Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Support for the Truckers' ideas and attitudes was real, and deep, and backed up by money. Photo: FB
Opinion/ColumnTrucking

Emergencies Act was Trudeau’s “Hail Mary pass”

What if Canadians realized he has no mandate to govern?

RWN/Taxi News publisher Rita Smith

When you throw a Hail Mary pass in football, it means that stakes are high and options are limited: you throw the ball and say a prayer while it’s in the air.

If a team mate catches your Hail Mary pass, you are a hero for making such a wise decision under intense pressure. If you lose possession of the ball, well, all the odds were against you, after all.

Invoking the Emergencies Act to stop the Truckers’ Freedom Convoy in February, 2022, was Justin Trudeau’s Hail Mary pass.

Trudeau wasn’t scrambling to protect Canadians’ physical safety or economic prosperity; he was scrambling to prevent voters from realizing how many more citizens support the opposition than his government. Trudeau needs Canadians to believe he has a meaningful mandate to govern. He does not.

15 per cent of Canadians voted for Justin Trudeau in the 2021 election; less than one in seven citizens. Without the support he has purchased from Jagmeet Singh, he could not hold onto the nation’s leadership.

According to Elections Canada Table #8 2021 Elections results, less than 15 per cent of the Canadian population – fewer than one in three voters – voted for Justin Trudeau https://www.elections.ca/res/rep/off/ovr2021app/53/table8E.html

In January 2022, Trudeau was rapidly losing the support of Canadians in the court of public opinion. Had the Truckers continued on with their bouncy castles, hot tubs, street hockey games, and dance parties, there was a real risk that they might convince a critical mass of citizens that they actually were decent people, working to protect our rights and freedoms.

In fact, on the very day Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act, Truckers were clearing trucks according to the deal negotiated with Ottawa City Hall and Ottawa Police. They were moving the remaining trucks to Wellington Street, in front of Trudeau’s office, to allow the rest of downtown and the residential neighbourhoods to get back to life as usual.

Trudeau wasn’t, as claimed, frantic to protect the comfort and safety of Ottawa residents; that issue had been resolved in the City deal. He wasn’t overwhelmed with concern about Canada’s trade at the border, as the Ambassador Bridge blockade had been resolved peacefully by the Ontario Provincial Police the preceding weekend.

Trudeau was in a panic about the support the Truckers were gaining, their organizational abilities and crucially, the money they were able to raise so quickly and effortlessly. They were shaping up to be formidable adversaries; he had to derail them before they gained any more momentum. Invoking the Emergencies Act accomplished that.

The fact that deep, generous support for the Truckers existed is not just a figment of my imagination: it was picked up in polling by the Innovative Research Group in the last week of January, 2022.

In that poll, 31 per cent of Canadians surveyed in a recent poll supported the idea of the Truckers’ protest, and 38 per cent supported bringing back the exemption for unvaccinated truck drivers. 

These were the findings from the first half of the current wave of Innovative Research’s “Canada This Month” survey, in field from January 27th to 31st, 2022.

Greg Lyle of Innovative Research told Road Warrior News at that time that he believed the results of the January 31st poll should serve as a “wake up call” to many Canadian decision makers. “The Truckers’ donors list would make a pretty powerful political list,” he noted.

As previously noted, it’s very likely that in the Freedom Convoy, Trudeau’s team saw a real, growing opposition gaining support from millions of Canadian voters and taxpayers.

The Convoy raised $10 million in only a few weeks; and when the government succeeded in freezing the truckers’ GoFundMe account, Convoy organizers turned around and raised millions again on the GiveSendGo platform. They raised more money in a month than the Liberal Party raised in the entire year of 2020. That’s a frighteningly impressive fundraising ability, demonstrated by a brand-new group with no political track record. 

A lot of smart people surround Justin Trudeau, smart enough to see that if the Truckers continued on their February 2022 trajectory, they would have raised enough money and built a big enough supporters’ list to help bring down the Liberal government.

The Emergencies Act was not invoked to protect Canadian safety, security, or prosperity. It was invoked to shut down the Truckers and their supporters before they could prove fatal to Justin Trudeau’s political career.

The bought-and-paid-for Canadian media caught Trudeau’s Hail Mary pass, and gave him another two years on the clock. However, on January 23rd, Justice Richard Mosely handed down his thoroughly considered decision, which found that Trudeau’s invocation of the Emergencies Act was “not justified.”  

Indeed, no one from the Freedom Convoy has emerged as the armed and violent bogeyman for which Trudeau’s team was looking. Trudeau has done nothing to endear himself to Canadians since he eked out that “win” in 2021. Actually, Conservatives won more of the popular vote (5,747,410) than the Liberals did (5,554,629). The eccentricities of our first-past-the-post meant the Liberals won more ridings; this hardly constitutes a mandate.

If Trudeau scored a point with the Emergencies Act, the Truckers just scored one with Justice Mosley’s decision that the Act was unjustified. As in any game that starts a new period, a new quarter, or a new inning with a tied score – it’s a whole new game, and this time, the momentum is not with Trudeau.

Fewer than 15 per cent of Canadians voted for the Liberal Party of Canada in the 2021 election. You would never guess this, given the imperious attitude government has adopted in recent years. Image: Elections Canada