Aren’t you suspicious?

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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist


Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

As the dust settles from the 2021 federal election, pundits and reporters will look under every rock to find a potential comment on the election and its results. We ought to pay attention to these post-mortems, both to better prepare us for future elections and also to sketch out any coming shifts in trans-national politics – which affect us in a big way, given that we sit next to the USA with its flood of right-wing speakers, reporters, think-tanks – and funders. Curious, isn’t it, that in the decades past we worried about extra-legal influence from the other side, the left? We saw Soviet involvement everywhere.  
Now we hear of "dark money" flowing north into Canada to support the most Trumpian of candidates and movements – from WEXIT, western sovereignty, to Doug Ford. American billionaires have taken to funding rightwing causes and politicians out of self-defense – notably the infamous Koch family fortune which has had a significant influence on American politics, responsible, according to many, for Trump’s rise.
There seems enough evidence, although circumstantial, that American funds are flowing north. Enough to merit an investigation of the sources of funding for many Canadian political movements – from environmental people (who Jason Kenny claims are funded by US Greens and other do-gooders) to the entire anti-vaxx movement which has shocked the country with nurses and health professionals under attack.
These campaigns and movements all depend on social media to spread their message. And although social media is inexpensive, case by case, the entire budget for all of the social media campaigns hostile to the election and vaccination efforts must be immense. Social media isn’t Aunt Joanie sitting at her
laptop, but a "farm" pouring out messaging, false news, hints, suspicions and claims of others’ interference. There’s big money required. And social media is only part of the effort. There are, for example, several anti-vaxx organizations fighting mandatory vaccinations and masks – from "Working Nurses" (retired nurses re-hired by organizations with suspiciously large budgets) to "freedom fighters" who insist on their freedom to infect themselves, their families and neighbours.
In these inevitable reflections on the election (and anti-vaxx campaigns) let’s see an investigation by the Auditor General’s office of the funding sources of these campaigns. Public donations are fine, but massive funding of extremist rightwing people and groups can threaten, not support, democracy. Let’s pick up Canada’s sheets and see what’s underneath!
Here’s another question: why are Canadians so open to anti-government and public health measures?
It’s one thing for American vigilantes to fund our country’s dinosaurs, but why do we buy this bunk? Our education system jumps to mind: is it not as good and effective as we continually tell ourselves? That’s worth an investigation, too, by people outside the education infrastructure.
Or are we stuck in cause-and-effect, in wondering about the sources of these social media-inspired crusades – while so many others are opting for "alternate facts"?