Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner February 3, 2022
We Canadians will need to do a thorough and unsentimental review of the recent events in Ottawa. No use saying any longer, “It’s not us.” It most surely is a small part of us, one to which we gave heroic tolerance.
Maude Barlow, the eminent environmentalist, wrote the other night: “I am so sad for my city: terrible noise, gridlock, diesel pollution, swastika images and Confederate flags (those from the U.S. south in their civil war), anti-maskers shouting at store clerks, white supremacists. I just have a very deep sadness.”
This emotion, sadness, is a good place to start, Ms. Barlow. Then to analyze the leaders, both the out-front ones and the closet ones, and the thinking of the naïve supporters who stood on overpasses. Naivete is as dangerous as cynicism in public affairs.
Once we have this evidence, we must question the flip-flopping positions of the Conservative Party of Canada. In such disarray that it is desperate, it bet on the wrong horse this time. Fatigued and fed-up as each of us is, we are not ready to overthrow a government, not on a sensible health policy.
Two Conservative members were there, giving coffee and praises. (Pierre Poilievre and Michael Cooper of Edmonton), while Leader Erin O’Toole was meeting with drivers, away from photographers, in Arnprior. They, without shame, gave a platform to the most odious thinking in our country.
It celebrated the Trumpian values that have been seeping across the border throughout this affair. There was more to grieve: as Glen McGregor of CTV news wrote: “Wearing a Star of David, disrespecting Terry Fox and Canada’s war dead, throwing a frozen can of beer at a journalist, and taking meals from the homeless.”
There was acerbic wit and some humour in the posts of Canadians. A sample: “Let’s flood Facebook with this image, Terry Fox bravely hop-stepping his way across this country, a heroic Canadian convoy.”
Another was a picture of Canadian ships approaching Normandy beach in 1944: “Just to be clear, this is a freedom convoy.” And another: “Tyranny: to drive unimpeded for four days across a country to protest for freedom.”
A letter from Mayor Cathy Heron of St. Albert, AB: ”We want the rest of the country to know that MP Michael Cooper does not reflect the values of Edmontonians. Our communities are diverse, inclusive and welcoming.”
Yet another: “Every MP that does not denounce the vandalism of the national capital today has failed their oath of office and is not fit for public service.”
There was collateral damage to the national psyche not even measured yet - a prime minister and his family driven to a secure location, a Quebec mosque memorial forced online, because of fears of disturbance from the convoy.
“A deficit of discernment” politely describes the behaviour of our Peterborough-Kawartha MP. This new member issued a sunny declaration of support a few days ago. She is not a leading member of the party, but she hopes to be. She assumes the personae of a community-minded girl-next-door while displaying little grasp of issues and demonstrating a low tolerance for criticism. We await her interpretation of Ottawa on January 29.
It was known that the instigators were these people: Tamara Lich, secretary of the western alt-right Maverick Party with ties to white nationalism, Patrick King, a white nationalist, James Bauder of “Canada Unity,” drafter of the lunatic manifesto calling for the government of Canada to step down, Ben Dichter, an anti vax right-winger who posts on “Crusade vs. Islam.”
Why do I get the feeling it is some white guys, upset at being overtaken by history and social movements?
They persuaded some number of uninformed and well-meaning truckers to join the unholy crusade and give them some legitimacy. They conned a gullible few to set up a “Go Fund me” page, raising $7 million. I believe that’s called “grift.”
On the political side were the endorsements from leading Conservatives Andrew Scheer, Candice Bergen, Poilievre. And from our own.
Lots of work to do.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or from >Amazon<