On January 31, The Coast published an opinion piece called "White supremacy in Halifax," written by Alex Mcnab and published in the Voice of the City section. The piece, centred around a personal telling of a rally hosted in Halifax by the People's Party of Canada, was hateful in nature and does not accurately represent the PPC rally.
This response isn't about my political views, nor the personal views of the writer; this response is meant to provide a factual rebuttal to the numerous false claims published by The Coast. The newly formed People's Party of Canada hosted a rally at the Atlantica Hotel, in Halifax, on Friday, January 18, 2019. I aim to provide factual details of the event that were glossed over, misrepresented or absent.
For those interested in PPC leader Maxime Bernier's actual speech content, the place to start might be his interview on the popular YouTube channel The Rubin Report. The longer, unedited podcast-style interview offers an audience the chance to explore all of Bernier's talking points completely in-depth. You can find it here: https://tinyurl.com/y6ovnwb2. This interview is approximately the same length as the speech Bernier gave at the Atlantica, and contains the same information discussed.
The line regarding climate change not being mentioned once is an outright lie. Bernier spoke a rather long passage describing how the proposed $20/tonne carbon tax won't be a strong enough incentive for major companies to reduce output of harmful emissions. He pointed out that $200/tonne would be the level of tax necessary for companies to commit to and reach the goals set out by the Paris Treaty signed by Justin Trudeau in 2016. This information comes from Bernier's House of Commons seatmate, Green Party leader Elizabeth May. One must assume climate change wisdom has been making its way into Max's ear from one of the experts on the subject.
Immigration, and the supposedly hateful attitude the crowd displayed toward the topic, was noted in several paragraphs of Mcnab's piece. Rest assured that immigrants were present to hear the party leader speak. Toward the end of the rally, during question period, an immigrant from Saudi Arabia received the largest outburst of support from the allegedly hateful crowd when she questioned Bernier's opinion on political Islam. Could this act of support for an immigrant really be coming from a crowd of white supremacists?
Numerous times Mcnab points out how white the crowd is, and even goes so far as to name a percentage of white people (97 percent) in attendance. This was the only moderately factual piece of information given by our writer. According to the Canada 2011 census, the racial makeup of Nova Scotia was 91 percent white, 5.2 percent visible minority and 3.7 percent Aboriginal. With less than a 7 percent difference observed between the writer's estimate and the actual racial makeup of the province, the crowd in attendance more or less accurately represented the demographic of the province. There is nothing wrong with this fact. Everyone in attendance was Nova Scotian, with the exception of the people who drove in from New Brunswick and PEI.
Now let's talk about a few facts of the event that were accurately represented. Bernier did in fact suggest that he would cut funding to Canada's largest media corporation, the CBC; remove the monopoly of Canada Post; and end foreign aid, to thundering applause. Overall, the political convention in Halifax was nothing more than citizens who finally felt connected to politics by what's being offered by the People's Party of Canada or were interested in learning.
Another event perspective which captures the party leader's stance regarding immigration can be found on the YouTube channel for Dmitry Tamoikin: https://tinyurl.com/yxlawur9. An eye-witness reflection and summation of the rally can be heard at 11:57 of the video.
The piece concludes with a choice between "egalitarian, international socialism and barbaric white supremacism." Anyone with a conscience would pick the former option, and if the latter was what the PPC stood for, I would be pushing for the former, too. Canada now has another option to choose in this year's fast approaching federal election and we all have a responsibility to ensure we sift fact from fiction, keeping an open mind to all points of view before casting a ballot in October 2019 will be important if one is to weigh all the options appropriately.
—Mitch Nieuwenstein, Halifax