by pk mutch, May, 2022
It will be Election Day on June 2, 2022 in Canada’s largest province, Ontario. The signs are on lawns. The local news is full of campaign Batman-style biffs, baffs and promises. There are two new right-of-centre conservative spin-off parties, the New Blue party and the Ontario Party. Each have been able to field over 100 candidates across the province in short order (for reference, Doug Ford’s incumbent Progressive Conservative Party fielded 124). The stats are both impressive and scary.
Over the past two weeks, two of our professional kinfolk, LiisBeth publisher pk Mutch and Radar Media founder Shauna Rae, decided to attend local rallies of parties neither one of them would ever vote for.
Mutch attended Doug Ford’s campaign kick-off rally on May 5 held at the Toronto Congress Centre — right in the heart of his home riding, Etobicoke North. The riding is covered with Doug Ford signs. Mutch found 600 or so people in attendance.
Mutch reports the audience was very diverse. “I noted the enthusiastic Sikh biker gang — and the fact that the gang also had a woman biker. Ford arrived in his campaign bus, driven right inside the Congress Centre in rock star style.” Face a-glow, Ford repeated, “Let’s git it done!” The crowd responded with, “FORD, FORD, FORD!” bouncing their signs up, down and sideways each time. Many PC candidates were there with their families in the front row seats. His acknowledgement of them and their hard work was paper-thin.
He more or less smiled a lot, said little. Attendees waited an hour for him to arrive. His time on stage lasted maybe 15 minutes. Outside, there were media trucks and a handful of protestors with signs that read, “NEW BLUE” and “Fuck Ford.” That was it. It was over.
Mutch had learned nothing.
Meanwhile, Feminist Enterprise Commons member, journalist and founder of Radar Media Shauna Rae attended a New Blue Ontario rally on May 15 in the town of Dorchester. Her goal was to attend with an open mind and see if there was any, ANY common ground with her own feminist values and hopes for a better future.
Rae reports, “Fifteen people attended. 11 were white women in their 30s and 40s. There was one Indigenous woman. The rest were white men. They sat in a circle and the New Blue Ontario candidate, Matt Millar (Elgin-Middlesex-London riding), answered questions. The Indigenous woman asked what Millar would do to ensure clean drinking water for First Nations communities nearby. Millar was unaware of the issue but said he would work with everyone. She also asked about the elimination of Critical Race Theory in schools — a party promise. A very vague answer followed. Millar explained that he was Christian.
Overall, Rae felt the group simply “desperately wants to be heard and think ‘elites’ are hiding things from them and that mainstream media could not be trusted.” The movie 2000 Mules — a 2022 American political film that falsely alleges that Democrat-aligned individuals, or “mules,” were paid to illegally stuff ballot boxes in the 2020 presidential election — was referenced several times. There was reference to vaccine mandates being “forced” on folks. Most of the comments and questions highlighted a high level of distrust of traditional institutions like the government, school boards, and mainstream media. Conversation remained civil. Attendees were thanked for coming and asking questions.
In her final comment about the experience, Rae suggested we all look at the New Blue party platform. Because it is truly scary. “It took me awhile not to feel full of rage, I actually tried to listen. I asked a lot of questions, trying really hard not to be confrontational. I’m totally glad I went.”
Next week, LiisBeth will publish its own platform comparison chart which will help you determine which party you feel is best for feminists, women, and, in particular, women entrepreneurs.
In the meantime, enjoy the video we have put together comparing the Doug Ford Campaign kick-off rally to Andrea Horwath’s NDP rally. Why those parties? We had our own footage from Ford’s rally, and the NDP were the only party to respond to our request to send us video footage of their kick-off rally.