Westerners know Trudeau, Singh & Legault harbour unacceptable views (Part 1)
With the one year anniversary of the Trucker Convoy for Freedom upon us, it is time to look back and properly reflect upon all that has happened. In the aftermath of this protest, there has begun a post mortem of sorts in the media and within the walls of academia. To search for meaning they are examining data points to gauge the effectiveness of their tactics and more importantly their message.1 But this tells us little about the real impact that this protest had on Canadian society.
With 678, 000 memberships sent out2, and 437, 854 ballots returned,3 and with the announcement that Pierre Poilievre won with a convincing majority of 68.8%, there is no doubt in the ranks of conservatism who their leader is.4 And if anyone doubted it before, there is no way to ignore it now, populism and populists spread right across the country from coast to coast to coast, have infused the Conservative Party of Canada with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and momentum. All due to the Trucker Convoy for Freedom.
With the Conservative Party of Canada now strictly a conservative party that will run on a platform that includes nobody else,5 just one question still remains unresolved. Can the CPC win the next federal election?
The answer from this writer is yes. But an ambiguous yes at best.
To begin, if one compares the original data that was collected to the most recent polling numbers, when analysed, it has been consistent and reveals no surprises. That most people found the Freedom Convoy to have failed miserably when it came to changing public opinion about government enforced mandates and lockdowns, was expected.
However, when the original polling data is scrutinized further, many interesting split interpretations or internal cleavages are revealed. Not only did it show a divided country from East to West, it also revealed a vertically partitioned public opinion that was far from being homogenous in nature. Constructed from a number of various categories, the Freedom Convoy split public opinion on every level that included income level, rural, urban and even those who hold divergent political affiliations. Even when respondent were broken down by age, Canadians have formed very different opinions about how well the message of freedom was received by the citizens of Ottawa and the public in general.
For instance, if one looks at the Nanos media release6 that was conducted after the protest was broken up using the Emergencies Act, it revealed that overall a majority of people had an unfavourable opinion about the tactics used by the truckers. But what was really surprising was how those in Western Canada had a more favourable view of the demonstration than their fellow Canadians in Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada.
For populists everywhere, but especially those who live in Western Canada and the Territories, there is much to learn from the Freedom Convoy.
In the End, The CPC Leadership Race will be a Bust for Western Populists
Despite a well run political race for the leadership of this federal party, it once again revealed a Conservative Party of Canada that is out of touch with the political realities that exist past the Manitoba/Ontario provincial boundary. Of particular concern is the ousting of Patrick Brown from the leadership contest in early July. Even more concerning is the rumour or conspiracy theory that stated it was Stephane Harper and his people who helped to orchestrate his removal in the hopes of derailing the candidacy of Jean Charest. Apparently, all done to make sure that the conservative philosophy that forms the foundation of the Conservative Party of Canada was not diluted and stayed ideologically pure.7
Then, right on que just like providence, Stephen Harper endorsed Pierre Poiliervre as the best choice for conservatives who are looking to gain a majority in the next federal election.8
If Western Canadian populists were hoping that this race would infuse the CPC with a new and lasting energy, opening the party to a broader intellectual foundation, allowing for a more diverse set of political opinions other than ‘conservatism,’ and thereby creating a vehicle for western populist policies to shape the next federal government, it has been a very deflating experience. But more important than these concerns, it showed once again that there is no political outlet at the federal level of politics for those who do not see themselves as either progressive or conservative, but libertarians, red Tories, blue Liberals, and disillusioned New Democrats.
To illustrate and understand this pessimism, it must be stated now with the leadership race over, that many of the policies and anticipated legislative initiatives that Pierre Poiliervre is promising to his supporters, they will never be accepted by a majority of the electorate in Ontario and Quebec. And even if Mr. Poilievre does win his majority, there are numerous bureaucratic and legal obstacles that will stifle and ultimately derail his legislative agenda.
If you look at what happened under the Trump administration it is possible to see today just how much was accomplished in the four years he and his followers were in power. Their biggest legacy was the gutting of the administrative state. It included legislation that now required all agencies to defer to Congress for approval of new programs. Another legacy is the filling of hundreds of vacant federal court positions. Change was everywhere. And of course there were the three ultra-conservative nominees he was able to put on the Supreme Court.
If anyone thinks change can come to Ottawa like this, in the time a government is allowed to hold power under Canadian law, I have to bust your bubble. The power structures that underpin Canada are not open to such change in only one five year term. From the unelected Senate and its liberal majority, to the progressive federal bureaucracy where it is impossible to remove civil servants without just cause, and a court system that has only a very small number of justices retiring anytime soon, the reality is clear. Change, on the scale of the Trump administration is impossible.
With neither Jean Charest or Pierre Poilievre getting any real traction in Quebec (25,000 memberships sold out of a province with 7 million people), it stands to reason that the Liberals will once again retain power due to vote splitting and the sheer dominance of the progressive and the nationalists who vote for the Bloc Quebecois.
