Tom Mulcair: Trudeau’s sudden disappearance made the real situation worse
The frantic weeks on Parliament Hill are perhaps best summed up in last weekend’s trial of Dwayne Lich, husband of protest organizer Tamara Lich. Confused about the inspiration for the illegal activities that shut down our nation’s capital, he sets out to tell the judge about his First Amendment rights. Of course he was referring to the US constitution. When you don’t even know what country you’re from, you’ve been watching too much Fox News!
Dwayne also happily told the court that a nice guy named Joseph paid for his flight to Ottawa… on a private jet! It will be an interesting lead for the police as Dwayne, of course, now faces criminal charges. “Joseph” might have had to do something about it if it turns out he knew what Dwayne was doing and that he supported and abetted him.
And so it went. During the weeks that our attention – as an original signatory to NATO – should have turned to Putin’s designs against Ukraine, we’ve been trying to figure out how to clean up the messes. street in Ottawa. When you can’t even control 18 wheels in your capital, you won’t be of much help halfway around the world dealing with Russian tanks.
The symbol of Canada succeeded in the process of “occupation”. It’s sad that these whistleblowers have turned our flag into a conduit for the fury of the right. Attacks on the proudest symbols of our nation have taken their own lives. In the countryside, I recently saw pickup trucks with the Canadian flag upside down.
We’ve had a number of Olympics gold medal ceremonies with the maple leaf proudly raised but it’s hard not to feel that something has been taken away. Not from the performance of our athletes, of course, but from the entire event.
Meanwhile, south of the border, the gold medal for liberal rhetoric went to Canadian-born Republican Senator Ted Cruz for calling our cops “head thugs.” poison”.
Thanks to the powers granted under the Emergencies Act, leading police units from several provinces and all levels of government, have come together to work out a blueprint to end the situation. Professionally chaotic. The tractors that once refused to help were brought in. Foreign sources of funding for the insurgents were eliminated. Bank account has been frozen. It worked.
That’s without a doubt what caused alt-right to get the most errors: it worked. There is no overkill. There is no glorious moment for the lawless mob to recount. The police did their job excellently and largely without incident. Acclaim.
“Mad Max” Bernier took his famous fifteen minutes to work overtime. Feeling for the ages about freedom at every opportunity, it’s nice to think that the Conservatives have almost made this guy their leader.
Trying not to be outdone, interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen mocked herself and her Party. Not only did she support the truckers, she also insisted that Prime Minister Trudeau should meet with the insurgents. Bergen doesn’t seem to be that when people claim the rule of law and decide to overthrow the government, the head of government may have a bit of a problem when it comes to sitting down to arbitrate.
Trudeau’s sudden disappearance made the situation worse. There is one basic rule in crisis management: be there. Whether it’s a wildfire or an ice storm, it’s absolutely essential to have leaders at the front and center to explain, reassure, and… lead. Trudeau is a talented communicator and an experienced politician. His decision to hide will be one of the great political mysteries of his time in office.
When he finally appeared to announce that he would invoke the Emergencies Act, he brought Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland under the spotlight. She delivered the core message. At the end of the week, she once again took on the lead role because Trudeau didn’t even show up.
When Trudeau finally moved in, it was a disaster when he was confronted by a Conservative MP for standing with a swastika seen with some protesters. The problem for Trudeau is that the subject of his lecture is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Trudeau looked cheap when he refused to issue an apology. His texting became distracting and left him with no profit. Like his insults to the truckers (the misogynists who think they’re going to get microchips and those wearing aluminum foil caps) this ad hominem attack type does nothing but move the target further away, at a time when he desperately needs a win.
With the Emergencies Act finally passed the House of Commons and now moving to the Senate, all Canadians are left with is a sense of loss. How do we get here? What, and who, can rekindle our sense of common purpose? How did truckers delivering anything, anywhere in this vast country become such an eerie symbol of chilling gloom? Spring, and the end of the pandemic, can’t come fast enough!
There will be a mandated commission of inquiry into the events leading up to the invocation of the Emergencies Act. One thing that needs to be included in the review is a deeper understanding of how law-abiding citizens can become radicalized and deceived to the point of blatantly breaking the law.
Social media is transporting us into a whole new world of misinformation that has become the only reality for many. People who feel that their voices have never been valued have replaced our difficult world with the simple, fake world they live in on social media. They are in there. They count.
The world of alternative truths may put many people at ease, but when it collides with the real world, they quickly learn that truths and norms do exist and that the common good must take precedence. first.
We must understand the phenomenon, if our democratic society and its institutions will be able to deal with it successfully. So far, there is no suggestion that we have that ability. As the digital world begins to clash violently with the real world, some politicians will try to take advantage. True leaders will try to repair the damage.
Tom Mulcair was the leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada from 2012 to 2017.