Canada: government & governance – protests

Written by  //  April 29, 2022  //  Canada, Government & Governance  //  No comments

Emergencies Act

‘Rolling Thunder’ has downtown Ottawa on edge
Barricades are back up in Canada’s capital as motorcyclists pull into a city still recovering from the “freedom convoy.”
(Politico) As hundreds of motorcyclists trickle into town for noisy, freedom-loving rallies, the people who lived through a debilitating three-week occupation of several blocks near Parliament Hill are bracing for the worst.
…this weekend’s rally is sympathetic to the trucker convoy that brought downtown Ottawa to a standstill, inspired a multimillion-dollar class action suit, and only ended after a final standoff involving hundreds of police officers from across Canada.
As a parliamentary committee probed the federal response to the wintertime trucker convoy this week, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said local residents can’t be blamed for getting their backs up about “Rolling Thunder.”
Traffic has not been allowed back on much of Wellington Street — the artery that runs in front of the Bank of Canada, Supreme Court, Parliament Hill and the Prime Minister’s Office. Some say it may never be again. Ahead of this weekend, officials have preemptively prohibited vehicles from most of the downtown core.

24 February
The convoy and the questions: How a protest paralyzed a capital (video)
The Fifth Estate shows how months of planning, some secretive but much of it in the open, drew convoys to Canada’s capital, leading to an unprecedented weeks-long occupation of part of Ottawa.

23 February
The Ottawa truck convoy has revealed the ugly side of freedom
Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (2000 to 2017)
(Globe & Mail) During the truck convoy protests, we have watched banners demanding “freedom” waving over big rigs parked in front of Parliament. But what does this vaunted “freedom” mean?
The answer is, everything and nothing.
Everything: the right not to wear masks in public places; the right not to be vaccinated; the right to hold Ottawa’s downtown residents and businesses hostage; the right to malign public officials and call for the Prime Minister’s death; the right to shout epithets at people of colour.
And nothing. Because freedom is an empty word unless you ask further questions: “Freedom from what?” “Freedom to do what?” And beyond that, “Where do my freedoms end and the freedoms of others begin?”
Freedom is not absolute. We live in a social matrix, where one person’s exercise of freedom may conflict with another person’s exercise of freedom. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states this plainly. The Charter gives Canadians a bundle of rights and freedoms. But it prefaces them with this caution – these rights and freedoms, precious as they are, are not absolute. Governments, it proclaims, can limit freedoms, provided the limits are “reasonable” and can be “justified in a free and democratic society.”
Trudeau ends use of Emergencies Act, says ‘situation is no longer an emergency’
The Governor General signed off on the revocation on Wednesday afternoon, which formally ended the state of emergency.
MPs in the House of Commons voted to affirm use of the act on Monday. The Senate was in the midst of debating the act on Wednesday but withdrew the motion shortly after Trudeau made his announcement.
The government’s decision to invoke the act on Monday, Feb. 14 became a source of considerable controversy and criticism. The act had never been used since it was passed by Parliament in 1988.
The introduction of the act gave authorities sweeping temporary powers, including the ability to freeze the bank accounts and credit cards of protesters. Attending any event deemed an unlawful assembly, such as the Ottawa convoy protest, also became illegal.
Conservative senator says ‘friendly … patriotic’ Ottawa protesters have been demonized

18 February
The end of the ‘freedom convoy’ in Ottawa: Why rejoicing when occupiers get arrested isn’t the answer
By Linda Mussell, Postdoctoral fellow, Political Studies, L’Université d’Ottawa/University of Ottawa
(The Conversation) The occupation of Canada’s capital by the so-called “freedom convoy” is over after more than three weeks. A massive police presence on Saturday cleared the streets in front of the Parliament buildings that had been blocked by dozens of trucks. More than 170 people who have protested against anti-vaccine mandates have been arrested and dozens of vehicles have been towed away and impounded.
… Carceral enjoyments is a term coined by political scientist Andrew Dilts. It refers to a type of satisfaction that arises from witnessing the “social death” of other people through carceral action — such as arrest and confinement in jail.
And social death (coined by sociologist Orlando Patterson) refers to the end of a person’s ability to function as a social being. It happens when people are set apart from the rest.
Dilts argues if we want to disrupt white supremacy, we need to pay attention to the pleasures of carcerality and develop strategies to disrupt those enjoyments. Recognizing our material and emotional attachments to carceral enjoyments lets us cultivate certain ways of “killing the joy” of seeing others punished.
We must continue to imagine a better future that features non-carceral responses to transgression in our communities — by equipping communities with the tools they need to disrupt and intervene in patterns of harm, but also developing accountability processes for those who enact it. Much work needs to be done to counter fascism, extremism and white supremacy, but carceral enjoyment from policing and imprisonment isn’t the answer.

