Recall that event last December that had the whole country aghast at the invasion of low brow American politics coming to Canada, the arrival of Trumpian bombast, all so bad for the Conservative Party and the conservative movement?
I’m referring to the chants of lock her up called out at The Rebel’s anti-carbon tax rally in Edmonton. How dare those people say that, right?
A Twitter storm quickly erupted, followed by an avalanche of media coverage.
The chant and those that took part were denounced by the mainstream media. There were talk radio segments across the country, it was a top story for Peter Mansbridge on CBC’s The National for two nights.
Back in December the media couldn’t get enough of this.
Politicians of all stripes but especially right leaning ones were all asked about this, all forced to express moral outrage at what was said, to denounce it and say they didn’t back that sort of thing.
We were lectured for a week or more about how talking about putting a politician you disagree with in jail was anti-democratic, fascist even.
Which brings me to a picture of Brad Wall in jail at a union rally outside of Saskatchewan’s legislature in Regina.
Lots of civil servants and union leaders were there, so were a pile of NDP MLA’s, the leader of the provincial NDP Trent Wotherspoon even spoke at the rally. A rally where Brad Wall was put in jail because they disagree with his policies.
Is that anti-democratic? Shouldn’t we be hearing all about this?
When it was chanted that the premier next door should be jailed it was a massive story, now, crickets.
Where are the tweets of outrage from journalists? Where is the fretting about the regrettable tone entering Canadian politics?
It’s different this time though isn’t it. It’s different for a few reasons.
First, Brad Wall is a man, so that makes this ok. Secondly he's seen as a right leaning politician and you can say or do anything to them. Third, this was a union protest and unions can do whatever they want.
Kudos to local CBC reporter, Stefani Langenegger. She tweeted out a photo of the jail asking her Twitter followers if it was akin to what happened in Alberta. But it didn’t make her online story.
The outrage over the Alberta incident was driven by the hectoring of establishment media types mostly located in Ottawa and Toronto. And what their silence over Wall being jailed by union folks tells me is that the entire furor was always more about who said it rather than what was said.
Chanting lock her up and putting a premier’s effigy in jail are the same. You can’t deny it and if you try, you're fooling yourself.
But in Edmonton it was a Rebel rally, those were Rebel people and supporters, ordinary Albertans upset at the imposition of a carbon tax.
In Regina it was unionized civil servants, the educated professional class that so many in the establishment media can relate to. They can’t relate to a rabble of normal people, rubes that chant lock her up.
This is about tribalism and they don’t like your tribe - so a story for a week, the pestering of every conservative politician in the country to denounce the rally in Edmonton.
And now, complicit silence, the quiet backing of their own tribe. It speaks volumes.