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LETTER: Parallels between Trump Republicans and Canada’s Conservative Party

Leader of Canada's Conservatives Andrew Scheer and his wife Jill arrive for the campaign stops for the upcoming election, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada October 8, 2019.
Leader of Canada's Conservatives Andrew Scheer and his wife Jill arrive for the campaign stops for the upcoming election, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada October 8, 2019. - Carlos Osorio

Looking at the policies and behaviours of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and Donald Trump’s Republicans, one cannot help but draw comparisons.

Conservatives eliminated the long form census for purely partisan reasons. Trump tried to do the same with the 2020 U.S. census. His targets were immigrants of colour and a certain religion.

Trump Republicans used gerrymandering and voter-list purges to prevent Democrat votes. Conservatives misdirected voters to non-existent polling stations and misled Liberal voters with robocalls.

Trump surrounded himself with incompetents, ultra-partisans, and a Senate leader who blocks all Democrat bills. The CPC did the same with the Senate and voted en bloc to stop any bills from other parties.

Conservatives were convicted of contempt of Parliament, while Trump shows contempt for the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives stopping any bills, from passing.

Some Republicans and Conservatives favour limiting women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. Their parties accept climate change and science deniers.

Trump used evangelicals for votes just as the CPC did.

Trump and the CPC have criticized whistle-blowers and, when their findings didn’t align with conservative ideology or partisan initiatives, have muzzled and cut funding to scientists.

They have both sought to limit or eliminate industry regulations like food inspections, environmental monitoring and control of pesticide and chemical use.

They have both limited or eliminated programs that promote gender equality. The CPC cut funding for the National Association of Women and the Law, and also cut funding for Status of Women Canada by 40 per cent.

The CPC cut funding to Veterans Affairs and search and rescue while claiming they did the opposite. Trump diverted funds for soldiers’ benefits and other sources to fund his wall.

Trump attacks the media, hiding behind Fox “News.”

Conservatives vilified the media and demanded pre-submitted lists of journalists. Columnist Murray Dobbin wrote: “Reporters had to sign up if they wanted to ask a question and then (then prime minister Stephen) Harper could choose whom to answer.”

CPC’s former communications director, Dimitri Soudas, kept a blacklist of reporters who would not be called upon to question then prime minister Harper.

CPC press secretaries, like former press officer Sandra Buckler, have treated the media with utter distain, like Trump’s Sanders, Conway and Spicer. During Harper’s tenure, Hill Times journalist Sean Durkin wrote, “Sandra Buckler did everything she could to antagonize the press gallery, prompting its president, Emmanuelle Latraverse, to call an end to the meeting after 20 minutes. Buckler made it clear she didn’t care about any of the gallery’s concerns, and indicated that even more plans were in the works to control the flow of information to reporters and limit their access to government.”

Sound familiar?

Trump and the CPC have both undermined their Freedom of Information Acts. Information Commissioner Robert Marleau in February 2009 said, “A lack of leadership at the highest levels of the Conservative government has contributed to a ‘crisis of information management’ that has slowed the disclosure of public records to a trickle.”

The CPC clearly want to shut down the CBC, because they can’t use it like Trump uses Fox or as Putin uses RT (Russia Today) state TV. Just days ago, the CPC said it would be taking the CBC to court because it refused to air their latest campaign ad. It used a CBC news clip misleadingly doctored by them that distorted a news story. Much like Trump attacks PBS — he is threatening their very existence for not giving him fawning coverage.

Do we really want our very own Trump and his Republicans?

It seems more and more that the Conservative Party of Canada is just that, a Canadian version of that horror show that is unfolding in the U.S.

Please consider this when voting.

A “True North, strong and free” is not the CPC.

Gary Pike,
St. John’s


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