In my opinion, the Prime Minister would have you believe that they had to enact what is in effect a War Measures Act against ordinary citizens just trying to earn a living, because of a “threat” posed by a small fringe group, foreign agitators wanting to “overthrow” the government, with weapons and murderous intent.
The group had been there for close to a month and there was plenty of time before that for the Prime Minister to show real leadership and diplomacy, to heal families and this nation, by welcoming discussion and communication, to remember that elected officials are elected to serve.
Instead, the Prime Minister chose to practice the fine art of “pointing fingers”, name calling, and took the “divide and conquer” approach; where father knows best and children are seen but not heard; where people need the protection of government and organized groups to protect against the abuses of the oppressor.
Who is the oppressor in what we have recently witnessed? And who is the oppressed?
Today, there is more divisiveness between those who ‘believe’ that the heavy-handed approach was necessary, and those who ‘believe’ that this started with ordinary truckers just trying to protect their livelihood, their ability to work, pay their bills and deliver goods and services to your doorstep; and over time became a rallying point for those who had lost faith in the government to find the balance between infringement of their personal rights in the protection of the public interest, (ie) hospital services. Or did we forget that too?
Did we conveniently fail to note that the timing and the intrusion of vaccines into a trucker’s ability to earn a living came at a time when Omicron was presenting itself as contagious but not as deadly?
Did government fail to notice that throughout this ‘occupation’ that John Hopkins University were reporting a steady decline in case numbers and hospitalizations?
Did everyone forget or chose to ignore that truckers live solitary lives in their trucks, hardly a source of group transmission – why invoke this measure at this time?
Did unvaccinated truckers at this time really pose a significant threat to the viability of our health care system?
Did the Prime Minister inquire with Premiers as to the burden on their health care system in making decisions related to restrictive mandates…. after all, the responsibility for the provision of health care is provincial not federal.
Or did the Prime Minister take the same authoritarian approach he did with the Emergency Powers and ignore provincial Premiers?
The Charter of Rights sets out a reminder to government of the importance of the individual in a democratic society. Section 1, the Notwithstanding clause, permits government to ignore the rights of individuals, where the infringement is proportionate and rationally connected, simply put, an implied standard of reasonableness.
All too often, Section 1 has been evoked by governments to trample personal rights. We, you and I, as a society have stood by instead of demanding that governments uphold the principles of the Charter of Rights, except in rare circumstances.
For many people, ordinary truckers included, those mandates threatened people’s livelihoods and their lifelong investments. Not everyone could or was willing to give up everything they had worked for.
Restaurants struggled to keep their doors open. Isolation protocols, with or without sickness, left businesses without employees, extra costs and reduced income, all too often, resulting in closed doors. Work at home mandates disrupted productivity and chaotic services.
Families were unable to celebrate or join together for funerals. seniors died isolated in nursing homes; children learned to fear and to hide behind a “mask”.
For many employers, easy government money, in my opinion, meant that there was and continues to be a shortage of people willing to work. For many, a government paycheque is preferable to earning your own way. Perhaps dependence on government is a good thing, after all, isn’t it better to stifle initiative and creativity for the ‘better good’, or is it? Sound familiar….
Is there a better way that our elected leaders could have handled opposing viewpoints?
Mandates that infringe on democratic freedoms should be made by all elected officials, accountable and transparent to their electors – after all isn’t that what democracy is?
Mandates enacted in secret, in my opinion, without full debate and disclosure with dissenting viewpoints, is going down a slippery slope of absolute powers, without checks and balances. A dangerous slippery slope that history has shown leads to further abuses of individual rights.
The enactment of the Emergencies Act has shown all Canadians that the Government, without the protection of natural law, can and does give the Government, in effect, the power to enact Tyranny.
Is it any wonder that people are talking about keeping their money safe in their “mattresses” – or withdrawing their money from banks to foreign jurisdictions. Think about what could happen to your mortgage or your employment, or your pension, if there is an outflow of savings and investment out of this country.
Did we forget that it wasn’t foreign investors and agitators that lined up along highways and overpasses – it was just ordinary Canadians. Hardly criminals, even though they are now being treated like criminals for supporting those who, at their own peril, chose to take a stand.
How often did we hear the Prime Minister refuse to answer questions in the House, call the organizers and the PC’s Nazis and agitators, a fringe group, implying that their concerns didn’t matter.
Was nobody paying attention – were they so caught-up in their own perspectives that they lost the willingness to listen and consider other perspectives?
Why is it in my opinion, that certain journalists and media outlets perpetuate this same approach to journalism? Why is it that many journalists and media outlets, including the CBC funded by your tax dollars, fail to ask all of these questions and provide an unbiased, factual account of varying perspectives.
How sad it is that media has lost the trust of Canadians who have come to the realization that for all too many, journalism has become a propaganda tool, to sway the public, instead of a non-biased trusted source of information.
Journalists and media that tries to sway through selected reporting and experts, instead of a robust truthful discussion should be viewed with skepticism. You don’t have to look very far to find this substandard reporting. You and I deserve better, and should demand that journalists go back to the fundamentals of journalism – reporting a story factually with diverse viewpoints and letting the reader draw their own conclusions.
Today is a sad day for all of us. We are a divided family, a divided community, a divided nation, split apart at a time when we need to have strong compassionate leadership, where different perspectives are sought out, and together, we find the courage to learn from the past and rebuild. It will take honesty and humility, that is the leadership that this country needs.
Gayle A. Langford
Former nurse and lawyer, current small business owner in central rural Alberta