By Jonathon Van Maren
It is a rare and strange week when the rhetoric of Michael Coren and Ezra Levant aligns and their respective outrages merge, but this week the guy trying unsuccessfully to give Christianity a Queer Eye makeover and the Rebel commander had their sights set on the exact same target: Sam Oosterhoff, the young social conservative MPP from Niagara, who became the latest victim of our boring new version of political gotcha by posting a photo of a non-socially distanced, mask-less family gathering. Because it has been two generations since most Canadians were part of large families, the size of Oosterhoff’s clearly added to the confusion.
That Michael Coren would leap at the opportunity to slag a social conservative is no surprise—this is what he gets paid for. Over the past several years, he has morphed into the sort of person that Former Michael Coren might have invented as the parody of one of those progressive Christians, an Anglican clergyman serving dying mainline churches with their vanishing congregations. His hot takes on Canadian politics are so predictable and his style so tired that I could write most of his columns before he does, word for word. He is now as big a fan of sex education for kids as he once was an opponent and is so loudly supportive of the LGBT agenda you might almost forget how loudly he once trashed it. The only commonality between the two Corens is that they’re both wankers. Coren’s conversions, unfortunately, never change his character—they just reroute his hatreds (in this case, shoddily disguised in the meaningless clerical collar of an Anglican priest.)
Coren is one thing—he has to sing for his supper, and this is all part of his shtick now. But Levant is another, considering the fact that he aggressively promotes his content to social conservatives and Christians. In response to the social media photo (which Oosterhoff deleted and apologized for), Levant launched a website called FireSam.ca, calling on Doug Ford to can him as parliamentary secretary to the Education Minister. This was accompanied by a bizarre video of Levant ranting on about how Oosterhoff was a “child,” a “weasel” (three or four times), and a person of no accomplishment because he became an MPP as a teen (which, considering the fact that he’s the youngest Ontario MPP ever elected, is an argument that rather contradicts Levant’s premise.)
Levant then claimed, with absolutely no corroborating evidence, that Oosterhoff is Doug Ford’s “enforcer,” that he’s happy to “shut down churches,” and that essentially, Oosterhoff is some sort of Saruman to Ford’s Sauron, wreaking vengeance on all those who refuse to follow rules that he won’t follow himself. Levant then tried to make the case that we are all being ground underfoot by the jackboots of the elites, of whom Oosterhoff is apparently one, and that our collective oppression is being led by Oosterhoff, who—if you’re keeping track of all this—is both an unaccomplished child and also a member of the elite and personally in charge of Doug Ford’s province-wide crackdowns. Which, if it were true (it isn’t) would be pretty impressive for someone his age, you’ve got to admit.
I’m not sure why Ezra Levant was so triggered by Oosterhoff’s family photo, but I assume it has something to do with the fact that Oosterhoff is one of the many conservative politicians who stopped talking to The Rebel after a bunch of the hosts decided to guzzle the white supremacy Kool-Aid (they’ve all quit or, in the case of Faith Goldy, Levant fired her.) I understand that Levant is frustrated by the extent to which his organization has been sidelined politically, but that is hardly the fault of politicians who are not responsible for Levant’s poor hiring choices. Frankly, I like Levant, but this weird, vitriolic attack on a young social conservative politician with a list of baseless accusations sounded like something Michael Coren would come up with (although without the faux piety Coren now wears everywhere like a cape.)
Anyway, this is another perfect example of how squirrely this pandemic is making everyone. “We’re all in this together,” they say, as they set up snitch lines so that we can fink on our neighbors and yell at people at grocery stores and scowl at asthmatics without masks. Pictures of maskless Andrew Scheer, or Patty Hadju, or Doug Ford, or Sam Oosterhoff, or whoever is next, getting put online so everyone can huff about the hypocrisy of their ideological opponents and how they want to murder the vulnerable with their breaths and can you even believe it etc. is so boring and predictable. These accusations are always presented without context, which nobody is interested in anyways. Everyone needs to grow up.