Barry W. Bussey
Prime Minister Trudeau’s invoking of the Emergencies Act was a mistake. Canadian history will come to know February 14, 2022, as a day of national infamy.
The Emergencies Act states that a national emergency is an “urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature” that:
- Seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions …to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it;
- Seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada and cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada.
This is an extremely high bar to meet – which is why the Act has never before been implemented. How do the events of the last three weeks come anywhere close to this level of dire, existential threat? The protests in Ottawa, Windsor, and Coutts have all been peaceful. When the court said stop the honking of the horns, the truckers stopped. When the court said get off the bridge, the truckers got off the bridge. When the RCMP found some rowdies in Coutts with firearms, the truckers left the border because they were shocked that anyone would do such a thing. That is not what they are about. They hugged the police and sang “O Canada” as they left.
Taken as a whole, they are not the racist, misogynist, anti-science fringe with unacceptable views that Prime Minister Trudeau has accused them of being. Far from it. (If anything, those labels would seem to be a better description of Mr. Trudeau himself.) It is troubling to hear such misinformation from someone who should know better. Perhaps he now believes his own lies. I am reminded of what one of his former cabinet ministers, Catherine McKenna, said: “we’ve learned in the House of Commons if you repeat it, if you say it louder, if that is your talking point, people will totally believe it!”
The office of the prime minister has become a bully pulpit – and given that he has paid off the mainstream media, his voice is amplified all the more. The press repeats his mischaracterizations of those who disagree with him. He repeats the same points again. He says them louder. And, true to form, people believe him.
Currently, the Prime Minister is going after the protestors on two fronts: freezing the truckers’ personal financing and fueling public scorn against those who have supported them. With the leak of the donor list from the “Give Send Go” online giving platform, the pro-government press appears to be on a mission to publicly humiliate anyone who gave money to the truckers for fuel and food. This includes the CBC itself releasing the names and businesses of donors, without regard for their privacy, careers, or even personal safety. Thanks to these efforts, individuals have already lost their jobs or been threatened with physical violence. For example, a café owner in Ottawa was forced to close her café because people threatened to “throw bricks” or “come and get” her employees. She gave a mere $250.00 to the convoy. Her real transgression was holding the wrong opinion.
We are moving into very dangerous waters.
Consider that in the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister had the audacity to accuse the opposition of supporting swastika flags. Not only did he slander the character of his fellow parliamentarians – including the Jewish MP to whom he addressed these insulting remarks – he repeatedly refused to apologize after the fact. In other words, he is willing to stand by his comments, no matter how unjustified or untrue, if they serve his cynical political purposes. Such incendiary rhetoric from the most powerful office in the land is unprecedented in Canadian history. This must stop.
The media once described themselves as the “fourth estate” – an independent check against government power. No longer is that true. Members of the Canadian press, financed by Canadian taxpayers, have become the loudspeaker for a man who has yet to show any empathy or remorse for the widespread suffering he has personally caused, or the tensions he has directly inflamed. He has forgotten that even those he disagrees with are human beings with dignity.
For those who support the Prime Minister in taking this destructive path, history offers a cautionary lesson. When the Prime Minister leaves office, as he will either sooner or later, a new wind can be expected to blow. This new current might be very different from the stormy ways of Trudeau the Younger.
This Prime Minister has set a precedent of knocking down the laws and safeguards of our country to punish those who disagree with him. Will there be any refuge or justice in future for those who disagree with the next government? Will the present vindictive spirit be turned against those who doxxed small business owners or froze the bank accounts of peaceful protestors? Or will we have the courage, integrity, and wisdom to restore the strength and stability of this great country by returning to the rule of law and the defence of freedom?
My friends, we are facing the most serious challenge to freedom that this country has ever seen. The world wars of the twentieth century were faced by a Canadian public united in the understanding of basic decency. However, this ideological war unleashed upon Canadians by our own Prime Minister is like nothing we have experienced before.
Now is the time for Canadians of all political stripes to resist the dehumanizing tactics and ideological despotism of the Prime Minister. We do well to pay attention to the wisdom of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who called upon his Russian countrymen not to live by lies. Under no circumstances are we to say what we do not think. Our freedom to believe, to think, to speak, and, yes, to protest against injustice, is a fundamental human right. As Solzenitsyn proclaimed, “the more of us set out together, the thicker our ranks, the easier and shorter will this path be for us all! If we become thousands—they will not cope, they will be unable to touch us. If we will grow to tens of thousands—we will not recognize our country!”
The Prime Minister must bring his case before Parliament as to why he should have the powers of the Emergencies Act. We each have an obligation to contact our members of the Canadian Parliament and Provincial Legislatures to voice our opposition to this unwarranted abuse of power. It simply cannot go on. Send an email. Make a phone call. Urge your friends to do the same.
Right now, you may not be affected by the government’s draconian measures. You may be tempted to think the crisis is someone else’s problem. Such was the attitude of Martin Niemöller, the German theologian who initially supported the Nazi party until they imprisoned him for seven years for speaking his mind. His well-known poem, “First They Came,” remains a powerful reminder for people who are caught up in such a time as this:
First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me
Speak up now: for your sake, for the sake of your children, and the sake of their children.