One year later, a conclusion to the Freedom Convoy. Plus: A pro-convoy documentary makes its case
Good synopsis Justin. The dialogue issue has me torn. I've failed locally to move the needle with the hard core group. However what has started to happen is that many in the quiet minority have come to me privately to get my take on things. They figure I would "know what the facts are". Most recently it's been the 15 minute cities issue which is so conspiracy laden in my neck of the woods it almost defies belief. So while these people won't be standing up and giving speeches they will be engaging in conversation around the dinner table and in their social circles. What we are doing then is removing the opportunity for growth where we don't want growth. I look at it like management of a feral cat colony. Spay/neuter prevents growth and over time the colony size shrinks and eventually just disappears because most feral colonies don't to take non members kindly.
Feral cats? Great analogy!
I believe in the idea of there needs to be a "community of the dialogue"---a set of unspoken rules that both sides agree to, such as the exclusive use of both inductive and deductive logic (ie: reason and evidence). Once people stop accepting this necessity, all that's left is violence---implied or overt. That's the fundamental problem that things like the occupation put in the face of democracy. If people are trapped by ideologically-driven superstition (and let's face it, that's what the occupation was all about), all everyone else can do is get out the cattle prods, batons, and, tear gas.
Unfortunately, modern technology has created a engineered technology of demagogic rhetoric (think about how closely Poilievre must be parsing polling data) and taught journalism that clicks and the attention economy are more important that discerning truth from lies. I watched the mainstream media all through the occupation and I was appalled how rarely journalists did streeters where they really tried to pin down people to tell them why exactly they refused to get vaccinated or wear a mask. (I know, then they would either clam up or punch out the reporter's lights.) I can only assume they didn't want to say because ultimately there was no way they could say so without sounding ridiculous---and on some level they knew it.
In my personal life I've come to the conclusion that all I can do with the delusional people in my life is to shun them. If anyone intruded directly in my way, I'd treat them like livestock. They've lost the ability to think like a human being, so there are situations where I simply can no longer afford to give them the benefit of the doubt.
What a sad world we find ourselves in---.
Thanks Justin for a thoughtful review of the report. I’m going to read through the volumes myself. As for dialogue, I have difficulty in believing that with such differing ideas of what a « fact » is, we would do anything more than go around in circles and become further entrenched in our positions and frustrations with the « other side ».
After spending years working in federal and provincial politics at both the riding level and in cabinet, one thing I do believe is that we need to start teaching civics better. I can’t count the number of riding cases I’ve had with people who had no idea what their MNAs office did and were so grateful when we solved a hydro or revenue file, smoothed over an immigration hiccup or helped their non-profit access program funding they didn’t know they could get. The same goes for understanding an MPs job, the role of the public service and, one area I am particularly focusing on with some of my local mayors and city managers, creating a course on how municipal governments run. But I digress.
The point is, I believe it is far more difficult to be caught up in conspiracy theories and misinformation when you understand how government works; know where to check to see what was really said in committee, in parliament, in a public health order, etc and use that knowledge to hold government to account. It also might help more people actually considering running for office and giving us representation that truly reflects our population.
I may be wildly off topic, but on my mind today after the report was released.
Great anolgy and well out togther Justin! You also did it so fast. Lol. 👌
My contention remains that had Trudeau said
"If the convoy leaves Ottawa this weekend (the first one) we will hold a free vote in the house of commons on whether to rescind the border vaccine mandate (which was useless in any event)"
That way, the people of Canada could hold their own MP to task. That a government that received 30% of the popular vote would impose these mandates and implement the EA without consulting the majority seems wrong to me.
One thing I’ve found very frustrating in the pandemic discourse - and it really is common on both sides - is the refusal to admit that one’s preferred policies have any legitimate downsides.
I thought that the so-called lockdowns should have been longer and stricter than they were. I think I still believe that now, though I’ve gotten a bit less certain. But I have no problem at all with the “genuine hardship” excerpt. It shouldn’t be hard to acknowledge these things.
I think that locking down was an appropriate sacrifice to ask of people during a serious shared emergency that was no one’s fault and didn’t care how we felt about it. It was good policy, I think. I would have gone further, and for my own part I did. But it wasn’t easy or pleasant. I’m still coming to terms with some of the effects that it on me.
But being on the “pro-lockdown” side of things (and pro-mask, etc.) I see so much casual dismissal of people’s problems, so many people written off as “whiny babies” or something, and I can’t imagine how that’s supposed to be persuasive to very many people.
