“Hold the Line” and other malarkey

The Public Order Emergencies Commission was convened to determine whether the federal government erred by invoking the Emergencies Act. It will be months before we have a decision, but it only took a week of testimony for many Canadians to decide the organizers of the trucker convoy are a bunch of arrogant, ignorant, sometimes delusional, cry babies.

To understand why the occupation of Ottawa was something other than a fight for freedom let’s compare it with a real freedom protest, the Birmingham campaign.

From Apr 3, 1963 to May 10, 1963, Martin Luther King led a “nonviolent direct action” to protest segregation in the city of Birmingham. The protest was timed to put pressure on Birmingham’s merchants during Easter, the second biggest shopping season after Christmas.

King was imprisoned and wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail which sets out the principles of nonviolent, direct action. Had the convoy’s organizers thought to look it up, they may have avoided giving themselves a black eye and earning the scorn of two-thirds of the nation.  

The Birmingham Campaign vs the Ottawa Occupation

King says there are four basic steps in any nonviolent campaign: the collection of facts to determine whether injustices exist, negotiation to resolve these injustices, self purification, and direct action.

Facts: Birmingham had no black police officers, firefighters, sales clerks, bus drivers, bank tellers, or store cashiers. Jobs for black workers were limited to manual labour, work in household services, yard maintenance or in black neighbourhoods. Public and commercial establishments were racially segregated by law. One Black neighbourhood was bombed so frequently it was known as “Dynamite Hill.” Birmingham was rife with injustice.

Where was the injustice in Ottawa? Or the rest of Canada for that matter?

Unlike the Blacks of Birmingham who were barred by law from everything designated “Whites only”, the anti-vaxxers could choose to take a simple safe vaccine and observe some public health restrictions to protect themselves and their communities from the pandemic.

They chose not to do so, then cried foul when public health restrictions impacted their lives. There was no injustice here as the restrictions applied to everyone and were supported by an overwhelming majority of Canadians.

Negotiation:  For years Black leaders tried to negotiate with municipal leaders to repeal segregation laws. Promises were made and promises were broken, again and again. The municipal leaders refused to negotiate in good faith and the time for negotiation was over.

The situation was different with the trucker convoy.

Duly elected provincial and federal governments enacted vaccine mandates to slow the spread of covid and protect our collapsing healthcare system. Their decision was based on scientific evidence and expert advice and applied to everyone, not a subset of the population.

There was no injustice and nothing to negotiate.

The convoy organizers didn’t see it that way.

They declared some, all, who knows which, public health measures were unlawful, violated their Charter rights, and must be eliminated immediately.

That was an ultimatum based on ignorance, not a negotiation strategy.  

Having said that, it appears the convoy organizers successfully negotiated a comfy reception from local law enforcement. Over time this fell apart and organizers like Jeremy MacKenzie, the creator of Diagolon, called for his members to travel to Ottawa and “hold the line.”   

Self-purification: King describes this step as a a series of workshops on nonviolence, of asking oneself whether one is able “to accept blows without retaliating” and to “endure the ordeal of jail”.

King’s workshops were intended to stop the protesters from reacting violently when attacked by cops armed with clubs and fire hoses, who set vicious dogs on protesters, including children.

There would be no room in King’s self-purification workshops for protesters who harassed and intimidated innocent people, blasted air horns all night, set fires in the streets, shot fireworks into windows and stored flammable liquids next to residential apartment buildings.

Not only were the convoy organizers unprepared for the “ordeal of jail” some like veteran Chris Deering were outraged at being taken into custody (ie standing around outside the paddy wagon, driven 10 kilometers away, then released) because it was cold outside, he had no money, and his cell phone died.

Direct action: King says the purpose of direct action (sit-ins at lunch counters, public buildings and libraries, kneel-ins at churches, and marches on City Hall) is to create “a crisis and foster such a tension that the community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

After a 40% drop in sales Birmingham merchants were ready to negotiate. The politicians waited until national and global pressure forced them back to the negotiation table.  

