Pierre Poilievre campaigning to become the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Notwithstanding his nonsensical claim about “running to be Prime Minister” (that’s not how the system works), he goes on and on about making Canada the freest country in the world.
While there seems to be nothing wrong with this sales pitch, his commitment to freedom — or more specifically, free speech — is quite questionable. Nothing politicians say should ever be taken at face value. Instead, it’s more important to dig into them to verify.
Poilievre’s campaign for CPC leadership is co-chaired by John Baird, a former Cabinet Minister. However, looking at what Baird has done since leaving politics is cause for concern.
In 2018, Baird became a Director with CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He has long been a supporter of the organization. This is a lobbyist group that attempts to change policy in Canada. What’s disturbing is what CIJA lists in terms of its political influence.
Grant, Contribution or Other Financial Benefit
Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP): The objective of the project is to combat online disinformation and hate, specifically, antisemitism and antisemitic conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 where it is spreading: online via social media. Antisemitism cannot be allowed to permeate civil discourse and become mainstream. Activities include:
•Collect examples of how antisemitism presents itself in the context of COVID19
•Create website landing page for campaign to highlight the campaign’s purpose and goals
•Prepare social media calendar for the duration of the campaign
•Prepare Facebook ads, prepare toolkit to distribute to partner organizations to promote the campaign
•Program content for campaign, run Facebook ads, and ensure participation from various cultural groups; and
•Report to government and stakeholders on the outcome of the campaign. The Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP) supports the priorities of the Digital Citizen Initiative by providing time-limited financial assistance that will support democracy and social cohesion in Canada in a digital world by enhancing and/or supporting efforts to counter online disinformation and other online harms and threats to our country’s democracy and social cohesion.
Provide economic support for the charitable and not-for-profit sector through a direct granting program. Donations from Canadians should be incentivized through a temporary enhancement of the charitable giving tax credit, or through a donor matching program, whereby the government matches donations from Canadians.
Public Security threats to the safety and security of the Jewish community of Canada and the extension of funding of capital costs and staff training for security of communities at risk
The project ‘United Against Online Hate’ aims to develop a national coalition with numerous targeted communities to actively combat online hate, following recommendations from the study conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. We have been granted $141,000 for the government’s current fiscal year (ending March 31 2021). We were also awarded $31,800 for the year April 1 2021 to March 31 2022.
Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution
A civil remedy based in human rights law, included in the Canadian Human Rights Act, with respect to combating hate speech, including antisemitism. Training for provincial attorneys general, prosecutors, and police to enforce Criminal Code hate speech provisions. Training and parameters should cite the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.
CITIZENSHIP ACT (continued support for the power of the state under the current citizenship act to remove citizenship in cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, terrorism and extreme promotion of hate.)
Civil remedy included in the Canadian Human Rights Act with respect to combating antisemitism.
Diplomatic relations with Iran should not be renewed until specific conditions are met, including an end to calls for the destruction of Israel, an end to state-sponsored terrorism, and the provision of all evidence related to Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. The entirety of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should be banned by the government.
Equip police departments to counter hate crimes and support targeted communities by providing additional resources to bolster existing police hate crime and community liaison units. Where such units do not exist, funding should be provided to establish them.
Update the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to combating antisemitism and online hate. Create a national strategy to tackle online hate and radicalization using the 2019 Justice Committee report, “Taking Action to End Online Hate”, as a foundation. A strategy should draw upon the Christchurch Call, and use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.
Legislative Proposal, Bill or Resolution, Policies or Program
Hate speech and internet-based hate: For Canada to adopt policies – either/and through legislation or policies adjustments that will provide measurable standards for internet-based dissemination of hate speech, including explicit provisions within the Crimical Code and/or the Human Rights Act.
Policies or Program
Accountability for Anti-Racism Initiatives: Public accountability measures should be developed and implemented to support and uphold genuine progress in combating hate in all its forms, as outlined in Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022.
Advocate for restitution for Holocaust Survivors: Canada should continue leveling diplomatic pressure on countries in Eastern Europe that have evaded their responsibility to pass meaningful restitution laws.
Advocating for the development of a national anti-poverty strategy.
Agriculture Canada: Assist in securing termination of Israeli ban on Canadian beef imports as a result of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) protocols.
This is just a partial list of their lobbying activities. However, it’s obvious that policies related to speech are a very important portion of it.
It seems completely incongruent that people who claim to value freedom would be so willing to water it down under the guise of fighting hate speech.
Poilievre and Baird are also silent about Bill C-250, a Private Member’s Bill that would criminalize Holocaust denial. Not only would this be a criminal offence, but it could result in prison time. This came from “Conservative” M.P. Kevin Waugh.
Iqra Khalid (rightfully) got a lot of flak for bringing in M-103, a Motion to finance the “study” of Islamophobia. That said, she never proposed putting anyone in prison over it. This is so much worse.
Waugh was lobbied by CIJA recently before introducing this Bill. It’s fair to assume that these are the people pushing for it.
An interesting Twitter thread shows the problem with right-wing politicians in general. There seems to be the expectation to pander endlessly, at least to 1 foreign nation. However, similar pandering with Islamic countries is a cause for concern. Whatever happened to focusing on your constituents?
Poilievre (and “conservatives” in general) claim to be supporters of freedom and individual rights. After all, it’s only the lefties that hate freedom, at least in theory. That being said, they are silent about efforts to erode those rights from within.
And Maxime Bernier? Will he address this?
He spends more time talking about overpriced milk.
Other red flags include Baird’s ties to the World Economic Forum. Poilievre has denied being a part of it, despite being listed in the database. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind his campaign chair being associated with WEF, and he doesn’t overtly condemn the group. Nor does he appear to object to the Eurasia Group side gig.
Another problem is that Poilievre was relatively silent when Provincial Premiers (many of them “Conservatives”) were infringing on the rights of Canadians. It’s only when Provincial martial law measures were — mostly — removed, did he start his crusade against Trudeau. It’s opportunism, to say the least.
There are of course other concerns with Baird and Poilievre. These are just a few of the larger ones.
Unfortunately, far too few Canadians will do any due diligence on candidates before voting for them. People need to look beyond the catchy slogans to see who they really represent.
(12) Wayback Machine — Pierre Poilievre