A Dangerous Precedent and Rise of the Martyr

Historians would unanimously agree, regardless of their political affiliations that what is unfolding in Canada at this very moment is unprecedented for our nation and surely will mark another blemish on our nation’s history. For a large part of Canadian history, peace and prosperity have reigned. Canada has played a major role in the world wars and numerous peacekeeping missions. The last time there was a threat to peace and stability was the War of 1812. But that was a threat from an external power, not from within. What we have seen unfold in the last few weeks has been the first significant internal threat our country has experienced. Canadian people are known for being a friendly, law-abiding, and peaceful group. You could say that politics in Canada has largely been as boring as watching maple syrup run down a tree when it’s -20°. But that no longer is the case. What has unfolded in Ottawa, at provincial capitals and border crossings across the last 3 weeks could be the beginnings of the most transformative chapter in Canada’s history.

What People Are Fighting For

The Freedom Convoy, a group of thousands of truckers that drove across Canada to Ottawa, the nation’s capital, had the sole purpose to protest vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the United States border. It quickly became a protest about Covid-19 restrictions in general. People are not protesting against safety measures—they are protesting against the overreach of the Federal Government, forcing people to choose what to do with their bodies. Canadians typically aren’t known for picking fights, but if you push them too far and they’ll show you the good ol’ shirt over the head and strong uppercut to the jaw.

No other country on earth is as divided and in turmoil as Canada is at this very moment. Even the rising tension between Ukraine and Russia, and the prelude to war has largely taken a back seat to what has been unfolding in Canada. On February 15th, Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act which gives the Federal Government god-like power. The question on the minds of many Canadians is, “was this action justified?” As the arrests of key members of the Freedom Convoy and protestors take place, Canada is at the center of the world stage. So what happens next? Well, a look at history can help give us an idea.

A Land of Opportunity and Refuge

Canada has become known as a place of refuge for millions of families fleeing from tyranny, something that was all too common in Europe in the 19th century, and is still a fact of life for many in Asia. Before the abolishment of slavery in the US in 1865 tens of thousands of African Americans fled to Canada for freedom. They saw Canada as a nation with good governance and institutions that would protect them. It was a land of hope, opportunity, and freedom that was rare in the world at that time.

My family has made Canada its home for four generations now. We have no ties with our roots in Europe—this is our only home. A large majority of my ancestors were Germans that fled from tyranny and oppression in Odessa, Russia, now part of modern-day Ukraine. Catherine the Great had promised them rights and freedoms, and new opportunities just decades earlier, but the environment quickly changed with new leadership. Overnight they became enemies of the state. Being that they were poor and ill-equipped, returning to Germany was not a suitable option as it was unaffordable and difficult to make a living as farmers and craftsmen. Their best option was to leave everything behind and embark on a journey as pioneers to North America under some of the most difficult and challenging circumstances. Some arrived in the US while others went directly to Canada, but all eventually made their way to this new land that promised unequivocal and unparalleled opportunities and freedoms.

Welsh-Patagonians leaving England for Canada on S.S. “Numidian” of the Allan Line

Moving Towards Tyranny

Through my travels, to over 50 countries I have had the privilege to see much of the world. My close friends in the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Georgia, Armenia, Israel, India, Japan, Chile, Brazil, and the US have great admiration for this country, our institutions, the land, people, and our rights and freedoms. But they have been watching in shock and horror, as many hundreds of millions of others around the world have into what will happen next in Canada. Will freedom reign or will tyranny prevail?

I, like many other Canadians, have been abhorred by the recent behavior of the current Federal Government. The Emergencies Act has allowed them to begin taking action, freezing Canadians’ bank accounts, forcing companies to oblige to their demands, and employing heavy enforcement. These actions will have irrevocable consequences. This abuse and overreach of power have stark similarities to stories the locals in Cambodia and Myanmar told me of the rise of autocratic governments while I was there during a visit in 2019. Once the governments took the steps into the abyss the damage could not be undone. The consequences had a ripple effect that impacted multiple generations, and continue to haunt and hold back these countries to this very day.

