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Just over two years ago, Pierre Poilievre kicked off his campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada with a video that hung his candidacy on one simple word: freedom. “Together,” he said, “we will make Canadians the freest people on Earth.” To him, that meant “freedom to raise your kids with your own values. Freedom to make your own health and vaccine choices. Freedom to speak without fear. And freedom to worship God in your own way.”

But with more than a year to go until the next federal election, it’s become increasingly clear that Poilievre’s vision of freedom is much narrower than he first let on. He has already signalled he plans to intrude on the jurisdiction of provincial governments and the freedom of municipal ones when it comes to homebuilding, while his supposed support for freedom of the press seems to be heavily informed by the partisan affiliations of said journalists.

His recent suggestion that access to online pornography should be mediated by government interference was equally telling. As the co-editors at The Line wrote, “There is no way to effectively age-gate porn without relying on intrusive and risky measures that would present the risk of — at a minimum — significant government overreach and, at worst, a high probability of identity theft and blackmail.”

As digital privacy expert Michael Geist noted, “The party that has championed Internet freedoms suddenly now finds itself supporting a bill that features website blocking of lawful content, subjects millions of Canadians to privacy-invasive age verification technology requirements overseen by a government agency such as the CRTC, and institutes regulations that apply to broadly used search and social media services.”

But these are mere appetizers to the main course — Poilievre’s unwillingness to grant people the freedom to choose what to do with their own bodies. That begins with his apparent interest in which bathrooms and changing rooms are being used by transgender women. "Female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males," he said last week. How, exactly, he proposes to enforce that standard is not clear. Should all bathrooms and changing rooms have government-appointed gender inspectors posted at the doors? That doesn’t sound very free to me.

Instead, it sounds an awful lot like what’s happening in some of the most freedom-obsessed portions of America, where fears about transgender people have been used to advance a whole host of restrictive legislative measures. As writer Rebecca Solnit argued, “It’s no coincidence the American right is obsessed with border walls and with airtight gender definitions and racial discrimination to keep others in their places.”

And then there’s Canada’s medical assistance in dying legislation, which continues to draw the ire of otherwise freedom-focused conservatives. As freedom convoy leader Tamara Lich asked on social media, “Can someone please explain to me how we went from locking down everyone, everywhere in order to save every life on the planet to MAID, so our ‘public health’ can help our most vulnerable populations die?”

Gladly, Tamara.

In one situation, we were trying to prevent the spread of a dangerous virus and avoid more widespread human and economic casualties, all while balancing the complex architecture of freedoms that make up a society. In the other, we’re giving seriously ill people the freedom to decide how and when they want to die rather than subjecting them to the small mercies of fate, at no cost to anyone else’s constitutionally protected freedoms. Simple, isn’t it?

Pierre Trudeau famously said, "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." Now, more than half a century later, why does the otherwise freedom-obsessed Pierre Poilievre keep promising to insert it into our private lives?

Poilievre has already said he would restrict access to MAID to those with “irremediable health conditions, physical health conditions,” even though that would prevent those suffering from long-term mental illness from having the same freedoms as other Canadians. It’s fair to wonder what other fetters he would put on our personal freedoms in the name of his own political priorities. And yes, that does include access to abortion.

In Pierre Poilievre’s Canada, then, you’ll be free to decline a vaccine that’s in the best interests of your fellow citizens and worship God without fear of being judged by the non-believers in your midst. But when it comes to everything from public washrooms to private Internet searches, the government is going to monitor your every move — all in the name of your own protection. That’s the sort of freedom you might expect in Gilead, not Canada.

It’s also an inversion of the freedom-oriented formulation that Pierre Trudeau coined on his path to becoming a political rock star. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he said when, as Canada’s justice minister, he announced the decriminalization of previously taboo things like homosexuality and abortion. Now, more than half a century later, another politician on his way to becoming Canada’s next prime minister seems determined to insert the state in the bathrooms of the nation. If he gets his way, maybe the bedrooms will be next.

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Pierre Poilievre has always been a snake oil salesman from the get go. His naive fringe base is only hearing what they want to hear, but in reality, will find Pierre will do the opposite. The other issue with Pierre in his back pocket is some fringe religious group pushing their distorted values on abortion, women's rights and other fringe nonsense. Any time Pierre is asked about these, they just sidestep the question or complain about the media.

One gets tired of these fringe groups pushing their garbage onto others, let alone a government who needs to mind their own business what people do in the bedroom or beyond. Can you imagine someone hypothetically like the Mennonites demanding we outlaw cars and use horse and buggy as a mode of transportation and promoted by Pierre Poilievre in the media & HoC.

