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Political Self-immolation
on National Television

TORONTO – Was anyone wearing long pants part of the planning for that Press Conference? Did anyone develop talking points or rehearse the Q and A? Rhetorical musings, sorry, I wanted to be polite.

Why did they not have a circus ringmaster jump up and simply say, “about that Emergencies Act… we were just kidding”?

After we cut through a blizzard of excuses, it seems there was no “blockade”, no “occupation”, no “illegal” activity, no “criminal” behaviour, no “disruption of trans border” lifelines, no “illegal financing by foreign interests”, no “threat to the health or well-being” of the country.

Nothing that could have sustained the justification of suspension of democratic institutions or to “legitimize” absolute authoritarianism, however briefly. Did I leave anything out?

In the end, the “national crisis” that struck fear in the hearts of virtue-signalers who saw swastikas, racists, bigots, misogynists and fifth columnists at the heart and soul of the “convoyists” was just not there.

Apparently, there was, however, a lot of illegal parking, as truckers brought their own brand of festivities to celebrate Winterlude in the Nation’s Capital. Sort of a 21st century Woodstock, plus the cold, snow and ice; oh, and minus the rock bands, forcing organizers to improvise, just as their predecessors had done in 1969. They asked truckers to honk their horns instead. In humourless Ottawa, this was “just not cricket, by Jove”.

Someone convinced the Prime Minister that, if left unattended, this turn of events would tarnish his impeccable image, unless his government showed him to be in command. “They” managed to convince the Ottawa Chief of Police to fall on his sword and declared their intention to invoke the modern-day version of the War Measures Act. The flurry of patent irrationalities to support the invocation of the Emergencies Act resembled what Sigmund Freud would have described as a frenzy prompted by anatomical-appendage envy among the testosterone supercharged.

The vocabulary in the ensuing “debate” was akin to that employed to demonize opponents and vilify adversaries in a propaganda war. As casual observer might have thought Canadian democracy was about to be overturned, and that indeed “the Barbarians were at the gate”. The government even went as far as to suggest that a contrary vote in the House of Commons might/could be construed as a vote of non-confidence.

The country might/could be sent to the polls. How could that be helpful, what with Putin engaging in military intervention in Ukraine? The NDP, thinking of self-preservation, granted the government its wish.

Less than twenty hours later, the government orchestrated a “just kidding” press conference and cancelled the proclamation of the Emergencies Act… Back to square one. “All bets are off”, as the saying goes. Individual Canadians, corporate or private, will have to do what they did on their own initiative: go to Courts.

Those Courts will now have to untangle the legal knots the boy[s] who cried Wolf unleashed in the meanwhile.

The political damage may not be so easily repaired.

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