Even before Donald Trump became president-elect south of the border Canadians have expressed concern that the prejudiced and harmful politics he’s espoused this election cycle are bleeding into the Great White North.

While the arguments against Canadian Exceptionalism or “maple washing” have been around for some time now, they’ve mostly addressed a sort of “Meanwhile-in-Canada” liberal complacency shared by many of us. We would love to pat ourselves on the back for defeating Harper’s Conservatives, but as others have pointed out, aside from the niqab-ban debate in last year’s election, the Liberals have not been much better.

Stephen Harper himself tweeted out a congratulations to Trump while pushing the Keystone XL pipeline that Obama killed. Ultimately, what we need to do is take a serious look at how conservative politics are having a moment in Canada and what that means moving forward.

The first, and most glaringly obvious example, is Kellie Leitch’s run for the leadership of the Conservative Party. While she began polling quite low, she’s since moved up in the ranks, surely thanks to the amount of media attention she’s received because of her Trump-like statements and policy promises. In fact, she made it quite clear she likens herself to Trump. In a recent supporters email, she congratulated Trump on his victory and said she wants to deliver his “exciting message” to Canada.

It also doesn’t help that a poll done of voters shows that a potentially sizable amount of Canadians want to screen immigrants for “anti-Canadian values.” As others have pointed out, immigrants to Canada are already screened, apparently just not well enough.

In Ontario provincial politics, Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has struggled to balance his vocal socially conservative base with the perception that he must move towards the centre to defeat Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in the 2018 election. Despite this, 19-year-old Simon Oosterhoff, who describes himself as “100 per cent pro-life” was able to beat out the party president for the nomination in an upcoming by-election.

Meanwhile in Alberta, the only two female leadership candidates for the Progressive Conservative party there have dropped out of the race. They cited harassment and intimidation carried out partly by supporters of former Conservative MP Jason Kenney who entered the leadership race there in hopes to oust NDP Premier Rachel Notley.

Toronto, Canada’s largest city that has recently been declared the most diverse city on the planet, also had its share of racism and misogyny during the 2014 municipal election. Of course, the race involved Rob Ford, a famously offensive politician who was often called Canada’s Trump. Most dishearteningly, however, were the reports of racism and misogyny directed towards council candidates who were women of colour, as well as mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

There’s more on top of these electoral examples. Let’s also not forget that this year we also found out hate crimes targeting Muslims is up. We’re still not addressing the systemic racism targeted towards Indigenous people. Racial profiling by police is still prevalent, even for elected politicians. The reactionary pushback to trans rights seen in the United States is also no stranger to Canadians as well. Perhaps most alarming is the rise of hate groups such as the Soldiers of Odin or Pegida.

So let’s not be complacent and express relief that all we must do is continue to push our (mostly) moderate governments towards doing what’s right, because there are those on the other side ready to grasp at failings of liberalism for their own means as well just like we saw in the United States.

Ian Borsuk is a Hamilton-based activist, organizer and non-profit worker who primarily speaks out and acts on issues of environmentalism, leftist politics and social issues.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons/DonkeyHotey