Our Canadian MAGA wannabees are transparent and shallow minded. A few weeks after their Republican mentors in America do something that insults the intelligence of sane people, the Canadian alt-rights are claiming it as their own idea. So predictable and sad, but thats modern Canadian conservatives for you.

I wonder how many surgical procedures need to be banned before we are freer? How many books need to be banned before Candadians are truly free? How many gatekeeops must the alt-rights esptablish before we are free?

In one generation the conservative party has gone from progressive to libertarian. It won't be long before they rebrand to New Republican Party (NRP). Thankfully, Canada is not Florida and people are beginning to understand what Pierre is all about. But a lot of people listen to the Post Media wing of the conservative party so we need to have these discussions with our friends and family. I know it's normally taboo, but it's important to take the chance, especially if your people aren't angry conservatives. The good news is that most of my friends that support Pierre Poilievre, think Trump is an incompetent, corrupt, whack nut. So there's hope that compassion and common sense will prevail.

Traditional right wing libertarians were fools, but they were also not religious. I don't think it's actually possible to be both strongly religious in the Judeo-Christian tradition and libertarian. Organized religion is all about rules laid down by authority. It's about obedience, not freedom. But now we have a bunch of Conservatives pretending they can be both fundamentalist religious bigots and libertarians. They can't and they're not.

While there was always a lot of religion in Conservatism, the intersection between the politics and the religion has gotten a lot stronger. There was a time when evangelical Christianity considered itself separate from politics. There was a lot of money and effort poured into changing religion in North America to make it both more right wing and more involved in politics, starting in maybe the 70s. It worked too well. Some of that money has been poured into Latin America as well, to the point where you get evangelical churches helping elect people like Bolsonaro.

Libertarian: one who expects all the benefits of civilized society but accepts none of the responsibilities.

Anyone who thinks PP is interested in Freedom, in any real sense of the word, likely believes Rebel Media is a legitimate news outlet. I'd suggest we all read a few issues of the Right Wing mis and dis information sites and judge for ourselves. I got on Rebel Media by accident a few years ago, and once was enough. The calls to violence because a female politician left the conservative party and joined the ruling NDP were vicious, but that wasn't the worst of the opinions freely offered.

A good number of the numbskulls on that feed believed floor crossing was an act of treason....might explain why Justin T. got charged with treason by the convoy......most of them think the word means something like: YOU DON'T AGREE WITH US. They had no idea how many floor crossings there had been in Canada since our country began and they didn't want to know. Attempting to inform them was pointless...it just got you rude insults and suggestions for being deported.

PP is a populist demagogue of the extreme right wing. And the current problem for the conservative party of Canada, much like the problem facing the USA Republicans, is that they have to cater to that uninformed and angry base...to have any hope of winning a majority. Anyone arguing that the soup isn't drunk as hot as its cooked may well be sorry.
As anemic as the CBC has become, its no Rebel Media; as partial as the new Pharmacare bill is, letting Danielle Smith do what she wants with the money slated for Alberta won't provide either contraceptives or diabetic medicine to Alberta citizens.

The Conservative Party of Canada has gone mad....it either has to wander 40 years in the wilderness.....or Canadians do.

I'm with this article and then some except about MAID. I agree with MAID for what it does now--help people who are already dying, die with dignity and without masses of extended pain and disability. And, most of the time, this is for people who, because they are dying, are usually in a situation that makes it difficult to arrange that for themselves without medical assistance.

Mental illness is a whole different thing and I really don't think it's appropriate for MAID, for a flock of reasons. First, people with mental illnesses aren't dying. So, rather than helping someone die who is in the process of dying already, you are making a decision to kill someone who would otherwise have lived. That is a qualitatively different thing with massively different ethical implications. Related, this requires making the value judgement "It is worse to have mental illness than to be dead" which I think is a very worrisome direction to go. It is likely to be much more traumatic for medical practitioners as well--rather than helping someone avoid suffering in their death, you are helping someone commit suicide. Some of these issues might be reduced in their force if I thought our understanding of mental illness was so good that we could know with a good deal of certainty in all relevant cases which people with mental illness would continue to want to die for their whole lives and which would not. But our understanding of mental illness is not very good, frankly, and strongly tinged with politics. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders, the DSM, has "oppositional defiant disorder"--that is, if you don't like being told what to do, you're mentally ill. And of course, being gay was a "mental illness" not so long ago. Another problem is that too much of our medical system outside hospitals is private; what if you have people with mental illness being cared for at private facilities and they decide to persuade some people to die so they can save money? Yet another problem is that people's perceived quality of life has a significant relationship to their socio-economic status, which in turn is connected to things like race and gender orientation. So, MAID for people with mental illness potentially becomes a conveyor belt to get poor black and First Nations people and trans folks to kill themselves and get out of our way. Considering the way various nurses and so forth have been caught treating First Nations patients I really don't think that's a stretch. A secondary note is, why should able-bodied people require government assistance in dying? They're not incapable, if they want to commit suicide they can do it themselves and not put it on medical practitioners' conscience. But I don't think this is something that should be made extra easy. Most people suffering from depression, which is the fundamental reason someone with mental illness would want assistance in dying, eventually get less depressed. After which, they're generally kind of glad their impulses towards suicide did not lead to completion of it. With MAID for people with mental illness, they'd be dead. Too late for regrets, no take-backs. Dead.

