She-lection Bullshit Bulletin No. 2: Trudeau, Singh and Poilievre race to the bottom
All three parties indulge in some ridiculous posturing, the CP misplaces its brain, and much, much more (none of it is good).
Welcome to the second instalment of our weekly election Bullshit Bulletin, where we’ll note and mock all the incredibly dumb stuff that crops up along the way. A reminder that this list is not comprehensive; we try to delineate between True Bullshit and the wiggle room required of Ordinary Electioneering. We also don’t pretend to see everything, so if you want to send us suggestions, tweet us at @the_lineca, and add #bullshitbulletin, or drop us a note at email@example.com, with Bullshit Bulletin in the subject field.
Let’s start with an interesting one.
We’d recommend watching the whole clip (and we’d also note that there’s a second video clip further down in the thread; technical limitations broke one long clip into two shorter ones). But there’s two piles of dung here, and it’s worth breaking them out separately.
The first is, of course, the patented non-answer to a direct question. Glen McGregor asked Trudeau about our people in Afghanistan who were in that very moment in immediate danger. Trudeau talked about something nice he did in 2015. We understand that this is a campaign, but imagine you or someone you love is stuck Afghanistan in now, and the leader of the country is asked about you/them, and that’s the answer? Really?
The second pile of scat is more nuanced. Check out the part of the clip starting at 1:25. Trudeau says that O’Toole and the Conservatives are “promising to end the very program that brought in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the very program we’re using to bring in tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing to [safety] in Canada. That doesn’t make sense.”
Well, we mean … it doesn’t make sense because it’s not true.
The Tories are proposing changes to how Canada accepts refugees. Specifically, they want to shift to more heavily rely on privately sponsored refugees, citing research that shows these refugees more easily and more quickly settle into Canada. There would be both government-sponsored and private-sponsored refugees under what the CPC is calling a “joint model” model. This is broken out in the CPC’s campaign platform on page 129.
This seems … pretty reasonable? The Tories are not only promising to maintain current funding levels and numbers of accepted refugees, they just want to structure it differently. Not even very differently, at that: of the 62,000 Syrian refugees that Canada has resettled since Trudeau came to office, half were privately sponsored. The CPC platform also very specifically notes that this wouldn’t apply in “cases of emergency,” which the fall of Afghanistan clearly is. You can criticize that as policy, or even doubt they’ll follow through. Just saying they’ll cancel the program, though, is nonsense.
Slightly further left on the spectrum — the political spectrum — we find this steaming little mound.
This is so bonkers that we were sort of at a loss, to be honest. This is either just outright agitprop or no one in the NDP has the first clue what they’re talking about. Luckily, we didn’t have to get too handsy in responding to it, since others, who do know what they’re talking about, swooped into inform the Canadian public that this shit be crazy.
There were a few options to choose from, but economist Trevor Tombe summed it up well and concisely:
The Canadian people are collectively losing money, gobs of it, on this program — because it’s a subsidy, not a profit-grab.
Your Line editors try to keep this Bullshit Bulletins fair, and happily, we have a trifecta for you: Conservative Pierre Poilievre is also full of shit with this one:
“Inflation tax?” Really?
Look, we are warily watching inflation, too. A lot of the smart brains say it’s nothing to worry about, but if you’ve noticed, the smart brains have been on a bit of a losing streak lately — tons of things we were assured weren’t going to happen have happened. So yeah, this is something to watch.
But you know what else is worth watching? The price of oil. It’s way, way up.
Oil has always been a volatile commodity, and the price is being affected by the usual supply and demand push and pull. Increased demand due to COVID-19 has been cited as a factor in current high oil prices, as has Hurricane Ida, which has shut down oil production in the Gulf.
Sorry, Pierre. That was bullshit.
You know, we addressed this point last week and we don’t mean to overstate this one; but some of you have just become aware of David Fisman’s sad descent into apophenia. Once again, he sent out a tweet alleging that the Conservatives are engaging in some kind of neo-Nazi #dogwhistle because they are using the term “secure the future for your children” in a slogan that is … 14 words long.
Yeah, except the very image Fisman is highlighting doesn’t even say that. It says Canada’s recovery plan will “secure the future for you, your children, and your grand children.”
While we’re here, the thing about the 14 words is that you have to say all 14 of them to convey the intent that Fisman is claiming. A generic campaign slogan skips over the crucial bits.
We intended this bulletin to pick on politicians’ bullshit, but we’re flexible. This National Post column by Raymond J. de Souza seems to exist for no other purpose than to point out that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh went to private school and came from a comparatively well-off family.
There is a whole Marxist critique of intersectionality hiding behind the covers of this column. Namely that the current framework of social-justice-inflected progressivism tries to marry socioeconomic status to other forms of disadvantage, like race, gender, or sexuality under the catchphrase of “intersectionality.” However, in practice, this winds up essentializing immutable characteristics like race at the expense of traditional leftist class analysis. Hence absurd examples of individuals who hail from some of the most privileged echelons of the socioeconomic and cultural strata simultaneously appropriating the mantle of victimhood and oppression by virtue of their skin colour, sex or sexuality.
