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On top of all of the other nonsense that has gone on so far in 2021, we here in Canada find ourselves headed back to the ballot box for the second time in less than two years. In a thinly veiled attempt to turn his tight minority into another majority, Trudeau has sent us into a federal election as any power-hungry, cynical politician would. 

I don’t call the Liberal leader those names to disparage him specifically, as he is only the latest in a long line of both Liberal and Conservative leaders in the past who have made the same calculation, often to great success. In this regard and many others, Mr. Trudeau is fairly unremarkable, which leads me to my main point.

If you have been watching coverage of the election campaign in the last little while, you may have seen some of the welcoming committees that have been greeting Mr. Trudeau while on the stump, particularly as he makes his way across Ontario. The attacks have been obscene, hate-filled and completely uncalled for. One thing these attacks have not been, however, is policy-based.

Anyone who has closely followed a couple of elections knows that narratives are an important part of any successful campaign. The way you are portrayed or spoken about by the media, your opponents, or even in casual conversations that voters have with one another can easily be the making or breaking point of any campaign. Effective sloganeering is an art form, one that, in concert with popular policies, can really mean all the difference in a close election.

However, in the days of social media and the vast propagation of fake news, narratives have grown to completely overshadow actual policy and have also gotten simplistic and detached from reality. For instance, I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline the other day (because I like to ruin my own day if it’s going too well) and came across a “political post” that summed up why someone wasn’t voting for the Liberals in this election. One of the things that stood out to me was that they didn’t like Mr. Trudeau because he once said, “the budget will balance itself.” 

For those who aren’t aware, in 2014 (yes, seven years ago) the Conservatives made an ad out of a four second clip from a large interview that Trudeau did wherein he said, “the commitment needs to be a commitment to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself.” At one time, this was a slogan the Conservatives made to try and paint Trudeau as being naive and unqualified to run the country (which obviously didn’t work as he won a landslide majority government just a year later). But now, thanks to social media, this contextless quote fragment apparently serves as part of the basis for why somebody doesn’t want to vote Liberal in 2021. Am I missing something here?

Another thing we see a lot of today in place of substantive and tactful politics is extremely hyperbolic name-calling. For instance, you are either a “Communist” or a “Nazi”, part of the “woke mob” or the “far-right”. The craft of narrative-building has devolved into mud slinging, completely devoid of substance or even a basis in reality. 

That isn’t to say that there are no correct instances in which you can use those terms I mentioned above, but to call Mr. Trudeau a communist or a Marxist is entirely false, let alone suggesting that he deserves to be put to death. What fantasy world are these people living in?

I know that it sounds a bit corny, but this ludicrous behaviour we’ve seen on the campaign trail does nothing to help further the public debate or strengthen our democracy, if anything it almost certainly does the exact opposite. What message do you think it sends to those considering running for public office when our politicians have to cancel campaign events because of the danger that protestors present to both themselves and the general public? Who’s going to be left willing to engage in our political system in the future if this is the treatment they can look forward to? Not the people we want, that’s for sure.

There is a very clear and broad distinction between disagreeing with a politician or political party, even vehemently so, and the delusional outbursts we’ve seen on the campaign trail. Nobody should ever try to say with a straight face that the Liberals are crypto-marxists looking to take over Canada and enslave the population. If you believe that, you are not operating in reality. For the love of God, the very least you could do is read the party platforms before you spout off complete nonsense, let alone vote.

Hopefully the media coverage has embarrassed these people enough to stop them and any others like them in their tracks. For those holding signs showing Trudeau at the gallows or yelling “lock him up” at Liberal campaign events, realize that this only takes you out of the realm of reasonable political debate. Nobody is going to take you or your opinions seriously if you are spouting that kind of nonsense, and for good reason. It’s time to come back to earth and join the rest of us, at least until election day.