An Unjustified Emergency

The Emergencies Act is for that very thing: emergencies. The current situation, although disruptive in nature as it was intended to be, does not justify the passing of the Act for the following reasons:

  1. An abuse and overreach of power. The Emergency Act was designed to protect the “safety and security of the individual, the protection of the values of the body politic and the preservation of the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the state are fundamental obligations of government; AND WHEREAS the fulfilment of those obligations in Canada may be seriously threatened by a national emergency.” With that statement, we must consider the circumstances of the current situation:
    1. The Freedom Convoy is not preventing the Canadian government, its institutions or organizations from continuing to conduct operations and govern.
    2. No Ottawa citizen or member of Parliament has been threatened or is at risk of being threatened.
    3. The protests are a stand against the infringement of the values and freedoms of Canadian citizens, preservation of their rights of bodily autonomy and medical sovereignty
  2. Protesting is a basic right. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association, and the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly. Protests are a way for people to express themselves for or against decisions made by governments or other powerful institutions. People have taken to the streets throughout history to stand up for what they believe in. We must not allow this essential right to be tainted in any way. If the right to peacefully protest is withheld in any way the consequences for future generations could be severe.
  3. A dangerous precedent. This Act has vast powers. It predecessor, the War Time Measures Act, was used only during World War I, World War II and the FLQ crisis, times of great crises for our nation. It was not used after the attacks of 9/11, not used when a gunman entered the Parliamentary Buildings and shot a Canadian soldier dead, and was not used with the blockade of the pipeline in British Columbia. The truckers may be overstepping their right to protest with the occupation and blockades, but this should not justify an act of war by the government on its own citizens. These powers will allow the Federal Government to invade privacies, freedoms and bank accounts of Canadians, a dangerous precedent for our nation.

Like many other Canadians, I feel there is no need to escalate what is currently a civil, peaceful, and legal protest. Unless all other avenues have been exhausted the Emergencies Act should not have been invoked. The protests, albeit disruptive, do not meet the threshold for a “national emergency” as defined in the Act. The Federal Government should and must reserve using a hard hand, and find a practical and peaceful solution. I trust that there are good and decent people continuing to oversee the decisions and direction of this nation. But I am an optimist and may soon be dissapointed.

A Coup de Semonce

So what does history tell us about what happens next? Throughout history, when people have suffered persecution at the hands of an oppressor from an entity like a company or a government for a cause that has even marginal support that very movement can grow in relevance. The Boston Tea Party, Woman Suffrage Procession, or the Salt March, sideliners and even the most skeptical hardliners can join the movement. The tyranny of the entity is seen for all of its true colours. The Christians in the Roman Empire were slain for centuries for their belief in the Christian faith. Over 1700 years ago it took time for a change, but it did eventually come when Constantine I passed the Edict of Milan, an agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Its passing changed the future of Christianity, Europe, and the Western World forever.

Perhaps the conspiracy theorists were right, and Canada is being influenced by external forces. Klaus Schwab himself bragged back in 2017, that the World Economic Forum (WEF) had penetrated half of the cabinet in Canada, and they were proud of it. Whatever the motivation and what is driving this repression and actions by the government it will lead to further provocation. Not having dialogue and conversation, forcing people to oblige is pouring gasoline on an already raging fire. In the weeks and months to come, those involved are hoping for a coup de semonce, a “great awakening”, this terrible abuse of power and overreach of the Federal Government in what can only be summed up as tyranny.

A protester waves a Canadian flag in front of parked vehicles on Rideau Street to protest against mandates that have grown into a broader anti-government protest, in Ottawa (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Rise of the Martyr

