Canada Chris Selley: A 'great reset' requires a determined leader. Thankfully, Trudeau isn't it
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Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are accusing Justin Trudeau of harbouring a very ambitious hidden agenda — not just for Canada but for the world. As part of a multinational effort, a petition launched by Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre alleges, the Liberals want to “re-engineer economies and societies to empower the elites at the expense of the people.” They want to remodel Canada to fit the prime minister’s personal “socialist ideology,” Poilievre recently told the finance committee. O’Toole, Poilievre and other Conservatives implore us all to stand up against and thereby thwart “the Great Reset,” which is the World Economic Forum’s term for a massive post-pandemic rethink of global priorities and relations.
Kelly McParland: Erin O’Toole and Keir Starmer — two peas in a pod
Erin O’Toole and Keir Starmer are two politicians holding similar jobs who are coming at a shared challenge from different directions. O’Toole is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn at the top of the United Kingdom’s Labour party in April. Of the two, Starmer may have the more daunting task, given that the man he replaced was arguably the worst leader the party ever had, judging by either public standing or election results. Corbyn was an obscure, fringe figure who was fiercely attached to socialist credos he formed as a youth and which changed little over time, until he was flukishly elevated to head the party in 2015.
The Great Reset proposes “the world … act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” There would, for example, be a multilateral effort to “steer the market toward fairer outcomes” with measures like “wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.” Trudeau has used the term “reset” in the context of a post-pandemic agenda — notably in his address to the UN General Assembly in September — and it’s easy to imagine he might support the Great Reset. But it seems he never has specifically, or even uttered the term in public.
What Is The Great Reset And Why Are People Blaming Justin Trudeau?
If you’ve been on social media in recent weeks, you’ve likely seen talk of the “great reset” in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. The phrase was trending across Twitter earlier this week, largely fuelled by far-right conservative personalities alleging that certain world leaders, including Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, had a role in creating or exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for their own personal gain or for a grand overhaul of society. On Friday, Trudeau was asked about the topic during his daily COVID-19 briefing.
In turn, then, Liberals (including Trudeau at his Friday press conference) have accused Conservatives of trafficking in conspiracy theories,” or at least of trying to appeal to conspiracists. It’s not an entirely unreasonable charge.
There is a tribe of disreputable yahoos adjacent to mainstream Canadian conservatism for whom the WEF’s Great Reset connotes a specific plan to unleash violent totalitarian Marxism upon the entire world. And Trudeau’s government plays a key supporting role in this fiction: A truly hilarious supposed “leaked” memo from a supposed member of the Liberals’ supposed “Strategic Planning Committee” has been making the rounds on the internet, warning that the government plans to buy all our personal debt (with cash from the International Monetary Fund) in exchange for our personal property and a mandatory vaccination regime. It’s bonkers, needless to say.
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By the standards of political nose-stretchers, accusing Trudeau of supporting “the Great Reset,” as opposed to a broadly similar “reset,” hardly even registers. But there is no need to exaggerate at all to suggest Trudeau wants (or wanted) to use the pandemic as leverage to change Canada rapidly in keeping with his pre-existing preferences. He spent much of the summer declaring the country to be at a “crossroads.” “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change,” he told the UN.
Mind you, there’s also more than enough in what Trudeau has done to suggest he’s not really that interested. It was said some version of this at-a-crossroads ambition would manifest in the October Throne Speech. It did not. It seems Trudeau and Friends determined Canadians weren’t much interested, and understandably so.
Rex Murphy: The 'great reset' no one asked for
In the high and palmy days of Rome, they didn’t have Google. If a Roman centurion, or his predictably tedious and woke offspring, wanted to check on those damn Gauls and their tripartite province, or the latest woad tattoos from Londinium (heavy on the blue), they either had to unscroll Aristotle’s “Twitter” feed — a laborious process — or check with the local oracle. Thankfully, we live in much happier times. The oracles are dead, and instead of Aristotle we have Google, the concierge for empty minds. Want to know something trivial or trendy, just tap into Google.
Resetters — including WEF founder Klaus Schwab — often compare the end of the pandemic to the end of the Second World War. It’s preposterous. On V-J Day, people celebrated the end of the second war in 25 years to have claimed something like three per cent of earth’s population. Europe was a smoking ruin. Japan was a smoking radioactive ruin. Six million Jews had been murdered. And unlike COVID-19, it was all created by human beings — mostly German ones, but still. If ever there were a moment for global self-reflection, that was it. This is not it. This is a time to get everyone vaccinated and back to arguing their visions for the country in good faith.
But of course, modern Canadian politicians never do — not during wars, not during pandemics, not ever. If “Trudeau supports the Great Reset” is a conspiracy theory because he’s never said he supports it specifically, then what is it when Liberals say “Andrew Scheer will recriminalize abortion” or “Doug Ford will destroy public health care,” when they have both sworn blind they won’t? The ludicrous fake Liberal memo’s imagined dystopia involves “deployment of military personnel into major metropolitan areas.” That’s precisely what Paul Martin promised us Stephen Harper would do.
Indeed, the most absurd thing about Poilievre’s and O’Toole’s allegations is the idea that Trudeau is ambitious or ideological or committed enough to see the vision through. Trudeau is no socialist. He’s no -ist at all. He’s a slightly left-of-centre but otherwise entirely typical muddle-along Liberal, distinguished from other such Liberals only by his echoing unseriousness and thespian streak. His embryonic vision of a remodelled post-pandemic Canada was nothing but a trial balloon that he hoped voters would like. They didn’t, and he let it float away.
The Conservatives quite rightly say they want Trudeau to focus entirely on the pandemic. They should do exactly the same.
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Chris Selley: For the greater good, Prince Charles, please shut up now .
Earlier this week I argued that Canadians needn’t bother worrying (or, alternatively, getting their hopes up) about the Great Reset: certainly not the tinfoil-hat version in which Justin Trudeau’s government turns us into a totalitarian socialist dystopia by spring; and not even the real version being touted by Prince Charles and the World Economic Forum, with nominal support from Trudeau, which would “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions” to left-leaning ends.