“What Mr. Bernier fails to understand is that you can absolutely be proud of Canada’s history, you can be proud of our identity, be proud of the things we’ve done and accomplished in the world, while at the same time welcoming people from all around the world,” he said.

Scheer also said Bernier had changed from someone who used to believe in an immigration system that was fair, orderly and compassionate to someone who bases his policies on the number of likes and retweets he gets on social media from the “darkest parts of Twitter.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also called Bernier’s past comments about immigration “completely appalling,” while Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet asked Bernier if he realized that his own family decended from immigrants.

Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau said polarization and fear over immigration issues has become “easy currency for politicians who do want to strike up uncertainties in peoples hearts.”

He said Bernier is “playing a role” to make people more fearful about migration, globalization and what it means to be Canadian.

Bernier, meanwhile, defended himself against the other leaders, saying he’s not a “radical” because he believes in lower immigration levels.

Source: Bernier challenged over ‘extreme multiculturalism’ tweet during leaders’ debate

Colby Cosh: How a ‘leftist mob’ handed Mad Max a pre-election gift

Always a debate whether better to ignore (silence can imply consent) or contest and offer free publicity. Will see whether the PPC low polling number get a bump or not and the effect, if any, on the Conservative numbers.

Really hard, however, to understand how the billboard was paid for with no one stating they approved of the copy.

Billboards, like tweets, are not the best format to capture nuance and subtleties:

I offer sarcastic congratulations to everyone who gave Maxime Bernier the stupid controversy he wanted over the “Say NO to mass immigration” billboard, bearing his image, that briefly appeared in a few Canadian cities and was taken down in a hurry Monday morning. The billboards were purchased from Pattison Outdoor Advertising by a third-party supporter of Bernier’s People’s Party. The company’s initial response to the resulting outcry was to observe that the message of the billboard complied with advertising standards; it did not contain any hateful, disparaging, or discriminatory language.

“We take a neutral position on ads that comply with the ASC (Advertising Standards Canada) Code as we believe Canadians do not want us to be the judge or arbiter of what the public can or cannot see,” was Pattison’s original statement in the face of controversy. (Most everybody, including the company, seems to have missed the point that election advertising is explicitly “excluded from the application” of the Code on the grounds that political expression deserves the highest degree of deference; the Code does say, for what it’s worth, that “Canadians are entitled to expect” that such advertising respects the underlying principles.)

Pattison’s in-house advertising code does allow the company to engage in “post-publication review,” which must necessarily involve just dismantling ads if enough people raise hell about them, and this is what has now happened. This has not stopped people from threatening boycotts against the Pattison corporate empire for accepting the ad in the first place, or for bowing to pressure from the people who were angry about the ad. Take your pick if that’s your idea of a good time.

Let’s accept the view for the sake of argument, or just for the sake of sanity, that there is no general freedom-of-expression issue involved here. A vendor of advertising space cannot completely disavow responsibility for the ads it accepts, and any ad will be condemned if the social force aligned against it is commercially unbearable. My question is whether it was sensible for individuals (ah, remember them?) to oppose the display of this particular ad, as opposed to walking past it, perhaps frowning, and going about one’s business. Bernier has said he has no connection with the billboard, but that he agrees with its message; and now he accuses a “leftist mob” of trying “to censor any discussion of immigration”.

How can this now be answered by opponents of the billboard? They can say that they’re not a mob, I suppose; not a mob, just a large, angry group of citizens acting impulsively in concert to destroy something that offends them. But the billboard didn’t say that immigrants are horrid. It didn’t say anything for or against ethnic diversity, which Bernier has praised in the past while objecting to its elevation to cult status. It didn’t propose throwing anybody out of Canada. It is a plea against a long-standing policy of mass immigration.

My question is whether it was sensible for individuals to oppose the display of this particular ad, as opposed to walking past it, perhaps frowning, and going about one’s business

Some would have us believe that this is the point: that the million immigrants Canada is welcoming every three years, thereby outdistancing the industrialized world, do not constitute a “mass.” Crusading Edmonton lawyer Avnish Nanda took this line in an interviewwith the Calgary Herald’s Sammy Hudes: “First and foremost, (the billboard) contains a lie. There’s no mass immigration to Canada. There’s no threat of mass immigration.”

