A Trump North revolution? Not so much, at the Manning Conference

A Trump North revolution? Not so much

Despite a ‘Down With The Elites?’ panel, a keynote, and stray hats, Kady O’Malley can’t see much proof of Trumpism at Canada’s right-wing convention

Alex Walsh, right, and Matt Atkins wear Make America Great Again hats as they attend the Manning Centre conference on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/CP)

Alex Walsh, right, and Matt Atkins wear Make America Great Again hats as they attend the Manning Centre conference on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/CP)

Kady O’Malley is joining Maclean’s to cover the Manning Conference, hosted by Canada’s leading think tank for the right. She’ll be filing frequently over the course of the two-day conference—keep track at her Manning Manifests page, here. Watch the broadcast live all weekend here.

So, here’s the thing about ManningFest—like most (all?) conferences, while officially, it’s all about the panel sessions, it’s really all about the mixing and mingling in the hallways and between the exhibit booths, which is why I’ve been so incredibly delinquent in posting updates: Every time I try to hole up in a quiet corner to write up my thoughts, I get caught up in the conversation.

With a few minutes to go before the debate gets underway, however, here are a few scattered thoughts and impressions on the day so far.

For all the wringing of hands and thinkpiecing over the ostensible populist-to-alt-right lean in this year’s programme, by far the most common reaction from delegates when asked about what it might say about the state of the C/conservative movement is a polite but emphatic sigh-and-an-eyeroll over how much fuss is being made about a Doug Ford-helmed “Down With the Elites?” panel that didn’t even manage to fill the main hall.

MORE: John Geddes’s Q&A with Preston Manning

That’s not to say that the whole phenomenon is simply the creation of a Trump-fixated media: there were attendees in the audience, listening raptly as the speakers delved into almost pornographic detail on the threat posed to civilization as we know it. But it definitely doesn’t seem to have much in the way of momentum outside the already convinced, and there’s definitely a sense of quiet horror at the thought of such sentiments becoming mainstream.

That is, unless I’m hanging around the wrong corridors, which is always a possibility.

As for the potential Trumpening of Canadian politics, while there was definitely enthusiasm for such a development emanating from the front of the room, courtesy of various panelists—Trump speechwriter Frank Buckley, for one, who told the audience that not only could it come to Canada, but is actually already here, and pretty much the entire “Down With The Elites?” gang, as far as I could tell from my brief pop-in at the session.

MORE: Trump could happen in Canada—it’s already begun

But with the exception of the two young men sporting Trump red hats, “blue lives matters” shirts and doing interviews with every passing camera, I just didn’t get a sense that Manning-ites are hoping to bring about a similar era up here.


A Trump North revolution? Not so much

  1. Not a chance. Canada has more class than that.

  2. From a Canadian
    l will no longer stand quietly by and let Radical Islam put down roots in my Canada…
    l will resist their attempt to take away my free speech
    l look at Greece
    l look at Italy
    l look at Germany
    l look at France
    l look at England
    l think to myself why would l want this outdated farce in my Canada….
    why would l want Sharia Law in my Canada…
    why would l want no go zones in my Canada…
    why on earth would someone even consider this in this day and age
    Why should Canadian women cower in fear that Sharia Law might gain roots in Canada
    lm guessing that politicians have gotten so desperate for votes their now willing to sell out ordinary Canadians and their values for a few votes no mater where or how they get them
    lm all for responsible immigration….this push to fill my Canada with Muslims is not responsible immigration
    when they pull up to the Canadian Border in a taxi only to be directed by US Customs where to go and cross illegally into Canada l can only shake my head in disbelief
    Why should we take these folks in when they break the law to get into Canada trying to jump the queue that other folks have waited years to get in….
    L think a wise idea would to be to slow down on the Islamic immigration into Canada until we see how Greece,Italy,France and England work out.
    Gotta be honest here…dosnt seem to be working out to well over there folks…am hoping Canadians are smarter than l give them credit for at this point
    This is your future folks…choose wisely
    l will no longer stand by quietly on the sidelines and see my Canada given away for a few simple votes
    l will engage my family
    l will engage my friends
    l will engage my coworkers
    l will ask them to also engage thier own familys…thier own friends and thier coworkers as well
    l will not go quietly into that dark muslim night….

    A Canadian

    • It sounds like your world view comes from reading the Sun tabloid at your local Tim Horton’s. Your dream vacation would be a trip to Disney World. Maybe you could take a bus tour past Mar-A-Lago and buy an overpriced red hat.

  3. Mayby our polititians should remember words from our founding fathers…

    Wilfrid Laurier-1907

    “We must insist the the immigrant that comes here is willing to assimilate our ways..
    He should be treated on equal grounds and it would be shamefull to discriminate against such a person for reasons of thier belifes or the place of birth of origin.
    But it is the responsibility of that person to become a Canadian in ALL aspects of life,nothing else but a Canadian.
    There can be no divided allegiance here.
    Any man who says that he is a Canadian but tries to impose his customs and habits upon,is not a Canadian!!!
    We have room for only one flag..the Canadian flag!!!
    There is room for only two languages here..English and French!
    And we have room for loyalty,but only one,loyalty to the Canadian people!
    We wont accept anyone,lm saying anyone,who will try to impose his religion or his customs on us!

    Wilfrid Laurier 1907

  4. Hey Comox from 1907

    There are over a million Muslims in Canada. There are more Muslims than Jews

    And Muslims have been here since Confederation. Before Wilfred Laurier.

    There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.

    Now go put a sock in it.

    • PS

      Wilfred Laurier did not say that…..nor was he a ‘founding father’

      Go back to school….maybe then you could get a job instead of scapegoating Muslims

      • Hey Emily, that’s perfect miss the entire point by nitpicking at the comment.
        It doesn’t matter who said it, and whether it was a man woman or transgender they were wise words nonetheless.
        I think we owe it to our fellow Canadians to give them a hand up rather than saving the rest of the world first.
        Have you looked at any news source from around the world other than the Liberal propagandist media as this.
        Do you know how much the rich middle east oil economies aid any natural or war or political disasters or any disasters for that matter? Do you know how many refugees they are taking in?
        Maybe check it out and maybe you will learn more than you did taking your modern art and macrame’ degree.