A story on the CBC website today details how a doctored YouTube video is making the rounds on social media, purporting to offer evidence that Justin Trudeau wishes to bring Sharia law to Canada:
The photo above shows a handout distributed during a protest in Alberta – apparently, Justin also wants to ruin the economy, cede Canadian sovereignty to the UN (i.e., to filthy brown foreigners), facilitate “mass Muslim immigration” and support terrorism, after destroying the energy sector. Etc. Oh yeah, also, climate change is a scam.
Kathy tells me the Twitter bots are already hard at it, disseminating anti-Liberal propaganda. So it’s upon us. Russian style fake news has made its way to the Canadian political process. It’s hard to tell who’s behind it, exactly, but I’m betting that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer doesn’t call a press conference to condemn the lies and categorically refute the scare-mongering nonsense. If it frightens people to think Trudeau is a closeted Muslim, he’ll be glad to let people believe it.
Unfortunately, I have no confidence whatever that the Canadian electorate is too smart to fall for this crap. The only sure antidote would be a level of knowledge and a capacity for critical thinking that I think simply don’t exist, and I guess never did. The only thing that ever saved us was the reluctance of relatively ethical politicians to go there. Fun’s fun and all, but there were rules. We haven’t reached the point yet at which Scheer and his fellow Conservatives are themselves spewing this vile crud, but it’s starting to look like the old rules are dying fast, and we’ll soon suffer the same onslaught of outright horse shit that gets people to vote for Brexit and elect the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
Justin’s own father started pushing the envelope on truth in election campaigns way back in the 1970s, decrying opponent Robert Stanfield’s policy proposal to bring in wage and price controls to put the brakes on what was then runaway inflation, and then, immediately upon being elected on the platform that Stanfield’s position was borderline insane, bringing in wage and price controls. I never forgave Pierre for that. That seems like small beer now, with this new and far more terrifying level of madness spreading like an inkblot across the whole Western world, but it was, to my mind, the first Canadian step down a long road that has led us here, up to our necks in a fetid swamp of disgusting lies that one would once have thought were too transparently idiotic to be believed.
Are the Russians now mucking about in our democracy? Are Republican operatives being sent North to poison wells and muddy pools? Is it just a bunch of nuts and conspiracy theorists working on their own? Maybe it’s all of the above. The problem is, in this climate it’s bound to be somebody, it’s inevitably going to happen – we just have to accept that reality – and the more important question now is whether our politicians can rise above the short term goal of winning, and raise their own voices against it. I doubt it. I think Scheer and his Conservatives will be happy to ride the wave and win dirty. After that, everybody will start playing the game, as a matter of political survival, and then, dear readers, we are well and truly fucked.
Canada, please, prove me wrong. Put the lie to my pessimism. Show that they underestimate us with their cynical, ugly attempts to scare us witless with lies that play to our presumed racism and outright stupidity. Let the 49th parallel be a bulwark against this depravity.