I suppose “mass immigration” really is a context-sensitive kind of thing to say. In a scenario in which Canada was airlifting large numbers of desperate people from a particular situation (he said, stealing a nauseous glance at Hong Kong), a few thousand immigrants might easily be enough to make up a “mass.” By the same token, the influx of self-selected immigrants that Canada accepts from all corners of the world might not be a “mass.”

But … it’s a fine point, and we are certainly taking in an awful lot of people in the most banal sense of “a lot.” Can the alleged inaccuracy of the billboard really have been the “first and foremost” objection to it? Mr. Nanda and those like him suggest they are angry about the billboard because it urges Canadians to say “No” to something that’s not happening and cannot happen. I would suggest that their objection to the billboard is nothing more or less than disagreement with its political premise.

The question I have for objectors and denouncers of the billboard is how they think it could have been rewritten, expressing the same underlying idea, so as to be acceptable. If the unpleasant-sounding word “mass” were replaced with “large-scale,” would there have been less of a ruction? Maybe any objection to prospective levels of immigration to Canada is to be regarded as inherently racist and hateful, even when no racist or hateful language is used.

If that is the case, it is perfectly predictable that the People’s Party will exploit this and cry “mob censorship,” and public polls on immigration suggest they will have some success, in case recent history everywhere didn’t offer enough of a hint. Moreover, we are left with an awkward question how any limit upon or criteria for immigration, any government immigration policy per se, can be justified at all. What, indeed, can be the objection to “mass immigration”? Who will have the courage to put up a “Say YES to mass immigration” billboard?

Source: Colby Cosh: How a ‘leftist mob’ handed Mad Max a pre-election gift

Bernier picks ridings where PPC has best chance to win in bid to join leaders’ debate

Looking at the choices by percentage of immigrants and visible minorities, quite a range. Appears selection criteria weighted towards candidate name recognition and profile (for full riding detail, see

  • Beauce: 1.4 percent immigrants, 1.1 percent visible minorities
  • Etobicoke North: 58 percent immigrants, 75.7 percent visible minorities
  • Nipissing-Timiskaming: 4.6 percent immigrants, 2.4 percent visible minorities
  • Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley: 13.1 percent immigrants, 10.2 percent visible minorities
  • Pickering-Uxbridge: 30.2 percent immigrants, 36 percent visible minorities

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier has provided five ridings to the federal commission organizing the election leaders’ debate in a last-minute effort to enter the highly anticipated event.

In a letter sent to the Leaders’ Debate Commission, Bernier picks five ridings based on “candidates who are better known in their riding as public figures, and therefore will start this campaign with an advantage that others don’t have.”

It includes his Quebec riding of Beauce and the Toronto riding of Etobicoke North, where Renata Ford, the wife of late former mayor Rob Ford and sister-in-law of Ontario premier Doug Ford, is running.

The commission had asked Bernier to provide it with three to five ridings where he thought People’s Party candidates had the best chance of winning, after saying on Aug. 12 that Bernier did not meet the criteria needed to qualify for the leaders’ debates slated for early October.

Commissioner David Johnston had preliminarily ruled that the People’s Party, as it stood, did not have a “legitimate chance” of electing more than one candidate in the upcoming election.

That determination is based on recent political context, polling and previous general election results. A final list of invited parties will be published on Sept. 16.

The three other ridings are Nipissing-Timiskaming, where local councillor Mark King is representing the People’s Party; Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, where former Conservative cabinet minister Steven Fletcher is running; and Pickering-Uxbridge, where former Tory MP Corneliu Chisu carries the party banner.

Bernier states in the letter that his understanding of the criteria is that “it simply states that our candidates must have a legitimate chance to be elected in the general election, and not at this time in the election cycle.”

“The election campaign could have a huge impact on this legitimate chance. More so for the other reasons I explained regarding the recent political context, including the high level of volatility and disaffection of the electorate, and the fact that populist parties similar to the PPC have experienced very rapid growth in other Western countries,” Bernier wrote.

He said as the People’s Party is very young, it had little information about the regional distribution of its support across Canada and its concentration in specific ridings. Nor did the party have the money to conduct polls in 338 ridings.

Bernier also included data obtained from Meltwater, a media monitoring company, on how often his name popped up in online and print sources over the last year compared to other party leaders.

The numbers state his name popped up 23,518 times, more than Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet.

