It’s the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. A time to gather with family, eat and drink too much, and give thanks for all the good things we have. And I think most of us can scrape up at least a few positives in our lives to muse on.
We are also in the midst of a federal election campaign. Voting day is October 21st and the pollsters predict a very close race. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, this has resulted in a rather dirty campaign. Dirty politics are nothing new, even in Canada, but this current campaign has at times reflected some of the more underhanded tactics associated with the absolute cut-throat campaigning often seen in the United States.
Old pictures dragged out by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in an effort to disgrace the incumbent Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seem to have missed the mark, at least as far as party support goes. Rumours of CPC Leader Andrew Scheer’s involvement with a radical right-wing religious cult (Opus Dei) have also made the rounds.
Then there is Andrew Scheer’s father. He was born in the United States and passed along that citizenship to his sons. Scheer himself was born in Canada and is in the process of renouncing his US citizenship. Frankly I don’t see the need for him to do so, but that is the state of affairs today. What does interest me is the common phrasing – dog whistle – one hears. New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh‘s parents moved to Canada from India. They are referred to, accurately, as immigrants. Yet the conservatives seem to be more comfortable saying Andrew Scheer’s father was “born in the States” and moved to Canada, thus avoiding the “i” word that so many of them seem to find off-putting.
But last night things hit rock bottom. Trudeau was to address a rally of some two thousand supporters in Mississauga, Ontario. The start of the proceedings were delayed by ninety minutes as security forces with sniffer dogs scoured the venue. When Trudeau did appear he was clearly wearing a bulletproof vest and was closely surrounded by armed guards. This is Canada, not the Middle East.
One has to assume some sort of threat had been made on the Prime Minister’s life to evoke such a drastic response. Who was it? A CPC supporter trying to stop the rally? A LPC supporter looking to cast a pall on the CPC while Making Trudeau look like a hero? However if you suggest he had courage to go ahead with his speech, many conservatives will criticise you, saying he endangered all present by not scrubbing the event. However had he cancelled, I imagine those same folks would have called him a coward! Sometimes you just can’t win.