COVID-19 and 5G : a fertile ground for the extreme right

COVID-19 et 5G : un terreau fertile pour l’extrême droite

The pandemic is a fertile breeding ground for far-right groups who take advantage of the uncertainty together to recruit new followers, worry experts.

COVID-19 et 5G : un terreau fertile pour l’extrême droite

Michelle Stewart
A professor at UQAM

“We have the habit in Quebec to feel that we are immune to extremist movements, but, clearly, there are more people here who adhere to this radical discourse and mobilizing,” says Michelle Stewart, who studies the movements of the extreme right.

She cites the example of the recent manifestations of anti-containment.

Professor in the department of communication sociale et publique, UQAM, who has lived in the United States almost all his life, believes that it is necessary to take seriously small groups of quebecers who copy the speeches of america’s leaders of the extreme right.

At the beginning of the month of may, six cell towers have been burned down in the great region of Montreal. A couple in their twenties adhering to conspiracy theories on the 5G, according to the Sûreté du Québec, has been arrested in connection with two fires.

These events prove this which is the most harmful of the disinformation campaign by the extreme right, said Michelle Stewart.

Confusion and panic

“To force, to sow confusion and panic in the minds of the people, one day or the other someone is going to pass to the action,” she said.

Although little information on the motivations of the authors of the fire is available, these gestures are part of a typical course of radicalization leading to violence, believes Margaux Bennardi, the Centre for the prevention of radicalization.

The pandemic has multiplied some factors conducive to the radicalisation of an individual, such as loss of employment, bereavement, social isolation, and prolonged exposure to sources of misinformation, ” says Ms. Bennardi.

A whirlwind of information

The isolation, for example, can have the effect of consolidating the people into an ideology, since they do not trade more with individuals that may put in doubt their reasoning.

People with the basis of fears sincere on the hazards of wireless technologies, or vaccines, can easily find themselves sucked into a whirlwind of false information, picture Ms. Stewart.

“What worries me this time is that these groups take advantage of the anxieties of uncertainty and the fear of normal people,” she said.

The ultimate goal is to tilt public opinion in their favour to reverse the political powers in place.

“The leaders seek to blur the official sources of information for a maximum number of citizens losing confidence in the mass media and the government,” she adds.


Citizens gathered on may 17 in Montreal, a few hours before going to Quebec for a demonstration anti-containment, anti-5G and anti-vaccination forced.

Activists are mobilizing to ask the federal government for a moratorium on the deployment of the wireless network 5G. An online petition launched in Canada in June 2020, has already collected more than 15,000 signatures. Here are the main demands of the movement “the Canadian for safety technology” led by the former president of Microsoft Canada—-, Frank Clegg.

  • Revise the exposure standards to the airwaves with the help of independent experts, and new independent studies
  • Require telecommunications companies that they prove non-dangerousness of their products
  • Provide for public consultations at the municipal level, in particular on the location of new antennas in a given sector
  • Reduce investments in wireless technologies to the advantage of the optical fiber
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