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Opinion: Trucker protest in Ottawa is an embarrassment for Canada.

Opinion: Trucker protest in Ottawa is an embarrassment for Canada.

It is a sad day for Canada when we see this spectacle play out in Ottawa where protesters have taken over the core of the city and imposed their stupid antics on the citizens and businesses in our national capital while trying to disrupt our democratic governance.  Who would have thought we would see the day when at times it seemed like a Trump rally was coming to town.  Some of the nonsense and rhetoric that was on display was hard to distinguish from what we have seen in the US over the past year or so.  Confederate flags and even a Trump flag were hard to watch being paraded in our capital city along with the boorish behaviour of some who have no respect for sacred or private property or the rights of others.  The presence of Nazi symbols and Neo-Nazi supporters amongst the protesters was beyond deplorable in our country that sacrificed so many in defeating that horrible political movement in WW2.

What is ironic is that in today’s world we constantly see protesters throughout the western democracies making a big issue of demanding freedom.  Freedom is one thing that they already have in our open and democratic countries where they can demonstrate, carry their placards and chant ‘Freedom’ whenever they see a protest in progress.  If they were living in any of the oppressive regimes in the world, they would not have the freedom to do what they do and would be silenced in very draconian ways.  Let’s see them be this obnoxious in China or some of the South American dictatorships.   These people fail to understand that no society can function without freedom being associated without the checks and balances of responsibility.  There is no such thing as total freedom, the rights and freedoms of others must always be respected as well.  This is not the case in Ottawa as these protesters care little, if anything, for anyone but themselves.

Another troubling aspect to this protest is the hijacking by right wing agitators of the original complaint of some truckers who object to mandates and wanted to make their point with their cross-country pilgrimage.  These agitators who will go to all lengths to further their battles against government have made it their life mission to tear down any governance that does not meet their idea of a society that allows them to do whatever they want.  Unfortunately, the world is witnessing an uprising of such populist views which means that we in Canada must be more vigilant than ever in protecting our own democratic institutions and uphold values that will continue to strengthen our country rather than weaken it.

It begs the question; How would Justin’s father Pierre Trudeau handle this situation if it was him who was now Prime Minister?  The following is part of a speech by Pierre during the ‘October Crisis’ in 1970 when he invoked the ‘War Measures Act’. 

I am speaking to you at a moment of grave crisis, when violent and fanatical men are attempting to destroy the unity and the freedom of Canada.  Our assumption may have been naive, but it was understandable; understandable because democracy flourishes in Canada; understandable because individual liberty is cherished in Canada.  Notwithstanding these conditions, partly because of them, it has now been demonstrated to us by a few misguided persons just how fragile a democratic society can be, if democracy is not prepared to defend itself, and just how vulnerable to blackmail are tolerant, compassionate people.

By Roy Merkley

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