I swear, I didn’t want to write about this. Much as it may shock some of my critics, I’m a big believer in freedom of expression. If Alberta Premier Danielle Smith wants to participate in a white grievance festival with people like Conrad Black, Rex Murphy, Brett Wilson and Jordan Peterson, well, she has that right. If she wants to share a stage with Tucker Carlson, a man who clearly appreciates the political leadership in Russia more than Canada, she has that right too. And if she wants to smile as he makes homophobic jokes about Justin Trudeau in order to delight a crowd filled with luminaries like Theo Fleury, Pat King and Maxime Bernier, well, you get the idea.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, though. Carlson has made a career out of trading in dangerous and deranged conspiracies, whether it’s the “great replacement theory” (not surprisingly, the audiences at his two events were overwhelmingly white) or the notion that the 2020 U.S. election was “stolen” from Donald Trump. He’s referred to Canada in the past as America’s “retarded cousin” and suggested more recently it should be “liberated” from the “tyranny” of its democratically elected government. If Smith had even a single patriotic bone left in her body, she didn’t show it.

It was embarrassing enough as an Albertan to see Smith tweet out a picture of her posing gleefully with Carlson, Peterson and Black. Her dig at the mainstream media was both predictable and ironic: Black and Peterson, after all, are inextricably linked with the National Post, which receives millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies every year. As former environment minister Shannon Phillips said, “This is beneath the dignity of the office.”

But Smith’s decision to involve Carlson in her petty feud with Canada’s environment minister crossed a clear and bright line. “I wish you would put Steven Guilbeault in your crosshairs,” she told Carlson, effectively inviting him to turn his heavily armed audience’s attention towards a fellow elected official. If she didn’t know what she was doing by using that language, she should have. And if she did, well, then we have a much bigger problem on our hands.

In Canada, free expression has limits. That’s written right there in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document that conservatives seem to be awfully fond of citing lately. Inciting violence towards another Canadian seems like a pretty clear test of those limits, especially coming from someone with a platform as large as Smith. But there are apparently no limits when it comes to how far Smith will go in order to own the libs.

Anyone tempted to excuse her words ought to reflect first on what happened in Edmonton earlier this week when a heavily armed man stormed city hall and discharged an automatic weapon and Molotov cocktail before being subdued. The accused’s apparent motivation? In addition to mentioning the war in Gaza, he listed off a number of tropes and topics that are standard fare on the right. “I’m just tired of seeing the tyranny and corruption taking over our society and our lives,” the 28-year-old security guard said in a recorded video that has since been deleted. “Good, honest and God-fearing men and women must be our doctors, law enforcement, diplomats, politicians and teachers that rise up against this wokeism disease that’s leading our generation into deception. We need good men and women in all workforces to promote a pro-human life.”

Sound familiar? His stated concerns about inflation, the housing crisis, immigration and “the unrest that’s happening between us because of multiculturalism” should, too. They’re all popular topics among conservative rage farmers in Canada and the politicians who keep enabling them. This is what so-called “stochastic terrorism” looks like and we’re lucky this particular example of it didn’t have more lethal consequences.

The next one could, though. That’s especially true when Canadian Conservatives seem determined to invite MAGA-style politics into our country. Keeping their supporters hopped up on fear and loathing of the other might help generate cash and clicks — just ask Carlson and his former employer, Fox News — but it can also create an addiction that’s hard to break. With all the vitriol and venom that people like Pierre Poilievre and Smith keep heaping towards Justin Trudeau and some of his senior cabinet ministers, it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to put those words into action. Maybe they already have.

Given that, it would be nice if Smith walked her comments back and turned down the temperature on some of her disagreements with Ottawa. It would be nice if conservatives turned their backs on the sort of divisive rhetoric and dangerous revenge fantasies that have come to define the Republican Party. I’m not holding my breath for either of those things to happen. Instead, I’m resigned to waiting for the next outbreak of politically motivated violence — and hoping it doesn’t happen for a long, long time.

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Danielle Smith has always been clearly a Free-Dumber from the get go and even worse, only there for oil & gas and not for the wellbeing of Alberta. What's even more disturbing, this same crowd that loves Danielle Bat-Shit Smith, Conrad Criminal Black, Rex Senile Murphy and now Tucker Off-The-Deep-End Carlson have been embraced by the same groups of lunatics that wants Alberta to break away from Canada and join the United States as a new state. The same bunch of lunatics also wonder why BC belongs to Canada and not the USA.

