https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenie ... -1.5026798
The fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair is only beginning to rain down on Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government but it seems to be having an impact — one that could put the Liberals on track to defeat in this fall's federal election.
The controversy surrounding allegations about political interference in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a major Quebec-based engineering firm, and the subsequent demotion and resignation from cabinet of former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould (followed by the resignation of the prime minister's principal secretary, Gerry Butts), is evolving on a daily basis.
Wilson-Raybould tells Commons she wants to 'speak my truth' on SNC-Lavalin, tells Liberals she's still on-side
Poll Tracker: Liberals take hit in wake of SNC-Lavalin affair
The first polls published since the Globe and Mail initially reported the allegations on Feb. 7 suggest that the Liberals have taken a significant hit in public support.
The CBC's Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polls, puts the Liberals and Conservatives neck-and-neck in voting intentions and virtually tied in the number of seats each party would be likely to win if an election were held today.
Right now, there's no clear indication of which party would emerge with the most seats in a general election — a significant shift from where things stood at the end of 2018, when the Poll Tracker gave the Liberals a better than 90 per cent chance of winning an election.
For the Liberals, the trend line might only get worse.
Three polls that were conducted entirely after the initial Globe reports emerged have been published in recent days — from Campaign Research (Feb. 7-11), Ipsos/Global News (Feb. 14-18) and Léger/Canadian Press (Feb. 15-19). The last two surveys were conducted after Wilson-Raybould's resignation from cabinet and include some data gathered since Butts stepped down on Monday.
Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37 per cent to 32 per cent for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36 to 34 per cent in the Conservatives' favour. Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research's polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.
The Conservatives have gained two to three points over that time.
The only shift that appears statistically significant is the five-point Liberal slide recorded by Léger — but the fact that all three polling firms are picking up similar trends suggests that the swing between the Conservatives and Liberals is real.
SNC-Lavalin wearing on Trudeau
Campaign Research also picked up a drop of four points in Trudeau's own approval rating (to 35 per cent), while Ipsos found the number of respondents saying the Liberals deserve to be re-elected has plummeted eight points since December to 38 per cent.
Léger reports satisfaction with the government is down nine points and Trudeau's own score on Canadians' preference for prime minister is down seven points to 26 per cent. That this drop did not result in any sizeable gain for any of his opponents suggests it's more about Trudeau himself than it is about the performance of any other party leader.
The Léger/Canadian Press poll provides some indications of the impact of the SNC-Lavalin affair in particular. The poll finds that Canadians are paying attention, with 67 per cent reporting some awareness of the story.
Of those with some knowledge of the controversy, 41 per cent agreed with this statement: "Yes, the prime minister did something wrong." Only 12 per cent said that the prime minister "did not do anything wrong."
Another 41 per cent said that they were "not sure either way," suggesting that many Canadians are still waiting to learn more before coming down on one side or the other. That might be the silver lining here for the Liberals: most Canadians polled either believe the prime minister or are still giving him the benefit of the doubt.
But it also means that if the story generates more negative headlines for the government (and there are few indications so far that it won't), there aren't very many Canadians predisposed to believe the Liberals' side of the story.
Liberals hurting in Quebec, but mostly Ontario
While the impact of the affair has sapped the Liberals in every part of the country, there is a difference between what the polls are saying in the two largest provinces that inevitably will decide the next federal election.
Across the three surveys, the Conservatives made gains in both Ontario and Quebec while the Liberals lost support. (The NDP also is down consistently in Quebec and the Bloc Québécois up, but that was a pre-existing trend that probably has little to do with the SNC-Lavalin affair.)
The swing was more pronounced in Ontario than it was in Quebec, where concerns about the impact of the affair on SNC-Lavalin's future have been more prevalent. The Conservatives gained between three and six points in Ontario in the three surveys, averaging a gain of just under five points. The Liberals lost between three and seven points, for an average loss of just over five points.
Both Ipsos and Léger recorded slides for the Liberals in Ontario sizeable enough to be statistically significant.
Andrew Scheer's Conservative Party has made gains in the polls in Quebec and particularly in Ontario in recent weeks. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
In Quebec, however, the Conservative gain was only three to four points, with the Liberals dropping two to four — all within what would be the margin of error for probabilistic samples of the sizes surveyed in the province.
