Andrew Scheer has a problem - 2019-05-06
As political oratory goes, the three-minute speech Andrew Scheer delivered on the snow-covered lawn of Parliament back on Feb. 19 wasn't exactly deathless. "We've got your back, we are standing with you" was pretty much the essence of what the federal Conservative leader told a few hundred riled-up oil and gas workers whose truck convoy had travelled from Alberta to Ottawa under the banner "United We Roll," picking up along the highway an assortment of sympathizers and more than a few problematic hangers-on.
It was those elements in the throng, not Scheer's got-your-back boilerplate, that lent the moment lasting significance. Making common cause with disgruntled energy-sector workers—who are mad at Justin Trudeau for pricing carbon and not yet getting a new oil pipeline built—were the self-styled "yellow vest" protesters. They often seemed more agitated about asylum-seekers crossing the border into Canada from the U.S. than any oil-patch issues, and were prone to accusing the Prime Minister of "treason" for supporting the UN's new Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
A little while after Scheer's brief remarks, on the back of a truck parked on Wellington Street, outside the official demonstration zone authorized by Parliament Hill security, a guy hollered over a portable sound system, "Faith Goldy is in the house, shut up and listen!" Although she is far from a household name, Goldy has cultivated a far-right following since she was fired in 2017 by Rebel Media—the online outlet for anti-Justin Trudeau, pro-Donald Trump, anti-Muslim immigration bile—after appearing on a neo-Nazi podcast. Opposing left-wing demonstrators did their best to drown her out, but her cry of "No more Trudeau! Our borders will be protected!" cut through the din.