There is a movement by the same bunch of lunatics that want to break off and join the United States, but I wonder, if they think the United States is such a great country, why not just leave the rest of us alone and move to the USA. Problem solved.

Excellent but you left out "Psychologist-heal-thyself" Peterson. I used to like him but he's really gone off the rails. A few times people have asked Peterson if he thought Trump was a psychopath and it is truly sad watching him turn himself into a pretzel trying to say "no" when every fibre of his professional being is screaming "this man is a basket of personality disorders who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the levers of power." I don't know if it's his devotion to the right-wing cause or the fact that he may lose 50 to 75% of his subscribers if he tells the truth about Trump.

As far as Alberta joining the US goes, those people should take a serious look at Puerto Rico. There's no way Alberta would get statehood and at least Puerto Rico has seaports.

These folks aren't smart enough to look at Puerto Rico, as they are too sucked up in their faux ideals from social media how rosy and much better it is in the USA.

Incidentally, Puerto Rico is not allowed to have direct trade with other nations--all cargo coming to Puerto Rico has to stop at the US first. Makes all their stuff more expensive, but it's a good racket for the US.

But actually, there's a good chance Alberta could get statehood. I mean, unlike Puerto Ricans, they're white.

Peterson is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. He's not in a position to diagnoze mental illness(es).
He trades in plying notoriety. Presumably he was dissatisfied with his income as an academic, clinician, and author. He doesn't seem to mind the harm he causes others through his misogyny and from pretending to be an expert in areas out of his field, in the course of flogging disinformation.
So basically, he's getting money to behave badly. That seems to be more common than not, these days.

I don't think freedom of speech includes counsel to put government officials (or, indeed, anyone) "in the crosshairs."

People using the term "free speech" should probably state what they mean by it, because the way it's used sometimes does not distinguish between legitimate free speech, and hate speech, libel, and incitement to various illegal, even criminal, behaviours.

I will always contend that the vast majority of Albertans treasure their Canadian citizenship and will not be sacrificing it for something less anytime soon, no matter how crazy their leadership gets. And I agree it would be far easier for the seriously malcontented and delusional to emmigrate permanently to Texas than to attempt to break up Canada.

What Max Fawcett failed to elucidate was just how much money Carlson was making. He is lying for money. At Fox is was for an eight-figure salary until Fox encountered a lowly Canadian business that made Dominion voting machines which stood up to the MAGA lies and sued their pants off and won. Carlson was let go not long after, not for the lies that obviously were highly profitable, but because they couldn't afford him any longer in light of the settlement that was closing in on a billion bucks. During the court case Carlson admitted he thought Trump was "obviously" a fool and that the "stolen" election was in fact legitimate.

Funny how threats to reverse the flow of money and taking an oath in court strips away all the bluster. But it's not funny how some of the truly delusional followers can be motivated to harm others when greedy, ideologically brainwashed leaders tell them to, like D. Smith. This makes Jason Kenney out to be a wise man. After all, he warned his party about choosing her as leader for that very reason, loud and clear.

Someone should write a book named "Children of Putin," for Carlson and many other talking head luminaries in the West are fed talking points via circuitous routes from the Kremlin. Russian bots are in too many comments sections of mainstream and social media everywhere, especially on topics like Ukraine. There is a similarity, a set of distictive patterns in their ideas such as biolabs and Nazis, and in commentary and financing of disruptive organizations and individuals focussed on destabilizing democratic processes.

Smith has joined the family.

Good analysis, the money is always overlooked, an interesting omission when you recall what the right wing is KNOWN to be fuelled by, above all else.

Another excellent analysis, Mr Fawcett. Tucker Carlson's obsession with violence is very concerning. I've often thought his Fox News show was about getting his viewers to rise up against their neighbors, a la Rwanda or Myanmar. He even did an interview with Trump trying to goad him into saying that the proper response to election fraud was violence. Even Trump resisted that.

One quibble, though - when you're talking about firearms I think it's important to be very accurate. You state that the wacko in Edmonton used an "automatic weapon". That's important because those are totally illegal in Canada. The CBC report States "a long gun capable of firing multiple rounds" which could mean anything from an M16 to an old fashioned lever action cowboy Winchester (see: the attack on Parliament Hill). We liberals often lose credibility with gun owners when we are sloppy with the facts.