As well, data included in the letter shows his name popped up on social media 1.67 million times, more than NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, May and Blanchet.

Bernier also included in his letter columns in publications such as the Toronto Star, National Post and The Post Millennial arguing in favour of his entry into the debate.

Among candidates, Renata Ford, though a political novice, carries name recognition through her politically involved family members.

Meanwhile, King is a council member in North Bay. He was supposed to run for the Tories, but the party removed him as a candidate last month for allegedly using a corporate credit card to purchase party memberships for himself and close family members. He then joined the People’s Party.

Fletcher was a Conservative MP from 2004 to 2015 and had served as ministers of state for democratic reform and transport. Chisu was a Tory MP from 2011 to 2015.

An Aug. 5 Mainstreet Research poll for iPolitics found Bernier to be running neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in his southeastern Quebec riding.

According to the commission’s letter sent to Bernier, the information he provided will now be relayed to an independent pollster before returning to the party for a final comment.

Source: Bernier picks ridings where PPC has best chance to win in bid to join leaders’ debate

Maxime Bernier encourage à se battre contre l’imposition des cours d’éducation sexuelle

His party’s strong showing in Burnaby South (close to 11 percent) reflected sex education being an issue among some socially conservative Chinese Canadians:

Maxime Bernier estime que les cours d’éducation sexuelle dans les écoles québécoises briment les droits individuels.

Dans une entrevue accordée à un pasteur baptiste montréalais, le chef du Parti populaire du Canada (PPC) encourage les parents québécois à se battre contre l’imposition de ces cours. Il ne veut cependant pas participer personnellement à cette bataille, question de respecter les champs de compétence ; l’éducation relève de Québec et non pas d’Ottawa.

Le pasteur de l’Église baptiste de l’espoir du Grand Montréal George Antonios a publié l’entrevue avec le chef du PPC samedi sur YouTube.

« Ce genre de programme va à l’encontre d’une manière très profonde des valeurs morales, religieuses, de plusieurs personnes », offre en entrée de matière M. Antonios avant de demander à son invité ce qu’il faut faire « pour au moins donner le choix aux parents de ne pas impliquer leurs enfants dans de tels programmes ».

Aux premières protestations venant, celles-là, de l’église catholique en janvier dernier, le premier ministre François Legault a affirmé qu’aucun enfant ne pourra être exempté de ces cours.

« Je ne veux pas m’ingérer dans les champs de compétence des provinces », a commencé par répondre M. Bernier avant de choisir clairement son camp.

« Il y a une certaine partie de la population qui n’est pas encore au courant que cette législation-là brime les droits individuels des Québécois », a-t-il dit.

« Je vous encourage à faire cette bataille-là pour défendre vos propres droits », a-t-il conseillé aux pasteurs et à ses ouailles.

Dans l’entrevue avec le pasteur Antonios, M. Bernier a abordé une série de sujets chers aux groupes socialement conservateurs.

Il a ainsi réitéré qu’il permettrait à un de ses députés de déposer un projet de loi sur le droit à l’avortement et qu’il y aurait un vote libre sur pareil texte législatif, s’il prenait le pouvoir.

Puis, il a une nouvelle fois dépassé par la droite son rival du Parti conservateur Andrew Scheer dans ce dossier.

« Je trouve ça un peu hypocrite si je regarde M. Scheer qui se dit pro-vie mais qui interdit à ses députés de déposer un projet de loi, qui ne veut pas avoir de débat », a-t-il critiqué.

M. Bernier, lui, a voté, par le passé, pour protéger le droit à l’avortement. Mais il dit maintenant ne pas vouloir se prononcer dans ce dossier tant qu’il n’y a pas un projet de loi à débattre.

Autre sujet cher au courant socialement conservateur, la loi C-16 qui interdit la discrimination en fonction de « l’identité ou l’expression de genre » a également été décriée par les deux hommes.

Cette loi, selon ses détracteurs, pourrait imposer un certain langage pour désigner les personnes transgenres.

« Cette législation-là doit être abolie parce que ça vient donner une direction à l’État en ce qui concerne la liberté d’expression », a tranché M. Bernier, promettant, s’il devenait premier ministre, d’abolir C-16 « le plus rapidement possible ».

