Despite no violence during three weeks of peaceful demonstrations by truckers, Canada’s Prime Minister has invoked war powers and expanded terrorist financing laws to stamp out all protest of his government’s vaccine mandates. Trudeau’s decision is at once ironic and despotic — a high price for a nation to pay for one man’s ego.
Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act — formerly known as the War Measures Act — for the first time since it became law in 1988. In doing so, he effectively outlawed Canadians’ right to protest against their own government.
The Freedom Convoy to Ottawa and subsequent traffic and trade interruptions began in protest against a government that had refused to listen to concerns about vaccine mandates. Three weeks and countless honks later, no violence has been reported, despite hundreds of thousands of Canadians taking part in the demonstration.
Even the worst border blockade — located at Ambassador Bridge between Ontario and Michigan — had been dispersed before the war powers were invoked.
War Measures Without the War
What makes Trudeau’s decision so chilling is that he has invoked the war measures without the extremely high bar for them being met — such as “acts of serious violence,” a situation that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians,” or in an effort to “preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada”.
Crucially, the act must only be used in a situation that “cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.”
Nevertheless, Trudeau’s tottering government has now granted itself powers a third-world dictator could only dream of. The Government of Canada now requires banks to freeze a person’s or business’s account on mere suspicions that they are involved with the protest. Banks are also mandated to relay information about suspected protesters to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
This is, arguably, the most consequential 80 seconds of any speech delivered by a government official in as long as I can remember.
This is the panopticon and the new digital gulag. This is the start of The De-personing. This will expand to every country and every "offense." pic.twitter.com/mFSQJ06AOK
In order to achieve these Orwellian goals, Canada’s government expanded their “terrorist financing” rules to render donors to the Freedom Convoy funders of terrorism. “We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use,” declared Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Some have raised fears that the government’s latest move will spark a run on Canada’s banks. Reports are circulating that major banks have been hit by outages.
The Canadian government can also now ban travel and public assembly, forbid the use of property, and even force businesses — including tow trucks — to provide services against their will. Not surprisingly, Canadian civil liberties groups are up in arms about Trudeau’s overreach and the frightful precedent it has now set.
All this so that Trudeau can keep mandates that two-thirds of Canadians — and increasing numbers of nations worldwide — no longer believe are necessary. Even Canada’s provincial Premiers are lining up to tell Trudeau to ditch the restrictions. As many as seven Premiers have come out in opposition to Trudeau’s use of the Emergencies Act.
No Champion of the Marginalised
This is only the start of a long list of ironies surround Trudeau’s disastrous handling of the Freedom Convoy.
As recently as late January, the Prime Minister sneered that it was just a “small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views”. Now he needs unprecedented — almost unhindered — power in order to deal with them?
Speaking from Ottawa this afternoon, the PM describes #freedomconvoy2022 participants as a ‘small fringe minority’ expressing ‘unacceptable views’ that don’t represent the views of most Canadians pic.twitter.com/TtYcFE3Izr
Or take Trudeau’s apparent socialist credentials. Long fashioning himself as a champion of the working class and the marginalised, Canada’s leader now couldn’t care less about his nation’s blue collar workers who have suffered most under his draconian Covid restrictions. Workers of the world, unite! — unless you’re a Canadian truck driver protesting left-wing despotism, of course.
Wasn’t it only two years ago that Trudeau tweeted at Canadians to #ThankATrucker for their tireless work during the pandemic?
Desperate for a Moral Victory
By demonising truckers and everyday Canadians as the scum of the earth, Trudeau has removed all possibility of hearing their concerns without appearing to besmirch his own name. His accusations that they “wave swastikas” and are guilty of “antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia, and transphobia,” puts himself in the seat of judgment, unable to look in the mirror and see his own, well-evidenced vices.
Today in the House, Members of Parliament unanimously condemned the antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia, and transphobia that we’ve seen on display in Ottawa over the past number of days. Together, let’s keep working to make Canada more inclusive.
Even if Trudeau succeeds in sending every protester home, there is little doubt that in coming weeks, he will go ahead and cancel most mandates and restrictions anyway. But he must have the moral victory first.
In a recent poll, only 16 per cent of Canadians said they would vote for the incumbent leader. All but Trudeau’s diehard fans can see that this switched from a public health crisis to a PR crisis some time ago.
Desecrating democracy is a reckless sacrifice for a man to make in exchange for his own ego. In the meantime, please pray for the future of freedom in Canada.
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