At the beginning of the year, a group of Canadian truckers took their frustrations of government mandated vaccines to Ottawa, which quickly grew into what became known as the Freedom Convoy. For about a month, the convoy shut down the nation’s capital as thousands of people pushed for an end to covid restrictions and vaccine mandates for cross-border essential workers. This was just another example of a populist swell in Canada that has pushed Conservative party candidate Pierre Poilievre to the role of front-runner. Andrew Lawton extensively covered the truck convoy and reports in his new book The Freedom Convoy on a group of people who held dance parties and pig roasts. However, as Tasha Kheiriddin reports in her new book, The Right Path, many more moderate Tories and centre-right voters fear the Conservative Party is pandering to anti-immigration, anti-vaccine and anti-urban sentiments to gain these far-right votes. Is populism the future of Conservatism?
Andrew Lawton: “The fact that [the vaccine mandate protests] have reshaped the conservative leadership race months after an election in which the leader would not even talk about that, is a very real example of how conservative politicians in this country realized this populist issue is a necessity for them to be relevant to the voters and to their own base.”
Tasha Kheiriddin: “The future of conservatism lies in providing solutions to populist concerns without the rhetoric upheaval and yes, sometimes violence that accompanies populism. It is not simply about removing elites or institutions, but enabling people to rise to the full level of their abilities.”
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