Far Right Antivaxxer Announces Bid For The Conservative Nomination In Abbotsford
Correction: Stand United's James Davison broadcast a livestream clarifying that he intends to run provincially for the Conservative Party of BC, not for the federal Conservative Party. More info
James Davison addressed the World Wide Freedom Rally in Vancouver on February 18th and announced that he is seeking the Conservative Party nomination in the Abbotsford riding. "I have a dream. I have a dream that we're going to take back our country. I have a dream that our institutions will be run by people who have a moral compass again. That's actually only going to happen when we take the responsibility for our own country again, which is why myself am going to be looking into the Conservative Party and looking to run in the Abbotsford riding." Davison is a resident of Abbotsford.
Davison is one of the two central Leaders of StandUnited BC, which is currently the dominant antivaxx organization in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. Locally the group has organized at least 14 demonstrations and rallies since January 2022, as well as at least 5 convoys, one of which involved over 1,600 vehicles in preparation of the cross-country convoy and blockade of Ottawa in January and February. Working with local antivaxx groups it has also initiated or coordinated multiple demonstrations over the past year in at least 40 other centres across Canada.
His group organized the January 18th demonstration outside of Premier David Eby's constituency office and is one of the two organizations behind the campaign, whose goals are to recall David Eby, repeal Bill 36 and elect a new premier.
Since the fall of 2022 the organization's mobilizations have significantly dwindled in numbers, in large part due to the relaxation or withdrawal of Covid restrictions, leading to demonstrations of only one or two hundred hardy perennials. Despite this, its infrastructure and base of core supporters appear to remain intact, and are diversifying their areas of concern into topics that range far beyond Covid -- the UN, the World Economic Forum, the New World Order, digital ID, gun control, homophobia and other conspiracy-related issues.
A year ago Davison predicted civil war if vaccine mandates were not withdrawn. He's a firearms enthusiast. He also wants to hang treasonous politicians. He has not hesitated to frequently make his politics clear -- "It's time to rise." "The media is the fucking enemy." "The government is the biggest mafia in the fucking world. They want to squash us, they want to squash the middle class." "The Globalists are destroying our religion, our culture, our values." "Is there anything worth dying for in your life, because some of us might actually have to give our lives to protect the future of this country, to protect the future of our children, you know." "Russia is fighting [New World Order] no Rothschild bank, can't be controlled by cabal through central bank. This is why Trump like Putin did not want to stay the NWO, that's why 2021 stolen election."
The other key leader of Stand United is Davison's partner, Marcella Desjarlais, who has supported conducting exemplary executions of journalists. She's also a follower of Qanon who opposes the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (despite claiming to be of Metis origin herself) and who supports defeated Jair Bolsonaro and his attempt to overturn the Brazilian election. Desjarlais has been blunt in her Christian fundamentalist beliefs: "This world has lost it's grip of any form of morality and a has a serious lack of conscience. Even so, come Lord Jesus." "End times...but you already knew that, ya?"
These politics are common throughout Davison's group. Its supporters include Justin Gordon, who attends Justin Trudeau rallies with a noose entitled "Trudeau 4 Treason", Axel Verstraeten, who dreams about hanging traitors, and Harm Bomm, who is inclined to uttering death threats against opponents of the antivaxx movement.
What makes Davison's announced candidacy particularly interesting is that he has been a public supporter of Maxime Bernier's Peoples' Party of Canada, and his partner and co-organizer Marcella Desjarlais was the PPC candidate in Burnaby South in 2021, running unsuccessfully against Jagmeet Singh. This raises a number of possibilities. His announced candidacy could represent the defection of a key antivaxx leader from the PPC to the Conservatives. Alternatively it could be indicative of a decision to make a tactical entry of the far right into the party. Whatever it signifies, Davison's candidacy could very well find support within the party. Just looking at the Conservative electoral district organization in the riding, it's easy to see the Abbotsford operation is VERY conservative.
Ed Fast is the Conservative MP for Abbotsford. He has opposed vaccine passports. On June 3rd of last year he stated it was "time to lift [travel] restrictions" for the unvaccinated. He defended the Ottawa blockade as an act of "peaceful civil disobedience" And going further afield, in 2021 Fast voted against the conversion therapy ban. Fast was the party's former finance critic and a supporter of Jean Charest in the Conservative leadership race. It’s worth noting that after publicly criticizing Pierre Poilievre he was subsequently removed from the post.
James Barlow is the president of the Conservative EDA in Abbotsford. A person with the same name donated $1,000 to then Christian Heritage Party leader Laura Lynn Tyler Thompson's 2020 provincial campaign. The CHP is so far right that its policy book endorses putting LGBTQ people to death.
Grant Abraham is the EDA's 3rd vice president. He called the convoy Convoy a "remarkable expression of Canadian freedom" and condemned the Liberal government as "a dictatorial state sold out to globalist govt". He has been endorsed by the virulently anti-choice Campaign Life Canada and is on close terms with both Laura Lynn Tyler Thompson and the Christian Heritage Party.
Wes Dyck is another Abbotsford EDA director. He opposes SOGI programs (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) in B.C.
Brenda Falk, another EDA director, supported the Ottawa convoy and opposed the Emergencies Act She also signed a call by multiple politicians to"End The Lockdowns" Her 2018 Abbotsford city council campaign was supported by Kari Simpson's far right Culture Guard group.
Levi Minderhoud is another EDA director in Abbotsford. He too supported the convoy -- "The Freedom Convoy rolling into Ottawa at this very minute has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, including Reformed Christians. Started by truckers to protest the federal government’s mandate that truckers must be fully vaccinated to cross the border, this protest – like virtually every large demonstration – has attracted people with a wide variety of goals and plans to achieve those goals. The common thread for this convoy, though, is freedom.” He also opposed the imposition if the Emergencies Act -- "half a century later, Justin Trudeau invokes the Emergency Measures Act - again, the only use of these emergency powers during peacetime - in response to disruptive yet peaceful truckers' protest."
Marc Vella is perhaps the most interesting of the Abbotsford Conservative EDA directors. He's a former president of the Mission-Matsqui federal Conservative riding association who later went on to become a member of the party’s National Policy Committee under Stephen Harper. And in his spare time he serves as the president of the Christian Civic Affairs Committee of Canada, describing himself as “finance industry professional by day, volunteer do-gooder by night”. Most recently Vella headed Parents' Voice, a new astroturf organization set up to facilitate the campaigns of numerous antivaxxers and conspiracy theorists in last fall's B.C. school board elections.
Pierre Poilievre made his bones supporting the Ottawa convoy. His campaign for the party leadership made a calculated alliance with the antivaxx movement, and the support of that movement helped him to win. However, the recent release of the Rouleau commission report is forcing him to backtrack somewhat. Now he’s qualifying that support and differentiating between supporting the "law-abiding", "peaceful' majority at the occupation (his words) and calling for the prosecution of those who broke the law -- "I support those peaceful and law-abiding protesters, who demonstrated for their lives and livelihoods and liberties, while condemning any individual who broke laws, behaved badly, or blockaded critical infrastructure.”
Clearly a Davison candidacy could be a big headache for Poilievre. The party would be unlikely to find much electoral advantage in nominating a candidate who openly calls for the hanging of "treasonous politicians". But Davison is a key leader of the province's antivaxx movement; blocking his candidacy would come with a price as well.