Saturday, May 25, 2024
On the Road with Mike MurchisonOpinion/Column

On Flag Day, the world is watching Canada

February 15th is Flag Day in Canada; after Prime Minister Trudeau’s questionable invocation of the Emergency Measures Act to deal with the Truckers’ Convoy, the world is watching Canada. Photo: Mike Murchison

A lengthy, well-organized protest. The desire to have dialog. An emphasis on peace. A government steadfast on ending it, and yet refusing to engage in conversation.

 The entire world has witnessed Canada’s “emergency” unfold; many are in support. Most are left in disbelief, asking “How could this happen in one of the most peaceful nations on the planet?”

Enacting the Emergency Measures Act on citizens across the country in order to bring an end to peaceful demonstrations not only undermines the credibility of a nation that for years has preached freedom, tolerance, acceptance; but I’m sure it has broken the hearts of many of its peaceful hardworking citizens.

Was this done in the interest of peace or for economic well being? Was this done to calm the fears of foreign investors and trading partners?

Canadians now face threats of bank account seizures, life-long suspensions of commercial licenses, fines, and jail time. I do not believe this is what protesters and supporters counted on, or saw coming.

I felt physically ill when I watched the Prime Minister announce his intentions. I felt it deep in the gut, hard. I had to stop my truck, and get out and take a walk.

The protests and the blockades are being dismantled at various points. In Coutts, Alberta, law enforcement have shown up in numbers. They are dressed in tactical gear, carrying assault rifles and with more flashing lights than a Friday night dance party.

 RCMP have rendered 3 excavators useless by cutting battery cables, sparing foam insulation in fuel lines and leaving the owners with the bill.

 Apparently, under the Emergency Measures Act the government has the power to ‘order’ towing companies to remove vehicles from the protest sights. Towing companies which previously indicated they would not tow vehicles when requested by law enforcement may now be compelled to do so.

  So, what choice do these protesters and supporters at Coutts, Sumas, Emerson or Ottawa have? They stressed peace throughout their assemblies. They repeatedly asked for dialogue. They sacrificed. What choice do they have facing legal repercussions I mentioned earlier? They are backed into a corner.

 Yes, I suspect that they will disassemble; they will leave the sights they have occupied for nearly three weeks and try to pick up their lives.

 I do know this: none of this will be forgotten anytime soon. Regardless of where in this country you live, you will not look upon your government the same way. Nor do I think that those across the globe will look upon this country as a beacon of freedom that once did.

 These events played out on the world’s stage, and that in itself will leave a scar that will take generations to heal.

 There has always been a cost associated to defending one’s views, opinions and beliefs. As Canadians we have found it inspiring to read about the sacrifice made by previous generations, honour it and embrace it. It is a completely different matter to have to actually do the sacrificing.

Let’s hope this certain bitterness precedes the sweet taste of freedom.