New Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has announced his “Canada First economic strategy,” evoking not only Donald Trump’s “America First” mantra but a long history of xenophobic ideologies with roots right here in Canada. Though O’Toole is talking about prioritizing Canadian manufacturing, business and workers, his use of “Canada First” is a clearly calculated dog whistle to the socially conservative (ie. racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Québécois etc) base that he courted during his run for the party leadership.
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“Too many people are living on the brink, living in quiet desperation. For them, there isn’t a lot to celebrate this Labour Day. Part of the problem is big government, one that signs bad trade deals with the U.S. and countries like China. Or that kills entire industries by saying they’re going to phase out the energy sector. But part of the problem is big business. Corporate and financial power brokers who care more about their shareholders than their employees. They love trade deals with China that allow them to access cheap labour. Under my leadership, Conservatives will introduce a Canada First economic strategy, one that doesn’t cater to elites and special interests, but fights for working Canadians. I believe that GDP growth alone is not the end-all-be-all of politics. The goal of economic policy should be more than just wealth creation, it should be solidarity and the wellness of families — and includes higher wages.”—Erin O’Toole announces Canada First economic strategy
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