As a general rule, fighting fires with canisters of gasoline is a good way to get burned. But that lesson hasn’t resonated with Pierre Poilievre or his political allies, who are busy fending off accusations that they trade in conspiracy theories by trading in yet more conspiracy theories. In the process, they may well torch some of the political goodwill they’ve accumulated over the summer with Poilievre’s pivot to a kinder and gentler version of himself.

It’s not exactly a secret that conservatism has made more room in recent years for conspiracy theories, whether they’re about vaccines and COVID-19 or the World Economic Forum (WEF) and its apparently nefarious influence over the Canadian government. But a recent fundraising email that included mention of “globalist Davos elites” caught the eye of Canadian Press reporter Mickey Djuric, who covered the CPC’s ongoing flirtation with the language of dog-whistle politics and conspiracies. The response from Poilievre, along with past and present Conservative MPs and its director of communications? Gin up a new conspiracy about The Canadian Press and its relationship with the CBC and other “legacy” media outlets.

“Trudeau’s media are desperate to stop his continued downfall,” he tweeted. “Today, CBC’s news service CP wrote a hit piece on me because I dared criticize the World Economic Forum — a group of multinational CEOs and powerful politicians that push their interests. I work for our people in this country and will bring home our democracy — without apology.”

Former CPC leader Andrew Scheer decided to join the fray. “No wonder Trudeau wants to censor all but four or five Liberals [sic] news sources: they all coordinate in attacking Poilievre with the same false headline,” he tweeted. “Collusion?” This did not sit well with National Post columnist John Ivison, who clapped back at Scheer’s uninformed paranoia. “It's a wire story, with a suggested heading everyone used. Every political rookie knows that — and you're a lifer. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that you are deliberately trying to stoke conspiracy and disinformation. You need to give your head a shake, Andrew.”

Fat chance. Instead, Scheer doubled down, and he wasn’t alone. “‘Conspiracy theorist’ is used to bully free-thinkers into submission so there’s no need to respond to the merits of an issue,” CPC MP and former leadership aspirant Leslyn Lewis tweeted. “It's disturbing to see news outlets collude to propagate biased and poorly researched claims and charges without explanation or commitment to facts.”

Ryan Williams, an MP from Ontario, tried a different tack: pretending the conspiracy theories that kicked off this raging inferno of nonsense aren’t actually conspiracies at all. “The problem with the WEF is that elected officials are trying to implement its policies without being transparent about them in an election, or otherwise,” he tweeted. “Ideas like 15 min cities, digital ID, and Klaus Schwab below. Run these ideas in an election and see what happens.”

In reality, the fact that multiple outlets published the same story with the same headline from Canada’s biggest wire service is more a reflection of the lack of resources in our newsrooms right now than a deliberate and concerted effort to undermine Poilievre. “CP moves stories on its wires and many clients have websites that auto-post them, in their entirety, with CP's headlines,” The Logic’s David Reeveley tweeted. “Some have web editors/producers who then update, revise and add to them. A similar thing happens when a print paper is laid out.”

But these explanations from professional journalists have yet to penetrate the collective conservative consciousness. Neither have reminders of Postmedia’s habit of forcing its papers to run the same pro-Conservative election endorsements with the same headline, an act that’s far more “collusive” than anything happening here.

As with most conspiracy theories and the people pushing them, contradictory facts rarely get the hearing they deserve. If anything, they tend to provoke the sort of allergic reaction we’re seeing from Conservative MPs right now.

How a Canadian Press story became the convoy crowd’s latest conspiracy — and why, try as he might, Pierre Poilievre's CPC just can't seem to quit them. @maxfawcett writes for @NatObserver

Most of those MPs understand what a wire service is, even if they don’t care to learn why and how it actually operates in 2023. But what’s really driving their outrage here is the long-standing desire by populist conservatives to undermine the media and its traditional role as the arbiter of what is and isn’t true.

Donald Trump turned this into an art form, albeit a vulgar one, when he became U.S. president, and his Canadian imitators have been doing their best to mimic him ever since. In his outgoing speech as CPC leader, Scheer blasted the mainstream media and its “narrative” and tried to boost alternative right-wing sources like the Post Millennial and True North.

But as Angus Reid Institute pollster (and federal debate moderator) Shachi Kurl noted, this reflexive Conservative hostility towards the mainstream media isn’t helping them actually win elections. “This is the stuff that gives fatigued swing voters looking for an alternative to a tired, 8 year old Liberal government the heebie jeebies,” she tweeted. “How much rebranding is needed to fix it before they rule him out?”