17 February
Convoy protest organizers Tamara Lich, Chris Barber arrested in Ottawa
Both have said protesters will stay in the city until mandates are lifted
Justin Ling: Canada was warned before protests that violent extremists infiltrated convoy
Exclusive: intelligence assessments warned in late January that it was ‘likely’ extremists were involved in protests
(The Guardian) Days before the so-called Freedom Convoy reached Ottawa, starting a weeks-long occupation of Canada’s capital and triggering a string of copy-cat blockades, the federal government was warned that violent extremist groups were deeply involved in the protest movement.
Intelligence assessments – prepared by Canada’s Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (Itac) and seen by the Guardian – warned in late January that it was “likely” that extremists were involved and said that the scale of the protests could yet pose a “trigger point and opportunity for potential lone actor attackers to conduct a terrorism attack”.
The assessments offer the first real glimpse into how federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have assessed the threat of Canada’s anti-vaccine and conspiracy theory movement.
The intelligence reports also show that clear warnings were sent to Ottawa police ahead of the convoy’s arrival in the capital.
As the occupation dragged into its second week, Itac issued another report on 8 February. … The report makes particular mention of the QAnon figure Romana Didulo, the self-styled “Queen of Canada”, who has instructed her followers to kill healthcare workers and politicians. She and some of her followers appeared in Ottawa for the occupation, waving flags representing her supposed kingdom.
Financial institutions have started freezing protesters’ bank accounts based on RCMP information, Chrystia Freeland says
(Globe & Mail) Financial institutions took the first steps to freeze customers’ accounts after the RCMP sent letters to them and to cryptocurrency exchanges on Wednesday, sharing lists that named protest organizers, and identified digital wallet addresses linked to demonstrators. The letters encouraged the financial institutions to cease transacting with those individuals and digital accounts, and Ms. Freeland said on Thursday that banks and other financial institutions are “collaborating properly and effectively.”
The Coutts 13: New details on the men and women arrested at border blockade
4 of those charged are accused of conspiring to murder RCMP officers
Of the four southern Alberta men accused of conspiring to murder RCMP officers, two have ties to a man who founded a neo-fascist, white supremacist group that aims to accomplish its goals through violence.
Chris Carbert, 44, of Lethbridge, Anthony Olienick, 39, of Claresholm, Jerry Morin, 40, of Olds and Christopher Lysak, 48, of Lethbridge all face charges of conspiracy to murder, a weapons offence and mischief over $5,000.
Carbert and Lysak both have ties to Jeremy MacKenzie, the Nova Scotia founder of Diagolon, a group described by University of New Brunswick professor David Hofmann as an American-style militia movement.
Heavy police presence descends on downtown Ottawa, metal fencing goes up near convoy protesters

16 February
Heading of Politico Ottawa Playbook: Move it or lose it
Morning Update: Ottawa pushing ahead with Emergencies Act as border protests end

14 February
Baffled by the Chaos in Canada? So Are Canadians.
The protests seem to challenge the cherished image that Canadians are moderate, rule-following and just plain nice. But was that really a myth all along?
By Catherine Porter, Toronto bureau chief for The Times
(NYT) For two years, Canadians have been largely stuck at home, and many have spent more time in front of the screen than ever. As they did, they absorbed the American culture war being played out from Fox News to Breitbart, and Trumpian ideas took root in Canada, said Gerald Butts, a longtime friend of Mr. Trudeau’s and his former top political aide.
It was not just ideas.
Right-wing activists in the United States and elsewhere have lent more than moral support to their new kindred spirits in Canada. They are opening their wallets. At least some of the money that has allowed the protesters to keep their trucks fueled and cover other expenses has flowed in from untraceable sources on crowdfunding platforms and cryptocurrencies.

