Farmers aren’t usually caught off guard when it comes time to harvest the crops they’ve dutifully planted and fertilized. But some of the prominent conservative pundits who have spent years farming rage against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seem genuinely surprised by the latest ugly outburst against him in Belleville, Ont., last week, one that included antisemitic slurs and accusations of pedophilia and treason. Who knew that reaping what you’ve sown could be so much trouble?

In a column for the Toronto Sun, Brian Lilley correctly noted the obsession with pedophilia and politicians not named Trump has begun to pour across the border. “It’s not true, it doesn’t make any sense, there is no proof, but this conspiracy theory that started in the United States has made it’s [sic] way into Canada,” Lilley wrote. “Calling for Trudeau to be arrested on false claims that he’s a pedophile makes the person yelling those claims look bad, not Trudeau.”

This did not go over well with Lilley’s readers, who have understandably grown accustomed to being told the prime minister is the root cause or prime mover of all their fears and failings. “One woman wants to find out where I live, one dude wants to fight me, I’m a WEF puppet to others,” Lilley tweeted over the weekend. “These people are nuts!”

Indeed, Brian, they are. Lilley deserves at least partial credit for calling out these MAGA-inspired protesters and the flavour of politics they want to bring to Canada, even if he’s only doing it because he can see the damage they’re doing to his cause. “Trudeau was run out of Belleville on Thursday,” he wrote, “but if there are many more demonstrations like that, with crazy and anti-Semitic claims, he’ll soon be returned to office for another term.”

Not everyone has given up on their crops here, though. On Sunday, conservative columnist and former Stephen Harper speechwriter Michael Taube stepped up to suggest that the vile antisemitic remark aimed at Trudeau had actually been misheard. “There's a debate going on about this repulsive clip,” he tweeted. “Did the protester say ‘pathetic puke’ or ‘pathetic Jew?’ FWIW, I've just listened to it a few times. Increased and decreased the volume for effect. While it's not easy to discern, I believe the protester said ‘pathetic puke.’”

That one of the key organizers of the anti-Trudeau rally is a noted antisemite, as Press Progress’s Luke LeBrun pointed out, doesn’t seem to have occurred to Taube. But he’s hardly alone in trying to spin last Thursday’s ugliness as something other than a dangerous outburst of hatred and paranoia. Catherine Swift, the former board chair, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, suggested the whole scene was a charade — and that the prime minister’s office and RCMP detail were in on it. “If it were a real security risk you’d have his security folks whisk him away,” she tweeted. “Kinda makes you think it’s a set-up, eh?”

Postmedia columnist Terry Glavin apparently shares this view. “What ended up happening in Belleville wasn’t scripted, but it didn’t happen by accident either, and Trudeau’s people got what they came for,” he wrote. “Video of a smiling, affable prime minister with ordinary Canadians who like him a lot. Fabulous bonus prize: shouting, menacing yobs who don’t like him at all.”

The real problem, Glavin says, isn’t the said “yobs” but apparently Liberal partisans who were dumb enough to believe what they’d seen with their own eyes. “No matter the evidence against Dear Leader, they’ll dig themselves ever deeper, because they’re afraid. They’ll lash out wildly rather than consider the terrifying possibility that they’re being taken for fools by the handsome messiah they’ve gone to such lengths to so loudly and publicly defend.”

But Canadians, regardless of their pre-existing partisan affiliations, have every right to be afraid of what they saw and heard in Belleville. It’s a reminder that the ongoing spread of Trumpism in the United States and its degradation of that country’s political discourse will be felt here in Canada. The threat of Trump getting re-elected in 2024 is real, but Canada’s conspicuously tolerant and liberal values are already seen a target by far-right provocateurs and politicians. We are, whether we like it or not, a part of their culture war now.

Conservative rage farming can have consequences, as we saw last week in Belleville. The real question now is whether politicians and pundits will stop doing it before something even worse happens, writes columnist @maxfawcett. #cdnpoli

We would do well to start preparing for this unpleasant reality rather than trying to dismiss or deflect it. When the public inquiry into foreign interference is finally announced, it should — as I’ve been saying all along — focus just as intently on the unwelcome involvement of American agitators and activists. It should track the flow of money and political organizing across the border, and identify any linkages between U.S. and Canadian political campaigns. As we saw last week in Belleville, the question of America’s influence on our politics and democratic choices is an increasingly urgent one.

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Huge agreement on the inquiry. Let's go nation-by-nation, and put up a bar chart for how much money has been spent from each nation to affect Canadian politics. My guess is that the American bar will be four times the height of China's.

jAbsolutely usual, the real bad actors fall into the null category, and msm generally doesn't mention them.....but American influence worries me much more than Chinese....for the simple reason its all around us..right down to what our CBC covers and doesn't cover.

When you're talking about foreign interference, the foremost perpetrator is always Yankee Doodle Dandy. For example, today's edition of Democracy Now! says, "African officers trained by the U.S. military have taken part in 11 coups in West Africa since 2008." ( )

Thank Canadian Press for it's "sistering" Associated Press.
I object to it, of course: and have never understood why National Observer has reprinted some of their articles.

