Traditionally, Canadian politics is a fight for the center, not for the fringes of the ideological spectrum. Political analysts point out that the far-right People’s Party of Canada, whose leader Maxime Bernier is a champion trucker protester, failed to win a single seat in last year’s legislative election .
But populism is not totally foreign to the country, underlines Janice Stein, professor of political science at the University of Toronto. A populist brother of Ontario Premier Doug Ford served as mayor of the country’s largest city, Toronto, and for years the Reform Party rallied around a sense of Western alienation and socially conservative values .
“There is a disturbing trend in Canada to define anything that goes against our founding myth as an import from the United States,” Stein said. “We mythologized our kindness: ‘We’re not polarized like France and Britain, and the only major democratic country the center has stood in is Canada, and that’s because we’re so kind and so caring for each other.
Canadian politics may actually be more genteel than in many other places, but not because Canadians are naturally nicer. It just became much clearer.
“It’s a myth-busting moment,” Ms. Stein said.
Sooner or later, the trucks will leave, but will the movement that the Prime Minister described as a “small minority fringe” continue to develop? Some have their doubts.
“It’s a unique political expression,” said Paul Summerville, co-author of the book.Regain populismwhich argues that Canada’s strong socialized medicine and affordable education system have given the country a sense of fairness and equality of opportunity, inoculating it against populism.
“People are tired, they are angry,” said Mr. Summerville, a former investment banker in Victoria, British Columbia. “It’s a very specific moment that has to do with people feeling very uncomfortable for two years, because of the pandemic.”