The worst things about the response to the truckers’ protest in Canada are the tyrannical reaction, and that Justin Trudeau has forgotten which country he is entrusted with. He seems to think he is in the United States, because he describes what has happened there in its weird troubles as if it were at home. Ottawa is not Washington DC, and no one has stormed Parliament with buffalo horns on, so the rhetoric is utterly inappropriate.
I have no doubt it can be hellish in later winter in Ottawa with air-horns blaring below and no escape on gridlocked streets. It is messy and disruptive, and cheerful; like a diesel-guzzling Extinction Rebellion but without the vandalism and interpretive dance. It is hard to know how many support the protest, probably fewer than half, or how many support its aims; somewhat more than that. That is not really the point though: it is on the limits of peaceful protest and the government’s reaction. Monsieur Trudeau’s reaction has been disgusting, and American.
The right to protest is a part of the common culture we share with Canada and the whole Anglosphere. The distinction between protest and riot has always been an unhappy one, and the one may easily turn into the other. Extinction Rebellion were left to protest in London, until their blockage of roads became intolerable. When they smashed windows attacked trains, we were outraged that the police were too slow to react. In Ottawa, there seems to have been no vandalism, no attacks on people – just the blocking of the Queen’s highway.
The rhetoric is what shocks me – not from the protesters but from the Prime Minister and his poodles. (Really, the CBC makes the BBC look like Nigel Farage.) It is familiar rhetoric though, because it is American.
The Trudeau rhetoric accuses the multi-ethnic convoy of being white supremacists, insurrectionists, and talks of them waving Confederate flags and swastikas, none of which is remotely true. (Apparently a visiting pedestrian, presumably American, waved a flag of the slave states at one point and was hauled down by the truckers. All you actually see are the Maple Leaf Flag and a few provincial flags.)
Some of this all be right as a description of the mob who broke into the American Capitol in 2021, and it is word for word the rhetoric used by race-bating politicians in the United States. One can only assume that Justin Trudeau has forgotten which country he is in. Mr Trudeau is presumably not so daft as to think that the Truckers’ slogans of “Freedom” and “Liberté” indicate Nazi tendencies which is his accusation: National Socialists were emphatically and vocally against freedom and democracy.
Apparently Mr Trudeau is now against freedom. At least he can admit it now. Across the aisle, Pierre Poilievre (who may become the Leader of the Opposition) says he wants to make “Canadians the freest people on earth”. They are certainly not now. It is shocking that the establishment finds this proposal shocking.
How does a government react to a disruptive protest? Perhaps by talking to the protestors? You cannot do that though if you have demonised them to such an extent that you have portrayed them as barely human. Only confrontation is left. He will not now step back, and has even unleash emergency powers; powers only previously used by his father, against an actual terrorist threat. He will seize property and remove the protestors’ rights as citizens, and starve their families. Even before then he threatened to revoke driving licences and so abandon their children to destitution.
How did he ever get to this position? Is he such a man so convinced of his own rightness that he cannot believe their is goodness in other, contrary ideas? That is the logic of the appalling American politics he has imbibed to the full. Let him move to the United States if that is his preferred substrate, and leave Canada. The once settled government of a free nation is looking like a tinpot dictator trying desperately to clamp down to cling on to his ebbing authority, or like a stropping child.
Canada has come a long way since it was considered one of the freest nations in the world. It passed a Charter of Rights and set up Human Rights Tribunals in each province, then set the latter to clamp down on speech. That is Orwellian. Even before then, Canadian bureaucrats had long learnt the worst excessive of their Americans cousins in terms of regulation and zoning (hence the bland and barren suburbs around the towns). Canada can only rescue itself by becoming more Canadian.
There is no election due until 2025, and until then little hope of reform of liberation, even if Trudeau is dumped by his party as surely they must be plotting.
O Canada, with aching hearts we see thee fall: the True North cowed and unfree.
- Prey to Kings and Desperate Men
- Wolven hearts
- Liberals, conservatives and the Jordan Peterson thesis
- Yearning to be unfree
- Politics makes screaming madness
- Man to man is an arrant Wolfe
- Hobbes and the Libertarian – 1
- Hobbes and the Libertarian – 2
- By Jordan Peterson:
- The Authoritarian Moment by Ben Shapiro
- Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy by Anthony Ngo:
- By Thomas Hobbes: