Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images News
It’s all happening now. After two years of tyranny, manifesting in authoritarian response from Statist bureaucracies around the world, citizens of democratic countries have said enough is enough.
Tens of thousands of truckers, families, and supporters from all over Canada have gathered in Ottawa with a simple objective: end vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions. This has caught the attention of Canadian and US governments, as the Ambassador Bridge around which they have gathered carries upwards of 30% of all US-Canadian trade. Plus apparently truckers are scary.
What has been the Canadian government’s response? The same fear-based reaction that we’ve seen in the US over the past year from an insecure and illegitimate regime desperate to hold onto power: intimidation and repression. Let’s summarize:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to meet with leaders of the movement, gone into hiding, emerged only to call the truckers Nazis, fascists, racists, and not Canadians. Trudeau has threated to use the power of the State to crush the truckers and farmers through arrest, seizure of trucks, de-licensing, job loss and bankruptcy. For its part, the Biden administration has encouraged the Canadian government to use its federal powers to squelch the movement and clear the bridges.
The Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, has declared a state of emergency, calling the protest a “siege of Ontario,” and threatened the truckers with “severe consequences,” including fines of $100,000 and imprisonment of up to one year if they don’t decamp. Ontario police have attempted to freeze out the truckers by illegally seizing fuel canisters and firewood brought by supporters. They’ve arrested supporters for “aiding and abetting criminals” by providing material support, and even for honking horns in sympathy. The truckers have refused to budge. Stalemate ensued.
The legacy media, standing ready to serve as echo chambers of the State, have once again resorted to thread-worn tropes, characterizing the freedom convoy as a violent insurrection to overthrow the national government. And of course, it’s led by racists, white supremacists, and (gasp) QAnon followers. Obama-era undersecretary of Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem, now a senior lecturer at Harvard and occasional CNN commentator, has helpfully suggested State-sponsored violence: “slash the tires, empty gas tanks, arrest the drivers, and move the trucks.”
Sympathetic donors have raised tens of millions of dollars to support the truckers with fuel, food, medical and other aid. Governments and law enforcement agencies have intimidated and coerced privately-owned businesses to withhold the funds. In the case of GoFundMe, they succeeded, in the case of GiveSendGo, they have not, despite a Canadian federal judge’s order. GoFundMe was so happy to comply they attempted to steal nearly $10 million of the truckers’ money to divert to their favorite progressive causes (GoFundMe has facilitated Antifa and BLM donations for years) before several states’ Attorneys General intervened and forced donor refunds.
The protesters are on the right side of history and of the law, and they know it. While under different constitutional frameworks, America and Canada share an English law tradition that goes all the way back to the Magna Carta. This tradition informs both American and Canadians in their rights to protest and to petition their governments for redress of grievances. Arbitrary or immoral laws may – and should – be resisted in the name of justice and right. Our truckers and farmers know their history and their rights better than do their leaders. Future posts will review these rights and some of the history behind them.
For now, suffice it to say that governments are running scared. The reasonable thing to do would be to meet with leaders of the movement and negotiate a solution. This would require concessions, including addressing the specific concerns of the truckers around vaccine passports and other restrictions. In response to their citizens, six Canadian provinces have recently announced plans to phase out or eliminate pandemic restrictions. Ontario (some 40% of the population) and the federal government have so far refused to follow suit or even to meet with the truckers. This is folly.
The truckers aren’t going away, and the movement is building. The only alternative for government will be to forcibly remove the truckers and seize their trucks. This impractical and totalitarian option risks ending in violence and a sooner-than-later toppling of the Trudeau government.
American truckers are preparing their own convoy, expected to launch in the coming days. One would hope the Biden administration would apply more wisdom that Trudeau’s in responsible engagement, but this seems unlikely. Stand by.
Update: Early Sunday morning, February 13th, after six days of standoff, police began to arrest truckers on the bridge.
© 2022 Michael Wilkerson
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