Ezra Levant wants to be the Steve Bannon of Canadian politics. It was Levant who organized the rally which Chris Alexander recently addressed in Edmonton. And it is Levant who founded Rebel Media, which fancies itself a northern version of Bannon's Breitbart.com. Tasha Kheiriddin writes:
The Rebel is currently on an expansion kick, running a crowdfunding campaign to become “bigger than the CBC”, in the words of founder and (ahem) ‘Rebel Commander’ Ezra Levant. Which is ironic, perhaps, since not talking to the “mainstream media” was the first of many pages event organizers ripped from Trump’s playbook.
Levant urged the crowd to not talk with CBC reporters, calling them extremists and activists. More irony: The Rebel squealed in outrage when the Alberta government temporarily banned it from press events earlier this year, using pretty much the same argument that Levant used to boycott the CBC — that Rebel Media employees are activists, not journalists. The Rebel subsequently proved the government was right all along by taking on an activist role in organizing the rally.
Levant and the other Trump acolytes chanted "Lock Her Up!" when Alexander mentioned Rachel Notley's name. The comparison to Hillary Clinton is not only unfair, it is grossly inaccurate:
Unlike Clinton, Notley has never been accused of criminal behaviour; there is no legal basis whatsoever for even thinking of ‘locking her up’. The only basis for the crowd’s chant is political: They don’t like her politics, particularly her climate change plan that will impose emissions caps on the province’s oil industry. (That plan, of course, was one of the factors in getting the federal government to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline — a quid pro quo the Edmonton crowd seemed unlikely to appreciate.)
The incident illustrates what has happened to Conservative politics in the wake of the party's election defeat:
And that explains why the tactic is being aped now in the Conservative race: It worked. Playing Trump lite is paying dividends for fellow Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, whose immigrant screening proposal and pro-Trump cheerleading has helped vault her to the front of the pack in recent opinion polls. Fellow candidate Steven Blaney piggybacked on the same sentiments when he announced plans to ban the wearing of the niqab in the public service — hardly the most pressing issue of the day for most Canadians, but one which heated up during the recent PQ leadership race, also on the back of the Trump campaign.
The Conservative Party may morph into the Alt Right Of The North.