On July 29th, UCP leadership race candidate Danielle Smith shared this post on her social media, where she slammed the World Economic Forum (WEF) as “anti-democratic elites” who are attacking the province.
On August 1st, Todd Loewen said in a social media post about the WEF that: “Unelected clubs of international elites have no business influencing Alberta’s politics.”
Brian Jean also criticized the WEF, saying: “Telling people that they will own nothing, rent everything, and be happy” is repulsive. Who will they be renting from? How can you be free without autonomy? Reject the Great Reset. Why are so many Canadian politicians enamoured with weird anti-people World Economic Forum ideas?
How did the WEF find its way into the UCP leadership debate?
Former B.C. Premier Christy Clark offered a compelling answer recently when she blamed “clickbait politicians who think their best path to success is to exploit and prey on our worst instincts.”
The WEF is an organization based in Davos, a mountain resort in the Swiss Alps, that organizes annual summits where elite government and corporate leaders gather to discuss global issues.
The WEF was swept up in right-leaning conspiracy theories after it held a virtual summit, in January 2021, billed “The Great Reset.”
According to summit organizers, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to “reorganize” the global economy and address pressing global issues, like climate change and social justice. Specifically, they advocated “stakeholder capitalism” and “multi-stakeholder partnerships” that bring the government, private sector, and civil society together to fuel change.
Conspiracy theories associated with The Great Reset generally fuel fear that a communist plot is afoot to overthrow democracies around the world by a group of elites who want to control every aspect of an individual’s life. Vaccines (which are alleged to have microchips inside them) and restrictions on mobility are the beginning of this control.
The theories have spread particularly fast amongst the far-right, and they have become mainstream enough in the Canadian conservative movement that politicians from Pierre Poilievre to Todd Loewen are weighing in and announcing their opposition to the WEF.
The trend is a head-scratcher since numerous Conservatives, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have spoken at or attended WEF summits in the past.