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Poilievre faces backlash for comments on Jordan Peterson podcast


Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Polievre’s use of the phrase “Anglo-Saxon words” on a podcast has drawn attention from some who consider the term divisive, but the comment is also being defended by supporters who say he was only expressing a preference for clearer language.

"I'm a believer in using simple Anglo-Saxon words that strike right at the meaning that I'm trying to convey,” the Ottawa-area MP said on a podcast hosted by controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson, posted on Tuesday.

“And so I say things that people say, ‘Yeah, that actually makes sense.’”

Some Conservatives contend Poilievre was referring to more easily understood words in English with Anglo-Saxon origins, compared to “Latinate” words that derive from other languages.

“Anglo-Saxon words tend to be shorter & sharper than Latinate words,” tweeted Alberta Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, who has not formally endorsed a leadership candidate. “Many writers & speakers know that when considering word choice.”

But some have pointed out that the term has been used more recently by those on the far-right to differentiate white people from immigrants and people of colour.

"It's a way to basically set apart those who are white in Canada, who are white Anglo-Saxon, from everyone else and certainly [from] the racialized segment of society,” Fareed Khan, the founder of Canadians United Against Hate, told CTV News.

Two Republican members of the U.S. Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, were last year connected to a leaked document for an “America First” pledge to return to “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” The backlash was swift, with even House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy calling out the “nativist dog whistles.”

And an organizer of the Ottawa trucker protests, Pat King, also used the term to warn of a plot to replace white people — a common white supremacist falsehood often used to justify hostility or violence against immigrants.

“There’s an endgame, it’s called ‘depopulation of the Caucasian race, or the Anglo-Saxon,’” King said in a livestream. “And that's what the goal is, to depopulate the Anglo-Saxon race.”

Poilievre's comments on economics are drawing criticism, too.

In a Conservative leadership debate in Edmonton last week, Poilievre stated he would “fire the governor of the central bank” if he became prime minister.

A Conservative MP has said that the remark is worrisome.

“I’m deeply troubled by suggestions by one of our leadership candidates, that that candidate would be prepared to interfere already at this stage in the independence of our central bank,” Ed Fast said on Wednesday.

Hours later, Fast resigned as party finance critic to support another leadership candidate, former Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Another potential bump in the road is Poilievre’s encouragement for Canadians to use volatile crypto currencies.

He has a vested interest in digital currencies, holding about $10,000 in a Bitcoin fund that, like many crypto investments, has fallen nearly 40 per cent in value over the last six months.

The ethics commissioner told Poilievre he’s free to promote crypto currencies, but an ethics watchdog organization says it could be a conflict.

“It’s clearly unethical for MPs to have investments and then be pushing for changes that will help those investments,” Duff Conacher, with Democracy Watch in Toronto, told CTV News.

And on Wednesday, Poilievre responded to a report that one of his supporters sent a racist email to another leadership campaign, issuing a statement saying, “If you are a racist, I don’t want your vote.” 


This story has been updated to correct that Garnett Genuis is an Alberta Conservative MP.




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