Rex Murphy: Trudeau’s wild misuse of state authority

Are there no hero MPs willing to denounce this gross usurpation of citizens’ rights?

Author of the article:

Rex Murphy

Publishing date:

Feb 18, 2022  •  1 hour ago  •  4 minute read  •   124 Comments

An officer takes part in the operation to remove the Freedom Convoy protest from downtown Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.
An officer takes part in the operation to remove the Freedom Convoy protest from downtown Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. PHOTO BY JEAN LEVAC / POSTMEDIA NEWS

It’s Friday as I write. The police in Ottawa are already fully engaged in exercising their powers under the Emergencies Act. Arrests. Checkpoints. Blocked-off areas.

Parliament was supposed to meet to debate the imposition of the act. That got cancelled.

Justin Trudeau, after invoking the most powerful and sweeping legislation affecting the civil liberties of all Canadian citizens since … well, since the War Measures Act invoked by his father, will not be in Parliament today to engage in debate on it.

Not even in the pale, restricted, sporadic pretence of a Parliament we have been getting the past two years by Zoom.

The imposition of the Emergencies Act has been challenged by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. It has had no review by our courts. It all rests on pure assertion by the prime minister, his compliant ministers, and of course his (effective) aide-de-camp, enabler and prime supporter, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Do any Canadians remember when we had an NDP party — the “conscience of Parliament” it used to be known as?

Judgment first. Then let’s have the trial. Oh sunny days.

Jonathan Turley, a renowned American law professor, puts the point clearly. “The House of Commons just postponed debating Trudeau’s emergency powers because he is using his emergency powers near the Parliament to clear protesters. It is like postponing a war powers vote because there is a war going on.”

Just listen to this crowd. “If you are a member of a pro-Trump movement who is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars to this kind of thing, then you ought to be worried.” That’s Canada’s Attorney General, David Lametti. Making an offer Canadians can’t refuse.

What is he thinking? Are there Brinks trucks trundling up Parliament Hill? “Hundreds of thousands of dollars, and millions of dollars to this kind of thing?”

Might there not be a few “non-Trumpians” making donations? Canadians even, who threw in a $20 bill to back their fellow workers? I guess they “ought to be worried,” too. This latter is the language of pure threat and intimidation by state power. And this crowd laughably claims we’re still being protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The truckers are a “pro-Trump” movement now? Lametti himself cannot believe what he has said. He has merely reached into his bag of convenient insults, hauled out the best demon-phrase he can — what sweet social justice soul does not shiver and shake when the “Trumpster is invoked? — and slapped it on Canadian citizens engaging in a Canadian protest. After all, if the prime minister has already gone with racists and misogynists, and if terrorists and yobs and louts have already been tossed about, then I suppose, spraying them with the “Trumpian” brand is probably the only nasty adjective left in the sack.

Lametti has dragged the entire financial system into this massive and deranged overkill. And his government has made the deeply democratic right to support opposition to a public measure by making a contribution to it, a justification for freezing a citizen’s bank account. For this we sent men and women overseas! For this we gather on the Hill during Canada Day.

Lorrie Goldstein says it perfectly: “So people in Canada are losing their jobs because they donated to a political cause retroactively declared illegal by the federal government, on the basis of being publicly identified by the media, using stolen data from a fundraising website.” Welcome to Venezuela without the obliging climate.

We’ve had some really glorious moments of hypocrisy from the Trudeau regime. But the claim you bring in the Emergencies Act and simultaneously claim the Charter is still operative, especially after its gutting during the two-year COVID period, is the king and glory moment. The word regime used to get tossed around a lot when the calm and measured Stephen Harper was prime minister. But as with so many things, we had to wait for Justin Trudeau before it could have justifiable application.

After this, the Liberals and the NDP members are going to choke up a bit when they come to that part of our sacred anthem that sings of “the true North, strong and free.”

This government has had its way, and more than its way, during the abnormal and disruptive COVID era. It has gotten far too used to staying away from Parliament, holding back budgets, governing from the steps of the Rideau Cottage, imposing regulations and mandates with limited or no debate. It is almost as if it was practising, practising for a moment when it could untie itself from all accountability, throw off what little submission to democratic norms comes with being a minority.

Are there no hero MPs willing to get out in front of this gross usurpation of citizens’ rights, and with full vigour denounce a wild misuse of state authority? Are there not members in all parties who could on this issue bury their party association and jointly as members of the Canadian House of Commons condemn it? Condemn the extreme rhetoric being poured on Canadian workers, the talk of terrorists and “Trumpists,” the vile talk of “Nazism.” Condemn the stubborn, disdainful refusal to talk, to meet, to listen and go for compromise.

It really is too bad we had that election in mid-pandemic last year. It had no issue but convenience and opportunism. We could surely use an election after what we have seen and are seeing this week.

It’s one thing to “admire” how things can be done in China.

It’s quite another to seek to imitate them.


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