By Laura Rosen Cohen: The Brownstone Institute.
Canadian coronavirus lockdown policies have been, and remain, some of the most stringent and restrictive in the entire Western world. It may be a Commonwealth thing, given that Australia and New Zealand have also descended into unrecognizable islands of cruel and capricious public health tyranny.
In Ontario, citizens are now allowed to eat popcorn at movie theaters that only opened up again earlier this week on Monday at fifty percent capacity, and only because of comprehensive drubbing that the government was subjected to regarding this ridiculous, make-believe public health directive.
Life in Canada has been tedious, tyrannical, and indescribably punitive. That is why for many months throughout the pandemic, ordinary Americans and pundits alike have been looking north from the land of the free (red states at least) and pretty much sneering at Canadians, bereft as they are of the First and Second Amendments. The polite Canadians, they scoffed, without their guns and their freedom of speech, were a lost cause.
And then one day, Prime Minister Trudeau pushed the nice Canadians a rule too far.
On January 15th, his minority government enacted a vaccine mandate for Canadian cross-border truckers – 80% of whom are already estimated to be vaccinated. So the truckers said the buck stops here. They quickly organized a grassroots campaign, set up a GoFundMe and sent a 40-mile long convoy to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. It’s not an anti-vaccine thing, it’s an anti-mandates thing. And though the media would claim it’s a racist thing, the organizers are a Jewish guy named Benjamin Dichter and a Metis woman named Tamara Lich. The mandates for truckers were the straw that broke the Canadians’ back. The Truckers For Freedom Convoy is now camped out in Ottawa, demanding an end to all vaccine mandates, and to restore Canadian freedoms.
Interestingly, as the 50,000 truck convoy approached Ottawa from Vancouver, Trudeau Tweeted that he would need to self-isolate for five days because he had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive. And as the truckers and their supporters descended upon the city, he was whisked away with his family to an undisclosed location “for security purposes” and then promptly announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus (more isolation).
With over one million citizens at their capital demonstrating for freedom, and thousands of determined truckers saturating every single road around Parliament Hill, Trudeau offered no olive branch to the protesters. No, he would not meet with them, those racist, misogynists. Those Canadians with “unacceptable views” (like these guys here).
No, instead of calming the waters and speaking with the people, he doubled down and began a series of grotesque verbal attacks on the multiethnic, multicultural demonstrators, with members of Indigenous peoples very highly represented. To add insult to injury, his federal Minister of Transportation concurrently announced that not only would the vaccine and cross border mandates remain, but plans were well underway for the government to implement an interprovincial vaccine mandate especially for truckers. Revenge, served cold. After all he has done for us, the peasants are ingrates! How dare the people not appreciate their Dear Leader?
Taking a page from the American January 6th playbook, the Canadian mainstream media (largely subsidized by the Canadian taxpayers) has chosen to highlight the lone kooks in the crowd with bad flags (precisely one Confederate and one Nazi) and added additional hatred toward the peaceful, orderly and patriotic protesters. Their American media counterparts are sneering with equal disdain.
With the Prime Minister still in hiding, whoops, sorry, “isolation,” one would think it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for Conservatives, particularly Her Majesty’s Loyal Leader of the Opposition, to, as Professor Jordan Peterson exhorted, to seize the day and put the screws to the Prime Minister, to rise to the occasion and lead.
Alas, there would be no Carpe Dieming from the blander than margarine O’Toole. And by flip-flopping at a time of national need, and not reading the political tea leaves has secured his political demise. He’s digging in his heels, but it’s over. The truckers haven’t gotten rid of the mandates yet, but they now have one notably political scalp to their credit: Erin O’Toole, the guy who impossibly lost to Justin Trudeau.
Government rhetoric against the demonstrators is escalating. The Liberal government and liberal Mayor of Ottawa are urging protesters to leave, but the truckers say they have enough supplies for a two-year campaign and will not be coming home until freedom has been returned and all mandates are canceled.
The tides are changing in Canada and public opinion appears to be with the convoy. Inspired by the Canadian truckers, American, European and Australian truckers are also starting their own freedom convoys. As unimaginable as it would have seemed just a few weeks ago, Canadians are now seen internationally as a “ray of sunshine” and an inspiration.
Will Justin Trudeau back down and negotiate? Capitulate? Or will Trudeau’s classless verbal attacks morph into physical retaliation against the mostly working class truckers, their supporters on the ground in Ottawa and the millions of Canadians who also disagree with him and his sweeping mandates and are demanding their freedom? Stay tuned.
Feature Image: Trucks sit parked on Wellington Street near the Parliament Buildings as truckers and their supporters take part in a convoy to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 2022. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle.
Laura Rosen Cohen is a Toronto writer. Her work has been featured in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Report, The Canadian Jewish News and Newsweek among others. She is a special needs parent and also a columnist and the official In House Jewish Mother of internationally best-selling author Mark Steyn at SteynOnline.com.
This piece was originally published by the Brownstone Institute and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.