Is Erin O’Toole turning into Rudy Giuliani?

The misinformation campaign the Conservative leader and his party have engaged in on the coronavirus is unmistakably Trumpian


It’s been quite a first 100 days at the helm for Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole. The video released by the party on Wednesday to mark the occasion rhymed off all the party’s accomplishments so far. The most notable: the party raised more money in the third quarter of this year than ever before in a non-election year. O’Toole has turned into quite the salesman.

But whether the pitch is working outside the party’s base is entirely another question.

A poll released by Pollara on Wednesday shows the Liberals widening the gap over the Conservatives in popular support in the key battleground of Ontario. More conservative pollster Angus Reid has the two parties in a “dead heat” nationally, but Trudeau markedly ahead in popular support. EKOS has the Libs up 6.5 per cent – and, more importantly, at 46 per cent in Ontario and 36 per cent in Quebec.

O’Toole sold himself as a moderate when he became conservative leader – the first, in fact, from Ontario since god knows when. He was supposed to win votes for the Cons in the all-important 905. Instead, he’s fashioned himself into a Trumpian knock-off.

Canadians still don’t know what to make of O’Toole. That’s the problem – he shows one face to Canadians at large and another to the lunatic fringe in the party’s base.

After setting a more cordial tone, his recent performances in the House have become erratic. It’s gotten to the point that his line of questioning during the recent economic update had some on social media wondering whether he’s morphed into Trump sidekick Rudy Giuliani. That may be a little harsh. But the misinformation campaign he and his party have engaged in on the coronavirus is unmistakably Trumpian.

Some Ottawa pundits think there’s a method to his madness. That he’s not just falling prey to the Canada Proud cabal who played an instrumental part in his leadership win.

It doesn’t appear that way given how O’Toole has spent so much of his time trying to turn the pandemic into a partisan political issue. O’Toole used a press conference on Thursday to demand to know what date the Liberals plan to start shipping a vaccine. It’s a mug’s game.

The two leading candidates, Pfizer and Moderna, have yet to receive emergency authorization from Health Canada, which has been conducting a “rolling review” of vaccine candidates since late October. O’Toole knows that. And he knows that safety protocols must be met before any vaccine can be distributed to the general population. But he would have Canadians believe the government is hiding something, and that nefariousness is at work.

“The United States is planning to have 100 million vaccinated by the end of February and its entire population vaccinated as early as June. The United Kingdom is starting their vaccinations next week. And France is rolling out a national vaccine plan for most of the country from April to June. But Canada is nowhere to be seen,” O’Toole said at his presser Thursday.

The U.S. and UK are the two Western countries Canada would least want to emulate in terms of pandemic response. But there were a few more misdirections in O’Toole’s prepared remarks and during the abbreviated question and answer period with reporters that followed.

As a former military man, O’Toole has learned a thing or two about diversionary tactics and throwing smoke bombs to cover your tracks. And so it was when O’Toole was asked about the petition tabled by MP (and former leadership contender) Derek Sloan on behalf of anti-vaxxer group Vaccine Choice Canada. It questions the safety of a coronavirus vaccine and likens its mass distribution to “human experimentation.”

O’Toole blamed the supposed lack of transparency in the Liberals’ vaccine plans for causing anxiety. O’Toole then grinned a cheeky grin.

But he didn’t stop there. As is becoming customary with the Conservative leader, he couldn’t resist looping China into the Liberals’ vaccine fail.

He mentioned the CanSino deal to develop a vaccine and how “After months of putting all our eggs in the Chinese basket… Canada now finds itself delayed, and behind most other G7 countries,” on a vaccine. In fact, Canada has secured more doses than any other country.

Then there’s the mess O’Toole key leadership backer, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, has made of the pandemic in the party’s heartland out West. O’Toole was asked about that on Thursday; he blamed the feds for “setting up the provinces to fail.”

That’s another one that’s hard to square with the facts: Kenney is calling on the feds to send in field hospitals even as he’s said he won’t require Albertans to vaccinate when a vaccine becomes available. The Con deception on the coronavirus knows no bounds.

@enzodimatteo

Brand Voices

4 responses to “Is Erin O’Toole turning into Rudy Giuliani?”

