...as several observers noted watching the convoy make its way to Ottawa from Alberta, United We Roll had also become a space for far-right groups to spew racism and xenophobia. Signs denouncing open borders, protesting Canada signing on to the global migration pact and accusing the prime minister of treason hung alongside signs supporting pipelines. Some convoy participants wore hats that said "Make Canada Great Again," a nod to U.S. President Donald Trump's slogan that has become associated with denigrating Mexicans, asylum seekers and banning Muslims from entering the U.S.Conservatives going soft on bigotry, who knew?
Because the convoy has become affiliated with such unsettling rhetoric, unwavering support from high-profile Conservative politicians — such as Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who addressed the group last week — is troubling, and could potentially hurt the party's chances in the upcoming fall election.
Scheer ought to have made a distinction between his support for Canadian oil workers, and support for the racism and violence that has been associated with United We Roll. Conservative Senator David Tkachuk even told the crowd to "roll over" Liberals across the country, and he has since refused to apologize.
The rally has also been associated with Yellow Vests Canada, a group whose Facebook page is rife with racist and xenophobic views, particularly towards Muslims and immigrants. In fact, the United We Roll convoy was originally named the Yellow Vest Convoy, but was changed due to the obviously problematic association.
Members of the Yellow Vests Canada Facebook group have advocated for MP Iqra Khalid to be deported, called visible minorities sub-human and scum, and made death threats against the prime minister. Despite that, United We Roll lead organizer Glen Carritt implied that everyone would be welcome to attend ("It doesn't matter — you can wear a yellow vest, or blue coveralls or black hardhat or suit and tie," he said) and Yellow Vest organizer Mark Friesen was indeed in attendance.
One of the speakers at the rally was Faith Goldy, who was fired from Rebel Media after appearing on a neo-Nazi podcast, and who regularly bemoans the erosion of "white identity." Scheer spoke on the same platform that she did, ignoring what should be a toxic association.
...During the presidential election in 2008, Republican John McCain defended Barack Obama against racist questions from audience members during a town hall event. Scheer could just as easily have spoken at the United We Roll rally by telling protestors he supports their efforts with regards to the oil and gas industry, while simultaneously chastising the racist and xenophobic rhetoric that was circulating.Know who else is standing with Faith Goldy? This lout:
Instead, Scheer simply stated: "We're standing with you."
As for me, I blame Preston for legitimizing the bigotry that infests today's conservative movement in this country. They formed a coven inside Manning's Reform Party and they're still just beneath the surface.