It took Donald Trump four years in the White House to get Canada out of its complacency.
The day after he was sworn in in 2017, the political and media establishment decreed that Canada was not at risk.
The country of tolerance and good faith believed itself immune to the petty and manipulative cynicism of Donald Trump.
However, America’s dangerous polarization and the January 6 coup attempt seem to have forced collective awareness.
The risk exists. The political class no longer has the luxury of flirting with this populism of the worst instincts.
The times are changing
It is in this context that the statement by Conservative leader Erin O’Toole that “there is no place for the far right in our party” takes on its full meaning.
Because there was a time when the CCP did not hesitate to cultivate its more extremist fringe.
This was the time when Manitoba MP Candice Bergen had her picture taken wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap. The time also when deputies, under the air of defense of freedom of expression, did not hesitate to join demonstrations organized by Islamophobic groups.
These dubious connections were tolerated by political calculation.
Erin O’Toole has finally come to ring the end of recess. Faced with sustained attacks by the Liberals, he had no choice, you might say. Maybe, but the signal remains the same.
However, it is unfortunate that the leader of the Bloc Québécois has not learned the same lesson.
The trial of intent that Yves-François Blanchet made against the new Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, accused without solid evidence of Islamist sympathies is just as revealing.
There are still those who believe that fueling mistrust of the other pays off in politics, even on this side of the border.