In essence, the great barrier in regard to finding a path forward for Western Canadian conservatives and populist with aspirations of forming a majority government in Ottawa hinges on Quebec. This ‘Quebec Veto’ and its concrete political foundation seems to indicate that it will live forever within the Canadian federation as it is now structured. And if history is prologue, Quebec will never give up this power over Western Canadian conservatives and populists.
If Doug Ford’s re-election proved anything, it was that progressive politics, policies and ideas rule from the Manitoba/Ontario border to the Atlantic Ocean. Doug Ford has turned his party into a high deficit, high spending, socially conscious juggernaut that tows nearly every progressive position that the Trudeau liberals have espoused since their 2015 federal election win. Doug Ford and his team inherently understand the political and social Zeitgeist or ‘General Will’ of the province of Ontario. If Western Canadian conservatives and populists think you can ignore this reality, you will be out of power forever.
Net-Zero, the Emergencies Act, Bills C 21 & C 96 and Other Unacceptable Views
For most people who call Western Canada and the Territories home, a conversation beginning with the words ‘Net-Zero carbon emissions’ is a non-starter and this is “not negotiable.”9 The reason is simple, the vast majority of those who live in these places, owe their livelihoods (and their continued future economic prosperity), to emission intensive industries like oil, gas and mining. And for Canadian farmers living in Western Canada there is yet another policy that is of grave concern, and that involves reducing fertilizer emissions by 30%.10
When looked upon with an objective eye, these policies are nothing but a return to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau years, when the Canadian Wheat Pool and the National Energy Program existed.11 For the hundreds of thousands that are directly employed in these sectors, that by all standards are the main economic driving force in Western Canadian & Territories, these number are dwarfed by the millions who are indirectly dependent on these sectors for their employment.
Even more concerning is the fact that these sectors generate billions in tax revenue that flows both to the provincial treasury and the one that exists in Ottawa. How does the Trudeau & Singh governing coalition expect to replace this revenue? So let’s take this one step further down the road. Who is going to pay for their bureaucratic red tape in Ottawa? Where to find the funds for federal transfer payments? And not to mention that it pays for all Canadians’ social services and health care?
All three politicians - Justin Trudeau, Jahgmeet Singh and Francois Legault are all firm believers in this ideology of ‘Net-Zero.’ Ironically, only one of them (Jahgmeet Singh) lives out west. It is not surprising then when this ideology is discussed by the three amigos, it ends in simple little sound bites about ‘Green jobs,’ future sustainability and a ‘just transition.’
To understand the devastation such thinking will create, dive into the numbers for a few moments about those ‘Green Jobs.’ To take just one example, there are 140,000 Canadians employed in the oil and gas sector.12 Of that number 125,000 work in Alberta.13 The average salary for these workers is $46.45/hr.
Now let’s quickly look at the statistics of a ‘Green job.’ A wind turbine technician in Alberta makes between $22-38/hr. But more important, is the number of people employed in this ‘Green sector,’ and that number is 3200.14 So, once again I ask the question to all three ‘Green politicians,’ ??? Where will the other 121, 800 jobs come from?
The populist movement in Canada was redefined and imbued with an incredible amount of new energy and enthusiasm by the Freedom Convoy that peacefully, but loudly, proclaimed their anger and frustration with the Trudeau & Singh government. Incredibly, in just a couple of weeks with a leader like Tamara Lich,15 the populist movement here in Western Canada that had laid dormant for decades, was able to energize hundreds of thousands and redefine Canadian populism in ways never thought of before.16
So scared of this Convoy of Freedom that was heading to Ottawa, the Prime Minister suddenly and conveniently caught a cold, sorry ??? I mean Covid-19 and had to sequester himself into isolation. This all the while his government went into siege mode. Eventually, the Prime Minister returned to public view just in time to announce that his government with the help of Jahgmeet Singh’s NDP was enacting the Emergency’s Act.
In reality, what this Freedom Convoy accomplished, shown in the plain light of day, was what our fellow country men and women think of us who live in Western Canada. In fact, this revelation about what others think about our proper place in Confederation, went even further. It is best explained by that old adage, ‘Good children should be seen but not heard!’
Yes the protest was loud, big and extremely well thought out and planned. But it was never a threat to national security as the committee investigating the use of this Emergency Act has revealed. Furthermore, there was never any proof offered by its detractors that it was a right-wing white supremacy gathering.17 On top of these lies, the greatest fact to come out of the committee investigating the use of the Emergencies Act, is that no police force in the country, including the RCMP, asked for the implementation and use of the Emergencies act.18
Let us also not forget the pandering that both the Prime Minister and Mr. Singh did in front of the legacy media and their cameras. For days, each tried to one up the other when it came to shaming, inflaming and falsely exaggerating the monetary costs that were being incurred by the people of Ottawa.19
Then there was the mutually agreed to delusion, eventually leading to Mr. Singh saying that the ‘so-called Freedom Convoy’ was there to over throw the Trudeau government.20 Nothing better explains the rhetoric the Prime Minister was comfortable using as leader of a minority government, when months later he revealed and admitted in a pod cast that he approved in using a politics of division. And his reasons for using this rhetoric of division,21 because it worked.