The negotiation process achieved the campaign’s goals of desegregating stores, imposing fair hiring practices in shops and municipal employment, reopening public parks, and creating a bi-racial committee to oversee the desegregation of public schools.  

King’s direct action improved the lives of Blacks in Birmingham.

Who did the convoy organizers think they were going to negotiate with?  

The municipal government and the provincial government could do nothing to lift federally imposed travel mandates.

Occupying Ottawa did nothing to lift public health restrictions imposed by the other provinces and territories.

The convoy did nothing but horrify the entire country.

Martin Luther King used direct action to fight injustice. The trucker convoy occupied Ottawa in a pique of self-indulgent stupidity.

The Commission

We’ll learn in due course whether the federal government erred in invoking the Emergencies Act, but based on their testimony, we’re able to render judgment on the convoy organizers today.  

We’ve seen Tamara Lich say she supported truckers going home. When confronted with videos where she urged truckers to “hold the line” she said she meant they should hold true to their values in the face of diversity (adversity?). (Funny; when the head of Diagolon said it he meant brace for battle).   

Pat King said the occupation was a loving, caring event…oh and his racist rants were taken out of context. In what possible context can you rail against “depopulation” without it being racist?   

James Bauder testified he was “directed by God” to bring unity to Canada when ‘Naughty Notley’ and ‘Justine Trudeau’ ganged up on ‘us.’ He talked about his futile search for the one Quebecer who cast the deciding ballot in the Sovereignty Referendum which saved Canadian unity. The jury is still out on whether he misspoke or truly believes a single person carried the No vote (which won by a margin of 54,288 votes).

When asked why he referred to the prime minister as’“Justine’ Bauder said it’s because he’s an alpha male trucker, oil patch, farm boy kind of guy. Yeah, that explains it.

For a whole week we watched them scuttle away from taking responsibility for what they said and what they did with slippery language, coy revisionism, and just plain ignorance.  

The occupation of Ottawa was not an act of nonviolent direct action, but the immature tantrum of a selfish minority of anti-vaxxers who didn’t care who they hurt to make their point.

Calling it a fight for freedom won’t change that.

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98 Responses to “Hold the Line” and other malarkey

  1. Kelly Miller says:

    “it only took a week of testimony for many Canadians to decide the organizers of the trucker convoy are a bunch of arrogant, ignorant, sometimes delusional, cry babies” – Didn’t take me a week; I knew that when they first announced the whole convoy. The ones I feel bad for are the truckers who were actually scammed by these grifters (thinking they were donating to help other truckers) and the people of Ottawa who had to suffer because of these lunatics.

    • Kelly Miller says:

      Also, if you check out the Oath Keepers trial in the US that’s going on right now, you see the EXACT same reactions as the convoy organizers; the belief that everything they were doing was right, that they HAD to take action because unspecified forces were “destroying their country” and that was bad because they said so, and a complete refusal to own up to anything they said or did, claiming that it was a bunch of joking around that got out of hand. Unfortunately for both groups, no one’s laughing… Well, except maybe for the rich benefactors who funded this and got EXACTLY what they wanted, to show that they can call on a mob of maniacs and then disappear into the night without consequence…

      • Jim says:

        Thank you Susan for your right on opinion. This was nothing but a redneck party in Ottawa. I can never support such ignorance. As for the Emergency act being implemented I believe it was not for the FreeDummies but for the incompetent law enforcement.
        If there were First Nations doing any protesting the law enforcement would have rounded them up and sent them in all directions of the country.
        Disc race full performance in regards to the the law and its provincial and municipal leadership.

