Peaceful Protestors?

On Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, the Ottawa police commenced onto the protestors that have held an encampment outside Parliament Hill for 21 days. Since then, the police have regained Parliament Hill and the streets surrounding it and continue to occupy in perimeters around the city.

The whole event was a spectacle, and the perspective was different depending on where you were, whether you were part of the CTV News crew, with Evan Solomon or Jorge Barrera on the streets of Ottawa reporting on it, or of Druthers News and reporters that provide the “other side” to the news, which is a phrase that Ezra Levant, the editor of Rebel News, has on his Twitter account; the event received massive coverage.

Levant condemned the police and stated that he would no longer stand with them going forward. We’ll see about that when it comes time to remove Indigenous people from critical infrastructure, which he has advocated for when it happens.

An argument that has constantly been made by conservatives, commentators, and reporters that have a bias for the Freedom Convoy is they view it as peaceful and non-violent; and instead, see the police as the violent terrorists. It’s an interesting perspective considering the Emergency Measures Act, an act that was instituted to replace the War Measures Act (EMA is what I’ll refer to it as going forward) in 1988 by Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, has a lot of caveats to function at all.

The EMA requires there to be a national emergency, and that is defined as an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that is one of two things:

  1. seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it, or
  2. seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada.

It’s safe to say that the Liberals went with the latter, and since a state of emergency was declared in the province of Ontario, it can be said that a national emergency was occurring as the capital, which is in Ontario, is the center of Canada. It also states that the situation cannot be dealt with under any other law of Canada.

There has been intense vocal criticism of the invocation of the EMA, to the point that political commentator and podcast host Candace Owens said in a tweet that the U.S. should “send American troops to Canada to deal with the tyrannical reign of Justin Trudeau Castro.”

It’s strange, to see this warped view on what was going on in Canada as being the same as a dictatorship, and to see the people that are there be treated as innocent bystanders practicing their right to protest. The occupation has since been put to a halt by police, and Trudeau revoked the EMA before parliament could vote on it.

In Canada, section 83.01 of the Criminal Code [1] defines terrorism as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause” with the intention of intimidating the public “…with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.” Activities recognized as criminal within this context include death and bodily harm with the use of violence; endangering a person’s life; risks posed to the health and safety of the public; significant property damage; and interference or disruption of essential services, facilities or systems.

While MP’s of the conservative party saw the Freedom Convoy participants as “peaceful protestors,” the people were not, in fact, peaceful. Even according to the above act and definition of terrorism, these people did fulfill these areas, with the noise that emanated from the Ottawa blockade causing serious disruption to the citizens of Ottawa, to the point that one citizen took the issue to court and got a 10-day court injunction against the horn-blaring the convoy continued to emit. So to call them peaceful is disingenuous and dishonest.

With imagery that suggests that the protestors were poorly mistreated by the police, it has led these same conservatives to look at the police as villains, which is largely against the notion that the very party would advocate for “Law and Order” when the BLM protests were happening throughout the U.S., which is incredibly hypocritical at that.

Clearly, Conservatives do see cause to halt protesting and change the description if it crosses a line into danger, stress, or halt on the lives of citizens directly involved; however, if their own beliefs are tested in this area, they will look away, as did the Democrats during such protests in the U.S., so really, politicians are the most emotionally fragile.

Featured image: The Calgary Freedom Rally protestors march through the streets of downtown Calgary on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. The protestors, organized by Ryan Audette of Calgary Freedom Central, march in support of the Freedom Convoy 2022, a trucker occupation of Ottawa. They march for freedom from any sort of mandate pertaining to COVID-19 and mandatory vaccination. The government of Alberta announced on Feb. 8, 2022, that the restriction exemption program (REP) would no longer be required, and that no further mandates would take place in the province of Alberta. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar/The Press)

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