Democracy or Dictatorship?

The Dictator and the Truckers: A True Canadian Folk Tale

Gwyn Morgan
April 1, 2022
The world’s nations have endured and discarded dictators and despots of virtually every shape, size and ruling style since the dawn of organized society – only to have them reappear in new form. In the early 1990s it briefly seemed that the era of the dictator had ended for good. That dream proved tragically illusory, as country after country has found out. Might not even Canada be immune? Was our nation recently saved by the bell, or was this just a brief reprieve? Dictators take many forms, after all, including the visage of grinning buffoon who seems happiest dressed in ludicrous costumes. How could such a thing occur during a pandemic through which we were “all in this together”? Gwyn Morgan employs the droll form of the traditional folk tale to remind us of what has come to pass and to issue an all-too serious warning.
Democracy or Dictatorship?

The Dictator and the Truckers: A True Canadian Folk Tale

Gwyn Morgan
April 1, 2022
The world’s nations have endured and discarded dictators and despots of virtually every shape, size and ruling style since the dawn of organized society – only to have them reappear in new form. In the early 1990s it briefly seemed that the era of the dictator had ended for good. That dream proved tragically illusory, as country after country has found out. Might not even Canada be immune? Was our nation recently saved by the bell, or was this just a brief reprieve? Dictators take many forms, after all, including the visage of grinning buffoon who seems happiest dressed in ludicrous costumes. How could such a thing occur during a pandemic through which we were “all in this together”? Gwyn Morgan employs the droll form of the traditional folk tale to remind us of what has come to pass and to issue an all-too serious warning.
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It came to pass that, near the end of the year AD 2019, in the city of Wuhan in the province of Hubei in an oriental country called China, a mysterious viral disease struck the people. China’s dictator chose not to tell the world. While he imperiously decreed that his citizens must not travel into or out of Wuhan, he allowed them to continue voyaging to many distant parts of the world, including a northern country called Canada. As the year 2020 dawned, Canadians began to sicken and die from this virus that rapidly proliferated into a global pandemic known as Covid-19.

Protecting China, infecting the world: While Xi’s dictatorship decreed that internal flights from Wuhan be cancelled, as shown on the display board from January 2020 at left, Chinese travellers continued to fly out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, evidenced from the photo at right taken the same month. (Source of photos: The Associated Press)

Infectious disease experts strove to find vaccines against the virus. By the end of this year of great suffering and woe, a vaccine had been developed by scientists at several companies, including one called Pfizer. Rather than the usual years of testing normally required, the new vaccines were approved for “emergency use.” The fearful people rejoiced at their impending deliverance.

No free choice in the “free” country: Despite Canada’s vaccination rate exceeding 90 percent by late 2021, in the eyes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau those who declined the jab deserved to be condemned and barred from public places.

By the end of 2021, nine out of every ten Canadians had been vaccinated (most of them twice and some three times). The remainder, genuinely fearful of adverse health effects that the short testing period could not reveal, chose to forego vaccination. Justin Trudeau, the nation’s Prime Minister, condemned those law-abiding Canadians as irresponsible and dangerous “anti-vaxxers” and forbade them from accessing public air or ground transportation. Those who worked for his government were terminated.

After more than a year of being locked-down, restricted and vilified, these law-abiding citizens had had enough. “Freedom Rallies” attended by many thousands swept across the nation and were held weekly in many cities – even though the local newspapers and television stations seemed reluctant to let city residents in on the secret. After apartheid-like isolation in their own communities, being surrounded by like-minded people brought joyful celebration. The display of uncounted national flags signalled their loyalty to their country, despite enduring the contempt of their government.

Then it came to pass that, in the summer and autumn of 2021, vaccinated persons began contracting and spreading Covid-19. Soon hundreds of thousands of the so-called “fully vaccinated” were infected. Then as the year 2021 approached its turn and 2022 began, a highly contagious but remarkably mild Covid-19 variant called “Omicron” swept around the world. Canadian cases rose precipitously for several weeks, before dropping steadily. Many of the most-often cited medical experts professed puzzlement at this strange behaviour. But a few brave scientists boldly ascribed this to a phenomenon called “natural immunity,” an astonishing process by which infected people whose bodies fight off an illness become resistant to it. (This had been known to Medieval peasants but, alas, had been forgotten by 21st century science.)

Appreciated by Medieval peasants but not 21st century official science: During Covid-19 “natural” immunity was widely ridiculed; it took the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (director Rochelle Walensky is pictured at right) until February 2022 to acknowledge the obvious.

In the second month of 2022, declining case numbers caused Canada’s provinces to signal the impending end of vaccine mandates. After enduring the pandemic for two years, the people greatly rejoiced. It was time for healing the vaccination-status wounds that had divided friends and families.

