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Although the “alt-right” has faded into total irrelevance in mainstream American political discourse, the term has found new life in Canadian media.
If you were to believe shows like Steve Paikin’s The Agenda and CBC’s The Weekly with Wendy Mesley, evil alt-right agents have infiltrated the Conservative Party of Canada hoping to turn the true north strong and free into a despotic fascist state with Andrew Scheer as its dictator at large.
While I’m sure most Canadians find this premise to be laughable at best, it’s interesting to see how far the press is willing to take it.
For example, just last week on TVO’s The Agenda they featured a segment on a “re-branded alt right” raising the alarm about the alleged tendency of Conservatism to move towards the far-right.
Originality is hard to come by in a rigid parliamentary system, so often Canada is left with no other choice but to mimic and adapt to the antics of our southern neighbours.
Canadians like to think of themselves as ahead of or somehow different than your friendly American yokel, but it’s hard to take that premise seriously when we’re so inclined to feel the need to participate in American politics.
Take CBC News for example, who seems more inclined to cover Donald Trump’s debunked collusion claims than to deliver front-page coverage of Trudeau’s scandalous last few months.
And why not? Canadian legacy media is taking on water like a sinking ship and needs a boost in views. It follows that a vicious Trump-style election in Canada would make for a nice return in profit.
However, it’s not only the media which has an interest in the alt-right paranoia prevalent in popular discourse, but academics and “hate experts” as well who make a living from further propagating the looming threat of hate to sell education seminars and books.
After all, hate can be a profitable business.
If history repeats itself, then American history repeats itself in Canada. Only three years after Donald Trump’s startling victory and already we’re seeing much of the same rhetoric being peddled by pundits and commentators with a uniquely Canadian twist.
Instead of the Republican Party being infiltrated by the alt-right, it’s the Conservative Party of Canada.
Instead of Donald Trump being a white supremacist, it’s Andrew Scheer, or Maxime Bernier (depending on who fits the pre-defined mould best that particular day).
Instead of the Proud Boys, it’s the yellow vests.
It’s almost like Canadian outlets have wholesale adopted a pre-written Hollywood script for the federal election with the hope that it will actually succeed in Canada. Surely, Canadian journalists looking on at the disgraceful conduct of their American counterparts have learned from their mistakes?
Unfortunately, they have not and are likely to suffer the same consequences: bad ratings and a further loss of public trust in the press.
Everybody knows that remakes are never as good as the originals.