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Analysis of the World Economic Forum “Great Reset” conspiracy theory.

The 51st annual meeting of the World Economic Forum ended on Thursday in the luxurious alpine town of Davos, Switzerland. Private jets have swept away the billionaires, world leaders and business tycoons, but conspiracy theories about the elite and influential lobby organizations persist.

THE CLAIM

Conspiracy theorists say the World Economic Forum (WEF) is pulling the levers of world power. Some even accuse him of using or even orchestrating the COVID-19 pandemic to restructure societies in favor of multinational corporations and left-wing global elites through a project called “The Great Reset”. The World Economic Forum’s influence is said to extend directly to Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

Roland Paris, professor and director of the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, says, “None of these concerns are legitimate.”

“The WEF brings people together for discussions,” Paris told CTVNews.ca. “It may claim to be an organization that produces political ideas, but it has little to no influence on government policy.”

In Canada, former MP Maxime Bernier and Conservative leader hopeful Pierre Poilievre have repeatedly targeted the World Economic Forum and “The Great Reset,” accusing it of serving a globalist agenda at the expense of ordinary Canadians.

“I have made it clear that my government will bar my ministers from attending the World Economic Forum,” said Poilievre, an Ontario MP, to applause a video of the May 23 Conservative state leadership campaign. “Work for Canada! If you want to go to Davos for this conference, make it a one-way ticket. But you cannot be part of our government and work for a political agenda that runs counter to the interests of our people.”

ANALYSIS

While the World Economic Forum has long faced valid criticisms of global inequalities and elitist influence, such criticisms were fused into full-blown conspiracy theories in June 2020, when the World Economic Forum held an annual meeting dubbed “The Great Reset.” Though lacking in detail, an article by German economist, engineer and founder of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, published this month, argued that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could be used to make economies more sustainable and equitable, namely through “a ‘big reset’ of capitalism”. ”

“I think part of the reason it got so much attention was because of its title, ‘The Great Reset,’ and because it outlined a program,” said Robert O’Brien, a professor of political science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. , told CTVNews.ca. “I think it was a warning sign for conspiracy theorists and far-right nationalists.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then seemingly added fuel to the conspiracy’s fire at a United Nations conference in September 2020, saying the “pandemic has presented an opportunity for a fresh start” and “reinventing economic systems”.

Videos also surfaced on the internet in which Schwab praised Trudeau. In Davos in 2016, Schwab said of Trudeau, “I can’t think of anyone who could better represent the world that will emerge from this fourth industrial revolution.”

During a lecture at Harvard University in 2017, Schwab also explained that Trudeau and more than “half of his cabinet” are World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders: a program that nurtures promising leaders in their 30s and 40s. Other Canadian alumni include Chrystia Freeland, Jagmeet Singh, Andrew Scheer.

“We’re breaking into the cabinets,” Schwab boasted at Harvard.

Angela Merkel, Tony Blair, Emmanuel Macron, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Ivanka Trump have also taken part in the program.

Conservative MP and former Cabinet Secretary Michelle Rempel Garner was named a Young Global Leader in 2016 and later attended a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos in January 2018.

In February 2022, Rempel Garner responded to ongoing harassment by Canadian conspiracy theorists with a comment entitled, “I went to Davos. Canada is not governed by the World Economic Forum.”

“The WEF is certainly elitist, but in my eyes it was far from a cabal bent on global domination,” wrote Rempel Garner. “And as much as I don’t support Justin Trudeau, I would safely bet that Canadian electoral politics and his personal ambition have a lot more influence on his political decisions than Klaus Schwab.”

David Black, Associate Professor of Communications and Culture at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, describes the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos as “an elite discussion board”.

“Is the WEF a body of intellectual influence and an opportunity for elites to network? Yes,” Black told CTVNews.ca. “Is it about controlling sovereign governments around the world? No.”

John Baird, another Conservative MP and former cabinet minister, was also the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, who later attended meetings in Davos. Baird currently serves as co-chair of Poilievre’s campaign.

“He knows better, but he’s clearly serving a section of the population that distrusts institutions and falls for conspiracy theories,” said Paris of the University of Ottawa of Poilievre.

“It really shows his populist leanings,” said O’Brien of McMaster University. “It worries me that he is basing part of his program to become the next Conservative Party leader and perhaps, who knows, prime minister of the country, on these fringe views.”

CONCLUSION

One can argue that the World Economic Forum is elitist and distant, but there is no credible evidence that it controls world governments.

“The current wave of conservative populism argues that such institutions seek to manipulate public opinion and control the wealth and political power of the average citizen for the benefit of the elite,” said Black of Royal Roads University. “Indeed, such institutions are presented as a sort of secret, unelected government and as the real and unaccountable centers of power in the world.”

“It’s a discussion forum; You know, no decisions are made there,” O’Brien said of the World Economic Forum. “The only people who should be afraid of this are people who are afraid of sharing ideas.”

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