The federal government has invoked the Emergencies Act. Here’s what that means
The act grants cabinet — Trudeau and his ministers — the ability to “take special temporary measures that may not be appropriate in normal times” to cope with an emergency and the resulting fallout during an “urgent and critical situation.”
The law itself defines an emergency as something that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians.”
While the federal government still has to respect the terms of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the law gives the federal government a lot of leeway for action. For one thing, it gives the federal cabinet unprecedented power to assume jurisdiction from the provinces and municipalities.
Mounties seize guns and arrest 13 protesters at border blockade in Alberta
Mounties said in a release early Monday that they became aware of a small organized group within the larger protest at Coutts, which led to 11 arrests.
They say they had information that the group had access to a cache of firearms and ammunition in three trailers. Officers seized long guns, handguns, multiple sets of body armour, a machete, a large quantity of ammunition and high-capacity firearm magazines.
In light of the news, Marco Van Huigenbos, one of the organizers of the protest, said a decision has been reached to roll out from Coutts on Tuesday morning.

13 February
Ambassador Bridge reopens after police clear protesters
The Canada Border Services Agency says the Ambassador Bridge border crossing between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit reopened late Sunday.
Border blockade damaged Canada’s reputation, business leaders say
(Globe & Mail) …industry groups are concerned the nearly week-long blockade has damaged Canada’s reputation with international investors, especially as a separate demonstration in Coutts, Alta., continues to disrupt the flow of goods to and from the United States.
The protest at the crucial border crossing that connects Windsor and Detroit has severely affected Canada-U.S. trade, forcing auto makers on both sides of the border to temporarily stop production and send workers home in some cases. Food producers, meanwhile, face the prospect of perishable items spoiling as shipments are not able to be delivered.
“This is absolutely the worst time in the last 50 years to be pointing out to international investors that Canada’s access to the U.S. market is not guaranteed,” [Flavio Volpe, president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association] said.
Automakers are investing heavily in production of electric vehicles and several large companies are looking to establish battery manufacturing plants in North America. The uncertainty and disruption caused by the border blockades could give investors pause when considering new business in Canada, Mr. Volpe said. “There’s a chance that we’re further down the priority list today,” he said.
Multiple border crossings remain closed as convoy protests against COVID-19 measures continue
Police on Sunday are resuming efforts to clear the Ambassador Bridge, the key trade route that links Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, where protesters opposed to COVID-19 public health restrictions have brought traffic to a standstill for days.
Windsor Police say enforcement actions are under way at the foot of the bridge, saying they’re towing vehicles still at the protest site and barring anyone else from arriving on scene. The bridge is not yet open to traffic.

10-11 February
The trucker convoy shows how Canadians are being sucked into larger conspiratorial narratives
By Daniel Panneton, writer, educator and online hate researcher based in Toronto.
(Globe & Mail) The United States is not the only country where the pandemic has frayed the shared sense of community and reality; Canadians are similarly vulnerable to radicalization. As with QAnon, the recent Freedom Convoy to Ottawa demonstrates how existing economic and political concerns are converging around and being sucked into larger conspiratorial narratives. Nominally protesting against vaccine mandates, the Freedom Convoy represented a medley of real, imagined and exaggerated issues bound together by a common sense of alienation and grievance. It created a context in which mainstream and fringe concerns could meld, merge and reinforce each other, and where extreme symbols and rhetoric could be normalized by association and adjacency with legitimate issues.
Paranoia and alarmism: Canada truckers’ ‘intelligence reports’ hint at mindset
Documents compiled by protest organisers give a glimpse into a conspiracy theory-drenched outlook
(The Guardian) Leaders of the Ottawa “Freedom Convoy” protest have warned fellow protesters that the risk of violence is growing, amid speculation the police may move to disperse the nearly two-week occupation of Canada’s capital.
Daily “intelligence reports” compiled by protest leaders and seen by the Guardian – as well as public comments by the organisers – have grown increasingly alarmist in recent days.
While the reports include misinformation, and should not be taken as credible intelligence, they nevertheless offer an insight on the occupiers’ conspiratorial mindset.

Ontario freezes funds from GiveSendGo trucker convoy fundraiser
By Stephanie Taylor
(The Canadian Press) The Ontario government says it has successfully petitioned a court to freeze access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Ottawa and at several border crossings. The province obtained an order from the Superior Court of Justice that prohibits anyone from distributing donations made through the website’s “Freedom Convoy 2022” and “Adopt-a-Trucker” campaign pages, said a spokeswoman for Premier Doug Ford.
Donors initially raised more than $10 million through GoFundMe, which announced last Friday it was pulling the plug on the campaign and that the money would be refunded. The site said it initially believed the demonstration was going to be peaceful, but withdrew its support after police and local leaders raised concerns it had become an “occupation.”
Organizers have also touted the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as another way to generate funds for protesters and avoid other potential fundraising shutdowns, including during a news conference that was livestreamed to supporters on Wednesday.

Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ surges beyond legitimate protest
(WaPo) The irony is that Canada’s tough pandemic restrictions have contributed to a covid-19 death rate that is among the lowest in the developed world, roughly a third of that in the United States, the Editorial Board writes.
The truckers are sick of restrictions — fine; who isn’t? But by crippling a major capital, subverting commerce and jobs, and advocating the overthrow of a fairly elected government, they have surged beyond legitimate protest into the realm of thuggery.

9 February
Justin Ling: The problem with Ottawa’s protesters
(Politico) The convoy occupiers want a meeting with government leadership, but their conspiratorial mindset makes that a no-win for Justin Trudeau.
The mounting demands from the occupiers, who have entrenched themselves into downtown Ottawa since the last weekend in January, are a grab bag of anti-establishment, anti-government anger. But there’s one clear objective: Eliminate all requirements and mandates for the Covid-19 vaccine.
While the occupation notionally began in protest of a vaccine requirement for truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border, their grievances stretch much further than truckers.

8 February
The whole world should be worried by the ‘siege of Ottawa’. This is about much more than a few anti-vaxx truckers
How did this ‘grassroots’ rebellion paralyse the Canadian capital? With funding from the far right and a boost from Facebook misinformation
Arwa Mahdawi
(The Guardian) What the truck is going on in Canada? No offence to Ottawa, but it’s not the most exciting place in the world. Over the past couple of weeks, however, the Canadian capital has been embroiled in drama: hundreds of truckers, ostensibly protesting against vaccine mandates, have brought the city to a standstill. Members of the so-called “Freedom Truck Convoy” have been blaring horns, desecrating war memorials and setting off fireworks. Residents are being driven to distraction. The police chief has called the situation a “siege”; the Ontario premier called it “an occupation”. On Monday, the city’s mayor, Jim Watson, declared a state of emergency.
5G and QAnon: how conspiracy theorists steered Canada’s anti-vaccine trucker protest
Ottawa’s occupation was a result of unrivaled coordination between anti-vax and anti-government organizations
Justin Ling
The so-called “freedom convoy” – which departed for Ottawa on 23 January – was the brainchild of James Bauder, an admitted conspiracy theorist who has endorsed the QAnon movement and called Covid-19 “the biggest political scam in history”. Bauder’s group, Canada Unity, contends that vaccine mandates and passports are illegal under Canada’s constitution, the Nuremberg Code and a host of other international conventions.
Aaron Wherry: The protest convoy could cast a long shadow in Canadian politics
The anger is real — and no one in any party seems entirely sure of what to do next
(CBC) The key lesson of Ottawa’s siege might be that it’s difficult to get populist, anti-democratic anger to leave once you’ve invited it in and allowed it to get comfortable.
…the vast majority of Canadians have trusted public health officials enough to get vaccinated against COVID-19. There is similarly high support for requiring vaccination for certain settings and occupations, as well as for people entering the country.
But those attitudes are not universal. And if there is deep disagreement, it’s exacerbated and amplified by social media’s power to cultivate resentment, the American tilt toward populism over the past decade and the simple fact that everyone has been living with the pandemic for two years.

7 February
How Ottawa’s convoy went viral
By Sue Allan
(Politico Ottawa Playbook) The mayor has declared a state of emergency. The premier says the protest in the nation’s capital has become an occupation. The prime minister, meanwhile, is in private meetings.”

Note that both Toronto and Quebec have done a better job of handling their convoys.
Canada enters second week of crippling Covid-19 protests
(MSN/CNN) Protests across Canada over a gamut of Covid-19 regulations are stretching into a second week of blocked roads and sometimes-dangerous rallies, with claims of hate-related incidents under investigation and arrests made amid reports of rocks and eggs thrown.

