My father’s generation had this rather cute saying for anyone who’d pushed the limits of tolerance in their behavior: “Hanging’s too good for him; he needs a swift kick in the ass.” That, in essence, is how I am feeling about the truckers’ so-called “Freedom Convoy” now turning downtown Ottawa and Windsor into public toilets and lawless districts.
At the risk of sounding obvious, I don’t know of a single friend, relation or down-and-outer who’s NOT sick and tired of the health care mandates; however, an overwhelming majority of Canadians are still prepared to respect such decisions. Nonetheless, neither our exalted premier nor his Alberta friend Jason Kenney, see fit to honour such responsibility, deserting even their once loyal carbon tax ally and Ontario premier Doug Ford in siding with the leaders of this trucker insurrection to impose chaos and anarchy in the cities that this convoy has seen fit to occupy.
Neither Moe nor Kenney are alone in capitulating to this convoy’s leadership and anti-democratic agenda. Leading this parade is none other than Pierre Poilievre, the fluently bilingual Conservative MP for the Ottawa suburb of Carleton and Candice Bergen, MP for Manitoba’s Portage-Lisgar riding. Bergen, only recently appointed as Interim Leader of the Opposition after the Conservative Party caucus finished feasting on the carcass of former leader Erin O’Toole, hides her political opinions under the veil of the MAGA hat she now regularly models, as if the camouflage pattern and colouring masks her more extremist sentiments. Poilievre, on the other hand, is the type of politician that were you to shake his hand, you might want to recount the rings on your fingers after the grip’s release.
Having already tossed his hat into the ring of “contenders” for the deposed O’Toole’s former job, Poilievre is already being acknowledged as the most likely to become the next official party “leader”. Less known about this smooth-talking salesman is that under Stephen Harper, he was specifically chosen to rewrite Canada’s Election Act to address the mythical notion within “conservative” (read as “American Republicans”) circles of the country’s electoral system being plagued by “voter fraud”. He did such a good job in inserting clauses into what would laughingly become the “Fair” Elections Act that it not only had potentially negative effects upon Indigenous individuals living on reserve, transients, apartment dwellers, the homeless, and immigrant families only having recently achieved citizenship, that Harper was forced to have him rewrite large portions of the bill eventually passed by Parliament.
The backlash to Poilievre’s work was so overwhelming that two movements sprang up in opposition: the NDP’s “Stop Harper” campaign, led by Tom Mulcair, acknowledged by virtually all media reporters in Canada as the best leader of the Opposition since John Diefenbaker, and the panic-induced Liberal strategy for having electors strategically vote for “ABC” – Anyone But a Conservative candidate that was the better likely to defeat Mr. Harper’s chosen candidate. In the end, the entire Liberal Party was taken off life support, and Justin Trudeau became our Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, there is also this common phrase that periodically makes its mundane point, namely that “You can’t keep a good man down” – and with former leader Erin O’Toole now fully devoured by caucus, Mr. Poilievre is the frontrunner in a race that may well become a leadership coronation. He has done so by, in the words of one Globe and Mail columnist, ladening his declaration speech with copious references to “freedom” and patriotic commitment to resisting “unnecessary” health mandates and vaccination requirements in the nation’s attempt to rid us of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It would have been nice if the congregation to which Mr. Poilievre was directing this speech understood the meaning of the “F” word they were using as a front for their protest, but they don’t. Were such standards understood, the convoy drivers wouldn’t have left their female companions alone to practice their victory dance routines on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, much less try to break the artificial limb off Ottawa’s statue of cancer cure walker Terry Fox.
As for their own asinine behaviour in honking their air horns at three in the morning, assaulting mostly women wearing masks in public, or revving their diesel engines so as to raise the pollution index to an intolerable level in downtown, the convoy participants’ contempt for fellow citizens (most of whom are also tired of having to live through this pandemic but at least have the intelligence to recognize it not going away unless we take even more serious measures to stop its spread) was held aloft without any sense of embarrassment, much less shame.
Equally sickening was watching one middle-aged male convoy member break into tears on a CBC News piece on Wednesday, lamenting the “loss of freedoms” his family had suffered through since this pandemic alert was declared just under two years ago. Just once I would have liked a World War One survivor of battles on Vimy Ridge to be present to look this tear-stained fake and ask the question, “Are you serious?”
I wonder just how many Canadians know that the Canadian troops’ commanders for that assault, the British, let Canadian brigades into these killing fields to “soften up” the German troops holding the lines immovable before finally having their soldiers do “the real work” – only to see Canadians do what they considered to be the impossible.
More than 500,000 Canadians VOLUNTEERED to fight for freedom during World War Two, with almost half of them coming from the Prairies. The British army used Canadian troops as cannon fodder in the raid on Dieppe, and American commanders assigned the toughest landing zone in the Normandy landing on June 6, 1944 to our troops. Even in Afghanistan, Canadian troops were assigned to “police” the Kandahar region, deemed “uncontrollable” by the American military. THESE are the men and women who understand what fighting for freedom is all about, not a group of race-baiting cretins, anti-Semitic “pastors” quoting encouragement from Genesis or Revelations, con artists that have already absconded with close to $1 million in GoFundMe monies, and western separatists who aren’t even truckers, leading concerned individuals to protest what is most certainly a harsh economic time for them and every other Canadian.
For Poilievre and Bergen, however, it is a quest for power that leads them to seek the friendship and support of those organized this insurrection, and nothing else.
I wonder how many Canadians will remember their behaviour come the next election?