Why French soldiers are moving against Macron

10 May 2021, 5:04am

Emmanuel Macron was in Strasbourg on Sunday where he addressed the Conference on the Future of Europe. This is where the President of France is happiest, describing the utopia that he still believes can be achieved by the EU. He feels important and powerful and he is among like-minded people, such as David Sassoli, president of the European parliament, who declared: ‘This conference is for ordinary citizens. Europe is not just for the elites, nor does it belong to them.’

There’s a touch of the Tony Blair in Macron’s canine devotion to the EU, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the President accomplishes what eluded the former British prime minister and one day becomes the President of Europe.

It would certainly be an easier life than running France. Barely had Sunday’s conference broken up before news broke of the publication of another open letter to Macron from the French military. A fortnight ago the conservative magazine Valeurs Actuelles published a letter from hundreds of retired soldiers warning the president that the country was going to pot; last night it was the turn of more than 2,000 serving soldiers to express their dismay at what they regard as the ruination of France. Their words will send a chill through the corridors of the Elysée. Jean-Luc Mélenchon the leader of the far-left France Insoumise, has expressed his outrage, promising that if he comes to power he will ‘purge’ the military of these seditionists.The latest letter will send a chill through the corridors of the Elysée

Marine Le Pen offered her ‘respect’ to the military and declared her ‘confidence’ in them in a television interview on Sunday night, and said that the ‘problem with Macron is that the insecurity is now everywhere.’

Even Macron’s staunchest supporter would struggle to shoot down Le Pen on that point. In the last week alone a policeman was shot dead by a suspected drug dealer in Avignon, there were riots in Lyon and Frejús on the Côte d’Azur, and in the 19th arrondissement of Paris rival drug gangs exchanged home-made mortar fire on Monday night. One resident’s group uploaded footage of the explosion onto social media and accused Macron and Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, of abandoning the area to the drug gangs. ‘You must act, and quick.’ they urged.

That is the message of the latest letter to Macron from his military. But the fact that the initial signatories are supposedly serving men and women will alarm the government. Describing their service for France in Mali, Afghanistan and elsewhere, where some witnessed the deaths of comrades killed in action, they make a grave accusation against their president: ‘They have offered their lives to destroy the Islamism to which you have made concessions on our soil.’

Many of the men and women who signed the letter participated in Operation Sentinel, when troops were deployed in Paris in January 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and because of this ‘have seen with our own eyes the abandoned banlieues… where France means nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred.’

This letter, like the first, raises the spectre of France being torn apart by conflict. ‘If a civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own soil… civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well,’ they write.

The letter concludes by demanding that instead of scoring political points or playing to the gallery with ‘emotion on command’, Macron and his government act: ‘We are not talking about extending your mandates or conquering others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country.’

Macron inherited this towering challenge from his predecessors, who for decades turned a blind eye to the ‘lost territories’ of the inner cities, despite repeated warnings. Now, however, the violence has spread and the hatred deepened, aided and abetted by social media and identity politics. Macron has done more than any other president to try and combat the extremists but it’s not enough.

‘Can the Army Save France?’ is the headline on the front cover of this week’s Valeurs Actuelles. A growing number in France believe that Macron can’t and that the military may be their last hope.

WRITTEN BYGavin Mortimer

Gavin Mortimer is a writer and historian with a particular interest in world war two special forces. His next book, a biography of David and Bill Stirling, founders of the SAS, will be published by Constable later this year.

Why French soldiers are moving against Macron | The Spectator


Patients died from neglect, not COVID-19, in Ontario LTC homes, military report finds: ‘All they needed was water and a wipe down’


A Canadian military report details numerous issues at several Ontario long term care homes, including the Hawthorne Place Care Centre in Toronto, Ont., photographed on May 26, 2020.FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Dozens of residents in two Ontario nursing homes hit hard by the coronavirus died not from COVID-19 but from dehydration and neglect, the Canadian military says in reports obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The documents contain new details about the deplorable conditions in two Toronto homes before the Forces stepped in last year, revealing for the first time that causes other than COVID-19 hastened the deaths of residents as outbreaks spiralled out of control and staffing collapsed.