Source: Maxime Bernier encourage à se battre contre l’imposition des cours d’éducation sexuelle

Canada’s Populist Party Introduces Trumpian Immigration Plan

Strong endorsement by the American right. Not sure how this will help the Bernier in Canada:

Donald Trump’s influence has crossed the border into Canada. Last week, the populist People’s Party of Canada unveiled its immigration plan. The plan echoes the America First agenda and would provide a solid immigration model for American patriots to imitate.

The PPC’s plan would reduce immigration, combat multiculturalism, focus on high-skilled immigrants, and emphasize assimilation.

Maxime Bernier, a member of Parliament from Quebec and PPC’s leader, delivered the plan along with “Muslim dissident” and long-time critic of multiculturalism, Salim Mansur. Bernier is a former state minister who nearly became the leader of Canada’s more establishment right-wing party, the Conservative Party of Canada, two years ago. He left the Conservatives last year over their cowardice in addressing vital policies, such as immigration. Word is, he was pushed out by way of a rigged vote. He labelled the Conservatives “intellectually and morally corrupt” before leaving.

“For decades now, there has only been one acceptable position among our political and intellectual elites: more, and more, and more immigration,” Bernier said in a speech last week. “There is a taboo around this topic. As soon as you raise a concern about the level of immigration, someone will accuse you of harboring anti-immigrant views and being racist or xenophobic.”

Bernier singled out Conservatives for their weakness on immigration: “[Conservative Party leader] Andrew Scheer gave a speech on immigration a few weeks ago. He did not say anything relevant or significant. He did not mention any number. Instead, he spent half an hour pleading that he is not racist.”

Bernier said he needed only 30 seconds to dispel media smears his party is racist. He pointed to minority candidates in PPC and the party’s emphasis on “shared values, culture and identity,” not skin color. He told any journalist who may call them racists to “take a hike!”

The PPC’s plan to reduce immigration puts them on the side of most Canadians. Nearly 50 percent of Canadians want immigration reduced, while only 6 percent want it increased. “The Liberals are the extremists! We are the mainstream!” Bernier declared.

At the heart of the PPC’s plan is the extraordinary idea that “Canada’s immigration policy should be to economically benefit Canadians and Canada as a whole.”

Bernier says that “mass immigration, open borders, unvetted immigration, [and] extreme multiculturalism” fails to fulfill this obligation. “On the contrary, it’s a very dangerous type of social engineering. It amounts to large-scale government intervention in society and culture,” he said of Canada’s current policies. “It will bring increasing cultural balkanisation, distrust, social conflict, and potentially violence, as we are seeing in other countries where division has reached a critical level.”

Bernier also noted the economic costs of unrestricted mass immigration. He claims that nearly 74 percent of immigrants are subsidized by the government, which costs Canadian taxpayers between $16 billion and $24 billion every year. He also argues that immigrants, given their congestion in Canada’s major urban areas, cause housing prices and rents to skyrocket; a huge problem, especially in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.

With these facts in mind, Bernier argues Canada should “stop being politically correct. We must recognize that not all values, not all social customs, not all cultures are equally valuable. Our distinct values are those of contemporary Western civilization.”

He accuses Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being the “biggest peddler” of the lie “that all cultures are equal.” “[Trudeau] simply doesn’t care about Canada’s culture and identity, heritage and traditions. He sees himself as a citizen of the world.”

Trudeau drew outrage in 2017 when he told one interview he believed Canada had “no core identity” and was, he thought, the first “postnational state.”

Bernier says this “globalist” vision denies Canada’s identity and threatens to destroy it. The PPC plan aims to counter that threat.

The plan would address five key problems. The first is immigration levels: “A People’s Party government will substantially lower the total number of immigrants and refugees we accept every year, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000, depending on economic and other circumstances.”

The second is multiculturalism: “A People’s Party government will repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding to promote multiculturalism. We will instead emphasize the integration of immigrants into Canadian society.”

The third is economic immigration. The PPC wants to reform the country’s point system to favor skilled immigrants, limit the number of migrants accepted under family reunification, and eliminate birth tourism

The fourth area is assimilation. Bernier’s plan calls for a tougher screening process to ensure migrants “share mainstream Canadian values.” Those who are found to not have Western values will be rejected.

The final area is refugees. The PPC will put more barriers on the border, accept fewer refugees from the United States and abroad, reduce the government subsidization, and end Canada’s reliance on the United Nations for refugee selection.

