Chris Selley: Canada's first truther mayor?
Chris Selley, National Post
Earlier this month, Union Montréal — mayor Gérald Trembaly's party — put out a press release of the "Top 10 statements made by Richard Bergeron, Party Leader of Projet Montréal," and would-be successor to Mr. Tremblay. The number-one statement involved Mr. Bergeron not being totally convinced man ever walked on the moon. The number two and three statements involve his not being totally convinced the 9/11 attacks weren't "a simple act of state banditry of titanic proportions." I'll concede it's tough to rank the lunacy of these two propositions, but I think I'd have reversed them.
As Michèle Ouimet notes in an astonishing interview/article in La Presse, Mr. Bergeron suggested in 2005 that the plane crashes at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania were nothing but "a macabre farce" — a pretext to "seize, once and for all, all the oil reserves in the Persian Gulf."
Would he write that again? No, he says, because he's in politics. Major points for honesty. Ouimet asks: does he still believe it? He responds that he's "damn proud" of the paragraph in question.
Clearly such things aren't as much of a big deal in Montreal as they are here at the National Post offices. I, for one, would be severely disquieted to think such a person might have serious designs on the mayor's office of my city. Yet, as Henri Aubin notes in today's Montreal Gazette, the latest poll has Mr. Bergeron well within striking distance of the mayor's office — at 23% support, a rise of 9% from last month, though still trailing Mr. Tremblay (36%) and Louise Harel (37%).
If Canadians (like me) find this shocking, perhaps it's just that we underestimate just how much casual 9/11 skepticism — which is, I think, really just an extreme form of credulousness — there is out there. An Angus Reid poll conducted around the seventh anniversary of 9/11 found 23% of Canadians considered the following statement credible: "The collapse of the World Trade Center was the result of a controlled demolition." If the Montrealers among them liked the rest of Mr. Bergeron's anti-car, pro-smoking platform — he believes cigarettes help him run marathons and is generally good for his health, which is Union Montréal's #10 statement — why wouldn't they vote for him?