At Downsview Long Term Care Centre, where one in four residents succumbed to the virus, another 26 died from dehydration before a military team arrived last June to provide humanitarian and medical support.

At Hawthorne Place Care Centre, 51 residents died of COVID-19 in the 269-bed facility. The military says it suspects those fatalities pale in comparison to deaths from other causes. “Residents are dying from non-COVID-19 causes more than they should be.”

The allegation of deaths because of dehydration is “not only troubling but potentially criminal,” Amber Irwin, a spokeswoman for Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton, said in an e-mail on Sunday.

According to figures published by the provincial government, 3,762 long-term care residents in Ontario have died of COVID-19. But no one is tracking the number of fatalities from other causes during the pandemic.

The reports on Downsview and Hawthorne were submitted to the independent commission that examined the devastating impact of the coronavirus on residents in long-term care homes but have not been made public.

The three-member commission, led by retired associate chief justice Frank Marrocco, criticized the Ontario government’s response to the pandemic, saying in its report released on April 30 that it was “slow, unco-ordinated and lacking in urgency.”

The government did not ask the military for help in seven homes until the coronavirus was already tearing through the facilities, leaving them without enough staff to stabilize the “increasingly dire situation,” the commission says in its report.

The report quotes from Ms. Fullerton’s notebook dated April 17, 2020: “Military plan needed, get them in within 24-48 hours … homes spiral down quickly.”

However, it would be another 12 days before the military was deployed to the first five homes, including Hawthorne Place, at the request of Premier Doug Ford. “This delay – like others before it – was tragic for those trapped in homes with uncontrolled outbreaks,” the commission says in its report.

The military arrived at two other homes, including Downsview Long Term Care Centre, in early June.

In its report on the Downsview long-term care home, the military expresses “large concern” with the timing of its arrival. “It was noted by ACCT [the augmented civilian care team] that 26 residents died due to dehydration prior to the arrival of the CAF team due to the lack of staff to care for them. They died when all they need was ‘water and a wipe down.’ ”

James Balcom, chief operating officer of GEM Health Care Group, a Halifax-based company that owns the for-profit home, said company officials began pleading for extra provincial support with staffing at Downsview in late April of last year.

“It is tragic,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe, that emergency help from the Armed Forces and a Toronto hospital did not come until weeks later.

Sixty-five residents of Downsview died of COVID-19 last spring, ranking the home the third-hardest hit in Ontario.

“We will always grieve for those who died last year,” said Mr. Balcom, adding that the home now has a new senior management team. “We never want anyone – residents, family members and staff – to experience what happened at Downsview and across the province last year.”

At Hawthorne Place, residents have died because of dehydration and malnourishment, the military says. When members of the Armed Forces arrived at the home, the report says, they found “feces and vomit” on the floors and walls, two residents with dried feces under their fingernails and management that was “non-existent.”

Contrary to the report, a spokeswoman for Responsive Group Inc., the company that manages the for-profit home, said management was present in Hawthorne at all times. Nicola Major also said, in an e-mail to The Globe, that the military did not bring any issues contained in the Hawthorne report to the attention of management. As well, she said, none of the death certificates issued for residents cite neglect, dehydration or malnutrition as a cause of death.

Ms. Irwin, the minister’s spokeswoman, said Ms. Fullerton received the reports on Downsview and Hawthorne last Thursday, and ministry staff met with officials in the Office of the Chief Coroner the following day to discuss the revelations.

“The coroner’s office is engaged and will be providing the ministry with their documents about deaths in the homes,” Ms. Irwin said. “Once those documents have been received, the ministry will be acting on them.”

The coroner’s office declined to comment.

In a report released last May, the military chronicled horrific conditions in the initial five homes it assisted, ranging from poor infection-control practices to the neglect and abuse of residents.

Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath wrote to the Ontario Provincial Police last week, asking it to review whether the commission’s findings “constitute a case for criminal charges.”


Canada is drifting towards authoritarianism

Justin Trudeau’s government has a shocking lack of respect for fundamental freedoms.


Canada is drifting towards authoritarianism


Canada’s Bill C-10, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act and to Make Consequential Amendments to Other Acts, was initially created in order to level the playing field between Canadian broadcasting companies, whose content is moderated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and tech giants like Netflix and Amazon, by subjecting these streaming services to the CRTC’s regulations.

However, the bill garnered a great deal of criticism and concern from Canadians after a provision that protected user-generated content on social-media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from such regulation was removed. If the bill passed without said provision, the CRTC could treat social-media companies like broadcasters, and subsequently moderate content that is uploaded on their services by Canadian users.

When the minister of Canadian heritage, Steven Guilbeault, proposed the original bill in November 2020, he explicitly stated that ‘user-generated content will not be regulated’. When he was asked why the change to the bill was made, he claimed the exemption of Canadian users’ social-media content from C-10 was ‘not necessary’.

Many seem to have disagreed with Guilbeault’s sentiment that protecting Canadians’ free speech is unnecessary. Peter Menzies, a former commissioner of the CRTC, called the bill a ‘full-blown assault’ on both Canadians’ freedom of expression and ‘the foundations of democracy’. Even Google expressed concerns about the potential legislation, saying in a statement that it was worried ‘about the unintended consequences, particularly with regards to the potential effects on Canadians’ expressive rights’.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has remained silent. He is far too busy tweeting about the ‘she-cession’ and deciding which form of virtue-signalling is the best fit for his appearance at an upcoming virtual celebrity concert featuring people like Meghan Markle and Jennifer Lopez.

Fortunately, likely due to the backlash C-10 has received from many Canadians, and also Conservative and New Democracy Party members of parliament, Guilbeault claimed that the Trudeau government will be including an amendment to the bill to make it ‘crystal clear’ that Canadians’ social-media content will not be regulated by the CRTC. The fact remains, however, that Trudeau’s Liberal Party intended to pass Bill C-10 in a form that would have subjected millions of Canadians’ online content to the oversight and moderation of the CRTC, completely disregarding the potential unconstitutionality of such legislation.

This is made all the more concerning considering this is not the first time Trudeau has implemented legislation that raises questions about constitutional rights. Trudeau’s policy of forcing Canadians to quarantine in ‘designated government facilities’ upon their return from abroad has garnered multiple lawsuits against the federal government, on the grounds that the arbitrary detainment imposed by the policy breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – a document introduced in 1982 by Trudeau’s father, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

During his time in office, which has been littered with an assortment of scandals, Justin Trudeau has increasingly shown his willingness to bend the rule of law according to his agenda. However, Bill C-10, like the designated government facilities, demonstrates an even more troubling trend developing within the Canadian federal government: Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party appear to have little regard for Canadians’ most fundamental rights.

Whereas the restrictions placed on Canadians’ movement via the government-sanctioned quarantine facilities were unlawful, the Trudeau government’s attempted attack on Canadians’ freedom of expression with Bill C-10 was antithetical to the foundation of Canadian democracy itself. Canada – a society whose most glimmering virtue is its diversity not only of cultures and backgrounds, but also of ideas – has a leader who is perfectly willing to place the power to suppress online speech in the hands of an unelected regulatory body like the CRTC.

Despite the impending amendment to C-10, the message that this bill has sent to Canadians is crystal clear – Trudeau’s government is not afraid of limiting Canadians’ rights as it sees fit. If Canadians continue to stand up against restrictive policies like Bill C-10, then the sanctity of Canadian freedom and democracy can be preserved. If they don’t, however, then it is likely that Trudeau will continue to push Canada down the slippery slope of authoritarianism.

Canada is drifting towards authoritarianism – spiked (spiked-online.com)

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