Bernier promised that his party “will unite Canadians with an immigration policy designed to benefit all of us.”

The plan is similar to immigration proposals President Trump has touted. Both the RAISE Act and the immigration plan Trump announced in May would make America’s immigration system more merit-based and cut down chain migration. Both plans would make it tougher to gain asylum and strengthen border security. Both American plans favor English-speaking immigrants who can easily integrate and contribute.

However, the PPC’s plan goes much further than the two plans Trump proposes. It calls for a reduction in immigration from close to 400,000 under Trudeau to between 100,000 and 150,000, depending on the economy. Trump’s new plan does not reduce immigration in contrast to the RAISE Act.

And neither American plan addresses multiculturalism or the cultural effects of immigration. Then again, America does not have a Multiculturalism Act. Thanks to the efforts of Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, Canada made multiculturalism official federal policy, thus supplanting English and French bicultural nationalism.

Most American immigration hawks typically avoid the cultural effects of mass immigration in favor of focusing on its economic effects. There are notable exceptions, such as Tucker Carlson and U.S. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). Bernier demonstrates a bolder path that attacks mass immigration on both cultural and economic grounds.

The PPC’s immigration plan is a brilliant set of policy proposals and would make Canada great again. Republicans should take notes.

Source: Canada’s Populist Party Introduces Trumpian Immigration Plan

Maxime Bernier says his party would cap immigration levels at 150K

Rather than just printing an article, I thought his fund-raising message provides a more concise version:



Yesterday, I unveiled our party’s platform on immigration, multiculturalism, and Canadian identity.

You can read my speech here.

We will reduce immigration levels, from 350,000 each year under the Liberals, to between 100,000 and 150,000.

We will focus on skilled immigrants who bring economic benefits to Canada.

We will limit the number of immigrants accepted under the family reunification program, including abolishing the program for parents and grand-parents.

We will accept fewer refugees and focus on persecuted minorities.

We will declare the whole border an official port of entry and send back to the US anyone trying to enter illegally.

We will repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding to promote multiculturalism.

We will emphasize the integration of immigrants into Canadian society.

We will only accept immigrants who share fundamental Canadian values.

We will make birth tourism illegal.

We will take Canada out of the UN’s Global Compact for Migration.

Our immigration laws will be made in Canada, for the interest of Canadians.

Friend, it’s time to end the taboos and have a real debate about these issues.

Do you like this platform?

I need your help to make sure every Canadian hears about it before voting in October.

Show your support with a $1 donation today!

A huge thank,

The notable further hardening of his positions – e.g., reduction of proposed levels to 150,000 from 250,000 previously – is notable, as are the number of nominated candidates who appear to have been rejected by the Conservatives (e.g., Salim Mansur).

Although to date support for the PPC is just a few percentage points, particularly interested to see if any repetition of the Burnaby South results, where the PPC candidate obtained almost 11 percent in other ridings with relatively large numbers of Chinese Canadian social conservatives and the degree to which that affects the Conservative vote.

And an example of articles on his policy:

A People’s Party of Canada government would lower the number of immigrants Canada accepts to between 100,000 and 150,000 per year — a level not seen since 1986 — party leader Maxime Bernier pledged in a policy speech Wednesday evening.

That’s a number significantly lower than the 250,000 cap Bernier pitched while running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada two years ago.

In a speech in Mississauga, Ont. Wednesday night, the MP for Beauce took aim at what he called a policy of “extreme multiculturalism” and accused the Liberals of “putting Canada on a road to destruction” through Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “globalist vision.”

“Support for immigration will continue to diminish and social tensions are likely to rise,” Bernier told the crowd in a speech delivered entirely in English. “We need to slow down.”

Bernier who often struggled with pronunciation and timing in English, said his party would prioritize economic immigrants, accept fewer refugees, “considerably limit” those accepted under the family reunification program and scrap the option to sponsor parents and grandparents.

Bernier’s more bold statements, such as his pledge to repeal the Multiculturalism Act, withdraw from the UN’s Global Compact for Migration and promise to reject immigrants that do not share Canadian values, garnered loud applause and cheers from the crowd.

The federal Liberals plan to increase the yearly number of immigrants accepted into Canada to 340,000 by 2020. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer hasn’t said how many immigrants Canada would accept if his party forms government in October, calling the emphasis on a number “a little bit of a red herring.”

