If you’re not familiar with the policies of the Alternative for Germany, the party represented by MEP Christine Anderson, you’re not alone. But the three Conservative MPs who met her for a long lunch last week didn’t get there by accident.
That is not to say the three MPs are racist. Leslyn Lewis, Colin Carrie, and Dean Allison aren’t known as that at all. They are the Conservative Party’s unofficial conspiracy caucus.
So when the Conservative Party issued a statement that said the three didn’t know Ms. Anderson’s views, and later two organizers of the three-hour lunch said the MPs knew a lot about who they were meeting, well, both of those things might be sort of true.
It’s easy to find out the AfD stands for anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and xenophobic views, because it can be quickly discovered on the internet, in newspapers or videos, or from many sources. But it also seems very possible that these three read about it and didn’t believe it.
Mr. Carrie apparently didn’t believe COVID-19 vaccines were safe, so, according to a Conservative source, he was one of the four MPs who did not go the Commons in person in the fall of 2021. Mr. Allison apparently didn’t believe public health officials who said the veterinary anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin wasn’t proven for treating COVID-19, and he gave a presentation about it to a group of Tory MPs. Last year, Ms. Lewis falsely claimed a then-undrafted World Health Organization treaty would give the WHO power to dictate all of Canada’s health care decisions in a pandemic. The three wink at the theory that the World Economic Forum is a cabal to control Canada and the world.
And guess what? Ms. Anderson shares a lot of their views about vaccine mandates and globalists. They saw her as an ally, and apparently chose not to see the rest. She tells people she is not xenophobic or anti-Muslim, although she doesn’t really eschew those sentiments. “I do not have problems with Muslims. I have a problem with Islam. I do not consider Islam to be a religion,” she told the right-wing website Rebel News.
Prominent AfD figures have played down the Holocaust and Nazi era, and spoken of immigrants as invaders. The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs raised concerns about the three MPs meeting with Ms. Anderson. The AfD tends to target Muslims with its policies, but they include banning kosher meat and “non-medical” circumcision. Its politicians aren’t the advocates of freedom they claim to be.
So Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre did the right thing when he issued a statement to reporters who asked that criticized Ms. Anderson’s views as “vile.” That’s unequivocal. The party issued a statement saying the three MPs had not known about her views. Mr. Carrie took the extra step of tweeting that he regretted his mistake and will do better.
That didn’t settle it, however. Mr. Poilievre didn’t put his statement on his or the party’s social media or website, and critics accused him of try to keep it low-key with his own base.
But he probably got more criticism from the right – and Mr. Carrie got a helping of it, too – from people who accused him of backing down in the face of criticism from the media. Rebel News ran a piece that said Mr. Poilievre “panicked” and threw his MPs to the “media wolves.” They didn’t feel the Conservative Leader stood up for principle, but rather that he caved.
That is a message to Mr. Poilievre that he will pay a political price on his right wing if he distances the Conservative Party from extremists like the AfD. And, by the way, the People’s Party is waiting there.
It’s worth noting Ms. Anderson’s AfD evolved into what it is because of how it dealt with extreme elements.
Alternative for Germany came out in 2013 as an anti-European Union splinter from conservative parties, but its first leader, Bernd Lucke, quit in 2015 complaining the party was taken over by xenophobic elements under new leader Frauke Petry. In 2017, Ms. Petry lost a power struggle with the more extreme far right wing of the party, and later quit the party, too.
So if there’s a vein of folks in the Conservative Party that doesn’t want to see the extremism of some who claim to be allies, they should be warned. There is a line. If you choose not to see it at your lunch table, it just gets closer.