Dismissing an argument or concern as a "conspiracy theory" is often a tactic used to silence the inquirer. We’re seeing that play out right now with disagreements over "The Great Reset," and what it means. What we know is that governments around the world have adopted the concept into policies which tout the "Reset" or "Build Back Better" slogans.
The "Reset" debate emerged from the book COVID 19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab, the founder and former Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Thierry Malleret. The authors pose the simple question: what kind of post-COVID world do we want to create?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau virtually delivered a speech in September at the United Nations in which he outlined the kind of Canada he envisions, using language that clearly was inspired by the book or, at a minimum, its philosophy.
"This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems," the prime minister explained. Fast forward to November, and the prime minister deflected questions about his language choice, choosing to make the case that if people raised concerns about his wording, they were embracing conspiracy theories. This seems like an odd approach to take, since in the lead-up to the prime minister’s speech to the UN, in August 2020, the Bank of Canada also put out an economic document titled "The Great Reset: Supporting the transition to a greener, smarter economy."
I will leave it to the prime minister and his government to try to explain his wording choices. The critiques I’m offering, and the positions I’m taking, are not the ones rooted in the conspiracies we see play out online—those are, frankly, ridiculous, and it is disturbing to see that the Liberals would chase headlines trying to paint their opponents as trafficking in such nonsense to avoid the legitimate questions that are asked of them. Instead, I’d like to focus on what the actual content of "The Great Reset" is, so Canadians can decide for themselves what they think.
The book begins by stating that "nothing will ever return to the 'broken' sense of normalcy" of the pre-COVID era.
The recreation of a post-COVID new normal will be defined by the three Rs (Restrain, Recover and Reset.) The Reset phase will redefine technology, the economy, social order with a desire to create more security (in terms of digital identities, physical and health care security,) more equality (that aims to address stronger inclusiveness to deal with unrest highlighted by groups like Black Lives Matter,) and a new green economy (minimization of private shareholder capital to look at the interest of stakeholders and the impact on communities and systems, and more focus on more global corporations, rather than local corporations.)
The goal is to usher in a new way of doing things around the world, where governments play a more active role in wealth generation and distribution, while somehow simultaneously attempting to not stifle ingenuity and innovation. This model has euphemistically been referred to as the 4th industrial revolution, and it marks the transition from democracy to a technocracy.
The devastation brought on by COVID requires our united efforts in protecting Canadians. It is not a time to capitalize on our vulnerabilities by utilizing our tax dollars to usher in one man’s vision of a "greener," more "sustainable" and "inclusive" economy. All of these words sound benevolent on their own, but what are the actual policy changes that this Liberal government believes are necessary and plan to implement? Without presenting budgets or plans to the House of Commons, this remains a mystery, to put it kindly. We need all hands on deck to survive this pandemic, and there should be no hidden agenda.
The Great Reset is using the pandemic to create a post-COVID era that redefine industries, work, and even how we are taxed (creating new streams for future taxation (for example: working from home tax, home equity tax, carbon footprint tax.) Key priorities include redefining our social contract to become more "inclusive" and demonstrating a greater responsibility towards the future generations for the debt and environment. It is predicated on a moral obligation to reduce the financial gap between industrialized countries and lesser developed nations—which obviously means Canadian tax dollars will be sent abroad to fund projects that governments can claim link even tangentially to the fight against climate change and inequality.
The book also recommends a decarbonization of the economies to create a green economy. This requires new approaches to fiscal monetary policies that question metrics for growth like the GDP, by asking questions about whether that growth is "sustainable" or "inclusive." Putatively, the future value of a product would include if the product was ethically produced, and measuring its carbon footprint (favouring the least contradiction between environment and economy in the production cycle.)
A large part of the economic relief for COVID will be allocated towards making the economy green and accelerating the movement towards the shared economy, which will eventually replace the shareholder economy, even within corporations. The end result is that global corporations with "ethical" agendas will replace small businesses, and COVID will be used to displace these small enterprises.
The book COVID-19 The Great Reset reads like a business plan for how governments can use the COVID pandemic to create a new green and more inclusive post-COVID economy. There is nothing conspiratorial about citizens questioning whether their government has bought into this plan, especially when the prime minister has used some of the same language in the book to describe future Canadian policies. The legitimate concerns of citizens, which crosses all party lines, should not be dismissed as "conspiracy" or "disinformation." There is no disinformation about discussing a business outline produced by the World Economic Forum instructing countries how the pandemic can be used to transform their nations, and calling the pandemic "a great opportunity." World leaders who do not want to follow the Reset Plan should present budgets that clearly outline the policy direction of the nation.
Canadians owe it to ourselves to get educated about the Reset and assess whether our government’s post-COVID policies reflect the "Reset" policies. One should not succumb to being bullied or shamed into not asking questions about why our government has touted several post-COVID policies on the environment, economy and social inequality within the book. Similarly, we should not accept our prime minister feigning ignorance over the Reset after he has adopted reset policies and bragged about this approach at the United Nations. As citizens, we must decide on the kind of post-COVID country that we envision, and not allow the pandemic to be used as an opportunity for any leaders to remake Canada in his own image. In the end, we must remember that governments can only implement this kind of economic, societal, and 4th green industrial revolution with the consent and the mandate of the electorate.
A government that is controlled by the people is a free society. Labelling concerned citizens "conspiracy theorists" and claiming that those who accept the prime minister's very words given at the United Nations, are succumbing to "disinformation" is sheer bullying. This form of disenfranchisement and silencing of people is intended to instill fear so that we won’t hold our elected officials accountable. Our key to freedom and upholding democracy is knowledge, action, and civic involvement. Go on the World Economic Forum website, find out about our government’s post-COVID plan, write to your MPs, demand a post-COVID budget from our prime minister, ask questions and get involved in your post-COVID future! The prime minister says he wants to use COVID as his opportunity, you should use the same opportunity to demand answers from your government!
Leslyn Lewis is a Canadian lawyer who is running for Member of Parliament in Haldimand-Norfolk.