The most important question not asked about all this political theatre and never talked about at the committee was, “If the War Measures Act was still in place, instead of this new Emergencies Act, would The Prime Minster and Mr. Singh have used that to disband the Freedom Convoy?”22
The last time I looked, Quebec was still a province within the confines of the Canadian Federation. But the more one looks at the recent legislation that has been passed by the QAC government lead by Fran??ois Legault, it makes it difficult to see how Quebec still adheres to the values and principles that make Canada a multicultural and tolerant society. In fact, it could be argued that something very disturbing is hidden within these political, religious, and linguistic culture mandates.23
In many respects, that image screams 18th century revolutionary France and 19th century Antebellum America. The French Revolution itself, perhaps more than anything else, played the catalyst to a new era of European geopolitical history. From the revolution, the idea of one people???directly linked to one another through one culture, one language and one history???formed, in essence, the modern nation state. From the example of the French, the rest of Continental Europe, and eventually the world, would follow.24
Although the American Civil War was not fought on Canadian soil, it has had a profound effect upon Canada in a number of ways that are still evident today. While the Northern states continued to enforce and follow the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the Southern states drafted a new constitution that they would call their own.25 Within their document ‘states rights,’ and ‘state sovereignty’ were intricate pieces that formed the foundation of their antebellum principles.26
Within each of these two seminole events in history, it is easy to see how the Quebec of today engineers a world based upon a similar political and intellectual point of view. In particular, this influence can be seen in the constitutional and inter-governmental squabbles that the Quebec of today often finds itself embroiled in, when dealing with the federal government in Ottawa. Whether it is coincidence or just fate, the Quebec of today philosophically has carved out the same constitutional protections and areas of jurisdiction that the antebellum states did in regard to their new Southern federal government.27
As for the concept of the nation state that France first defined, it is possible to argue that Quebec at one time in the very distant past met the definition of a nation as embodied in 1779 revolutionary France. But today, Quebec is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic society, where many people speak a first language that is not English or French, thus delegating French as their official second language. A political reality that Mr. Singh has no intention of reversing, by siding with the Bloc Quebecois and their Bill-C238 to strip non-Francophone Canadian citizens of their language rights.28
It is this myopic interpretation of history that Legault and other Quebec politicians and intellectuals continue to foist upon the population. Through enforcement, a false conformity becomes reality. What comes next for the individual now that their religious symbols are banned and there is an appropriate language to be spoken at home? With such an environment in place, it does not take the Western Canadian populist long to conclude that Quebec is a society that is sliding backwards in regard to its moral and legal obligations that are spelled out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Which now begs the question, ‘How should Quebec’s racialized citizens respond to these developments?” Especially in light of the recent inflammatory comments made by Fran??oise Legault, where he proclaimed that immigrants by their nature were extremists and inherently violent.29
Would it be inappropriate or bad manners for those who are not genetically connected to the ‘old stock of Quebec society,’ in thinking that there lies within Legault’s words a not so subtle nod to ‘the original Quebecois?’30 If he were alive today, I wonder what Jefferson Davis would think of Bills C-21 & 96?31
Finally, the position that the Legault government has taken toward Alberta oil and gas is beyond perplexing to all western populists. What is Quebec’s justification whereby they prefer to import their oil and gas from outside Canada (think Saudi Arabia and their disdain for Human Rights) at a higher cost, instead of building a pipeline from Alberta to Quebec that would offer these products at a reduced moral and numerical price?
For populists in Western Canada, these legislated infringements on the rights of fellow Canadian citizens are a cause of great concern. But what is more troubling for those who call Western Canada home, is that many Quebecers are not interested in the economic prosperity of those who call the west home. All of which, when looked upon from the perspective of a prairie populist, constitutes what can only be described as “unacceptable views.”
The Trucker Convoy of Freedom put in motion a number of events that lead to a great many unintended consequences and after-effects that no Canadian could see coming. The two remaining essays in this series will try to put some philosophical understanding and insight into how Canada and Canadians have been changed by the events that took place between January and February of 2022.
In particular, the next two essays will focus on the political landscape that has been forever changed out in Western Canada. Every possible political stone will be overturned, to properly detail why Western Canadian populists and conservative minded people need to embrace the new and emerging political movement(s) that are growing in Western Canada & Territories.32
Furthermore, as details are slowly revealed in regard to this new direction in thinking by today’s Western Canadian populist and conservative minded individual, a premise or a philosophical argument will slowly be defined and articulated that creates a path forward for Western Canadian & Territorial Freedom, but not sovereignty. This new political philosophy will also show why we can no longer go hat in hand, and tell our fellow Canadians in Ottawa of our grievances, and how they are thwarting not just our political desires, but our economic prosperity and independence.
Westerners Know Trudeau, Singh & Legault Harbour Unacceptable Views (Part 2): Western Separation was always a Canard ??? Time for a New Direction and New Ideas
J.R Werbics is a filmmaker, author and a member of the Canadian Philosophical Association.
24 The Thoughts of a Peasant Philosopher, Vol. I, Politics Anniversary Edition, 2014, p.56