Poilievre risks losing support of freedom convoyers

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre depends on the continued support of freedom convoyers but that support is tenuous. Recent comments by Poilievre are raising doubts about his loyalty to the freedom clan.

image: BBC News

Freedom convoyers hold a bizarre set of beliefs. They mistook terrorization for freedom as they bullied  Ottawa citizens; they think Prime Minister Trudeau, Bill Gates, the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum are evil; they believe in the “Great Reset” -that elites are using the COVID pandemic to collapse the world’s economy and install a tyrannical global government.

Freedom convoyers flocked to Poilievre during his leadership bid.

The problem with Poilievre’s supporters is that they score high on disinformation. When your supporters believe what is false, what you tell them has to stretch credibility.

Ekos conducted a poll to measure levels of disinformation in the general population after Poilievre became leader. The poll used incorrect statements about COVID-19 to test disinformation. In a random sample of respondents statements such as: the number vaccine-related deaths were being concealed and that vaccines alter DNA were used. Seventy percent of disinformed voters backed Poilievre.

After a far-right German politician visited Canada and had a three-hour lunch with three Conservative MPs, Poilievre is now trying to back away from supporting her.

The politician, Christine Anderson, has anti-immigrant views and has at times trivialized the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust. She has opposed vaccine mandates and voiced her approval of the Canadian trucker convoy protests last year.

Poilievre walks a thin line when he criticized Anderson’s views and called her “vile,” especially when the German politician is considered a folk hero among freedom convoyers.

One of the organizers of the lunch with Anderson, Bethan Nodwell said: “There’s a sense of betrayal and we feel used by Poilievre, to take the freedom convoy, freedom movement and use them for his own benefit.” She added that Poilievre has disrespected a “celebrated folk hero” cherished by convoy supporters.

“Trust has been lost among this voting bloc,” said Nodwell.

Poilievre rode the wave of populism with his celebration of the freedom convoy and his disdain for “elites” and “gatekeepers.” He has marshalled a powerful political challenge to the status quo governing Ottawa but catering to the whims of the disinformed is a challenge.

Not only does he have to maintain support of a notoriously fickle bunch to form government, he has to win support of voters in Toronto and Quebec.

Conservatives ended up with just five of fifty-three seats in the Greater Toronto Area in the 2021 election. In the Quebec election of 2022, the Conservative Party of Quebec ran campaign similar to Poilievre. If they managed to win just three or four seats, it could have been a blueprint for Poilievre.

Instead, the Conservative Party of Quebec came up with no seats.

And with votes split between the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP nationally, Poilievre needs a majority government. Cooperation with the NDP or Liberals in a minority government is not going to happen.


Welcome to the big tent of conspiracy theories

As all significant political movements do, conspiracy theorists are merging under one big tent.

image: Philadelphia Inquirer

Movements are convenient way of identifying where you fit in on certain issues. If you are a liberal, you can find a set of values consistent with yours. And if you aren’t sure what you should think about a particular issue, just look at what the group’s opinion is. It helps clarify who’s with you and who isn’t.

Big tents are the goal of successful political parties: the more voters you can include, the greater your chances of getting into power. Big tents are appealing to conspiracy theorists because they create communication networks.

For convenience, let’s label the conspiracy theorists movement as “popster” from populism meaning grassroots, and from Apophenia: the condition of seeing or imagining patterns in random occurrences.

Like any big tent movement, the overarching tenets of popsters are few: believe that a handful of sinister individuals control world affairs for their nefarious ends; that the scientific method to be a means of confirming what they know to be true; that freedom means acting contrary to public health such as vaccinations.

While the overthrow of the government often seems to be the goal of popsters, they seldom have a identifiable platform for replacement nor do they run for office.

An exception was the Trump administration which was a disaster. While President Trump echoed the anger and discontent of popsters, he was incoherent. Popsters are against governments of all stripes.

Conservative leader candidate Pierre Poilievre is making a mistake in thinking he can convince popsters to vote Conservative.

He thinks that by supporting “freedom convoys,” normalizing cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, and wild talk about firing Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, that he will win support.

What Poilievre fails to realize is that popsters have a deep seated suspicion of political leaders because governments are just puppets of those really in control; one of those being Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

At a lunchtime rally for Poilievre in Ontario, a woman wanted know how Poilievre could be trusted when a “member” of the WEF was in his party.

She was referring to John Baird, the former foreign affairs minister under Stephen Harper. As foreign minister, he went four times. “I haven’t had any contact with them since 2015,” said Baird.

The same woman believes that Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum more than 50 years ago, along with billionaires Bill Gates and George Soros are trying to take over the world.

Another attendee at the Poilievre rally believed that COVID-19 vaccines are “experimental drugs.”

Some popsters believe the WEF either created the pandemic or is using it to control people, through microchips in vaccines or stealth socialism.

Popsters have latched onto language used by the WEF – the “Great Reset.” The WEF used the phrase to mean a more greener and equitable post-pandemic world. Now popsters see the Great Reset as a sinister plot for global control.

Sensible Conservatives will realize that popsters will not support conservatives and if they do, it will attempt to undermine the Conservatives party.

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo is backing Jean Charest as leader of the Conservatives party.