Just a few short weeks ago who would have ever thought that we would see the core of our capital city here in Canada virtually under siege by home grown activists defying law and order, harassing innocent citizens and defecating on their front lawns. What is worse they did not even say ‘sorry’. Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ has now become the ‘poster boy’ rallying event being applauded by right wing groups all over the world with money pouring into their cause from everywhere. Donald Trump, the US Republican party, white supremacists plus all sort of anarchists are jumping on the bandwagon supporting the Canadian trucker protesters. All of which just emboldens those blocking the streets and occupying Ottawa to dig in and stay the course. Then to see this happening and spreading to many other major cities in Canada makes it hard for ordinary Canadians to comprehend. Now the latest episode where trucks are blocking the Ambassador Bridge at Windsor—Canada’s number one border entry point in terms of cargo volume The pictures and headlines in the media recently do not paint a very flattering picture of Canada lately. How did we get to this point so quickly?
Perhaps the saddest aspect of all of this is the global backlash against the efforts to control the covid pandemic and the disregard for our health care workers who are our heroes. This is unforgiveable. Two years of controls on our lifestyles to protect our health and wellbeing from the pandemic seems to be too much for many people to handle as they now wish to abandon precautions and let the chips fall where they may, even if some become ill and die as long as they have their version of freedom. I never thought that New Hampshire’s state motto saying ‘Live Free or Die’ would be taken literally by people, even though they live in one of the most open and free countries in the world.
How this will play out is anybody’s guess as the situation keeps changing daily. There is a chaotic frenzy of media reporting, political wrangling and blame being hurled about with no definitive plans appearing. Obviously, this has blindsided our nations governance ability to control unrest from within our society.
This has to represent a serious dent in that image of Canada where a conservative, compassionate people who embraced fairness and common sense were a hallmark of our country. Those Canadians who travelled abroad proudly sporting the Canadian flag on their back packs and wearing their Canada pin on their jackets may have to adjust to a different perception.
It was a bit too easy for us to look at other countries suffering from political backlash and social protests while a bit smugly thinking we were above that sort of thing. Our neighbouring country to our south was an easy target for us to criticize and suggest that our system was superior in many ways. Well, it turns out that Canada is not above that sort of thing. We must come to terms that uncivilized behaviour and hardened opinions based on questionable information can surface right here in Canada under the right conditions and threaten our democratic governance.
Who knows what the outcome of all of this will be, but hopefully wisdom and common sense will prevail and measures will be taken to protect the will and well-being of the majority of the good, law abiding people who make up our society. By Roy Merkley