I have a friend who had a harder time with “lockdown” than I did. He doesn’t support the convoy, but he sympathizes with some of its supporters more easily than I do. I find it very helpful to pick his brain sometimes on what their perspective might be on a given issue.
Sounds like the report addresses these things well.
Enjoyed reading your comments Justin. Full disclosure first - I subscribe to you as part of my attempt to access a broader range of perspectives that are different than mine, so I can improve on my understandings and interactions in what in my little world have become often-serious splits in relationships with family & friends due to our ever-increasing polarizations. Given that, watching you in the documentary and reading your comments has helped me better see another view/side of the convoy story. My limited perspective comes from having observed the entire Ottawa and Coutts situations from start to finish, from a distance. But I did attend almost all major public protests out here in BC because I wanted to find out more about who/what I saw as an incredible, cross-Canada grass roots level of public support and involvement...which methinks has gone virtually unnoticed/unreported by the mainstream media. Part of me feels a lot of people in positions of power and communications are underestimating how many of us disgruntled Common Joes reside outside of the big cities...but that could also be wishful thinking on my part. I don't agree with all you say, but have no desire to challenge any of your comments, nor even the decision of the Commission. To me, by far the most important thing will be to see whether the politicians, public, and you/others will treat the next significant Canadian protest in the same way...because there is sure to be one. And there are an increasing number of people who will be watching at least a wee bit closer. By the way, my congratulations to you on participating in the documentary.
The killer sentence for me was that they were "victims and perpetrators of misinformation". Frustrating indeed.
The US "Jan 6 committee" took testimony from the deep Ohio accent of Stephen Ayres, who talked about being tricked by Trump to come to the Capitol and enter it, for which he was convicted. What the committee, not wanting their helpful witnesses to be disparaged, didn't mention, is that the guy was propagating misinformation himself, the same day and the next day:
...doing videos about how it was only Antifa that invaded the Capitol, though he'd been there himself. That's pretty brazen lying. So, how do you tell such lies, while thinking, "But everything I've been told about how I had to come here, including how I have to help out with blaming Antifa, that's all true".
It's right out of 1984 and double-think, holding two opposite truths in your head at once.
Incidentally, the question that can only be answered about the EA, until people write their memoirs in 20 years, is whether they gave a crap about everything Canadians were going through, or only dropped it because two American politicians said that we were not a reliable trading partner, were causing them to close factories, maybe we should not build cars together any more.
Only what was discussed in private on the last two days before it dropped, would tell that tale.
Greetings all. As usual Justin, a great overview of the whole darned thing and I might also add a very entertaining read ( not to trivialize or make light of the events that unfolded across our nation one year ago).
I’d like to comment just a tad on something I heard from Gary Mason on CBC’s special edition of, “ At Issue” that aired Friday February 17. He made reference and took slight exception to Rouleau’s comment in the report that stated how the PM’s words, “ a small fringe minority” incited more rage and anger by many in the protest. I agree with Gary when he stated that the alienation and palpable anger towards
Justin Trudeau long predates this latest national crisis at least in western provinces, specifically Alberta. This anger requires no stoking whatsoever. Having lived in Edmonton since 1979 after leaving Toronto I can honestly say that “ F*** Trudeau” virtriol and accompanying visuals have long been a part of the physical and vernacular landscape. The bad blood and history of PET is very much alive in this province.
Initially I was beyond shocked and though not accepting of it all, I have come to realize that it is deep and exists. This is generational anger that is cultivated in family dinner hours and popular coffee hangouts . At times I’m very discouraged. How to personally navigate the when and how to have meaningful respectful dialogue when such anger dominates the narrative?
And as an aside, I’ve worked in education with the most marginalized adult learners in our systems and although the understanding of their obstacles and needs was a mix of pedagogy and compassion, these fellow citizens of this great country present us with an even much greater challenge.
Good overview, but I'm finding your stuff on the state a bit weak because it isn't broken down to federal and provincial responsibility. I would argue part of the problem that ended with the need to invoke the emergencies act was because the Ontario and Alberta provincial governments refused to act. This needs to be stated.
So sad that you would add legitimacy to such an undemocratic movement and a RW "news" source such as True North. There is already such a HUGE preponderance of such "media" outlets - Rebel, True North, Rumble, Fox, Joe Rogan, Alex Jones, Brownstown Institute - the list is endless, as well as the RW "reporters"- Andrew Lawton, Andy Lee, Ruba, Viva Frei. I think we need some kind of counter points; I had counted on you for that perspective and am very let down