During the Seven Years’ War, the British made a push to capture key cities in New France, including the capital of Quebec. General James Wolfe, a brilliant young general in the British Army led 5000 troops up a goat path towards the city during the cover of night. There they met France’s General Montcalm’s 3500 troops at the Plains of Abraham. Patience and brilliant tactics won Wolfe victory over the French at the Plains of Abraham, and it became a defining moment for the advancement of the British position in North America. Tragically though, during the battle, Wolfe was fatally wounded. But his death was not in vain. Many historians claim his death on the battlefield rallied the troops and the British cause for decades and Wolfe became a heroic martyr that was unmatched until Nelson.[1] Benjamin West’s depiction of the scene “The Death of General Wolfe” was a deliberate visual association between the dying General Wolfe and the crucifixion of Christ. It underscores the British officer’s heroism and admirable qualities. “If Christ was innocent, pure, and died for a worthwhile cause—that is, the salvation of mankind—then Wolfe too was innocent, pure, and died for a worthwhile cause. Indeed, the artist transforms Wolfe from a simple war hero to a deified martyr for the British cause. This message was further enhanced by the thousands of engravings that soon flooded the art market, both in England and abroad.”[2]

The failure of the Prime Minister to find a middle ground and initiate a dialogue is an abomination. The decision to choose to antagonize the organizers and peaceful protestors, freezing bank accounts, using coercion to force people and companies to do their wishes is despicable. But going as far as arresting, imprisoning and seeking to try them speaks volumes about how tyrannical this government has become and how far it is willing to go. But there is a silver lining in all of this for the cause of rights and freedom: the injustice creates martyrs. As the arrests and founders of the convoy sit in jails cells, the protests grow and they will continue to grow and gain ground. The unfair and sometimes violent treatment of fellow Canadians will not go unnoticed. The mistreatment of Canadians creates martyrs for the cause, fanning the flame for even greater support, momentum, and international recognition.

The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West

Lessons from History

What happens next will tell a lot of the nature of the kinds of people that are governing this nation. Many don’t understand the dynamics of what is at stake right now, but in time they will as it begins to spill over into their homes and workplaces. If the Emergencies Act is upheld in Canada, a land of the True North Strong and Free, the country risks being forever changed. If rights and freedoms are infringed once, and for a cause that does not justify it, what precedent does this create for it not to occur again? Surely this will become a dangerous precedent.

Canada has flourished and experienced prosperity throughout its rich history because of its people and institutions, but the rights and freedoms have attracted people from all over the world. People have immigrated to Canada for centuries in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families. If the political environment in Canada is allowed to swing in such a drastic way we risk losing our core identity as a people and a place that stands for peace and freedom. People that have helped prosper this nation will leave and they will leave and not return. Like in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or Cambodia in the 70s, it won’t occur overnight, but over a period of time. As the boiling frog analogy demonstrates, people often don’t realize until it’s too late. When everyone else has been rounded up, dealt with, sent to camps. What humans always fail to realize is once freedoms are removed from one group, they surely will move on to new ones in time. If people stand down now, we surely will set in motion a cycle that will hold dire consequences for our children and children’s children.

People have immigrated to Canada for centuries in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families.

Conclusion

The actions of the Prime Minister and Federal Government have been an absolute abuse of power and overreach of the government that has smashed the peoples’ faith. Trudeau had many opportunities to listen and hear out the protestors, but he wanted his way so he alienated them, called them racist, misogynist, woman-haters, science deniers and nazis. As a prime minister of a G7 and democratic nation the leader must always seek to listen to all sides. The leader must represent ALL people of Canada, no matter what their political affiliation is. If the government feels the time for diplomacy is over, the people will surely have other means. I am hopeful that good people will rise to the occasion and take back a nation taken hostage by people set on a globalist agenda. But this heavy-handed tactic will not work with Canadians. The large majority of Canadians were born free, and they will want to die free. Although the Emergencies Act will help the government suppress and stop this movement it will be just the beginning of many more to come. The authorities can only put so many people in jail, and the martyrs will embolden those that are left on the streets to fight on, and fight with more tenacity than before. This is building into something paramount for Canadians and the free world—it’s a wake-up call. This is no longer about the truckers. This is about Canadians’ fight for their rights and freedoms. All who are willing and believe in the injustices must participate in this movement and not be silent. This will be a turning point in Canadian history that no one should be on the sidelines for. Vive le Canada!!

Sources

  1. James Wolfe: The heroic martyr. National Army Museum.
  2. Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe. Khan Academy.

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