The trend is pointing in one direction, which is notable. But so far, the impact in Quebec seems less pronounced. Both Léger and Ipsos still give the Liberals a double-digit lead in Quebec, while the race is now either tied or leaning Conservative in Ontario.
That could have some important electoral implications if the trends hold. As it stands now, the Liberals are still projected to gain seats in Quebec — perhaps about a dozen — but are also on track to lose as many as 30 in Ontario. Even if the Liberal slide in support halts, that alone would make it nearly impossible for Trudeau to secure another majority government in the fall.
Of course, October's federal election is a long way off. The SNC-Lavalin story and the polling trends might change (and change again, and again) between now and then. But based on where the story and the trends are heading now, the Liberals have to hope for a swing back in their direction.
Liberals are getting pounded in the polls, going from a more than 90% chance of victory to neck and neck with the Cons. Worst of all seems to be Ontario, which between this and Doug Ford seems to have been thoroughly lost to the far Right for the foreseeable future.
I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of this scandal, though I will note that Trudeau has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, possible corruption should not go ignored. But the shear short-sighted, knee-jerk reactionary nature of this shift towards the Cons frankly sickens me. Is punishing a possible corrupt coverup by Trudeau worth inviting the horror that's been going on in the US for the last two years to take over Canada? Is that really the lesser evil, especially considering that Canada arguably doesn't have nearly as strong a system of checks and balances on a PM (if they have a majority) that the US does on Presidential power? Maybe it seems like the lesser evil if you're a straight white man, and (mistakenly) feel that you have nothing to fear from a far Right government.
I mean, its not even as much of a two party system as in the US. You COULD vote NDP or even Green or the Bloc if you really want to stick it to Trudeau (though the NDP has never actually won control of the government, so its arguable how effective such an approach would be vs. simply splitting the vote against the Cons).
No doubt many will disagree with me, but I'll take routine political corruption over Neo-Fascism any day of the week- because at least I am pretty sure that Trudeau isn't seeking to become dictator, and that he doesn't seek the death or subjugation of everyone different from himself. I just can't bring myself to care that much about whether he leaned on some prosecutors compared to "Are we going to have a dictatorship that panders to white nationalists and rapists?"
And if you think its unfair to paint the Canadian Cons with the same brush as Trumpism, just look at Doug Ford:
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/davide-ma ... _23456121/
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario won a majority government on June 7, taking power for the first time in 15 years. The election was a resounding victory for leader Doug Ford. Accordingly, it was also a victory for white supremacists.
This is because Ford was the preferred candidate for the far-right. Don't believe me? Just listen to them.
Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford attends his election night party in Toronto following the provincial...
CARLO ALLEGRI / REUTERS
Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford attends his election night party in Toronto following the provincial election on June 7, 2018.
A recent investigation from Ricochet found that, "Far-right figures and groups, from the explicitly white supremacist to the more crypto-fascist, have not been shy in proclaiming their support for 'Ford Nation' and their belief that Doug Ford could create an opening for white supremacist activity similar to the effect of Donald Trump in the United States."
Ricochet's investigation involved listening to episodes of This Hour Has 88 Minutes, the most popular white supremacist podcast in Canada until it was deleted on May 9, after Vice Canada sent a comment request to one of the co-hosts, Thomas White, for an investigation that would be released a week later.
The far-right figures on the podcast did not give their support to Ford begrudgingly, in the way some people do when voting for the candidate they believe will cause the least harm.
Instead, over the course of several episodes, the co-hosts encouraged listeners to buy PC memberships to vote for Ford in the leadership race, vote for Ford to be premier, and actively support his campaign on the ground and through social media.
This is not to say that Ford is a white supremacist. Ford denounced Gabriel Sohier Chaput, a co-host of This Hour Has 88 Minutes'.
Ford also appears to have received significant support from racialized voters, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, and has many racialized people in his caucus.
According to Ricochet's analysis of the podcast, the white supremacists supported Ford because they believed he will "'electrify' the white working class and give blue-collar people permission to be racist," as well as hastening an arrival of the white ethnostate they desire.
Alt-right group, the Proud Boys, are calling Ford the 'Proud Boy of the month'
Ford also received support from several other far-right figures.
Ezra Levant, the co-founder of the news and commentary outlet, Rebel Media, which has hosted white nationalists, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, alt-right figures and other hate-mongers, says Ford will smash the "false liberal consensus."
