There’s a global push underway to overhaul economic systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It even has its own name, logo, website, annual summit meetings and a virtual series of online “dialogues” to push the goals of the movement.
It’s called “The Great Reset,” an idea advanced by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
According to the organization’s website, The Great Reset has among its goals no less than a rapid post-pandemic overhaul of economic systems, business models and societies.
“There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to co-operate simultaneously in managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis,” the website says.
“As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will offer insights to help inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons.”
All of which immediately set off talk of an international conspiracy by shadowy “globalists” to put the planet on a one-way path to big-government socialism. Or worse.
According to a BBC News story this week, the conspiracy theory is rooted in a baseless belief that the COVID-19 virus was created in a lab and deliberately unleashed on the world by evil geniuses who want to take over the global economy.
And comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added fuel to the conspiratorial fire, the BBC reported.
Speaking by video conference at a virtual United Nations meeting last week, Trudeau appeared to back the Great Reset agenda.
“This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Trudeau said, instantly trending globally on Twitter after his use of the R-word.
“This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.”
After Trudeau was criticized for the comments, he appeared to back the notion that any assault on the idea of an economic “reset” was driven by conspiratorial crackpots.
“I think we’re in a time of anxiety, where people are looking for reasons for things that are happening to them,” Trudeau said.
“We’re seeing a lot of people fall prey to disinformation.”
But wait. This is not Bigfoot, chemtrails or fake moon landings we’re talking about here.
This is a “conspiracy theory” apparently hiding in plain sight, and Trudeau’s critics say they are completely within their rights to question what he means by “a reset” and “re-imagined economic systems.”
“It’s on the World Economic Forum website and it’s what the prime minister is saying in his own words,” Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre told me.
“Now is not the time to ‘reimagine’ our economic system. Now is exactly the wrong time to use the Canadian economy as a laboratory, or a guinea pig to play out the experiments of international financial elites.”
Instead, Poilievre said, Trudeau should be concentrating on getting people back to work in the economic system we already have.
“Now is the time to focus on the basics of getting people safely back into their jobs — jobs that they had only six or seven months ago to earn income, pay taxes and contribute to their communities.”
In response, Poilievre started an online petition called “Stop The Great Reset” that racked up more than 60,000 signatures within a few days.
“The international financial elites love socialist politics because it allows them and the governments they influence to have more control,” Poilievre told me.
Poilievre’s critics seized on his use of hyper-charged descriptors like “international elites” as proof that the Conservative finance critic is trafficking in conspiratorial language.
After all, it’s those same “international elites” who are orchestrating secretive globalist agendas like a “new world order” and stuff, right?
You can certainly make a case that Poilievre is blowing a dog whistle that some conspiracy-minded Canadians will hear and respond to.
On the other hand, he’s not wrong to ask some direct, fundamental questions of the prime minister about his desire to “reset and reimagine” economies at home and abroad, and what, exactly, that would mean for all Canadians.
Mike Smyth is host of ‘The Mike Smyth Show’ on Global News Radio 980 CKNW in Vancouver and a commentator for Global News. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @MikeSmythNews.