‘Societal norms’ or ‘Canadian values’?

Bernier said he also wants to submit every person hoping to immigrate to Canada to an in-person interview with immigration officials to answer questions to determine whether their values and ideas correspond to Canada’s “societal norms.”

“Immigrants whose responses or background checks demonstrate that they do not share mainstream Canadian values will be rejected,” he said.

The policy is eerily similar to the ‘Canadian values test’ proposed by Kellie Leitch during her own failed run for the Conservative leadership — a proposal that led Bernier at the time to wonder aloud why Leitch was offering up a “karaoke version of Donald Trump.”

In his speech, Bernier also calls for action to stop the flow of migrants walking into Canada at unauthorized crossing points by declaring the entire Canada/U.S. border an official point of entry, which would allow border officials to turn back anyone trying to cross on foot from the United States.

Jean-Pierre Fortin is national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, which represents front-line customs and immigration officers. He said turning the entire 8,891-kilometre border into an official point of entry would impose a “huge burden” on short-staffed Canada Border Services Agency officers.

“Right now, there are not enough officers at every port of entry,” he said.

The economic argument

Bernier also took direct aim at economic arguments for maintaining or increasing immigration levels, arguing that immigration doesn’t affect the aging of Canada’s population because new immigrants have not been shown to have a noticeable impact on aging demographics.

Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said that while an aging trend is hard to reverse, immigration keeps Canada’s workforce from shrinking further.

“Because there are so many baby boomers leaving the workforce, without immigration we’d have a net decline in labour force growth,” he said, adding that the decline would be especially pronounced with the current low unemployment rate.

And anyone who thinks immigration isn’t tied to higher economic growth need to take a close look at Atlantic Canada — a slow-growth region with low levels of immigration — said Kareem El-Assal, a researcher with, a platform for immigration legal services.

“This is not a hypothetical conversation,” he said, adding that there’s “plenty of evidence” showing immigrants to Canada integrate socially and express high levels of pride and happiness in being Canadian.

Bernier spent a portion of his speech pushing back against what he claims is a political taboo surrounding the topic of immigration and claimed he’s been falsely accused of racism by the media.

“As soon as you raise a concern about the level of immigration, someone will accuse you of harbouring anti-immigrant views and being racist or xenophobic,” he said.

He pointed to PPC candidates hailing from diverse ethnic backgrounds — and told journalists who “keep coming back with questions about bigotry” to “take a hike.”

Bernier’s young party has come in for controversy over matters of race and religion, however. The People’s Party has been dogged by racist tweets, photos with unsavoury groups and tales of disillusioned founding members.

Earlier this month, the entire People’s Party of Canada board in a Winnipeg riding resigned in disgust, claiming the party is being taken over by racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.

Source: Maxime Bernier says his party would cap immigration levels at 150K

Le spectre du populisme

Good commentary by Manon Cornellier on the genuine motivations behind the convoy and the yellow vests, their exploitation by the far right, and the inability of Conservative politicians to denounce, or at a minimum, dissociate themselves from the anti-immigration rhetoric and other hateful speech:

Jusqu’où peut-on aller pour porter un message politique ? La question se pose de plus en plus devant la montée d’un certain populisme qui fouette les émotions et alimente même parfois la haine, involontairement ou non. Le Canada n’y échappe pas, avec le risque de voir le débat public dériver dans des eaux troubles d’ici les prochaines élections.

En décembre dernier, le symbole des gilets jaunes est apparu dans le paysage politique canadien, inspiré par le mouvement de ras-le-bol français face à la pression fiscale, les privilèges des élites et les difficultés financières des ménages modestes. Récupéré là-bas par diverses forces politiques, comme l’expliquait notre collègue Christian Riouxla semaine dernière, il subit le même sort au Canada.

Cela ne veut pas dire que nombre de Canadiens qui revêtent le fameux gilet ne partagent pas sincèrement les préoccupations initiales de leurs homologues français : coût de la vie élevée, revenus insuffisants, emplois en péril et ainsi de suite. Malheureusement, plusieurs de ceux qui, au Canada, utilisent ce symbole pour mobiliser sur la Toile ne s’arrêtent pas là. Tyler Malenfant, l’instigateur de la populaire page Facebook Yellow Vests Canada (YVC), qui compte plus de 100 000 membres, s’en prend à la taxe sur le carbone, mais aussi aux prétendues politiques tyranniques des Nations unies, en particulier en matière de migration.

