Confusing times

*This editorial was written prior to the Feb. 23 announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the federal government was revoking a declaration of a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act.


This past Monday at 8pm representatives in the House of Commons confirmed invocation of the Emergencies Act. 

At that moment the Liberal government, backed by the NDP, confirmed measures for the immediate future that will curtail numerous rights Canadians hold dear. Freedom to protest in front of the seat of our government is not currently allowed. 

Let that sink in.

The constabulary, familiar with nuances and activities on the ground in Ottawa, indicated the Emergencies Act was the only way to handle the occupiers camped near the House of Commons and stem the tide of further blockades. The majority of elected representatives, sided with that analysis. Now we live with it.

Local MPs Chong and Nater spoke against invocation, believing that current law enforcement rules and regulations were sufficient to handle the crisis. Further and more specifically, the onerous standards under which the act could be engaged fell short in their opinion.

Rather than qualifying as an accomplishment, adoption of the Emergencies Act in the end is an admission of failure – failures too numerous to list, by governments of all stripes. Three levels of government failed the citizens they were entrusted to serve. 

Freedom in whatever form conjured up by protesters in their rallying cry has led to less fundamental freedom for us all. Along with the obvious actions related to stopping potential blockades, the government has also gone after some bank accounts of those funding protesters.

In Wellington County over $24,000 was donated through the GiveSendGo web portal. Despite an online claim to the contrary, our story published does not include the names of donors, apart from local councillor Corey Woods of Guelph/Eramosa. 

By the time this site was operable, the convoy organizers’ memorandum of understanding that called on the Governor General to dismiss Trudeau and his government was known and Ottawa streets represented an occupation more than a protest. We believe politicians need to be held to a higher standard when it comes to sticking up for democracy and maintaining the rule of law.

As for other local funders, despite angry correspondents demanding the list be published in full, we see no point in that and made that judgement call. Those donations reflect personal choices, made in good faith.

The total amount raised and the number of local donors however is a point that cannot be ignored. Some residents here supported the freedom convoy.

Similarly, the secondment of OPP officers from here to Ottawa to implement the emergency mandate is a salient point for taxpayers here. While many of us know local officers headed that way and elsewhere, why the absence of confirmation from our local detachment? Will costs for these officers be recouped or will taxpayers here have donated that help? These remain legitimate questions, but in the current environment mum appears to be the word.

We will eventually escape this democratic malaise, just as we are beginning to escape the pandemic and the many restrictions that have made this two-year stretch so difficult. 

Residents are now days away from mandate changes that will get everyone feeling a bit better. 

Hang in there.