When everyone is a Nazi, no one is a Nazi.
When you falsely insinuate your principal opponent is a Klansman – as Justin Trudeau’s party has done, repeatedly and recklessly, with Andrew Scheer – it fosters cynicism and disbelief.
Most of all – and I say this as someone who has researched, opposed and written about organized hate groups for more than three decades, and has received innumerable death threats along the way – likening a partisan adversary to a white supremacist makes it impossible for activists like me to sound the alarm about real white supremacists.
Despite all that, for many months, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal echo chamber have hissed that the Conservative Party leader is a far-Right racist. It has been despicable and dangerous.
The experts agree, too. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld is professor of History at Fairfield University, and he’s the author of The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present.
Says Rosenfeld, who knows more about this subject than anyone alive: “Too many hyperbolic comparisons – for example, between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler – dulls the power of historical analogies and risks crying wolf.”
Crying wolf: that is what Trudeau and his party have been doing. So desperate are they to be re-elected, they have been prepared to imply that Scheer is the worst thing that one can say about anyone: that he is a fascist. That he is an adherent of the ideology of murder.
Last night, Scheer – finally, firmly – slammed the door on Trudeau’s slur, and strongly condemned organized hate. It was overdue.
“There is absolutely no room in a peaceful and free country like Canada for intolerance, racism and extremism of any kind. And the Conservative Party of Canada will always make that absolutely clear,” Scheer thundered in a Toronto speech.
“I find the notion that one’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation would make anyone in any way superior or inferior to anyone else absolutely repugnant. And if there’s anyone who disagrees with that, there’s the door. You are not welcome here.”
For weeks, Scheer had been dogged by an allegation that he willingly appeared onstage at a February “United We Roll” protest in Ottawa with a notorious white supremacist, Faith Goldy. In fact, Goldy was nowhere near Scheer. She wasn’t even in the permitted area, she wasn’t invited to speak, and she was later condemned by official organizers.
Scheer – who, like Justin Trudeau, has had past media encounters with Goldy, before she went full-blown bigot – should have denounced Goldy’s ilk sooner. But this week’s speech has now left no doubt about his views. Haters have no place in his Conservative Party, he said, in the important speech titled “Unity in Diversity.”
Said Scheer: ”We should be able to have an immigration debate in this country without the government calling its critics racists and bigots,” he said. Trudeau’s willingness to to do so, Scheer added, amounts to “cheap partisanship” and it hurts our collective ability to oppose the very real threats of racism, bigotry and extremism.
If Trudeau wants to denounce real bigotry – and he, and all of us, should – he should train his sights on Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. Bernier and his cabal have devolved into the porch-light of Canadian politics, attracting all the bugs and the creepy-crawlies. (Which should make it easier to deploy the necessary political insecticide.)
But this dishonest Justin Trudeau campaign against Andrew Scheer? It must stop. It has engendered cynicism and distrust, and that’s the last thing any democracy needs in the Trump era.
Andrew Scheer has told us where he stands on one of the crucial issues of our time.
Will Justin Trudeau finally heed what he says?