Convoy’s aftereffects reflective of an uneasy political certainty

Ken MacDougall

The Freedom Convoy is now gone, a by-product of minds that questioned the values of our institutions, only to find that their interpretation of what “freedom” truly means could never be reflected in the administration of our own democracy. Most Canadians already had some sense that this would be the end result of the truckers’ mission to Ottawa, even from the convoy’s very beginning. However, those not part of the following of yellow jackets, unemployed oil field workers and constitutional illiterates convinced by our premier that the imposition of a petroleum fuel-based “carbon tax” in Saskatchewan was federal overreach, joined nonetheless.

It is almost impossible to gauge the depth of loathing that the Conservatives, have been able to install, and the  doubt as to our ability to survive as a democracy unless we are following their increasingly extremist principles. Unfortunately, this contempt is itself fueled by the existence of the still very young son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who had little problem telling the unenlightened or boringly uninformed at what stop on the political train’s rigid schedule they could get off, even if that station no longer existed.

Son Justin, unfortunately, while inheriting his father’s stronger intellectual genes, neither exudes his father’s strength nor his “likeability”. These micro-perceived weaknesses have thus allowed western Canadian “conservatives” to ratchet up their levels of personal disdain, already pre-heated by the father’s previous policy implementations. This is particularly true of the National Energy Program, and made even more aggravating by the fact that were it now in place, we would have both our energy independence and ability to distribute our natural petroleum resources on terms favourable to all Canadians.

The emergence of a buffoon U.S. President Donald Trump in 2016 only made the PM seem even weaker when shortly after being elected he demanded that the North American Free Trade Agreement be rewritten to better embrace the isolationist “Buy American” sentiments of his extremist right-wing Republican colleagues. Premier Scott Moe’s vacillating over creating an agenda to have Saskatchewan fight climate change didn’t help, either. Finally growing weary of the Saskatchewan Party’s dithering, the federal government imposed its now infamous “carbon tax” upon our petroleum worshipping populace, and the constitutional war featuring Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario against “overreach” was begun. Trudeau won that battle, but by that time not even buying a pipeline for Alberta’s harried exporters of bitumen could get him out of the cauldron of hate that both Moe and Alberta’s Jason Kenney were now heating with their excessive natural resource.

The behaviour exuded by the very first convoy of blowhards protesting the imposition of the carbon tax should have portended what would happen in excess were the “Covid-19 Pandemic Express” come into being; however, it now seems that people’s ability to extract knowledge from the gibberish spewed by professional disseminators of misinformation such as Pat King. Tamara Lich or Ben Dichter was also impaired by Covid, or rather, the length of time that this pandemic has laid havoc upon our normal patterns of behaviour. Thus, given by the lack of police preparedness the trucker convoy’s participants perceived when they first arrived at the gates of Ottawa, the reign of chaos was inevitable.

It is now obvious that Ontario premier Doug Ford vacated his own responsibilities for protecting the people of Ottawa from the harassment they inevitably received from the thugs among the convoy’s participants. Whether this was a gross misinterpretation of the federal government’s anticipated part in pursuing such a protective role or whether it was a deliberate attempt to further undermine the credibility of the PM will probably never come to light. In the case of the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor being blocked, however, it did not take long for the premier to see the light of lost business and investment light up the economic scoreboard before the OPP and supporting officers from across Ontario had the entire blockade dealt with and dispersed.

By the time Windsor’s population had calmed down, the RCMP in Coutts, AB were cracking open an arms cache. Only then did the Ottawa police commission find some urgency in dispersing an increasingly unruly mob of what were now perceived as insurrectionists from its streets – and even then, there were still parents weaponizing their children to hold the police lines in abeyance as they tried to remove the remaining resisters, and believing that their “cause” – to either eliminate all Covid-related mandates from the provinces, or replace the federal government – were still achievable goals.

Since then, the continuing saga of the convoy’s leaders dealing with authority figures has created a myriad assortment of jokes and “I told you so” stories that, were the Russians not now invading Ukraine might still not be having any effect upon Canadians. Indeed, even here in Prince Albert, Melanie Markling is still trying to organize protests to highlight the “cause and purpose” of the convoy’s originally expected intentions.

In typical fashion, Premier Moe has disavowed any insinuation of his “follow me” actions in sticking to the laissez-faire policies of Alberta’s Jason Kenney. Indeed, his contention that there were no blockades affecting Saskatchewan border crossings should be making people ask the question, “Isn’t that because, thanks to your incompetent handling of our economy, your inability to diversify its roots, or the reality that your mishandling of a dangerous growth in climate change disasters has been further compromised by your obsequious pandering to American petroleum interests and the Wexit faction within your own party, merely means that we haven’t an economy that could be any worse damaged by such a blockade?”

The now diminished mobs of 20 or less persons led by Ms. Markling desire to have our citizens “learn to live” within the constraints of this ongoing pandemic defy reality, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that this province is headed nowhere but down so long as people keep on believing that the Saskatchewan Party “has a plan” to fix everything.

They don’t – and the worst thing about all of this is that it took an attack by Russia upon Ukraine for the majority of us to finally conclude that the only barrier to our own “freedom”, or lack thereof, is for us to actually understand what it’s like should we ever actually lose it.