This is the hope that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are surely holding onto these days. Yes, they’re behind in every poll, and the distance between them and the Conservatives is about as wide as it’s ever been. But he was able to close those gaps in 2019 and 2021, thanks in part to leaders who couldn’t connect with Canadians. If Poilievre can be the guy who talks about housing, affordability and the cost of living, closing this gap won’t be easy. But if he’s the one who lashes out at the media, overreacts to criticism and trades in the sort of language you might have heard at a convoy rally? Well, then, Trudeau might just have a puncher’s chance at re-election — again.

Keep reading

For the longest time I have referred the CPC as the "Corruption Party of Canada", but I am thinking the CPC needs rebranding thanks in part to Pierre Poilievre these days. It seems the CPC should be better known as the "Conspiracy Party of Canada" instead.

Pierre's faux ties to free-dumbers and his ties to conspiracy and misinformation social media sites are no secret, despite Pierre's denial or that of the CPC. I wouldn't be surprised that Harper's terrorist organization the IDU (International Democrat Union) are also behind a lot of the disinformation social media sites that bash Trudeau and spread conspiracy garbage.

They are a particularly useless lot. The real problem is that with them there we can not as a country or provinces progress or move forward. Total taxes in Ontario have been cut as much as 50% for incomes of 60 to 80k since 1994 and if we re going to get our health care system working again we are going to have to put some money into it or people are not going to work in it and will avoid it as a career. See our doctor and nurse shortages for proof. Every time a centrist politician raises taxes a Con come and campaigns saying he can do it for less and the Con will get elected.

If the private-billing clinics were shut down, a lot of nurses *and* doctors would be freed up.
I'm not so sure about the electability, though. In Toronto's recent mayoralty by-election, there were plenty of candidates running on a no tax increase platform.
Torontonians are by now well aware of historic budget issues, resulting mainly from provincial and federal governments' failure/refusal to fund their own responsibilities and leaving the city to pick up the slack.
And that higher-tier downloading has been going on with both Liberal and Conservative administrations, at both levels.

Sachi Kurl is right. Many on this sight despise the Libs almost as much as the CPC. One or two commenters even seem have a deep data base in a folder entitled Liberal Sins.

What Kurl calls " swing voters" are often in fact deeply principled folks in a difficult voter position in competitive ridings where the Conservative candidate has an equal chance of winning along with the Liberal. Some ridings are 3-way races. Critics of "swing" voters don't seem to understand the powerful math of vote splitting. Too often they are single issue people.

A Poilievre government must be avoided at all costs. He has nothing constructive to offer the nation on pretty well every issue, from climate to social justice and healthcare. The common good doesn't appear in his lexicon.

Trudeau's sins, omissions, hypocrisy, half steps and weakness don't amount to a jar full of jelly beans compared to Poilievre's anger-fuelled conspiracy narrative that will decimate not only climate policy but socio-economic policy as well.

It looks like the Libs are sticking with Junior. That means the crutch propping him up needs to be stouter. My preference would be to have the Libs and NDP form a temporary coalition -- i.e with NDPers in cabinet -- negotiated before the next election. Ideally, the Greens will cooperate before the election by not nominating candidates in competitive ridings that will erode NDP or Lib votes and allow the CPC candidate to slip in.

All of this will require maturity and Big Picture thinking from non CPC leaders and probably a written agreement spelling out acceptable terms of compromise for hard core hacks in the respective party executives. A three-year expiry date (with review clauses) could be the pill that allows Liberal and NDP personnel to sit together at the cabinet table in a spirit of consensus for the good of the nation.

Correction: "Many on this site...."

Autocorrect and the lack of a comment editing function suck.

My thinking exactly, and the "confidence and supply" agreement in action has served as a good example of the benefits of stability and its effect on government functionality, so an actual coalition is the logical next step with more real parity. How is that not obvious at this unprecedented juncture where most of us have our hearts in our throats, our "creature hearts" no less? The inexplicable recalcitrance of the left absolutely rivals the right on this.
That relative peacefulness we've been enjoying since the last election contrasts most effectively now with the con's insane overreaction to every single bloody thing the Liberals do. It's starting to invite random provocation just to watch them all "go off" and hopefully burn off some of that indiscriminate juvenile energy.
And speaking of contrasts, I also appreciate you mentioning the bothsidesism with the Liberals and cons that I've been harping on. I've been blaming the media with their creed of objectivity, but it doesn't stop there I don't think, and either way is simply irrational.
Again, it rivals the right's lack of perspective while showing just how vain and malleable many people can be when given half a chance, and a choice.

