Tucker Carlson wanted a fight with Team Trudeau. He got one. - Living Strong Television Network
Tucker Carlson wanted a fight with Team Trudeau. He got one.

CALGARY, Alberta — Justin Trudeau and his ministers fired back on Thursday against a political provocateur from south of the border: Tucker Carlson.

With speeches in Alberta that trashed Canada’s government, mocked LGBTQ people and knocked mainstream media, Carlson triggered outrage in Ottawa and furnished himself to the Trudeau team as an irresistible political target.

The prime minister and his allies have spent months now linking their domestic political rivals to American-style “MAGA” politics. Carlson’s message, they argued Thursday, was conclusive evidence of Trumpism politics seeping into Canada.

“Don’t ask the question if it’s coming to Canada,” Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said. “It’s already here.”

Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, the first openly gay MP to be elected in Alberta, called Carlson “the mouthpiece of the MAGA Conservative far-right” and denounced his hateful comments about LGBTQ people — homophobic and transgender jokes throughout the day.

“It’s deplorable and we won’t stand for it,” he said.

Ottawa’s response to Carlson amplified the American-style culture war that’s settling into the tone of Canadian politics in the run up to an election expected in 2025.

Carlson’s self-described mission to “liberate Canada” manifested Wednesday as a sold-out matinee for 4,000 in Calgary and a stadium show for 8,000 in Edmonton, confirming “whitelash” and grievance politics resonate with a deep-pocketed audience in Alberta.

The former prime-time star who reportedly earned $20 million a year at Fox News warned the Calgary crowd that their wealth and power is threatened by Ottawa politicians.

His afternoon show offered two hours of catharsis during which the former Fox News anchor made the case for rage as a sensible response to anything Canadians might be experiencing in these post-pandemic days.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith joined Carlson on stage to discuss energy politics and her own ongoing war with Ottawa.

Smith, a self-described libertarian conservative, was sought out by event organizers after Carlson announced in November that he was heading north to stir up trouble.

During her back and forth with Carlson, Smith complained about Ottawa and encouraged Carlson to target Canada’s environment minister. “I wish you would put Steven Guilbeault in your crosshairs,” she said to loud cheers and applause.

In Ottawa on Thursday, Guilbeault accused Smith of normalizing rhetoric that could be interpreted as an incitement of political violence.

“We can bang our fists on the table when we meet, we can have strong disagreement, but to incite violence against people who disagree with you, that’s not how things should be done in Canada,” he said.

The Liberals spent last fall using Trump as a political foil, launching attack ads comparing Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s team to MAGA Republicans — a tactic the party intends to keep up into the next election.

On Thursday Guilbeault rejected suggestions that Liberals are trying to compare Poilievre to Donald Trump. Instead, the Liberals tried to draw out the Conservative leader, challenging Poilievre to condemn the “hateful and violent words.”

On stage in Calgary, Carlson made jokes about the LBGTQ community and used the prime minister as a punchline. The audience laughed along.

Trudeau made just passing mention of Carlson on Thursday during his opening remarks at the Liberal caucus retreat, though he accused Poilievre of being an apologist for Vladimir Putin after Conservatives voted against updates to a Canada-Ukraine free-trade deal.

“Pierre Poilievre and his Conservatives chose to vote against support for Ukraine, calling it a faraway foreign land to appease Putin apologists, like Tucker Carlson and those who enable him,” Trudeau said.

Neither Ukraine nor Russia came up on stage in Calgary. Carlson, instead, spent the bulk of his time championing the rights of parents while blaming progressives and liberals — and especially the Trudeau government — for just about everything.

Politics in every country features frauds, he said, “maybe especially including my country.” He added: “I would know. It’s the one thing I know a lot about.”

The close of his 20-minute keynote served as a pep talk, hyping Albertans for an existential war.

“You need to change inside. Your attitudes need to change and your timidity needs to be replaced by bravery,” he said before throwing in a bit of conspiracy theory to complete his point.

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