Carson Jerema: Jann Arden for Liberal leader — who better to lead a party of trolls?
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The government's supporters on Twitter exist in a nonsense dimension
Published Sep 13, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read
In recent years, Canadians have seen the rise of a disturbing political movement. Radicalized during the pandemic, it has a shaky understanding of COVID science, and is so certain of its own distorted view of reality that it blames any disagreement on lies spread online. It routinely implies its opponents are Nazis. At the height of its takeover of Ottawa, it discouraged people from leaving their homes and prevented them from crossing the border, and was obsessed over whether or not people wore masks. The movement persists online, mostly as a collection of trolls.
I am of course referring to the federal Liberal cabinet. If the government in Ottawa were to be replaced by the leadership of the Freedom Convoy, Canadians would not notice much of a difference, at least not in temperament.
As some of my more capable colleagues have outlined, the Liberals have had a total public meltdown in the wake of good poll numbers for Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives, especially after last weekend’s policy convention. Senior Liberals regularly call the Conservatives “far right,” in attempts to imply their leader is a fascist, but have offered zero evidence to support their claims.
One minister tweeted about abortion rights, apparently directed at the Conservative convention, where, uh, abortion rights weren’t being debated. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault held a press conference outside the convention to accuse Poilievre of being someone “who does not even believe in climate change,” despite the evidence of this alleged climate change denial being mostly non-existent. Disagreement over how to cut emissions does not count.
Former public safety minister Marco Mendicino had a habit of accusing critics of spreading lies, most notably on whether hunting rifles were going to be banned, only for the supposed “misinformation” to be later proved true.
One could also point to Immigration Minister Marc Miller calling Poilievre a “classless jackass,” or to all the times Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dismissed his opponents as “far right” and “racist,” or accused the opposition of attacking Canadian democracy for asking questions about Chinese election interference that … benefited the Liberal party.
The behaviour of members of the Liberal government, particularly in their cartoonish portrayals of Poilievre, and their unnerving unconditional devotion to Trudeau, is virtually indistinguishable from the mass of Liberal supporters on Twitter who exist permanently in their own reality, in a sort of nonsense dimension.
This week, after a video of Poilievre posted online showed him using the PA system to speak to supporters on a WestJet flight home from the convention, Liberal Twitter basically melted into a puddle.
The “controversy” was elevated when singer Jann Arden intervened to post: “Hey @WestJet you and I will not be doing business ever again. This is so ridiculously disappointing.” Arden followed up with, “A P.A. System on a plane is for the flight crew— full stop. Not a political soap box for social media.” This of course led to the truly moronic #BoycottWestJet hashtag.
A typical response from people less famous than Jann Arden — I’m assuming here that Arden is famous, of course — read, “How dare @WestJet allow @PierrePoilievre this stunt to hold their passengers hostage to a $2 Trump demagogue taking over the loudspeaker without paying passengers’ permission. Conservatives: just grotesque circus ringleaders. #BoycottWestJet #NeverVoteConservative #cdnpoli.”
You’d think allowing convention-goers a little bit of fun on a flight home was the equivalent of Mussolini’s march on Rome.
I’m sure whatever non-Conservative passengers that were on that plane survived hearing Poilievre’s voice and definitely don’t need people to take up their cause. But these days, who knows, maybe there is a support group for liberals who unintentionally heard a conservative express an opinion, or accidentally walked past the economics section in a bookstore.
The complete and total insignificance of this phony scandal is made all the more so by the fact that Trudeau himself has addressed flights using the PA system. I don’t really care if he did it on a charter flight or a public flight.
It might have once been true that the actual people in power were not as clownish as their supporters on social media, but does anyone dispute that, nowadays, it would be completely unsurprising if some Liberal backbencher, or even a cabinet minister, was the one driving the outrage at WestJet for letting Poilievre speak to a flight?
Trudeau’s personal popularity has been declining lately and that is a genuine problem for the Liberal party, if it hopes to stave off a thumping from the Conservatives in the next election. The Liberals will probably look for someone with a tiny bit of celebrity, ideally one on board with how the party currently behaves, at least until Xavier Trudeau is old enough to become the next Laurentian saviour.
Might I suggest Jann Arden?