Making Canada Great Again?
Recently, with major elections soon taking place, the B'nai Brith of Canada, the sister organization of American "hate-watch" group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), launched a defamatory broadside against the People's Party of Canada (PPC), that nation's brand-new populist alternative to the more establishment-friendly Conservative Party of Canada.
Based on blog posts written nearly 20 years ago, B'nai Brith, a pro-Israel but otherwise far-left organization, accused top PPC adviser Martin Masse of being everything from a "racist" and a "sexist" to a "homophobe" and "anti-Semite."
Instead of yielding to pressure, Masse and the PPC fired back, claiming that the attack was completely meritless and that the Conservatives were actually likely involved. In a tough election year against Justin Trudeau's Liberals, and with outspoken PPC founder Maxime "Mad Max" Bernier increasingly scoring points against (as he calls them) the "intellectually corrupt" Conservatives, even in Canada's otherwise ultra-polite political arena, the Conservatives' involvement looks highly believable.
Although covered by most of Canada's institutional media, the basis for the B'nai Brith's attack was remarkably thin. In their press release, the group quoted lines from blog posts that were not only over a decade old (having appeared on a French-Canadian blog in 2002), but, according to Masse, highly exaggerated and clearly out of context.
For instance, the B'nai Brith accused Masse of "racism" and "having Nazi sympathies" for stating at the time that the media's labeling of Austria's Freedom Party as a "group of Nazis" was overblown — that party is now part of Austria's coalition government. But as Masse had to point out later in his own press release, the B'nai Brith apparently "missed" the part in his post where he quoted Simon Wiesenthal saying the exact same thing.
Elsewhere, they accused Masse of anti-Semitism for raising concerns about Israel's policies toward Zionism and its treatment of its Palestinian minority (these were the heady days of the Second Intifada), to which Masse later responded that he most certainly hadn't intend to attack Jewish people as a whole and that, in any case, his general views on Israel had since become more "nuanced." Had the B'nai Brith reached out to Masse first to see if his views had indeed since changed, they may have held back. They may have also discovered that Masse is homosexual and accordingly tempered their claims that he is homophobic.
(For a full account of the "offending" quotations and their context, find the B'nai Brith's and Masse's press releases.)
But groups like the B'nai Brith never do this. When it comes to individuals or organizations they disagree with, it's shoot first, debate never. Like the ADL or the Southern Poverty Law Center, the B'nai Brith's business model depends on finding "hate" wherever it can so as to ensure that donations remain high and steady. This should give major media sources serious pause before they report on their investigations or turn to them for "expert opinion."
The B'nai Brith's more direct motivation for the smear campaign was likely related to its CEO, Michael Mostyn, who is closely connected with the Conservative Party. Mostyn ran as a candidate twice for the party in recent federal elections (he lost both times). This was a fact raised in Masse's response but, unfortunately, not in the media's coverage. The media did note that the Conservatives suspiciously had an official condemnation of the PPC ready to go "less than an hour" after the B'nai Brith put out its press release. Speculating about the "political motivations" behind the attack, when asked about the accusations by reporters, Bernier told them that "[m]aybe they want to do that because they're supporting another party ... by doing that, they are not doing a favor to their organization."
This, and the general timing of the attack — again, just two weeks before several key byelections, which kick off the full election year — seems to raise far more questions about the Conservative Party than it does about Masse.
Again, the Conservatives' motivation behind their coordination with Mostyn's B'nai Brith seems clear. If the PPC show strong results in the upcoming byelections (followed by the general election later this year), they'll be taking votes away from the Conservative Party, pressuring them to change their "Liberal Party-lite" platform, as some call it. This is something most Conservatives are apparently loath to do. Just as our own conservative establishment before President Trump came to power, the Conservative Party has long tried to keep issues that working-class conservatives care about, like immigration, off the party's platform. Even with property values hitting crisis levels in Canada's heavily immigrant major cities — Nearly 90 percent of Canada's immigrants go to just Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal — Conservatives have not proposed a migration reduction. The PPC, on the other hand, have.
Whether the PPC can persevere through these attacks and establish themselves as a serious conservative alternative, we'll see with the upcoming elections. This latest challenge has certainly proved their leadership's mettle. Unlike what's expected of most conservatives when hit with these sorts of allegations, Masse and Bernier did not back down, and instead castigated the B'nai Brith and the Conservative Party for their gutter tactics and apparent underhanded coordination. Standing firm and staying true to self, this is how conservatives should fight.