6 February
Ottawa declares state of emergency as police boost enforcement, target protest’s fuel supply
Protest is ‘most serious emergency our city has ever faced,’ mayor says
(CBC) A local state of emergency will allow Ottawa to work more efficiently to manage essential services and make procurement more flexible, the city said. Provincial legislation grants mayors powers during an emergency to make orders “not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area.”
Amid increasing resident anger, police said on Saturday that they lack the resources to end the protest, now in its 10th day.
Politicians have also increasingly denounced the protest over COVID-19 public health restrictions, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and others calling it an “occupation” and the head of the Ottawa Police Services Board referring to it as an “insurrection.”
Toronto police to maintain road closures and heavy presence downtown day after large protest
Police plan follows crowds at Queen’s Park, trucks blocking intersection, 2 arrests
Ottawa protest faces rising resident anger, uncertain finances in its 2nd week
The protest’s main fundraiser was shut down, and it now faces a class-action suit
Just over a week since the first vaccine mandate protesters rolled into Ottawa, ongoing demonstrations face financial uncertainty and increasing frustration from local residents — even as more protesters are expected to join the group this weekend.
The number of protesters in the downtown Ottawa area has fluctuated during the past week, from thousands in the city last weekend to about 250 by Tuesday, police said. But Ottawa police announced they expect potentially thousands more protesters to arrive this weekend.
Protesters have maintained a near-constant level of noise and disruption in the downtown core of the nation’s capital, blocking traffic, honking horns, setting off fireworks and organizing loud music.

28 January
Canada must confront the toxic ‘Freedom Convoy’ head-on
By David Moscrop, host of the podcast Open to Debate, and the author of “Too Dumb for Democracy? Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones.”
(WaPo) Those taking part are on their way, ostensibly, to protest pandemic measures, including vaccine mandates for truckers, but that’s just the tip of the spear. The leadership of the group is promising to remain peaceful, but the convoy is made up of many individuals and far-right groups that have embraced the convoy as a Canadian version of the Jan. 6 rioting in the United States. The movement shares an affinity with Trumpist toxic authoritarianist politics. Indeed, the convoy has received attention from Donald Trump Jr. Police and security services are preparing for the worst as experts express concern about the online vitriol and journalists covering the convoy are harassed.

Justin Ling: MPs Told to Hide From Anti-Vaxxer Convoy by Parliament Security Chief
The convoy, dubbed “Operation BearHug,” is seeking to abolish all measures in place to fight COVID-19 and removing Justin Trudeau’s government from power. If they don’t get their way, they intend to blockade Ottawa until their demands are met. This has been the plan from the very beginning.
The convoy, organized by some people with connections to extreme-right or anti-vax movements, has garnered support from some mainstream Conservatives.
Right now, hundreds of vehicles, maybe more, are barrelling towards Ottawa, with a plan to blockade Canada’s capital to protest, among other things, vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers.
The convoy has been enthusiastically endorsed by some Conservative Members of Parliament. It has been lauded in the pages of the Toronto Sun. It has been promoted the world over, on Fox News, and by Twitter philosophers like Jordan B. Peterson and Elon Musk.
…there are mounting concerns the convoy could turn ugly. The stated objectives of the founders and organizers of the movement go well beyond vaccine mandates for truckers. … The protest, originally, had nothing to do with truckers: The freedom convoy began as one man in his winnebago.
James Bauder registered the Canada Unity Facebook page in late 2019, when he was a fervent supporter of the United We Roll anti-carbon tax convoy. Things didn’t exactly take off: In March 2021, his recently-registered website boasted a membership count of 30.
Bauder’s Facebook is littered with videos from Fox News broadcaster Tucker Carlson and MAGA politician Louie Gohmert. He has endorsed the false idea that the 2020 U.S. election was rigged. He has repeatedly shared the hashtag “#WWG1WGA”—the rallying cry for the QAnon movement. He has endorsed the idea that the terror attacks of 9/11 and the anti-Muslim massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, were planned by some shadowy government body. He has called COVID-19 a “political scam” and a “plandemic,” and has pointed fingers at George Soros, Bill Gates, and vaccine-maker Pfizer for creating the virus. In 2020, he warned, “​​I think WW3 could start as soon as Feb 2021. I also predict this war will take place on Canadian soil.”

Canada Unity Memorandum of Agreement
Dear Canadian Citizens, Indigenous Communities, and Permanent Residents:
Thank you for choosing to take part in this unprecedented Nationwide movement.
Canada Unity represents and defends a coalition of Concerned Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, Indigenous Communities, Employers, Employees from private and government bodies, Institutions and Businesses at large.
The bond we have in common is that we stand opposed to the current unlawful restrictions and discriminatory SARS-CoV-2 (and not limited to SARS, CoV 2 subsequent variations) mandates.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm