Justin Trudeau – COLUMN: Viewpoint – MAGA hat problematic for Bergen
Candice Bergen, the Portage-Lisgar member of Parliament, and the Deputy Leader of both Canada’s Conservative Party and the Official Opposition, has been getting some media attention recently for a photo circulating of her smiling while wearing a camouflage Make America Great Again hat. It could suggest Ms. Bergen is, or has been, a Trump supporter.
Although Ms. Bergen has denounced President Trump for inciting the violence that took place in Washington DC earlier this month, she has not apologized for wearing the hat, expressed remorse, embarrassment, or shame about it, or given any explanation for how the photo came to be taken.
When a dated photo of Prime Minister Trudeau in black face surfaced in 2019, he immediately made not one, but two public apologies where he expressed his deep regret for his actions. It is striking that in contrast, so far, Ms. Bergen has not offered any kind of contrite public apology for wearing a hat that suggests she supports a man whose ties with white supremacist groups have been well documented.
I was surprised to see Ms. Bergen wearing the hat for two reasons. First of all, she is a woman. The former leader of her political party Rona Ambrose has been outspoken about the problem of misogyny in Canada’s political and judicial system. Yet Ms. Bergen is wearing a hat that implies support for a misogynist who has openly bragged about his ability to “grab a woman’s pussy” whenever he wants. A long list of prominent and successful female politicians just like Ms. Bergen herself, have been referred to publicly in demeaning and derogatory ways by Mr. Trump.
Secondly Ms. Bergen is a Canadian. Why would she support a man who has consistently targeted our country for criticism? He’s implemented tariffs on imports of Canadian aluminum and steel, called our prime minister names, derided us for not doing our part when it comes to defence spending and made negotiating a new NAFTA agreement unnecessarily difficult.
Writing in the Ottawa Citizen last week Andrew MacDougall, the director of communications for former prime minister Stephen Harper says given the recent events in Washington DC the Conservative Party of Canada has little chance of winning a possible spring election unless their leader Erin O’ Toole quickly and decisively cuts the bad apples out of the Conservative Party who have openly expressed pro-Trump sentiment or admiration.
McDougall admits that might include a substantial number of people since a June poll published in Macleans magazine said 46 percent of Conservative Party members claimed they would rather have Donald Trump as Prime Minister than Justin Trudeau. MacDougall cites another survey that found 41 percent of Canadian conservatives say the American election wasn’t fair and should be contested.
Although that kind of Trump support may sit well in ridings like the one Ms. Bergen represents, it will not make the Conservative Party popular nationally. It appears the cutting Mr. MacDougall recommends will have to come at all levels of the party starting with his Deputy Leader.
Photos like the one of Conservative Premier Jason Kenney broadly smiling as he embraces Ted Cruz, an American senator who supported Mr. Trump’s election lies, don’t help the Conservatives garner country-wide popularity either. Equally troublesome for them is the vocal enthusiasm for Donald Trump expressed by the Conservative leader in the Senate Don Plett.
Mr. MacDougall thinks it is imperative Justin Trudeau be prevented from forming a majority government after our next national election, but he fears there is little chance of that happening unless Mr. O Toole is decisive and forthright in expelling anyone with pro-Trump sentiment from his party.