The intersectional mindset allows such people to double dip on unearned social capital. First, they can enjoy all the advantages conferred by wealth, compounded by all the social prestige they can claim in progressive milieu simply by being a member of marginalized identity group.
Jagmeet Singh is a perfect example of this. How much structural oppression can a guy who went to a five-figure public school in a country like Canada really be able to relate to? What can he possibly understand of the grinding poverty of the people his party claims to champion?
Honestly, we don’t care at all. We’re not goddamn Marxists.
The fact that Jagmeet Singh didn’t endure the Irish potato famine in his youth isn’t a mark against him — least of all from a columnist at the National Post. Some might even note that Singh’s privileged background makes his politics all the more admirable, seeing as they work against his own class interest. To which we would add: wet fart noises. Progressive politics are, and always have been, havens for people of comparative privilege. Nothing whets the appetite for centralized redistribution quite so well as the guilt of a comfortable life and unearned wealth.
On the other hand, Brodie here has a point.
To the manor born he may be, but no one can argue that 24 Sussex offered an easy or pain-free life.
That being said, ahem, this might be an example where Brodie’s efforts to help Justin Trudeau may in fact be doing more harm than good. The counterargument to Singh’s attacks isn’t hard to make, but we’re not sure the Liberals are in any particular hurry to make it.
This is … quite a little something.
The CP’s Truth Test is a useful feature, in theory. It could be a more serious version of these bullshit bulletins, if it chose to behave that way. This one is absolutely awful. It wants to factcheck the Conservative position on universal health care, which is fine and good, but the entire “truth meter” consists of nothing but short interviews with two people the article describes as “advocates for a universal public system.”
Guys? The country is full of actual experts in the health-care system that could be quoted without needing to describe them as “advocates” for anything.
Bad form, CP. Minus ten points. (But thanks for letting us use the image at the top. Heart you guys!)
Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant has the rare distinction of being both the perpetrator and victim of some bullshit this week. For those who may not be familiar, Gallant does have a habit of saying any old random bullshit that comes to mind the moment a camera is trained on her.
"How long do you think it will take before the Trudeau Liberals start calling for a climate lockdown? … Trudeau is counting on Liberal-minded Canadians not looking too closely at his agenda. If they did, they might realize Trudeau's a con man and climate change may be his biggest grift.”
Which sounds to us like some egregiously conspiratorial bullshit. Not that we can check; the video has been taken down — not because of her warnings of an imminent “climate lockdown” but rather because it included a cropped image of Justin Trudeau in what has been rather credulously been described by media as a “noose.”
Well, we’ve seen the picture.
It’s … not a noose. It’s Trudeau pulling a lanyard around his own neck and sticking his tongue out like a cartoon character imitating being hanged. He’s clearly posing in a photo gag that Gallant used to make him seem ridiculous. Even with his arm cropped out of the shot, it’s difficult to impute a homicidal intent to the image.
That said, given the nutty things Gallant has gone off about in the past, we’re inclined to call this one a bullshit draw. O’Toole would be better off without her.
Lastly, here is some more dumb.
Journalist Laura Stone quoted Trudeau talking about the anger he’s seeing on the campaign trail, and various Liberals of various types ran with it. We discussed this at length in our Saturday dispatch — we agree that this anger is real and potentially dangerous, and we also know the Liberals are gonna milk it for all it’s worth as the only lucky break they’ve gotten so far.
Politics is politics. However, let’s not eliminate our higher cognitive functions in the process of watching. We can level all kinds of valid criticisms at Postmedia, The Rebel and … the “Proud dude” — but tying every organization that is critical of Trudeau into some single-minded cabal motivated solely by the desire to make a buck off the back of a blameless prime minister is nonsense.
We are well aware that the elements within the conservative media ecosystem, and within the CPC itself, have danced in crazy town in the past, and we’re not here to absolve anybody for doing so. CPC candidate Kyle Seeback had to aggressively distance himself from two campaign volunteers who showed up to the rally that Trudeau had to cancel due to security concerns on Friday. You get kicked by the horse you rode in on.
We at The Line have had our own run in with these types, and here’s our take: they’re largely muddy headed conspiracy theorists who exist in informational sinkholes and they don’t fit neatly onto a left-right axiom. They organize and share information through private social media groups, and are usually beyond the reach of either mainstream political parties or mainstream media — both of whom they regard as corrupted allies of “globalist elites.”
There are many reasons why these people are targeting Trudeau — and it’s not because Colby Cosh is sending smoke signals through the looking glass of his columns at the Post. Rather, Trudeau has become a target of protestors —including fringe conspiratorial lunatics — through his own conscious self branding, language and political positions. For example, we can’t imagine that trying to turn mandatory vaccination into a wedge issue soothed the ardent anti-vax crowd any.
In specific reference to anti-vax rabidity in Canada, Bruce Anderson — that known anti-Liberal zealot! — already closely looked at the numbers for Maclean’s. Reading the piece in full is worthwhile, and suffice it to say, none of this phenomenon is simple. But, for the record, the typical anti-vaxer in Canada is a 42-year-old Ontario woman who votes Liberal.
Let’s, everyone, take this opportunity to reflect.
Thanks for reading. Please share and subscribe. See you in a week with, we have no doubt, more bullshit.
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