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Dateline Canada! Maxime Bernier’s alt-right problem

Rejected submission by aristarchus at 2019-02-10 20:33:02 from the Hoseheads-of-the-Great-not-only-White North dept.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. In some cases, very strange. Case in point, as covered in The Toronto Star []:

Last Halloween, the hosts of a white nationalist podcast called The Ensign Hour discussed how to propel their ideology into the mainstream of Canadian politics. Although they pined for a “European homeland,” the co-hosts were all too aware of just how unappealing their movement remained to the political mainstream.

“We’re not at the stage where we can have a straight up nationalist party and start winning seats,” lamented one of the podcasters, who went by the name “Cracker Jack.”

So, weasel in where you can, like the Republican Party in the United States, or ICE.

What the country’s tiny cadre of neo-Nazis and the broader alt-right movement needed was a politician who could bridge the gap between the mainstream and the far-right fringe — someone who was an unabashed supporter of “Western values,” who would clamp down on immigration and multiculturalism.

That person, they decided, was Maxime Bernier.

Last August, after the long-serving Conservative MP denounced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “extreme multiculturalism and cult of diversity,” the Ensign Hour hosts perked up. When Bernier declared “the death of political correctness in Canada” to his more than 65,000 Twitter followers, it was heard as a dog whistle.

More of a "Mush", which is how you say "Marché!" when your lips are too darn cold to whistle.

“This sets a precedent. This is a huge step forward. This opens the conversation for our people — the Europeans, the settler class — to give us permission to speak our minds,” said “Cracker Jack,” who later identified himself as Tyler Hall-Kuch on the show after the Star reached out to him for comment.

In September, about a month after quitting the Conservative Party, Bernier founded the People’s Party of Canada. Pundits and rival politicians dismissed it as a vanity project, the product of Bernier’s bitterness after having lost the Conservative leadership to Andrew Scheer in 2017.

People's Party of Judea, not the Judean People's Party!! And especially not the Popular Front for Judea! Splitters!

Bernier declined through a spokesperson to speak to the Star for this story, but has said he wants nothing to do with white nationalists. “Racists are not welcome in this party,” he told Montreal radio station CJAD in December.

His party, meanwhile, has attempted to distance itself from the alt-right fringe, compelling its riding association members to sign pledges promising not to besmirch the party’s reputation.

But that public rejection seems to have done little to deter his alt-right supporters. The co-hosts of the Ensign Hour and others have called on members of the alt-right to infiltrate the PPC, whether the party is willing or not. As the extreme right has done elsewhere, they hope to move an adolescent political party, bit by bit, toward the political extreme, and thereby bring the political extreme toward the mainstream.

Thus the problem? The Nazis are going to join your party, even uninvited? Just ask Poland how that works out. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering just exactly what the alt-right is, as distinct from the traditional batshit crazy right:

The alt-right is a loose movement of white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, self-styled militias and anti-government extremists; anti-immigration, closed-border activists and anti-Muslim fanatics; conspiracists, culture warriors, men’s rights activists, anti-feminists and societal traditionalists.

This restive and fractious bunch share the cause of self-preservation — namely, of Western (read: white) heritage, culture and demographics. They seek a return to “traditional” gender roles and the protection of this culture, which is invariably under attack by a host of alleged enemies: progressive politicians, leftist groups, successive waves of immigration, along with religious and sexual minorities.

The alt-right found its stride with the election of Donald Trump, glomming onto the removal of Confederate statues in the southern United States as an example of widespread anti-white enmity. But although it had certain successes in broadening its appeal, the alt-right largely remained a street-level phenomenon, albeit one with a prolific online presence.

And the reason for this situation in Canada, O Canada?

Some observers believe Bernier’s pivot to anti-immigration politics was prompted less by any ideological commitment than by a political calculation.

“Bernier is essentially a libertarian, except that he knows that if you say you’re a libertarian you get about half a per cent of the votes, so he has to find legitimacy elsewhere,” said Quebec-based conservative pundit Jeff Plante. “It’s normal that the conservative movement would attract the anti-mass-immigration vote in the country. The problem is that Bernier isn’t legit in this. He has no past in it. It’s like he’s throwing ideas around to see what sticks.”

But if he is using identity politics to expand the constituency for the libertarian ideas he has long touted, he is playing a dangerous game, says Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

Not an accident some of their money is also called "loonies".

Original Submission