Cet amalgame était en vue à Ottawa la semaine dernière lorsqu’un convoi de camions et de camionnettes, parti de l’Alberta, a bloqué une petite partie du centre-ville pour faire entendre l’inquiétude des gens affectés par les difficultés de l’industrie pétrolière. Les pancartes et banderoles pour les pipelines, contre la taxe sur le carbone ou le projet de loi fédéral sur l’évaluation environnementale dominaient. Mais il y avait aussi des placards sur lesquels des manifestants accusaient le premier ministre Justin Trudeau de trahison, dénonçaient une motion contre l’islamophobie ou encore le pacte onusien sur les migrations. Nombre d’entre eux, émules du président américain Donald Trump, portaient des casquettes marquées du slogan « Make Canada Great Again ».

Cela a malheureusement peu surpris, car depuis leurs débuts, plusieurs pages Facebook des gilets jaunes canadiens, en particulier celle de YVC, ont attiré des messages virulents, parfois haineux, contre entre autres les musulmans ou les migrants arrivés de façon irrégulière. On y a même retrouvé des menaces contre le premier ministre Trudeau, effacées après que le réseau de télévision Global en eut fait état.

Les partisans des gilets jaunes ont le droit de manifester et de s’exprimer, mais ce qui est troublant est de voir des politiciens participer à ces ralliements sans exprimer de réserves à l’égard des vues extrêmes. La semaine dernière, le chef conservateur, Andrew Scheer, quelques-uns de ses députés et le chef du nouveau Parti populaire, Maxime Bernier, ont publiquement offert leur soutien au convoi et à son message pour les hydrocarbures. Il n’y aurait aucun problème s’ils n’avaient pas agi comme si le reste n’existait pas, alors que, par leur présence, ils donnaient non seulement de la crédibilité et de la légitimité aux actions allant dans le sens de leurs critiques habituelles, mais aussi à l’ensemble de l’oeuvre. Ils se devaient de prendre leurs distances des propos ou des comportements d’intolérance, et d’affirmer leur désapprobation.

En lieu et place, un des leurs, le sénateur David Tkachuk, a invité les membres du convoi « à écraser jusqu’au dernier libéral qui reste dans ce pays » (« roll over every Liberal left in the country »). Une figure de style renvoyant aux élections, a-t-il dit par la suite sans s’excuser, mais, métaphore ou pas, cette déclaration était irresponsable de la part d’un parlementaire.

Rien n’indique que M. Scheer soit d’accord avec les idées d’extrême droite ou anti-immigration que certains véhiculent à ces occasions, mais il ne peut, par son silence, implicitement exploiter la colère de cette frange pour s’assurer des votes. On a trop vu ailleurs les effets de ce genre de stratégie politique, prisée par M. Trump, le Britannique Nigel Farage ou la Française Marine Le Pen.

La frustration et les préoccupations des citoyens ne doivent pas être ignorées, mais alimenter leur désarroi, au lieu d’y répondre avec des arguments et des solutions fondés, ne fait qu’entretenir la division, le cynisme et le mépris des institutions.

Source: Le spectre du populisme

John Ivison: Neither left nor right should politicize Canada’s immigration system

Naive to expect that parties will not politicize immigration and related issues.

The question is how they do so, what language they use, and the extent to which and how they virtue signal and practice identity politics.

The major parties largely stay within reasonable bounds. Bernier, as Ivison notes, does not:

The personal pronoun is best avoided, even by opinion columnists. In this instance it is necessary, to provide some context.

I was in a sombre mood on Remembrance Day, having posted a tribute on Twitter to three generations of my family who wore a uniform so I didn’t have to.

As I scrolled through the flotsam on my feed, I came across a tweet by Maxime Bernier, the former Conservative leadership candidate who recently broke away to form his own party. He was lamenting the case of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent eight years on death row charged with blasphemy and who, after being acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, is now at risk of extra-judicial assassination.

Bernier was quite rightly decrying the “barbarism” on the streets of Karachi. But he twisted his condemnation for his own political ends, calling for the need to “protect our society” from a threat that patently does not exist on the streets of Canadian cities.

“Radical multiculturalism is the misguided belief that all values and cultures can co-exist in one society. They cannot,” his tweet said.

