Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Photo credit: Jocelyn Michel of Le Consulat
Forever more, February 14th will be known as the day Canada invoked the last-resort Emergencies Act against non-violent, working class protesters
Justin Trudeau was first elected Prime Minister in late 2015 after his Liberal Party received 39.5% of all the votes cast in a national election. Canada’s political system is such that a party rejected by 60% of voters can still form a majority government and proceed to behave as though it has a mandate to remake the country from top to bottom.
The above photograph has been online since at least early 2016. In what seems like another lifetime ago, back in 2016, the Liberal Party of Canada’s website told us about Mr. Trudeau’s “sunny ways” philosophy. This is a reference to an Aesop fable in which the sun and the wind compete to remove a man’s coat. As the website explains, the “the sun’s warm rays prove more effective than the wind’s bluster.”
We were told Mr. Trudeau admired the leadership style of Wilfred Laurier, a previous Prime Minister who’d rejected heavy-handed, coercive government. In an 1895 speech, Laurier said the national government’s attempt to order the province of Manitoba to maintain a parallel school system for the minority of its citizens who spoke French was counterproductive:
Manitoba answered it by saying, ‘We will not be coerced.’ I ask you now, would it not have been more fair, more just, more equitable, more statesmanlike, at once to investigate the subject, and to bring the parties together to hear them, to have the facts brought out…
…Well, sir, the government are very windy. They have blown and raged and threatened, but the more they have raged and blown the more [Manitoba Premier] Greenway has stuck to his coat. If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way. I would approach this man Greenway with the sunny way of patriotism, asking him to be just and to be fair, asking him to be generous to the minority, in order that we may have peace among all the creeds and races which it has pleased God to bring upon this corner of our common country. [bold added]
The Liberal Party website said Mr. Trudeau likewise intended to bring parties together. It said Mr. Trudeau intented to listen:
While more than 120 years have passed, Prime Minister Trudeau shares Laurier’s belief that the “sunny way” remains essential to solving the complex problems facing our country.
A mere six years later, Mr. Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act – last resort legislation meant for genuine emergencies. He did so over the objections of seven of Canada’s 10 provincial premiers. He did so before even trying to negotiate with the peaceful Freedom Convoy truckers who’d reached the end of their patience over yet another COVID mandate.
Justin Trudeau didn’t bring people together. He didn’t listen. Instead, he chose February 14th – Valentine’s Day – to turn Canada into a police state. That date will live in memory long after Mr Sunny Ways has left office.
- A 2021-2022 annual report tells us the federal government had 24,538 interactions with professional lobbyists that fiscal year. Yet it refused to talk to the truckers even once.
- In Sept. 2021, Mr. Trudeau’s party was rejected by more than two-thirds of voters. Despite receiving only 32.6% of all votes cast, five months later his government eschewed dialogue with the truckers (who clearly had widespread public support) and instead reached for the nuclear option.
- see my previous posts: Government to Blame for Ottawa ‘Occupation’ and When ‘No Idea Too Crazy’ Means Ignoring the Obvious
Donna Laframboise writes a daily blog at ThankYouTruckers.substack.com. It is a first draft of her upcoming book that focuses on interviews with Freedom Convoy truckers. She is a former National Post and Toronto Star columnist, and a former Vice President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.