But the prospect of national harmony posed a problem for the country’s Prime Minister. He had used vicious attacks on vaccine-fearing citizens to help win re-election and subsequently shut down the nation’s parliament, bringing him close to the dictatorial powers he had coveted since expressing admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship” years before. He intensified vilification of the unvaccinated, calling them “misogynists and racists” – considered possibly the most fearsome denunciation of the early 21st century, a double-curse of such power as to brand the bearer as irredeemably loathsome.

A dictator is in the house. (Source of tweet: Canada Proud/@WeAreCanProud)

Still, Trudeau needed to attack a more specific target to retain his coercive power. With the cunning of a jackal and the shamelessness of a hyena, he selected transport truckers – the same hard-working, dedicated Canadians he had earlier praised for “keeping food on the country’s tables.” Truckers who, before vaccines were even available, risked their health driving deep into neighbouring America to bring back essential goods.

Now, just as the provinces were ending restrictions on the unvaccinated, the Prime Minister proclaimed that returning unvaccinated truckers would be required to “quarantine” for two weeks, a condition that would be impossible to meet. After two years of safely serving their country, the truckers were to be thrown out of work – cast aside like unneeded accoutrements following one of the Prime Minister’s celebrated costume events. This they could not abide.

Showing his true face at last: Prime Minister Dress-Up has worn many costumes, but his disguise of empathy and kindness was discarded during the truckers’ protest, when he used the Emergencies Act to crush them. Might he even have hoped to make this “emergency” rule permanent? (Source of bottom photos: The Canadian Press)

And so it further came to pass that “Freedom Convoys,” each made up of hundreds of heavy trucks from across the nation and cheered on by thousands of flag-waving supporters lining roads and overpasses, drove along thousands of kilometres of wintery roads to converge upon the nation’s Capital to protest in front of its Parliament buildings. The atmosphere was peaceful, even celebratory. Some had brought their families. As their children played on inflatable toy castles, barbecues were fired up to serve everyone, including the local homeless people. The Capital’s core, though boisterous, remained peaceable, with less crime than normal.

While a few convoy members expressed unruly ideas, the leaders soon declared that their singular objective was to have the quarantine edict repealed. The Prime Minister and his apparatchiks embarked on a renewed vilification campaign, aided by a small number of troublemakers who habitually seize on such events to sew discord and incite violence. They denigrated national monuments and falsely claimed the trucker’s objective was to overthrow the government. Rather than interviewing the truckers and their families, the compliant mainstream media – which by now were financially dependent on alms disbursed by the government upon them – focused on the troublemakers – or, when these were difficult to locate, invented acts that never even occurred. The Prime Minister used this as an excuse not to meet with the truckers.

Many years before, Canadian parliamentarians had passed a so-called “Emergencies Act,” to be used only under the most dire of circumstances: when the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada was threatened. Implementing the Act gave the Prime Minister complete authority to act as he pleased, including to violate fundamental rights of the kind that separated Canada from repressive dictatorships. Those peaceful truckers were now accused of being dangerous nation-threatening miscreants. Massive numbers of police, drawn from across the vast nation, invaded the truckers’ encampments, seizing trucks and arresting their leaders. Funds donated by the country’s citizens to support the truckers were seized and the donors’ bank accounts were “frozen,” preventing them from buying food and other goods needed by their families, indeed, all-but preventing them from functioning altogether in an advanced “digital” economy.

Among the most cynical of his acts, Trudeau followed on his crushing of the truckers with a European tour to lament the war in Ukraine, deliver lectures on what should be done, and signal his virtue. While the Canadian media swallowed the act, the Europeans largely saw through it and a few openly lambasted Trudeau. (Source of top photo: The Associated Press/ Efrem Lukatsky)

The Emergencies Act was to expire within 30 days, but many believed the Prime Minister would find ways of extending it until he could amend the Act to make his dictatorial powers permanent. The integrity of Canada was indeed in peril, but in a way never imagined by his predecessors. But, just as the constitutional freedoms of Canadians seemed about to be permanently sundered, the nation’s Senate – like the Roman Senate of Ancient times, a somewhat decayed institution derided by much of the nation that, occasionally, would rouse itself to action – signalled its intention to reject implementation of the Act.

The Prime Minister’s dream of dictatorship had failed. In revenge, he refused to remove the restrictions that had thrown the truckers out of work and prohibited the unvaccinated from travelling. And so, the Freedom Rallies continued across the country. And much to his distress, his charade of championing human rights abroad while violating them at home did not go unnoticed when he journeyed to a city called Brussels to speak to the Parliament of European countries, where a member from a country called Germany accused him of “violating human rights and the rule of law.”

This is not yet the end of the tale. But I see the fire has died down and the embers are fading. There will be more to tell another night.

Gwyn Morgan is a retired business leader who has been a director of five global corporations.

Sources of photos used in main image: (left and center) The Canadian Press, (right) Shutterstock.

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