Pellerin: The real threat of the ‘freedom train’ is to social norms

Everyone has the right to protest, but the threat to democratic institutions and the rule of law must not be tolerated.

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The problem with the early return of the so-called Liberty Train isn’t just the obnoxious or noise or violence that is inherently present in its average siege. It is the damage done to the institutions that hold our society together, starting with the rule of law and the integrity of our parliamentary system.

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The rule of law means that the law applies to everyone equally. So if, to cite a random example, it is against the law to sit half-naked in a spa bath in Wellington opposite Parliament, then anyone caught doing that, especially if they were also drunk disturbing the peace, would be thrown out. in the jingle.

No, as we saw a few months ago, left alone to macerate in peace. Now they feel entitled to break the law, which undermines our shared understanding of what the ground rules of coexistence should be.

Our system of self-government is far from perfect. But if we all agree to live by the same ground rules, we’re going to mess up just fine. That’s why most of us take turns speaking out, voting and accepting the results, even the ones we don’t like. When a small group decides they can annul the elections and throw decency and fair play under the truck, we no longer have self-government. We have government by the most detestable.

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Protesting is one of the most valuable privileges of democratic societies. But to occupy, intimidate and treat passersby with violence, in addition to deafening them and poisoning their air, is not protest.

Apparently, the plan is to stay in Ottawa as long as it takes for the prime minister to step down. Because? This is not clear. I mean, they obviously don’t like Justin Trudeau, and as far as I know, the feeling is mutual. Engaging in illegal occupation to remove a politician you don’t like is not how we do things in non-banana republic countries.

Sadly, it seems that some politicians are actually embracing this institutional vandalism. Pierre Poilievre, a local member of parliament who thinks he can change our system of government by repeating 10 million times that he is running for prime minister when that post is not on the ballot, is eagerly supporting the convoys. He is also not the only Conservative MP to do so.

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Poilievre says no one from his campaign has spoken to organizers who plan to be on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, but he fully supports and encourages protests against the government’s attacks on our freedom.

This could be funny if indeed the carriers respected the law, decency, other people’s rights and also logic. I think it’s a relief that most of them are there for the hot tub and not the constitutional mess that sees vocal idiots claim they’re entitled to have their Miranda rights read to them and their First Amendment rights protected. Maybe try reading the Canadian Constitution?

I could sit here all week and scoff at crass ignorance. But I’m too concerned about the damage to our institutions, not to mention the violence, to even think about laughing.

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Charlie Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, recently published an article in Political Magazine commenting on security for politicians and widespread belief in crazy conspiracies among the Canadian public.

He cites the Abacus Data poll which shows that 44% of Canadians believe that “a secret group of elites is controlling elections, recessions and wars”. Nearly 40 percent believe the racist “white replacement theory”, according to which there is a conspiracy to replace “native Canadians” (ugh) with immigrants.

It’s horrible and harrowing, as is the display of Nazi images and flags near these convoys. Anti-Semitism lives on the corner of evil and stupidity, and if you allow its symbols in your neighborhood, we will draw the appropriate conclusion.

Everyone has the right to protest mask mandates, even after they are suspended. Go ahead and fill your boots. But threatening the foundations and institutions that keep us free, prosperous and democratic is vandalism and cannot be tolerated.

Brigitte Pellerin is a writer from Ottawa.

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