What happened: A white nationalist murdered 49 Muslims in New Zealand in what appears to be another terrorist attack by the far-right.
Canada’s Conservative leader Andrew Scheer issued two tweets denouncing the attack on “freedom”. Glaringly missing was any mention of Muslims, denunciation of white nationalists, or characterization of the killings as a terrorist attack.
Scheer even played on well-known anti-Muslim tropes to describe victims as “peaceful worshippers” rather than just worshippers.
The big picture: Other politicians were quick to call it what it was, including Doug Ford. Even Donald Trump mentioned the word mosques in his tweet.
The problem: Scheer’s disgraceful response contributes to the perception that he is allying himself with the far-right in his quest to become Prime Minister.
His MP Michael Chong even mentioned white supremacy in his tweet.
Scheer recently endorsed the Yellow Vest convoy, a group that included white nationalists and hate group members. Scheer spoke to rally attendees along with well-known white nationalist Faith Goldy.
Scheer was also accused of spreading fake news about the UN Migration Compact, erronously claiming it would impact Canadian sovereignty, even though the compact is not legally binding.
Just this past week Conservative MPs invited Islamophobe Baroness Caroline Cox, a member of the UK House of Lords, to speak at
Read more: Scheer’s Conservatives have a long history of engaging with and spreading far-right, anti-immigrant ideas and hateful rhetoric.
What others are saying: Journalist Paul Adams breaks down exactly why his tweet is so problematic.
There’s a lot going on here with this framing. 1/x https://t.co/a1bRuyOPCa— Paul Adams (@padams29) March 15, 2019
Neither the attacker(s) nor the people being attacked would see this as an attack on “freedom”. Both the murder(s) and the victims would see this as an attack on individual Muslims and symbolically on Islam. 2/x— Paul Adams (@padams29) March 15, 2019
By framing this as an attack on “freedom”, Scheer tries to associate himself with the general disgust and condemnation of the incident but direct that feeling away from its obvious target—Islamophobia—to a value associate with his rhetorical line.— Paul Adams (@padams29) March 15, 2019
At the same time he tries to evade offending his following among Islamophobes and the Islamophobe-friendly and avoid triggering the backlash that Lisa Raitt, for example, has experienced today for being more forthright in describing the attack. 4/5— Paul Adams (@padams29) March 15, 2019
This is one of the great moral and social issues of our time, and Scheer is unwilling to take a stand because it suits him politically. 5/5— Paul Adams (@padams29) March 15, 2019