It's a bad idea and would lead to a lot of people dying who would be better off living, who we should be putting our efforts into helping them live, not helping them die.

Poilievre's still a dick who wants to take away our freedom, though.

Poilievre: "Freedom to make your own health and vaccine choices."

I.e,. freedom to infect your family, relatives, neighbours, and fellow employees with COVID.
Freedom to abolish public health measures, which work only if everybody follows them.
But there is no right or freedom to be protected from carriers and their contagions.
Highly selective freedoms.
Freedom for me, but not for you.

Conservative: One who opposes changes to the traditional institutions of their country. One who opposes changes to the traditional institutions of their country.
Modern-day conservatives flout authority and seek to upend society. The antithesis of conservatism.
No respect for planet Earth. The opposite of conservationists. Witness the violent reaction to 15-minute cities.
Lip service to free-market economics. Conservatives are now supreme interventionists, propping up the oil mafia while demonizing renewables.

Politicians like Poilievre, Danielle Smith (TBA), and Trump (MAGA) give selfishness and incipient violence the stamp of a once-respectable brand. Whitewashing anti-social behavior. Making acceptable a standard of conduct embraced by louts, yahoos, conspiracy theorists, historical revisionists, racists and supremacists, freemen-on-the-land, eco-vandals, science-deniers, sociopaths, vigilantes, and criminals.

While appealing to religious and social conservatives, this strain of right-wing lunacy is profoundly unchristian.
"I'll do whatever the h*ll I want. I don't care about anybody else. I am not my brother's keeper. No one can tell me what to do. Especially the guvmint."
Essentially how corporations operate.

"The sovereign citizen movement is a loose group of anti-government activists, litigants, tax protesters, financial scammers, and conspiracy theorists based mainly in the United States."
Now in Canada.

Paradoxically, the tendency is to embrace authoritarian politicians and governments. The right-wingers worship Trump and Harper, who sing the praises of dictators, genocidal regimes like Israel, and even Saudi Arabia.
Conservatism has devolved into the politics of the lowest common denominator. Both radical and reactionary. A political virus that destroys the body politic from within. The triumph of sewer rats.

Conservatism's opposition to change was always only about one thing: Opposition to changes that might threaten the wealth or power of ruling elites. They were always fine with changing anything else, and they were always clear that any element of traditional institutions that might, horrors, help the poor or otherwise limit the ability of the wealthiest to siphon more wealth to themselves, had to go. Conservatism was only ever called conservatism because "ruling-class-ism" or "oligarchy" didn't poll well.

There is a lot of noise surrounding Trump. The noise makes the news. But there are quiet signals behind the noise.

Trump has lost every election he ever entered, including against Hillary Clinton, but became president by dint of contorted electoral college math that had his "wins" only in tiny margins. Every candidate he recommended in the last midterms lost. And now he's lost between 30% and 40% of GOP voters in the primaries.

Several lawsuits have been recently won against GOP-controlled state legislatures that practiced extremely egregious gerrymandering for years, the most disgusting being by disenfranchisement based on race. Wisconsin and Loisianna had their gerrymandered electoral maps removed and replaced with fair maps. Ditto Arizona.

And we haven't even discussed the 91 criminal charges against Trump or the nearly half-billion in penalties against him so far by the courts over fraud and defamation, results tgat have turned off moderate Republicabs in droves...after first losing support by thousands of GOP women akready pissed off about overturning Roe. The biggies are yet to come: Treason and insurrection.

MAGA and their northern copycats, MAGA Lite, are bound to have the ground beneath their feet cave in if Trump is jailed, loses thevekection or both.

The entire fringe narrative imported and adopted by Poilievre and his party is about to get tested through the summer and into fall. That can only be a good thing.

Everyone knows freedom costs a buck oh five (plus GST).