As Justin Trudeau waltzed through the UK, visiting Boris Johnson and the Queen, did anyone spare a thought for Canadians struggling under Trudeau’s authoritarian Covid power moves?
In 2016, the British parliament debated whether Donald Trump, then running for the US presidency, ought to be banned from the UK for inflammatory ‘hate speech’. When Trudeau announced his visit to the UK, did the House of Commons ask itself whether he should be made welcome?
Trudeau is no stranger to inflammatory language – having called the unvaccinated in Canada ‘extremists’, ‘misogynists’ and ‘racists’. But it’s far worse than that. He has undermined the principles on which Canadian democratic government is founded by criminalising peaceful protest. He invoked emergency powers to inflict extreme punishment on those who objected to his Covid policies while denying them proper due process. Does no one in the UK government find that troubling?
Trudeau used the Emergencies Act to allow banks to unilaterally freeze accounts and assets, not only of participants in the peaceful Ottawa freedom convoy but also of anyone who supported the protest financially – all without a court order and legal immunity. And insurance policies of participants were subject to cancellation. Nothing says ‘free country’ like being able to freeze the assets of your political opponents without notice, judicial oversight, or possibility of legal recourse, on suspicion of having donated $25 to a trucker who parked in front of Canada’s parliament because he didn’t want the government to take away his job.
Perhaps this seems unfair. Trudeau may have invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act to resolve a parking problem. An error in judgement, but in the end he rescinded it.
Quite true. But not before he suspended Canadians’ rights to due process and to peaceful assembly. Or delayed the Act’s debate in the Canadian House of Commons until after the protestors were forcibly removed by police. Or cynically strong-armed its approval through the House of Commons via a confidence vote – cleverly changing the subject of the vote to whether or not MPs wanted to call an election. And remember too that he hinted that the Act would be needed for months to come. Can the country ever be considered truly safe when – at any time – a truck driver apparently going about his business might approach the heart of Canada’s capital city and run up the Canadian flag, thereby magically metamorphosising into a terrorist?
Trudeau lifted the Emergencies Act on 23 February when it became apparent that the Canadian Senate was likely to vote against it. The next day, Russia attacked Ukraine and both national and international attention turned elsewhere – doubtless to the Liberal government’s great relief.
But anyone who thinks Trudeau has learned his lesson is sadly naïve. In a speech to the Toronto Ukrainian community on 4 March, he had the audacity to deplore the ‘slippage in our democracies’ and express concern about countries around the world ‘turning towards slightly more authoritarian leaders’. Why is this happening? According to Trudeau, it’s because ‘misinformation and disinformation’ are allowed to be shared on social media, thus ‘turning people against the values and the principles of democracies’. Right. To preserve democracy, what we need is censorship?
For all Trudeau’s talk, the real threat to Canadian democracy is not the truckers’ movement, whose actions revealed that large numbers of Canadians just want a return to normal life. No: the real threat to democracy is Canada’s ideologically driven leadership, seizing more and ever more unchecked power so as to force Canadian society into the mould of a collectivist utopia. It would be nice if the British parliament cared enough to discuss it.
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