The tweet came across as a transparent ploy to attract support by espousing views which, if sincerely held, he kept to himself for 15 years as part of a government that regularly expanded the number of immigrants coming to Canada from countries like Pakistan. The fact that he expressed such intolerance on Remembrance Day amplified its effect.

Some time later, I came across a video of two Eritrean children who were new to Canada and were discovering the sheer delight of their first snowfall. With Bernier’s comments still disturbing my mood, I rattled off a tongue-in-cheek retweet: “This is the kind of extreme, radical multiculturalism we’ve been hearing about. Clearly, a grave threat to our way of life.”

My comment touched a nerve, going viral with about 10,000 people “liking” it. Some people got into the spirit of it: “They are going to take our spots on the toboggan hills — I’m afraid there won’t be enough snow left for the rest of us,” wrote Rudy Reimer, not entirely seriously.

On reflection, perhaps it sullied something that should not have been politicized. “Too bad you had to use such a happy, carefree occasion to take a political swipe at some conservatives who have a genuine concern over Canada’s immigration policy,” Eric Nissen responded.

Many, many people criticized me for glibness, and, in turn, federal immigration policy, accusing it of importing “criminals and terrorists.” The father was probably busy making a bomb, one brave individual wrote behind the cloak of a ridiculous pseudonym.

The 2019 election will be won by the party that can best address the anxieties voters are feeling about the affordability of housing, wages and the cost of living. But as this little incident highlighted, deep political cleavages over cultural diversity are hardening as the consensus over mass immigration comes under increased pressure.

The nation is split on the issue as never before in recent memory. Research by Abacus Data suggests there is a 55-45 per cent divide between those who think immigration is a net positive versus those who think it is a net negative.

Conservative voters are most concerned — 63 per cent agreed with the statement that immigrants are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and healthcare. But so did 32 per cent of Liberal supporters and 42 per cent of NDP voters.

The divisions and anxieties may not be as sharp as in the U.S. and parts of Europe, but Canada is not immune from the culture wars.

I’m an immigrant but I have concerns about the risks of the system being politicized. The Liberal Party is intent on raising the proportion of family-class permanent residents and refugees because it plays well in certain ridings.

There are also legitimate concerns about the integrity of the system as migrants seeking a better life stream across the Canada-U.S. border. The number of Nigerians claiming refugee status in Canada surged by 300 per cent in the first six months of 2018. Further, there very real worries that the models used to set immigration levels in the coming decades have not taken account of artificial intelligence and its impact on labour markets.

But these are not the concerns we are hearing from Bernier. “We must start pushing back against this politically correct nonsense that is destroying our society and our culture,” he said in a speech in Calgary last weekend.

Is our society being destroyed? Is Remembrance Day under threat? It didn’t seem that way on Sunday, as millions of Canadians paid their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifices for our freedoms.

Bernier was using ultrasonic messaging, playing on a prospect frightening to many Canadian-born voters: that they will end up as a minority population in their own country.

Canada has long been said to suffer from a range of neuroses, from separation anxiety to an inferiority complex. But the real fear for many in English and French Canada in 2018 is that “the elites” are ignoring their concerns in favour of protecting the rights of minorities. Gains for immigrants are seen as losses for the native-born, who already see themselves as being under financial pressure.

There are racists and fascists out there — I spent a busy morning blocking them on Twitter. But most people who feel unease at higher immigration levels don’t see themselves as racist. Many could be persuaded to reassess, if our leaders could articulate a vibrant Canadian cultural identity that benefits from newcomers.

We certainly need a rallying call more convincing than Justin Trudeau’s contention that “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada” — the world’s “first post-national state,” as he told the New York Times Magazine.

The former is demonstrably untrue, the latter gibberish.

It requires real leadership to articulate and promote the consensus that still exists over cultural diversity. Canadian identity is built on hockey, maple syrup, snow and lumberjacks. But it goes beyond that, as Shane Koyczan noted in his wonderful poem, We Are More.

Canada is “an experiment going right for a change,” he wrote.

“We are an idea in the process of being realized,
We are young,
We are cultures strung together,
Then woven into a tapestry,
And the design is what makes us more
Than the sum total of our history.”

Amen to that.

Source: John Ivison: Neither left nor right should politicize Canada’s immigration system