Wow, she hangs out with the worst people on Earth and smiles. She is a national embarrassment.

Funny this piece should mention Carlsen using the word "retarded". This was also used recently about America's "AOC" by Carlsen's successor, and defended as "OK" to use as a slur: "I've met with the associations and they've said yes" (doesn't say which "associations"...)

Funny, really, because the word was utterly unacceptable to Sarah Palin, mom of a disabled child, many years before:

...though Sarah didn't ask for a Republican official who used it to be fired, just the Democratic official.

These guys really change their standards to go along with the offender. I mean, the picture includes a shrink who continued to treat patients while fighting a massive drug addiction he had to be put to sleep for weeks to overcome; a businessman who did time in jail for defrauding his business partners out of millions; and a propagandist who was fired after he cost his employer $700M with a stream of knowing lies that defamed an honest business.

Smith is actually the least-offensive person in the picture.

I think we should be clear about a couple of things. First, Carlson lied like crazy about the election, but what discovery in that case revealed is that he didn't really want to--Fox told him to do it, and he did. So I mean, it's one of the few cases in his career where left to his own devices with zero pressure otherwise, he might have done the right thing. Clearly he didn't have enough courage or ethics not to do what he was told, but the real responsibility in this particular case lies with the top honchos of Fox News, not with Carlson. He's still a lying inflammatory racist piece of bad stuff who has said plenty of horrible lying things on his own initiative. Just, in that particular case the blame doesn't start with him.

Second, he spouted a stream of knowing lies that defamed a business which had not done the unethical things he claimed about them. That doesn't make Dominion an "honest" business--come on, that's pretty unlikely. It just didn't do that particular bad thing.

Difference being Smith is the only one of the lot who is in a position to force her will and stupidity upon the unwilling.
And possibly the only one being paid by the fossil fuel industry.

I happened across an MSNBC interview of California Governor Gavin Newsome last evening in which he was asked about his engaging with Fox News as a surrogate for Joe Biden.

Though I forget his exact words, in his somewhat bemused response, the substance was that we can ill-afford not engaging.

So, good for Max to comment.

I saw that interview too. Newsome nails the facts every time, and came on strong and called the MAGA GOP Congress members (namely House speaker Mike Johnson and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell) "spineless" for melting like ice cream cones in Death Valley at the sound of Trump's voice commanding them to not approve the bipartisan deal for the southern US border and funding for Ukraine. Doing the border deal will make Biden look even better (the economy is already roaring largely in response to his policies) and will deny Trump the opportunity to look good dealing with the border a year from now when he is supposedly president.

Newsome is being heavily encouraged to run for the Democratic ticket after Biden. As for Ukraine, it has many friends in Europe who can assist for the next year, not to mention a very strong will to survive and to drive out the mass murder occupiers. Some Republicans care not to fight for democracy and their allies and are way too cosy with the imperialist, fascist so-called strong men. That's shameful, and that is one of the many big splits in their party.

It's all very presumptuous of the MAGAheads, Danielle Smith's mentors. The year is young, and the election is still nine+ months away. There are 91 possible current criminal cases and convictions facing Trump, several of which could land him in jail. All the legal pundit minds -- several of which are conservative -- are siding with the US Constitution, not with Trump. Three states have had their gerrymandered electoral district maps overturned so far in the last few weeks, the latest just the other day in Louisiana where the GOP legislature didn't even appeal because they know they'd lose when challenging the Constitution based on race. As the result, Louisiana just gained an additional largely Black / Democratic House seat representing that district, perfectly in time for the November election. Just before that, the highest court in Wisconsin erased the grossly gerrymandered Republican electoral district map and ordered them to redraw it using neutrality and fairness by a late spring deadline, or they'd redraw it for them. The lawyer making these cases is overjoyed and said there are 14 more cases to go in other states.

Rejecting Trump, an insurrectionist, from the Colorado court's election ballot based on a very specific Constitutional amendment against insurrection was appealed, and that appeal will be decided in a couple or three months. The higher court judges will need to follow the Constitution in accordance with their oath in that and other cases involving Trump.

I don't see it any of this going Trump's way, on having "total immunity" or having his name excluded from ballots for strict legal reasons, or having his criminal record erased, though I am sure state Republicans will put on a real loud MAGA clown show to try to avert justice. To add insult to injury, Trump's wins are noticeably smaller at a time when he needs all the marginal gains he can muster more than ever. Five US states were decided by a fraction of one percent last time, others by just one or two percent; the math does not back Trump in 2024.

