Maxime Bernier is angry.
He’s mad at Justin Trudeau.
He’s mad that Andrew Scheer beat him in the race for the Conservative Party leadership.
He’s still mad that he had to quit being Stephen Harper’s Foreign Minister because his ex-girlfriend told the country that he forgot a briefcase full of Top Secret documents on a train. Remember that?
And he’s mad that powerful people think he’s full of crap.
But that’s no reason to put people’s lives in danger.
Bernier has decided that his People’s Party of Canada (PPC) will be the pro-virus party. He announced that he won’t get the vaccine. He spent an hour on a podcast with an alt-right host talking about how COVID is nonsense.
And now, there are PPC signs stuck in the dirt all over VanIsle. Some of them have big stickers that say, “No vaccine passports.” It looks like the party decided to take this stand after they had all their signs printed—these stickers are an afterthought.
That shows us that Maxime Bernier is just taking advantage of the COVID situation so he can grab power for himself. He saw people out there at these pro-virus rallies and thought, “I can use them to help me win.”
We could say he’s as bad as Trudeau with his power grab, but he’s actually worse.
That’s because Bernier’s anti-mask, anti-lockdown, and anti-vaccine COVID views are dangerous. People could die if they believe these conspiracy theories. People could infect their vulnerable family members, like children and elderly aunts and uncles and mom and dad.
What’s worse is that Bernier is making it easier for far-right fringe groups to get media coverage. He is turning the PPC into a Trojan horse for anti-science extremism and racism.
Bernier and the PPC are using memes that used to be only shared on shady alt-right channels like the Proud Boys and other racist groups. Now those memes are becoming talking points for people at these pro-virus rallies. And now that the PPC is associating with these rallies, regular people might think that the memes are true.
Haven’t we seen this same thing happen recently in a country not too far away?
It’s dangerous. It’s un-Canadian.
Even though we don’t always trust politicians, we tend to think that political parties are a professional thing. When a political party takes a position on something, they make that position seem legitimate and part of the regular political discussions.
Here’s an example. People used to laugh at policies like a wealth tax and universal dental care in Canada, or “Medicare for all” in the US. These days, they’re being discussed on the news and in people’s backyards.
That’s because, after years of being on the fringe, politicians like Jaghmet Singh and Bernie Sanders helped to make these policies legitimate.
You might disagree with these ideas. You might think they are too expensive or just unrealistic. But they are not dangerous.
But right now, Maxime Bernier and his party’s pro-virus positions really are.
People could die, and they are dying. And not just anti-vaxxers, but children and other vulnerable people.
It’s a bit scary.
Because, as Diane Francis said in the Financial Post, the PPC isn’t a political party. It’s a super spreader.