In what might be described as a virtual declaration of war on Canada’s working-class by political leaders of all stripes, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Feb. 11 that he is declaring a state of emergency to put an end to the “illegal occupations” in Ottawa and other areas of the province by the trucker convoy protests. The Conservative premier has been pressured in recent days to stop the blockades that have shut down parts of Ottawa and Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge that connects to the United States. As part of the edict from Queen’s Park, protesters will face a maximum penalty of $100,000, up to one-year imprisonment, and possible suspensions of their personal and commercial licenses. Despite a judge’s order allowing police to remove protesters from the bridge, at least 100 were still there on the morning of Feb. 12.
While Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca and New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath endorsed the crackdowns, they have been perturbed that Ford did not act quickly. And there lies the problem in provincial and federal politics in Canada: Nobody cares about the working class, and truckers are the personification of this demographic.
Let’s Go Brandeau!
Since becoming the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to be a friend of the working class. For decades, the New Democratic Party has portrayed itself as the authentic advocate for Canadian workers. The Conservative Party of Canada has no clue what it is supposed to be: a champion of common folk, a pal of big and small business, or liberal-lite. And the claims of standing up for the little guy are ubiquitous at the provincial level, too.
However, it turns out that these parties, officials, and mini-Maos have different definitions of what it means to be a blue-collar worker.
The freedom truck convoy, filling the highways and streets of the Great White North, spotlighted the hypocrisy of the left and the right, with the pious nature most emphasized among the Grits and NDP crowd. Prime Minister Trudeau had his “deplorables” moment when he denounced the anti-mandate demonstrations, describing the grieved individuals as racist and misogynist. Considering he employed the same language when talking about Canadians refusing the vaccine, it was no surprise. Jagmeet Singh, the head of the New Democrats, accused the trucker convoy of wanting to “overthrow the government” without any evidence.
Conservatives in Ottawa, who recently ousted Erin O’Toole and have Candice Bergen as the interim head of the Tories, want to have their cake and eat it too. On the one hand, several prominent party figures have supported the cause. On the other, they are now asking the protesters to disperse, promising to address their grievances in the House of Commons. It is hard to believe when most Conservative leaders nationwide have undermined the very people they claim to represent and tossed under the bus, although Pierre Poilievre might be the party’s savior.
Ontario, which has endured the longest lockdown of any North American jurisdiction, has not been sympathetic to the truckers. The premier installed the state of emergency, in addition to slamming the protests. Del Duca, who is campaigning on enhancing restrictions ahead of June’s election, wants the province to seize the truckers’ assets. Horwath, a leftist vowing additional restrictions as the rest of the developed world reopens, is demanding the removal of the truckers’ licenses.
Outside of the political class, the public is not in favor of the convoy either. A new Leger survey found that close to two-thirds of Canadians oppose the Ottawa protests against COVID-19 public health measures. Most polling respondents purported that it is a “small minority of Canadians who are thinking only about themselves and not the thousands of Canadians who are suffering through delayed surgeries and postponed treatments because of the growing pandemic” and “an opportunity for right-wing supremacist groups to rally and voice their frustrations about society.”
Considering the media’s reportage of the event, it is not surprising a majority of Canadians believe this poppycock. From the government-owned CBC accusing Russia of being behind the protests to journalists handwringing about demonstrators “desecrating” a Terry Fox statue (somebody put a “mandate freedom” sign on the sculpture), the mainstream press coverage has been abhorrent this entire time. Of course, the Fourth Estate was ebullient about the toppling of statues of Canada’s prime ministers over the last couple of years.
Oh, Not That Working Class
Liberals and New Democrats ostensibly think there are two types of the working class. The first is the latte-sipping pink-haired folks who graduated from the University of Toronto with a Gender Studies degree and advocate progressive dogma. The second is the forgotten men and women living outside city centers and working in the oilsands and mines – and driving trucks cross-country. Guess which crop of voters will cast a ballot for one of these parties.
Trudeau and Singh and their acolytes can take cover by proclaiming that this demonstration was not a symbol of the working class but rather an insurrectionist movement with the objective of installing Nazism or the Confederacy. It is a genius political strategy up north for naïve Canuckers. But while Canadians might not possess the same inherent distrust of the corridors of power as their neighbors to the south, anyone with a modicum of common sense can observe the mendacity unfolding before their eyes. There are several issues with the Freedom Convoy, but white supremacy is certainly not one.
Olivia Chow, the wife of the late NDP leader Jack Layton and former Toronto mayoral candidate, tweeted that she canceled her Spotify subscription because she thinks Joe Rogan is a racist. In the same tweet, Chow confirmed she is keeping her Apple Music plan, despite the tech titan possessing ties to slave labor in China. Perhaps this is how the left – in Canada or the U.S. – operates: virtue signal when it is convenient and embrace cowardice when it is politically expedient.
~ Read more from Andrew Moran.