Danielle Smith and her MAGA and Canadian MAGA Lite friends are grinning prematurely. They really don't have a vision for the nation, except perhaps as a banana republic run by Big Oil and militias through their smiley face raging puppets in office.

Well, lo & behold, yesterday Trump was just hit with an 83 million dollar penalty for defamation after making nasty comments about his victim in sexual assault suit, in which he was found guilty.

Then the courts announced that the decision in a separate fraud case involving Trump's businesses and family dealings in NYC will be announced on Jan 31, just for days after the defamation penalty. Bam. Bam.

One legal commentator said that the total damages awarded for both cases could top $300 million, and that if necessaey the courts can confiscate Trump's bank accounts and seize properties to pay them.

Wow. And there are many more cases coming down the pipe fast in several courts.

Trump has thousands of robot MAGA supporters who have given money to him before. But now the hat just got as big as a freight train, and he will probably declare bankruptcy if his brainwashed crowd finally catches on to his grift.

What will this crowd and all the media and politicians who have banked on Trump do if he cannot run for office this November? What will become of the GOP?

Bye bye Trump Tower. Adios Mar A Lago. Hello pin-striped uniform. Do the crime, do the time. You reap what you sow.

Good article and somehow still a bit shocking, the open contempt for Trudeau that's also apparently interchangeable with the contempt for little Canada, both considered to be "effeminate," Trudeau as a closet gay (which Kenney actually IS btw), and Canada as a "stalker" of the big macho guy that is the U.S. But such crass insults paraded under the trademark American bully banner of free speech, the last "refuge of the scoundrel."
And there she is, lead cheerleader for "da boys," fan girl extraordinaire, but this is also ominous as hell because it's only a matter of time until someone "in the crosshairs" is actually killed, which is starting to look like the only thing that might restore our perspective. But never mind the usual spluttering assessments of fresh outrage and glaring inappropriateness like "beneath her office," etc., what about the high tolerance for inappropriate behaviour that our society in general now has? It's like we're all mesmerized by the phenomenon, the drama of "something wicked this way comes" like deer in the headlights, but we also know how that ends. The main remedy would be to start sidelining the perpetrators like the Americans now do with "the shooter," refusing to give him the media attention he wants.
And a reminder again: it's ALWAYS a "he." And this last Edmonton guy? The religion of Islam anyone? It's forbidden to mention that of course, even with his name and appearance and despite what he's just DONE, ESPECIALLY because of what he's just done because no one wants to be ALARMIST. Nonetheless, religion rears its massive head again as the guy's Twitter preamble (now deleted, why?) mentions "god-fearing" men AND WOMEN, awkwardly added, maybe as a concession to modernity, and in keeping with his insistence that HE'S not a psychopath, he's not the usual "shooter" even as he lists the usual incendiary right wing "tropes" as Max says, like "wokism." Boy has THAT one had legs.
What's happening right now has to have similarities to what happened in Germany as the Nazis built their "base," unbelievably being attempted there AGAIN today; it's like it's endemic to human societies because they're all comprised of angry, simmering young men?
Bottom line is that ANYONE who still, in ANY way defends, let alone supports the political right wing at this point in time should be viewed accordingly. Why wait for the shooting?

Most of these gunmen are Christians, Ms Pargeter. Many of them are Christians who hate Moslems and/or Arabs. As long as you brought up the Nazis, recall what the Nazis DID: They blamed everything going wrong on a religious minority, which they treated as a monolithic group. Which is what you are doing. Your anti-Islam crusade grows more and more disquieting. You say you are against the right and against the fundamentalist Christians, but you talk just like them.