Faith Goldy, the former Rebel Media host who was fired after appearing on a podcast affiliated with a neo-Nazi publication, The Daily Stormer, describes Ford as a "right wing populist," that will "clean house."
Ronny Cameron, the most prominent far-right organizer in Toronto, cited Ford's promises to lower taxes, oppose the carbon tax and repeal the sex-ed curriculum.
Alt-right group, the Proud Boys, are calling Ford the "Proud Boy of the month," and claiming that he will, "Make Ontario Great Again."
Doug Ford’s Victory Is Also One For White
VIA PROUD BOYS CANADA ON FACEBOOK
Yet the far-right's affection for Ford isn't entirely unrequited, either. Ford was a speaker at a Rebel Media event in June 2017. He also appointed Andrew Lawton, one of Rebel Media's former hosts, who once claimed that women in Germany deserved to be raped because of the country's supposedly lax refugee policies.
One of Ford's former candidates, Tanya Granic Allen, who has espoused an Islamophobic and homophobic ideology that led to her being dismissed as a candidate, was endorsed by prominent neo-Nazi, Paul Fromm.
Another one of Ford's candidates, Donna Skelly, promoted a far-right news organization during an event for young conservatives in December 2017.
Ontario already has a hate problem
In May, when speaking on immigration, Ford claimed that Ontario needs to "take care of our own." The comment was widely condemned, but according to far-right organizer Cameron, who celebrated the remark, "Every nationalist out there are [sic] like 'we know what you're sayin' Dougie.'"
One of the co-hosts of This Hour Has 88 Minutes also claimed Ford has sent covert signals of approval to the far-right, stating, "All it takes is someone like a Doug Ford or a Trump to activate those impulses in people."
These racist impulses aren't entirely dormant, of course.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed or supported a great deal of anti-Muslim legislation, ostensibly in the name of national security, especially in his final few years. This included: banning niqabs in citizenship ceremonies, introducing Bill C-51, planning to combat "barbaric cultural practices," and citing mosques as sites of radicalization in Canada. In that same time span, from 2012 to 2015, hate crimes against Muslims reported by police to Statistics Canada increased by 253 per cent.
Ontario already has a hate problem. There were 612 hate crimes reported by police to Statistics Canada in 2016, 43 per cent of the total reported in Canada as a whole. Also in 2016, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority released a study which found there was an "epidemic of Islamophobia" in the province.
The threat now facing marginalized people in Ontario is that Ford's alleged dog whistles and connections to the far-right will further embolden white supremacists and normalize hatred.
Doug Ford’s Victory Is Also One For White
VIA RONNY CAMERON ON FACEBOOK
Better organization will mean more recruits, and violence, all the way to mass casualty attacks, as several experts studying the far-right told The Walrus.
More from HuffPost Canada:
Ontario Election 2018: Province Expected To See Seismic Shift In Government After 15 Years
How Did Doug Ford Get Here? It Didn't Happen Overnight
Doug Ford Defends Treatment Of Brother's Widow Amid Bitter Family Feud
White supremacists are confident in their ability to expand their ranks in this political climate. One of the This Hour Has 88 Minutes co-hosts claimed that, "Those people [blue-collar workers] are not far from our thinking. It's a very small push to our thinking."
A Ford victory is the push they've been hoping to get. It's up to Ontarians to prove them wrong.
The Proud Boys, FYI, are the same violent neo-fascist group I posted on in the Mueller thread, due to their ties to Colluder and terrorist threat-poster Roger Stone.
And there are Ford's criminal ties and history: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/to ... e12153014/
(And while I have no proof, given that he's an Alt. Reich-ish politician with Mob ties, and IIRC Mob ties in the East usually means Russian Mob, I'd be downright shocked if Doug Ford isn't already, or soon will be, a Russian asset).
And for the Federal Cons... Stephen Harper's "Barbaric Cultural Practices" law and Burkha Ban. That is all.
So you know what? Unless they show that Trudeau was involved in raping or murdering someone or something, I'm standing by him. Because even if he's corrupt, he's not a fucking fascist or bigot. And because I have friends who are women and minorities, and I rate their dignity and security higher than I do punishing Trudeau over this.
Edits: Not that my vote is likely to mean a damn thing here, more's the pity, because my riding is pretty much guaranteed to go either NDP or just possibly Green, as always. So I'll probably vote for whichever of those two options most loudly and unequivocally denounces the radical Right. But I am rooting for the Liberals at the national level.