Without wanting to plot hairs, I think separate inquiries are needed for investigations into state vs non-state foreign interference. Why? Because the inquiry into state-level interference needs to rely primarily on classified intelligence. The inquiry on non-state interference, however, can be done with little or no access to classified material. Separating these public inquiries will allow both investigations to proceed in a proper and less complicated manner.

Without wanting to split hairs, I think separate inquiries are needed for investigations into state vs non-state foreign interference. Why? Because the inquiry into state-level interference needs to rely primarily on classified intelligence. The inquiry on non-state interference, however, can be done with little or no access to classified material. Separating these public inquiries will allow both investigations to proceed in a proper and less complicated manner.

It IS an American phenomenon and can be seen as a variation of the appalling "deep fake," (the world of advertising and public relations has a lot to answer for in this erosion of truth for starters) where you can't believe what you hear or see with your own eyes because no one and no institutions are to be trusted, starting with the media, the relative degree being in inverse proportion to how much power they have.
So the remedy for many has been "social" media (or "Truth Social" as Trump has boldly named his own particular "channel" as a perfect example of what's happening); it has become known as YOUR "feed," found in YOUR hand, giving further credence to what Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message." It's there at your whim, warm and familiar.
Reading Max's links I see the theme on the right is that what happened in Belleville wasn't quite a full-on "enactment" like the outrageous claim made about Sandy Hook, but was still staged for effect and the reporter for the Canadian Press wrote the same blurb for several "outlets" which somehow makes it and her suspect as well. It's like Jan. 6th and the convoy where we all saw on our screens what happened, then had to watch the meticulous process of having to PROVE that what we saw actually was as bad as it looked. It's finally wrapping up years later in the States with indictments, but it's still nip and tuck if Trump will be held accountable. They have banked heavily on the unique reverence for the "President of the United States of America."
This crazy shit IS here now. I just watched the swearing in of new federal ministers and was again struck by how pervasive the ensuing distrust of our government has also become. Commentators with CBC confidently agreed at one point that the government was going to have to communicate WHY this cabinet shuffle is being done. Really? Because this government has a problem with communications, as Max often says. Really? Because we're not all privy to the complicated workings of government, INCLUDING the internal ones, that means they're poor "communicators?" Since when? The foreign interference "issue" was the most recent example of this assiduous conservative slagging, pure and simple. It's relentless and has been for the last 8 years; it could be a case study as it has gained momentum with the unprecedented pandemic and its aftermath.
Trudeau's father giving prairie farmers the finger started something, so Justin grew up in this type of environment, giving him a thicker skin than usual. What's needed obviously.

After Harper's abuses in power rage farming is about the only way the Cons will get in. I guess no one remembers Harper and his right hand man, Pierre. Proto fascist is the only way to describe it.

Lots of us remember Colin, and you are right on the money. It might do all of us a lot of good though to review what Harper did while in power..........and then take a boo at what he's up to now.

IN response to the comments on government sponsored interference vs the interference of non-state but extremely wealthy and extremely fascist bad actors jumping all over democratic institutions - I agree separate investigations likely to be more productive - always keeping in mind,however, how powerful the oligarchy/kleptocratic sector is when allied to RWNJ legislators and politicians with ambitions.

Belleville gave us Derek Sloan for cripes sake.

You can't shake hands with the devil and say you're only kidding.

Throughout the diversion of Chinese influence in Canadian election I've always thought we were chasing a big red herring. The major influence in Canadian politics comes from South of the border and always has.....which isn't to say that China is necessary innocent....but it should draw our attention to what our American friends are up to regarding their one world order. It would be hard to argue for any other country being the bully of the planet just now....given all the wars, most of them covert and/or illegal that they have engaged in, all the regime changes their CIA has helped engineer, and all the unilateral sanctions they like to impose on countries they dislike or disagree with.
The results of that global attitude can be seen inside America herself.......where mindless partisanship has ordinary people sending campaign donations to a man who actually tried to subvert their democratic elections....where gun violence is a regular occurance, and poverty grows faster in the richest nation on earth than anyone would think possible.

The hatred has come to Canada as well.......funded at least in part by the American hard right. We need to speak up, defend our duly elected PM whether we voted for him or not.........and whenever possible, make it clear that violent speech and bullying tactics are unacceptable in Canada.

Nanci Griffeth has a wonderful song..."It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go" which is about hatred....we should give it a listen and promise to stand for another kind of future. If Conservatives think these trolls are going to carry them to power, they should think grandkids deserve better.

Surely one can agree that JT is PM, without defending his far from negligible "mis-steps."
The problem is not that JT is a good PM, and all the other candidates were "bad," but that so much of the field of possible representatives available to become elected by Canadians is sorely lacking in leadership qualities, including ethical behaviour and not breaking the law.