  1. It seems that just the concept of economic stimulation and job growth induces euphoria for many who are gratuitously wealthy or ardently theocratic, with former PM Stephen Harper and current Alberta premier Jason Kenney being examples of the latter.

    (I picture Homer Simpson with his head tilted back, mouth open and tongue hanging aside, as he drools over the thought of an all-you-can-eat barbeque rib buffet.)

    We also read this mentality in, for example, Donald (What, me worry?) Trump’s unending tweets proclaiming how there will be a great “creation of JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”—though whether they’d be actual or just political and wishful is another matter.

    The usual tradeoff, of course, is big business’s destruction and max-exploitation of laborers, resources, and natural environment. (Fossil fuel extraction, including the toxic mess it often leaves behind, is euphemistically referred to as the “energy sector,” even by the corporate news-media.)

    It seems as though to have a regular livable-wage job thus reliable food and shelter in contemporary society is increasingly being considered to be a privilege, especially by the faithfully conservative and superfluously rich.

    To such mega-money-minded men, ‘practical’ (including human and environment friendly) solutions will always be predicated on economic ‘reality,’ the latter which is mostly created and entrenched according to industry interests.

    Indeed, for an elected leader to try reworking this virtual corporate-rule ‘reality’ would seriously risk his/her own governance, however a landslide election victory he/she may have won.

  2. Hey Frank Sterle, let me guess. You have a government job and haven’t lost a cent of money during the virus. People need to work to pay for the grandiose of the Liberal agenda. As for the environment, get your head out of the sand, there is no way that we can heat and power vehicles in our climate with renewables, not possible.

    • Hey Realist, are you a scientist? Are you an innovator? Or are you an unimaginative wage slave who has been a victim of government & captains of industry all his life? If we do not change, we will all die. Let us agree on this. The combustion engine is obsolete, and the powers that be (mainly imaginary military security and monopolistic energy and banking concerns) are the real reason technology has been suppressed. Grandiose agenda? Renewables are the least expensive option, and are getting cheaper. You sir, are the one with his “head in the sand” if you think any sane Canadians will allow “the tool” of the oil sector to come into power. And by the way, “head in the sand” is not a real thing either, unfortunately. Just like the lemmings running off a cliff in the Disney horror/nature films, they were chased off that cliff – ostriches do not regularly stick their heads in the sand. If you are the average C voter, your lack of imagination and facts are apropos. I don’t really see how anyone can have any faith or hope in any lying politician or party, smart people vote en masse for the one whom they perceive will do less harm to the country. The Cons are the worst possible choice do deal with the pandemic, and have shown their incompetence quite expertly on a provincial level. Thank god we have the lesser of evils in power now, I fear a federal C gov would have been even more catastrophic (see Alberta). I am no fan of the Liberals, I am Green all day, but the day “the tool” becomes Prim Minister, I mean, they will really laugh at Canada, eh? I have no fear of a Conservative Gov in the near future. Whatevs bro, I hope you are safe, do not lose anyone, and that you have enough to eat during the pandemic. I am just bored and needed to school your silly ass. Peace.

    • It must be convenient for the fossil fuel industry to have such a large portion of mainstream society simply too worried, exhausted and preoccupied with protecting against COVID-19, feeding and housing their families on a substandard, if not below the poverty line, income to criticize Big Fossil Fool for the great damage it has been doing to our planet’s natural environment and therefore our health, particularly when that damage is not immediately observable.

      (Who needs ‘carbon sinks’ when, as the subconscious general mentality allows us, Earth’s entire atmosphere and water systems can be and usually are used as our carbon dumps?!)

      About a year and a half ago, our supposedly environmentally concerned Canadian (now minority) Liberal government, besides pushing for the tripling of diluted bitumen flow, gave the dirty-energy fossil fuel sector 12-fold the subsidization they allocated to clean renewable energy technology innovations.

      To have almost everyone addicted to driving their own fossil-fuel-powered single occupant vehicle (etcetera) surely helps keep their collective mouths shut about the planet’s greatest and still very profitable polluter, lest they feel like and/or be publicly deemed hypocrites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NOW Magazine