Did you ever consider that you would live to see the day that Canadian politicians would be praising the efforts of Nazis, white nationalists, white supremacists, and other racists? Oh, you believe that I am exaggerating? What’s that? Only SOME of the Truckers for Freedom protestors are Nazis? Well, ok, I suppose you are correct. Only some of the crowd that has descended on Ottawa are actual card carrying Nazis with uniforms and flags and a copy of Mein Kampf in their back pocket. The rest are simply Nazi sympathizers. What? Still too harsh? Why? Why is that too harsh? We are talking about people who are proudly marching beside Nazis in an attempt to achieve common goals. In any social movement, if the good apples do not drive off the bad apples, it won’t be long before the whole group is rotten.
But it is only a few Bad Apples!
Really? Is it really just a few bad apples? More than a few Canadian politicians have insisted that we can’t paint all protesters with the same brush. That simply because there are Nazis and White Nationalists present, it does not mean the rest of the protesters subscribe to those ideas. So, really? Is that a satisfactory excuse for why we are seeing politicians proudly encouraging the protesters? What I see is a bunch of conservative politicians that are so pathologically obsessed with Trudeau that they are willing to climb into bed with Nazis and White Nationalists.
Former Saskatchewan Premier, and verified Trudeau hater, Brad Wall was amongst the first to enthusiastically embrace the Trucker Convoy. Although there were reports of extremist groups participating in the convoy, Wall used some mental gymnastics to justify his willingness to consort with bad apples. In a bizarre Tweet, Wall implied that it was the people that called the extremist groups extremist that were the extremists. Did that make sense? No? That is because Wall was attempting to convince people that criticizing people for associating with Nazis is the same thing as associating with Nazis. That will never make sense no matter how hard the alt-right sympathizers try to spin it. All it does is normalize extremism.
Politicians like Wall and Poilievre should definitely take the “Am I on the right side of history test” shown above because it was a mere 24 hours later that their words came back to haunt them. As soon as the truck convoy arrived at Parliament Hill, Canadians were treated to a variety of hate symbols and other unsavoury delights. OOPS?
Bad Apples on Parliament Hill
It says in the history books that one of the reasons the remote Ottawa location was chosen as Canada’s Capital was to ensure it would be safe from the Revolutionary Americans from the south. That was a good strategy in the beginning, but Ottawa is not quite as remote as it was in the 1800s. Now it seems that any hooligan, whether American or Canadian, can make their way to Ottawa with little trouble. For some reason, there seems to be American influence of the worst kind on the trucker convey, including banners to re-elect Trump and the nefarious presence of the ‘Rebel Flag’.
Some politicians have been a little over-enthusiastic about the protest and have chosen to join. There has been various media footage of Pierre Poilievre, Erin O’Toole, Maxime Bernier, Randy Hillier, and others that are cavorting with the protestors. None, however, has aroused controversy greater than that of Michael Cooper, the MP from St Albert-Edmonton who praised the efforts and demands of the protestors while standing in front of a desecrated Canadian flag. Seriously. WTF.
What are the Bad Apples doing?
You mean besides marching around like dumbasses while flying desecrated flags and brandishing hate symbols? They are desecrating monuments. They are urinating and defecating anywhere they can find a spot. They are shaking down soup kitchens for free meals meant for the homeless. Forcing the early closure of retail shops and restaurants because they refuse to abide by the public health orders. They are drinking and partying. This is no normal protest. It is a protest of hooligans.
Most of these protestors are likely on their very first visit to Parliament Hill and many of them are Western Separatists. They obviously would not recognize a national monument from a parking lot, which is why they parked their cars on the National War Memorial. Protestors not only brazenly blocked entry to the memorial with their vehicles, but they were bold enough to actually park on the steps. Who are these people?
Despite raising many millions of dollars over Go Fund Me, the organizers of the Trucker Convoy failed to do any organizing. The most obvious problem was that all these beverage imbibing protestors had nowhere to relieve themselves. So what did they do? Just peed where they felt like it. Most notably on the War Memorial.
Seriously, is there a deeper message here concerning Canada’s War Memorial? They park on it, they jump on the actual Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then they urinate on it. Are these protestors trying to send a message about…. Federalism? About Confederation? About the existence of Canada itself? Their messaging goes much deeper than vaccine mandates during a global pandemic. As stated, many in the crowd are Western Separatists. They want out of Canada to create a prairie province petrostate.
Bad Apples give no respect
Right now, all over Parliament Hill, national monuments are feeling a kinship with Rodney Dangerfield.
The desecration of Canada’s national monuments was not incidental. Truck Convoy protestors were particularly disrespectful to the War Memorial, but they targeted other monuments as well. People across Canada were particularly upset about the Terry Fox Memorial that was desecrated with anti vaccine signage and an upside down Canadian flag.
And then there is this. At the Valiants Memorial stands the dignified statue of General Sir Arthur Currie. He was a WWI war hero that was known for his slogan: “pay the price of victory in shells, not lives”. The truck convoy protestors dressed him up in an obscene t-shirt and placed an offensive gesture in front of him. Currie survived the 1918 global pandemic and he didn’t do it by complaining that Canada was not free to spread influenza around. You can believe he wouldn’t put up with this antivax conspiracy crapola or with treating Canadian workers as COVID19 cannon fodder.
Where are these racists coming from?
The times are confusing. The pandemic is hard. Really hard. Not as hard in Canada as it is for the majority of the world population, but still hard. The fast pace of changing information about the virus, the conflicting public health orders, the widespread sickness and death, unemployment, loneliness, misinformation, collapse of public services –all of this leads to uncertainty and social instability. Unfortunately, uncertain and unstable times provide opportunity for organized racists to get a foothold.
This terrible picture could be a symbol of the Truck Convoy protest. Conservative politicians and the protestors themselves insist they are upstanding citizens crying for freedom, but the reality is the Truck Convoy is composed of hooligans, drunken partiers, people who desecrate monuments and national symbols, conspiracy theorists, and people who want to overthrow an elected government.
Who is to blame for this mess?
Do not give politicians a pass for consorting with and sympathizing with hate groups and conspiracy theorists. Every time a politician defends a hate movement, they legitimize that hate movement. In regard to the Truck Convoy, the politicians are legitimizing the presence of Nazi symbolism in our society. They are also giving a stamp of approval to people who would illegally overthrow an elected government. They are providing legitimacy to conspiracy theorists and jeopardizing lives by legitimizing the idea that vaccines are harmful or do not work.
Many people have been misled into believing ridiculous conspiracy theories about vaccines and secret plans to kill off a large portion of the population. Organized racist groups, such as white nationalists and neo-Nazis, hope to lure you into their mindset by promising a better future or a better way to organize society based on their ideas. Everything will be better if you just start doing things their way. It is not that much different than converting to a new religion.
The pandemic makes many people feel like they have lost hope and control over their lives. Racist and other hate groups have been waiting for this opportunity. They promise they know what is really going on and claim they know how to fix things. They are taking advantage of hurting people to recruit for their movement and gain acceptance in society.
Conservative politicians that support the Truck Convoy are well aware of the security threats that have been made against the Prime Minister, his family, and other MPs. Suggesting that any protestors who commit crimes are merely personally responsible for those crimes is irresponsible. Poilievre, Wall, and others have given their consent for the Truck Convoy to protest alongside people who would resort to violence or promote racist values. They are legitimizing violence against their fellow MPs, and their Prime Minister, and absolving themselves of the collective action that led to violence. Turns out that the politicians that support the Truck Convoy are a bunch of bad apples.