"A Poilievre government must be avoided at all costs." I agree. When people tell me that Trudeau has to go (and there are reasons why this is true) I tell them that if you like what the Republicans are doing in the US then by all means vote for Poilievre. That gets at least some of them thinking.

That's asking politiicans to be as principled as the most principled voters. It ain't gonna happen. The Greens and NDP couldn't even make such an agreement, despite that many of their voters would have supported such a move. Perhaps had the NDP agreed to *stand down* in ridings where the Greens had beaten them in the last election, it could have happened. But no political party will forego what they see as potential votes.
Voters themselves entered into private "agreements" to vote either NDP or Green, contrary to what they normally would have, in order to get Green candidates elected.
So perhaps the key is to start environmentally conscious voters to start organizing now, to expand and repeat the performance.
In addition, those providing estimates of which ridings might be "safe" ridings for one party or another might be enjoined to consider changing demographics. We got a (pretty much useless) Liberal MP who'll now add a full MPs pension to her retirement portfolio, the year they were deemed the "safest" NDP riding in the country. People did point out to them the changes on the ground, but all they'd consider was the results of the immediately preceding election.
Hard-core hacks are also careerists. Their personal capital depends on their winning campaigns.

Sad to say it, but some hardcore lefties relish a good fight and unfortunately that would put PP at the top of the list. Which means that they'd feel energized and work hard to get donations and spend hundreds of hours hammering out policy in committees, making self-afirming ideological work more important than compromise and consensus with their centrist and progressive rivals.

In that case they would let Poilievre win before talking to their neighbour who shares similar views on several issues or consider forming what could be a Liberal Democratic coalition government. That would illustrate what failing to do the math means.

When I read this article, one thing stuck out to me more than anything else. The fact that the media can be influenced by their owners, and use this medium to influence readers. It’s the very definition of propaganda. The big issue here isn’t the convoy or conspiracy theories, it’s that much of the media are corrupted by politics and/or money.

This article describes very honestly that the media are influenced by their owners. Post media being the villain in this article as they are the most blatant offenders. I remember Stephen Harper‘s picture being on the front page of many post media papers just prior to the election. The bigger issue in my opinion, the public are consuming media being influenced and curated by narratives crafted by their owners.

‘Cancel the CBC’ is a front and centre part of the conservative lexicon every single time the liberals are in power. No one on the right acknowledges the fact that while in power, Stephen Harper was responsible for putting hand-picked individuals into key high ranking positions at the CBC. Why would he do that? More importantly, why CAN he do that?

It is also a demonstrable fact that advertisers influence the narratives, and the types stories that get written or not written. In the United States there is growing evidence that the Intelligence Community has their hands in the influence of the media as well, but I digress.

To make the CBC a true fact based media outlet I suggest a remedy: Legislation that would protect the CBC from political and advertiser influence. This legislation, would set the groundwork for full funding of the CBC, with taxpayer money. Further, it would forbid any advertising whatsoever. This is the only way the corruptive influence of both money and politics can protect the media Canadians consume. The legislation would have to have code of conduct and other protections in place, which should be reasonably straightforward.

I for one, would love to see media outlets free of conspiratorial thinking, curated narratives, and political bias.

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”
― Noam Chomsky

"The big issue here isn't the convoy or conspiracy theories, it's that much of the media are corrupted by politics and/or money."
"Politics" in general you mean, so just the generic term? So you're talking "bothsidesism" again you mean....
How do you glide over THE most salient issue of all, that relatively recently ONE side in particular has become sufficiently radicalized to initiate and enact ALL the anarchy now threatening democracy? ALL the freedumb libertarian insanity like the convoy and the insurrection, all the conspiracy theories, EVERY ONE, accompanied by the blatant and unprecedented introduction of widespread mis/disinformation culminating in the "big lie?"
Conservatives didn't used to be called "cons" and Republicans used to be the "Grand Old Party" so something has changed quite drastically on the right side of the political spectrum. In retrospect, the word "grand" IS a bit of a giveaway on the arrogant and bold spectrum (apparently it was originally just the "Gallant" Old Party in reference to winning the civil war) and the elephant? There's a cartoon in 1874 featuring the first notable appearance of the Republican elephant trampling all the other animals.
But Liberals were always Liberals and Democrats were always Democrats. We never talk about a "conservative democracy" for a reason.
Money always means power but values and philosophy dictate what you do with both, and currently the right wing has truly reverted to type to manifest as the trampling elephant.

CBC used to be entirely funded by government.
So were universities, aside from tuition, which was a much smaller part of an average income than it is today.

That was a long time ago now, and while it seems to me that coverage of issues was less fact-challenged, I wasn't as interested in politics then as now.

