The Issue With Andrew Scheer

Image: Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Image: Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Andrew Scheer is our newest Conservative candidate for the 2019 federal election, and so far he's already demonstrated his alt-right tendencies, especially with his pro-life, anti-gay marriage, anti-immigrant, anti-gun regulations, transphobic rhetoric, authoratarian and he is, currently, the most likely to become the next Prime Minister of Canada.

Some would say that Canadians are too "nice" to elect a man like this, but the truth is, ever since the election of Donald Trump, the silent ghost of hatred that rested inside Canadians gained a voice, and is getting more noticeable around the country. Although we don't know whether Scheer would run Canada using his "personal opinions," do we want to take the chance?

The Conservative leader had reassured Canadians that he wouldn't reopen the abortion debate but said the exact opposite to the anti-abortion group, RightNow. As for his views on LGBT+ Canadians, in railing against legislation to expand the rights of gay marriage, Scheer said that “the government may force all Canadians to recognize homosexual marriages” but that it would fail “because marriage does not come from the state and does not depend on the government.”

Since then, he's dodged questions regarding his overtly-conservative status, but was a lot more to the point regarding Bill C-16, which would extend human right's protection to transgender people, which he confirmed he had voted against. When he was asked whether he would repeal the law, he returned to dodging the questions. He said that “the left” can, “in the name of tolerance, become intolerant.”

Scheer does seem as if he wants to head for an American-styled Canada because, of course, he's against the very little regulations we already have against guns.

"He’s got some big, bold ideas about reforming the entire system and takes a “common sense” approach on this matter." says the CCFR (Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights), "Andrew promises to launch a review of the criminal code and repeal all federal regulations pertaining to firearms ownership, usage and transportation which do not do the following: ensure that Canada’s firearms laws respect the rights of honest firearms owners, recognize the fact that hunting and sports shooting are an important part of Canadian culture and history, and empower police to concentrate on real criminals who are a threat to the public."

What that would mean for Canada, where multiple casualties happen on a regular basis in some places, but the rare amount of mass shootings that impact us, would skyrocket. If he becomes Prime Minister, he promises to repeal all firearm regulations that do not "ensure Canada's firearm laws respect the laws of honest firearm owners" or "empower police to concentrate on real criminals who are a threat to the public." He also promises to repeal the UN Firearms-marking regulations, a regulation that allows a firearm to be traced back to its owner. Andrew Scheer has also threatened to pull federal grants from any university that does not “foster a culture of free speech and inquiry.” Once again, has not clarified what exactly that meant.

A carbon tax is a tax imposed on the carbon content of fuels and pollution. Research does show that carbon taxes reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Andrew Scheer campaigns against the tax on carbon. He’s dedicated to abolishing the price if he should be elected but has promised to give his support to provinces who desire to fight in opposition to the federal price. However, Scheer is just committed to using the Harper government’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions — “a sector by sector approach to reducing greenhouse gases in cooperation with industry and the United States.”

Scheer is also big on adding property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Reopening the constitution is generally a taboo topic but Scheer is on track to do that by having provinces to agree to the proposal, slowly and individually, but the benefits of this are completely lost.

Political scientist Juan Linz, who was born in Germany in 1926 and was raised during Spain's civil war, is experienced in the perils of losing democracy. He devoted much of his life to trying to figure out how, and why democracies die. He wrote a book called The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes, and it highlighted the role of politicians and how they could reinforce democracy or risk it. Building on his work and relating it to Andrew Scheer, there are behavioural warning signs (interpreted by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, in the book How Democracies Die) to help us spot an authoritarian.

We should begin to worry when:

1) Rejects, in words or action, the democratic rules of the game (such as constitutions)

He’s planning on adding property rights to the Charter, reopening it. This isn’t in complete rejection, but is a red flag.

2) Denies the legitimacy of opponents.

Consistently does that with Justin Trudeau, with allegations that can occasionally be false.

3) Tolerates or encourages violence.

His extreme pro-gun status is definitely questionable but not as bad as wanting to halt all efforts for a normal relationship with Iran, and wanting to continue supplying Saudi Arabia with weaponry.

4) Indicates a willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents, including the media.

He hasn't shown any sign of this as of yet (unless you count dodging questions), but "a politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern," and Andrew Scheer does loosely meet some requirements at the very least.

Andrew Scheer isn't a dictator or an authoritarian yet, but with a person who shows this many signs, we should be more on guard. History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes, and by now we should be a lot more aware of how fragile our democracy is, and why we can't risk anything to lose it.

Astha Sharma Comment