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Rights + Justice

Please Advise! Will Tractors Be the Next Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Don’t worry, says Dr. Steve. Unless Pierre Poilievre gets involved.

Steve Burgess 27 Nov 2023The Tyee

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Did you see the shocking footage of the Surrey tractor chase? On Saturday a huge tractor was recorded barrelling down Highway 1, pursued by police cars, before flipping over as it swerved onto the exit ramp for 176th Street. Apparently it had started out in Chilliwack and may have been part of a planned anti-SOGI parade, since it was flying an anti-SOGI banner.

Are we entering a new phase of agricultural terrorism?

Signed,

John D

Deere John,

See it? Dr. Steve was riveted. It's hard to believe no major motion picture has featured a tractor chase yet. Hello, Ryan Reynolds — this would be a natural for Deadpool 4. And talk about free publicity — the staff at Discover Surrey must be thrilled. Take that, New Westminster.

Local tourism groups were surely envious of New West this month, after the city starred in a viral failure on The Price Is Right. A contestant named Phillip Fitzpatrick was asked to estimate the cost of a vacation trip to New West — or as the promo clip called it, “beautiful Canada.” Fitzpatrick, perhaps believing that anything as vast and scenic as Canada couldn’t be a bargain, guessed a price tag of over $8,000. That price would probably include fishing for salmon side-by-side with grizzly bears and serving as emergency backup goalie for the Montreal Canadiens.

But this was a more geographically limited trip — specifically, to the home of the world’s largest tin soldier and the Capital City Arcade. The actual price was just $5,280. Apparently the lucky winner would not be travelling via business class, but SkyTrain. Host Drew Carey muttered that it was certainly among the cheaper vacation prizes the show has offered lately. New Westminster, your holiday Dollarama!

Tourism New West smartly tracked Fitzpatrick down in Arizona and offered him a free trip to capitalize on the publicity.

Now it’s Surrey’s turn. The tractor incident could become the centre of a new Surrey tourism push: “Hay there, pardner! Harvest yourself a bale o’ fun for chickenfeed. Hop in your tractor and come meet our brand new police force!”

But Dr. Steve was also thinking about something else while watching that big piece of farm equipment bounce police cruisers like a bulldozer amid bumper cars: Where was Pierre Poilievre?

Only days earlier on American Thanksgiving, a strange and terrible accident at the Niagara Falls border crossing between the U.S. and Canada had excited international fears. A car had exploded in flames and networks scrambled for information. Fox News, as usual, didn’t wait — they went right ahead and reported it was likely terrorism and another example of President Joe Biden’s lax border policies. (It later emerged that the vehicle was actually headed from New York state towards Canada, but on Fox that just means hard-working citizens are desperate to get the hell out of Biden’s America.)

Poilievre joined in, rising in the House of Commons to speak of “a terrorist attack.” After it was pointed out to him at a subsequent press scrum that the governor of New York had said there was no evidence of terror, Poilievre blamed reporters and claimed he was just repeating a CTV News tweet. (To his credit, Poilievre was not munching an apple at the time.)

But even without his favourite prop, Poilievre managed once again to display his sparkling personality, attacking the Canadian Press and its reporter at length, sneering that they may have set a Guinness world record for falsehoods and repeatedly calling the reporter “wrong.” She wasn’t. At the time Poilievre rose in the House, there had been Fox News reports, but not one from CTV as he had claimed. Perhaps the Opposition leader needs those apples to raise his blood sugar. He sure gets hangry.

At any rate, Poilievre certainly seems to have been alarmed by the possibility of a terrorist attack at the Rainbow Bridge.

Fast-forward to Saturday and video of a rampaging metal behemoth body-checking cop cars like a wounded elephant shaking off hyenas, all while flying a banner opposing sexual orientation and gender identity education programs. You’d expect someone attuned to the possibility of ideologically inspired attacks, as Poilievre seems to be, to express concern. Nothing so far. Maybe Poilievre’s terrorism concern takes weekends off.

Or perhaps weaponizing giant vehicles in service of the culture wars is a tactic that Poilievre has been comfortable with in the past. Whether it's the Freedom Convoy or a farmer’s combine, those big wheels are rolling toward victory. And with Poilievre on the job, you know there'll be plenty of fertilizer.  [Tyee]

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