One doesn't need a data-base to be aware of JT's many faults and lies. The bottom line right now is that Canadians really have no good leader to vote for. We're all swimming in the same big, wide, brown river the FUGS lyrics so aptly described, back in the ?60s? ?70s? ... leaving us with almost always the sole choice of voting for the lesser of evils.

None of that makes any of the candidates "good."

And btw, no: the press does not decide facts. The press decides spin.

I'd like to see a major education campaign, that teaches Canadians that they are not American, that we have different systems, that work differently in important ways ...

And I'd like to see much better K-12 curricula, that actually teach kids Canadian civics and geography.

The last recent figure I saw was that private ads supply only 10% of the CBC's revenue.

Still, after evenings spent watching top notch movies and documentaries on borrowed DVDs from the library, which has a vast collection of foreign films, it is terribly annoying to switch over to The National for news only to be interrupted every seven minutes with ads for big trucks and adult diapers.

I believe the CBC is also fairly bloated and could trim down their TV department. Full public funding should come with policies to focus on producing great drama and deep news analysis, documentaries and series over stupid game shows. Those policies must include clauses that protect the CBC's right to broadcast critical commentary and opinion. That is, policy that goes the extra km to counter conservative criticism about the CBC's supposed "biases" and "favouritism" toward the so-called progressive agenda.

But there are simply not enough extra km's to counter conservative "criticism" because that's not what it IS. It's actually genuine hatred based on the lazy "ideology" stoked by algorithms that make uneducated/low information people feel part of some revolution or other with "socialism"/Liberals/Justin Trudeau the targets. So in that altered state it truly would NOT matter what CBC did. Or the Liberals. Or Trudeau.
I've watched and listened to CBC all my life and I think much of what they do now is based on generational changes to try and capture and maintain even a portion of a never more fractious younger audience, no easy feat.
Maybe when the fever dream of social media finally founders and more people resort to "adulting" as another novelty?

France 24 is one of the world's best commercial-free public English language channels. It offers extensive top notch international news analysis 24/7. Ditto DP out of Berlin and TVP from Poland. Their daily updates on Ukraine put the CBC to shame except for the rare times CBC puts journos on the ground there instead of copying stories from the standard wire service.

The BBC has slipped but is still well ahead of the CBC (which was originally modelled on the BBC) especially in original high quality drama.

BC's Knowledge Network and TV Ontario are two of the best public networks in Canada, but neither is funded to produce news. The CBC has devolved to Family Feud followed by an unremarkable newscast 1/3 punctuated with fluff pieces and too much sports as news, all diced and sliced by intelligence sapping ads.

Our recent free-of-charge library DVD viewing includes several Scandavian mysteries, top drawer BBC dramas and mini-series, the Handmaid's Tale, an 8-part documentary on the Lincoln Project (anti-Trump ex-Republican alumni polical group), several French language police series and so much more.

I look at how much we pay for cable TV and have to wonder why we just don't cancel it. If it wasn't for Knowledge and PBS we probably would.

How about the press starting forcing Pollievere to answer questions about the IDUs input into conservative policy and strategy planning.

Yo, whoa! A National Post columnist (Ivison) has called the Cons on their BS??? Is the National Post suddenly trying to not appear as biased as they really are?

And I would like to share this from "Overall, we rate the Canadian Press [CP] Least Biased based on being a news agency that directly reports news [geez, imagine that!]. We also rate them High for factual reporting due to a clean fact check record."

Finally, it strikes me that if Cons are so knee-jerk anti-WEF (you know, anti "world economy"), then that makes them "anti-globalized economy" as well, right? Hence and therefore, according to the Cons, we should not be building any more pipelines to get Canadian fossil fuels to other countries — because that would be a conspiracy to participate in the global economy. Right, PP and Danielle? I've got that right, right? You think Canada should NOT be part of the world economy because the WEF is a conspiracy, right?
p.s. The WEF is doing excellent work on climate change, which to me says that PP and Danielle are full of $#!†e.

News *is* where one finds biased reporting that is important. Who gives a dawdlee do about the factuality of reporting on fashion, recipes, entertainment and the latest and greatest stuff for smearing on, spraying at.and marinating bodies in. Whether the maxi skirt is back or not, whether polyester actually "wicks" moisture from the body or not, and which movie star's recipe for cupcakes is the best has to do with fact in some measure, but it's kind of irrelevant to any of the issues we've been discussing.

How do you fact-check innuendo, or facts not mentioned? What is mentioned can be factually true, while telling only part of what is true, and leaving out the parts that make all the difference in the world.