Phil Tank: Anti-immigration stance sets Sask apart. United Party

The Saskatchewan United Party’s opposition to mass immigration marks a major difference from the ruling Saskatchewan Party.

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Tension over what the new Saskatchewan United Party stands for quickly dissipated the first day after it became an official political entity.

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The party’s first leader, former MLA of the Saskatchewan Party, Nadine Wilson, who left the ruling party over misrepresentation of her vaccine status, stood in the legislature on Thursday to face Prime Minister Scott Moe and the province’s health minister. to meet people who claim to be suffering from reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.

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That should surprise no one, since the new party grew out of the Unified Grassroots movement, which spread skepticism about vaccines and opposed vaccine mandates.

Wilson called the COVID-19 vaccines an “experimental drug” and claimed “thousands” had been affected.

After nearly 2.8 million vaccine doses, the province had recorded just 1,336 adverse event reports on Tuesday, according to the government’s website. Only 97 of them were considered serious and no deaths have been conclusively linked to COVID-19 vaccines.

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Meanwhile, the number of recorded deaths in the province from the COVID-19 virus now exceeds 1,700.

Moe’s administration has spent a lot of time and effort appeasing vaccine skeptics — at the cost of sound public health policies and ultimately people’s lives — to try and block a right-wing challenger to the Saskatchewan Party.

Saskatchewan became the first province to abandon pandemic precautions in February, driven not by science but by the need to end division, echoing the voices of vaccine skeptics.

Now United joins the Buffalo Party as a home for those who find the Saskatchewan Party too centrist.

Both sides seem determined to try and replicate decisions made during the pandemic for their political advantage.

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Wilson reiterated her call for a public inquiry into the Saskatchewan pandemic response. An investigation is needed, but not to uncover a massive vaccine conspiracy.

As for the potential for political success, Saskatchewan politicians might want to pay attention to Alberta Prime Minister Danielle Smith, who has consistently trailed in the polls while expressing similar concerns.

A quick scroll through the new party’s Twitter feed reveals some pretty predictable opinions. The party supports a crackdown on crime, ending drug abuse, gun rights, “true sovereignty” and the energy sector.

That sounds a lot like the focus of Moe’s government with the new party suggesting the government isn’t going far enough.

Two differences stand out. One is the opposition to the “pandemic madness” and “lockdowns,” even though the measures taken in Saskatchewan in no way resemble a true lockdown. Just ask the protesters in China.

Perhaps more telling is a Nov. 3 Twitter post urging an end to mass immigration — a marked departure from the Saskatchewan Party, which celebrates immigration as a necessary source of growth.

We see what is happening in other provinces,” the post said. “They are overrun by massive immigration and big city politics overshadow rural life.”

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The post doesn’t explain what’s wrong with immigration, but you can use your imagination.

The anti-immigration stance unites this party with many other far-right populist movements (Brexit, Trumpism) around the world and sets it apart from mainstream conservatives in Canada. But those who fear “globalist” conspiracies and those who support them display a similar mindset.

So how concerned should Moe be about vote-stealing by the new party?

Buffalo Party candidates in the two midterm elections this year received a combined 124 votes. That hardly seems like a serious challenge.

In this month’s nationwide municipal election, Unified Grassroots leader Nadine Ness failed to win a seat on the RM of Laird council in a race that saw only 49 votes cast. Ness also failed in an attempt to become Laird’s reeve in 2020 in an election that cast a whopping 183 votes.

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Most would look at the results so far and find the danger these right-wing populists pose to an established party ridiculous.

Yet the Saskatchewan Party seems to view these peeps as an existential threat.

Phil Tank is the digital opinion editor at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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