Some random thoughts concerning this siege and occupation by an astroturfed movement.
- Lots and lots of volatile fuel in unsafe containers in the open, and people playing with powerful fireworks. What can possibly go wrong?
- To those concerned about the rights of these truckers, ask yourself: were you equally concerned about the rights of Occupy protesters who were evicted from Ottawa a decade ago? What about the rights of BLM protesters last year in the US?
- A protester asserted that they cannot cut off his fuel supply that keeps him warm. It is against the law. Isn’t occupying the streets of my city, honking through the night, creating a fire hazard with fireworks and fuel in close proximity, and holding a city hostage while demanding the resignation of a lawfully elected government not against the law?
- How an issue gets politicized, in three acts:
Act I: Natural disaster occurs.
Act II: Politicians in charge respond.
Act III: Populist opportunists react: Look, the government is politicizing the disaster!
(NB: I don’t care if the populist are MAGA-hat wearing opportunists from the US or the left-wing opposition in Orban’s Hungary.)
- In a recent article, Toronto journalist Matt Gurney describes the protest as having evolved into a “cover to a cadre of seasoned street brawlers whose primary goal is to further erode the legitimacy of the state — not just the city of Ottawa, or Ontario or Canada, but of democracies generally,” and worries that “any move they make will trigger an incident that can easily result in dead cops, dead truckers and delighted far-right agitators.” Wish I could disagree with him.
- One swastika flag is one too many. Why was it tolerated any more than an “I love Trudeau” flag would have been tolerated by the same protesters?
- The Conservative Party may have done an about-face today, but it will take a long time for me to forgive them for abandoning core values of our constitutional order for the sake of short-term populist advantage.
- Is it 1914 all over again? Looking at Ukraine, I wonder. Or is it more like 1933? That’s what Wellington street looks like, for sure. History, of course, never repeats itself, it only rhymes. But generation after generation, we keep making the same mistakes…