Except that the doctrines of Islam ARE the worst.
Since 911 brought them into horrifying focus here, along with the appallingly barbaric array of other related practices like suicide bombing, honour killing, beheading, and the apparently lesser sideline of outright gender apartheid, (think of females in the context of Iran, ISIS, the Taliban and what HAMAS just did to women on December 7) everyone has danced nervously around every (now routine) mass shooting, hoping that the perpetrator wouldn't be a Muslim man, thereby conjuring the spectre of 911, and quibbling endlessly about whether or not the act in question could even be called "terrorism" with the "new" definition of that word, also since 911.
And the term "Islamist" came into use rather than "Islamic" for some reason (a variation on the word "fundamentalist" possibly, an acceptable description of "extreme" behaviour which MOST Muslims obviously don't engage in but apparently despite only 5% of them engaging in such "extreme interpretation" of Islamic doctrine, that's still a sizable number of people to worry about when there are a couple of billion Muslims, like HAMAS with 30-40,000 "fighters.")
My point is that all this speaks to fear-based behaviour, and playing down the source of that, which is the aforementioned collective doctrines of Islam.
And since ALL religions are based on the male idea that some deity or other exists (always male of course), because this idea is the first and demonstrably the worst "big lie" of all time, and because it's the SAME lie, if you are anywhere on that continuum of "belief," then you share the same delusion with every other believer on there. So it's logical to assume that people who get defensive about any religion are likely apologists for ONE of them. Attacking atheists as being on a par with religious fundamentalists also smacks of that defensiveness, the standard reply being that atheism is a religion like baldness is a hair colour.
But since I'm happily not even ON that continuum, I'm simply an equal opportunity anti-theist.

Logic isn't based upon assumptions.
It's probably a good idea to acquaint oneself with the actual principles or doctrines of Islam, before commenting on the religion itself. Prepare to be surprised.
Then, perhaps, extend that to a brief survey of what other major religions *actually* espouse. You can probably find a used paperback on Amazon that'd do the trick for one cent plus shipping.
Suffice it to say that religions and acts done in the name of religion, are often poles apart.
You might be surprised, also, to find that the God of the old testament, in its most original form, was described as he-she-all-that-is.
Atheism is as much a belief as any other kind of theism. There's no proof of either.
Anti-theism is a political position. If you're going to be anti-something, it's a good idea to have some knowledge of what that thing in fact is.

I'm with you on everything except the old "atheism is just like theism". No, it isn't. Especially with modern religion, which tends to be explicitly based on the concept of faith. Atheism is about not happening to have much of that.

Atheism for most is not some kind of moral or ideological stance. I, for instance, just don't happen to believe in any deities (or fairies, or etc. etc.). Even if I thought it would be a good idea, even if I thought the moralities espoused by some religion were superior, even if I was attracted by religious community or the promise of positive psychological religious "experience", I just . . . don't believe these deity things are real, and I can't imagine being able to convince myself of it.

I seem to recall that Leni Riefenstahl, a German filmmaker and Nazi war propagandist, in part documented the wide public support Hitler got once he literally stole the 1933 election by jailing the German Communist Party members who won the majority, but which was "cancelled" once Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

There they are, millions of Germans, men and women with their arms joyfully erect in the Hitler salute, lining the streets to see their Leader. It's true that men had the vast majority of power and occupied the leadership, typically historically patriarchal, but millions of women supported, encouraged and enabled them, especially the wives and children of officers.

In my reading of history, though, with help from documentaries and fiction authors like David Downing (his six-volume Station series is exemplary) and Phillip Kerr, about half of the German population were Nazis at heart while the other half was split between those going with the flow and those in the minority on the left who were fighting against the Nazis in various resistance organizations across Europe. German railway workers were staunch communists while another minority of the population were more moderate social democrats. Berlin was one of the moist liberal cities on Earth before Hitler came along.

Germany was and is multidimensional. But the lesson of the Nazi era is that it could happen anywhere when one political force becomes popular and appears strong and hides its intensions until it is in power. And that applies equally to women and men who cast votes and give support. Thousands of MAGA Trump worshipers at Trump's rallies are women. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are not role models of any kind. They only prove that gender is not a pill for or against politics.

But generally speaking, half of all political, corporate and management bodies should be women to reflect our society and to stop things like the rule of men over women's bodies and women enabling men to act out.


"Berlin was one of the most liberal cities..."

That general societal distribution holds it seems, and I was referring to the similarities in the practice of building the most base of "bases" into a "movement," which is how conservatives refer to it now. Even though it's backwards, and probably BECAUSE it's backwards.
On the women? Men are always in charge though, women are just the cheerleaders or placeholders during a lull, which is smith at the moment I'd say?

Slight editing thought.
You write that, "...a document that conservatives seem to be awfully fond of citing lately" when referring to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I would have phrased it as, "...a document that conservatives seem to be awfully fond of misquoting lately"
Just a thought.

Always subject to "interpretation" though, and therein lies the problem. Same with religious doctrines.