The Canadian Dilemma in a Nutshell

Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

From the perspective of freedom-loving citizens in this country, the trucker convoys and blockades protesting mask and vaccine mandates are a stirring spectacle of patriotism, civic responsibility, and true grit. They represent the offset to heavy-handed and arrogant government that is using everything in its power to suppress their efforts: threats, fines, police coercion, theft of property, and the manifestly illegal sequestering of funds donated to the truckers by private individuals. A conflict of this nature is often framed as the state versus the nation, the authorities versus the people. Whether it applies to the current situation, as we will see, is problematic.


The issue is the preservation, or restitution, of the government-violated Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms meant to guarantee common life in a democratic country—or, at any rate, a country now under the sway of an avowedly communist leader and several autocratic provincial premiers, a country that would appear well on the road to despotic control.

The problem is that fully two-thirds of the electorate rejects or is indifferent to the trucker revolt against unscrupulous and demagogic power. According to an Angus Reid poll, 54% of Canadians would like to see the COVID-19 mandates lifted, yet they are not interested in standing up for the Freedom Convoy that carries their banner. The trucker unions jealous of their perquisites and the bought-and-paid-for national press have also sided with the wielders of tyrannical authority. 

Ironically, it is popular opposition to a popular uprising that will determine the future of the country. This explains why, despite the courage and the exhilarating display of patriotic fervor animating the trucker convoys, numbers of Canadians have left or are considering leaving the country. I know of many such. They are not defectors but long-suffering citizens who are convinced that they have read the writing on the wall.

The issue, then, is clear and the problem is obvious. The dilemma is that we may be witnessing the death of a nation. A supine and compliant majority population, even more than a corrupt and imperious governing elite, will determine whether the nation survives or not. The truckers are battling not only a prime minister who admires Communist China and Castroite Cuba, or a banausic troglodyte like Ontario premier Doug Ford, but a majority citizenry that cares little for democratic freedoms and wishes only to get on with things as they were, fully vaccinated and content to go about masked and docile like a Costco herd of narcotized zombies. 


Is there still hope that two-thirds of the country will emerge from its stupor? Sites like No More Lockdowns Canada remain confident, thanks largely to the truckers. The editors write: “As we enter the third week of Freedom Convoy protests across Canada, thousands upon thousands of Canadians are uniting behind this movement which is becoming unstoppable. While Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford escalate their rhetoric by declaring states of emergency and attempting to vilify the peaceful demonstrators, Canadians are spontaneously rising to the occasion and participating in these historic events.”

My wife and I endorse that hope, doing what we can, writing and speaking on behalf of the truckers and, like many Canadians, digging into our savings to support their movement. But will that be enough? I confess that I am not sure. When the preponderance of a nation has wilfully surrendered to demagogic authority and heedlessly behaves as instructed, is that nation really worth saving? Can it be saved?

Related:Canada and the US: What a Difference! 

We might say that the truckers and their supporters are the vestiges of the old Canada, but they are an endangered species, a threatened minority. The mass of the country — the non-Canada in the traditional sense, Justin Trudeau’s Canada, Doug Ford’s Canada, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s Canada — is not behind them. Is a tragedy in the making? Does the fate of Canada hang in the balance? Must we prepare for the sequel, in whatever way is possible for us? 


I think of Hamlet: I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.


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