This isn’t a fight against a virus anymore, it’s a fight for freedom. The Canadian Federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time ever, for what we were told only recently is a “fringe minority” of protestors. Trudeau’s language has been carefully nationalistic and his style contained while discussing the protestors. He repeatedly makes appeals for the “safety” of all Canadians. His case sounds reasonable: “Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives,” he said. “It has to stop.” But the pursuit of safety can become a danger when it leads an alarmed populace to acquiesce to increasingly strong-arm government. The language used by Trudeau also subverts ideas that would typically appeal to liberals. He has declared the protestors to be “anti-vaxxers”, “racist” and “misogynist”. They are bad people, and therefore we should stand against them. Unfortunately for Trudeau – although fortunately for the reputations of the freedom convoy truckers – the cat was out of the bag when we saw footage of protestors of all ethnicities, peacefully singing and dancing in the streets. Even Joël Lightbound, a member of Trudeau’s same party, has accused the prime minister of trying “to divide and to stigmatise” the unvaccinated. I suspect Trudeau may even have welcome a little violence to justify a strong dispersement of this protest, but it has remained remarkably peaceable.
by Laura Dodsworth
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