SHEPHERD: Progressives used the New Zealand tragedy for a political hit job on a UCP candidate

Media outlets used the Christchurch attack as an opportunity to smear a UCP candidate as a white supremacist with comments dug up from 2017 forcing her to resign.

Lindsay Shepherd Montreal QC

The Post Millennial editorial board stands in solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch attack and against hate in all its forms.

On Monday evening, PressProgress released a report containing leaked messages written by the United Conservative Party’s Calgary-Mountain View candidate, Caylan Ford.

PressProgress is a media project run by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute, a think tank founded by former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent. Notably, PressProgress does not list or name any of the journalists working for them, and the authors of their articles are a mystery.

Caylan Ford’s private Facebook Messenger messages, leaked to PressProgress by a “long-time Muslim conservative” who requested to remain anonymous, were written back in August 2017. The messages consisted of Ford’s thoughts about Islamic terrorism, white supremacist terrorism, Western culture, and demographic diversity.

In one string of messages, Ford wrote that when terrorist attacks are committed by Islamists, public denunciations “are mingled with breathless assurances that they do not represent Islam, that Islam is a religion of peace, etc…we ask ourselves in earnest what radicalized these people, how can they be directed toward more productive and healthy paths within their faith, etc.”

But when it comes to white supremacist terrorism, Ford wrote “attempts to understand the source of their radicalization or their perverse moral reasoning is beyond the pale. And anyone who shares even some of their views (e.g. wanting strong borders and immigration control), while rejecting the more odious aspects, is painted with the same brush.”

As it happens, Slate published an article on Monday titled “The Christchurch Shootings Should Implicate All White Australians”, where it is argued that the entirety of Australia’s white population is implicated in the deaths of 51 Muslims who were killed by the Christchurch mosque shooter.

Though Ford clearly states white supremacist views are “perverse” and “odious”, she is now being painted as a hateful white supremacist and racist herself. MLA for Calgary-Buffalo Kathleen Ganley said she was “appalled” by Ford’s “hateful” comments, and MacEwan University professor Kristopher Wells stated Ford “supports white supremacy.” Bashir Mohamed, an Alberta-based activist who has a history of being threatened with legal action for alleged slander and libel, wrote that Ford is a “racist” and “blatant white supremacist and should be nowhere near power.”

Furthermore, Ford has also expressed that she is “somehow saddened by the demographic replacement of white peoples in their homelands – more in Europe than in America – partly because it’s clear that it will not be a peaceful transition, and partly because the loss of demographic diversity in the human race is sad.”

Are these, however, the candid sentiments of a white “supremacist”? Are Europeans and Euro-descended people not allowed to express a soft regret that the societies they grew up in are rapidly changing due to mass migration? In the words of Douglas Murray, “For even if you believe – as most people do – that some immigration is a good thing that makes a country a more interesting place, it does not follow that the more immigration the better.”

Calls for her resignation came in right on cue. The Alberta NDP called for United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney to remove Ford immediately. The leader of the Alberta Liberals, David Khan, also called for her immediate resignation, as “Caylan Ford’s comments are abhorrent. Her support of white supremacist values will sicken decent people across this province.”

And indeed, only a few hours after the PressProgress report was released, Caylan Ford stated, “To avoid becoming a distraction in this campaign, I have decided to resign as the United Conservative candidate in Calgary-Mountain View.” She denounced extremism and violence and claimed the messages leaked by PressProgress are “not reflective” of her views. She also claimed that her comments were taken out of context, and that the PressProgress article represents “a gross distortion” of her views.

In quite the celebratory manner, PressProgress added an update to the bottom of their article: “Following publication of this story, Caylan Ford announced her resignation as a UCP candidate.”

After all, that was the goal of the anonymous leaker and PressProgress: destroy Caylan Ford.

It is particularly dirty that the anonymous leaker chose to send Ford’s 2017 messages to PressProgress within days of the Christchurch mosque shootings, when tensions are running high and the world is still shaken and emotional over the terror and hate that transpired. Of course Ford would have no choice but to resign. The anonymous leaker and PressProgress took advantage of the sensitive cultural moment that follows a massive tragedy to push forward their political goals.

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