      • Jim, Agreed. When the Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the Walterdale bridge in Edmonton on a Monday morning in 2019 the police cleared them out in just over an hour. The police chief said: “ The police [are there to] uphold the right to protest within the Charter, but you need to protect the fact that people need to get to work. We actually resolved this in a little over an hour. But at the same time, we weren’t prepared to sit and let this happen for a long period of time either.” Obviously what happened in Ottawa was an order of magnitude greater, however the fact the police allowed the truckers to get dug in and appeared to be “prepared to sit and let this happen” for three weeks speaks volumes.

    • Kelly, fair point about the truckers who were taken in by these grifters. I recall a news story about a guy who gave his life savings to whoever it was who was asking for it, only to discover he couldn’t get it back.
      Tamara Lich says most of the money that was raised through crowd funding was returned to those who donated it. I wish the media would follow up with these guys to see whether that is indeed the case.
      I haven’t watched the Oath Keepers trial, but I’m not surprised they’re trying to slip off the hook with the same glib, aw shucks we were just kidding defence.
      That’s one of the things that incensed me about the Commission testimony. In his letter from the Birmingham jail MLK took responsibility for his actions and explained why he thought they were necessary. The same is not true of the convoy organizers who will say anything under oath to escape taking responsibility. Hopefully they will be held accountable in the civil trials that will follow.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog: I really don’t see what purpose Tamara Lich had, other than to try and overthrow a democratically elected government. It was rather pathetic. In Alberta, if Danielle Smith wants to talk about actual discrimination, she should learn about what Martin Luther King went through. That wasn’t good, because he dealt with genuine discrimination, and he wanted it to end. Danielle Smith seems to be supporting the lunatic fringe. I’ll play some more fitting music. This is a Gregg Allman composition, God Rest His Soul, and it is from around 1968. It is before he joined the Allman Brothers Band, with his older brother Duane Allman, (who passed away in a motorcycle accident, at age 24, in 1971), Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Dicky Betts, and Berry Oakley. The song is about Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King stood up for equality.

    • Bota28 says:

      Love your choice of music and so appropriate 😊

    • MM says:

      Here’s some music from another icon of the 1960s for you, Dwayne. No need to thank me. No need at all.

    • Dwayne, when Danielle Smith tried to ‘walk back’ her comment that the unvaxxed were the most discriminated group she’s seen in her lifetime, she said she didn’t mean for her comment to take away from the discrimination suffered by others. That’s not an apology and it doesn’t change the fact that the unvaxxed are NOT discriminated against.
      However when she says things like that it lends credibility to their so-called cause. Sickening, really.
      I agree with Bota28, great song!

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. This a Jackson Browne song, Running On Empty. It is from 1977. I did see Jackson Browne live, and he is in my music collection.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. It is from a jazz rock band, Blood Sweat & Tears. This is a David Clayton Thomas composition, Lucretia MacEvil, from 1970. David Clayton Thomas, was a British born, Canadian raised singer and musician, who replaced Al Kooper in Blood Sweat & Tears, in the late 1960s. This is also in my music collection, and it is very fitting.

  5. Bota28 says:

    Bang on Susan !

    Watching Lich, King, poor Chris Deering and Bauder this past week made your stomach churn as they cried and whined about how wronged they were 😞 yet we all knew this was to satisfy their own ego’s and so called power.

    There was a dichotomy between what the freedom conveyers said and what they actually did 😔 with their actions bestowed upon other Canadians being disrespectful 😞 and nasty eliciting their entitlement.

    Nothing “cuddling” and nice about this meet up last January and February.

    I will say I am very impressed with many of the lawyers especially Paul Champ and David Migicosky as they drilled and “ caught ” the so called freedom fighters in their delusional lies.

    • Bota28 you nailed it with your comment about the dichotomy between what the truckers said and what they actually did. Watching the clip of Pat King laughing about the residents not being able to sleep for 10 nights straight, and listening to Chris Deering testify that as a war veteran he wanted to be at the front of the protest because he’d been conditioned (or some such thing) to take the blows only to have him launch into how cold it was when the cops made him (and a bunch of other people) stand around waiting to be processed before they were put into the paddy wagon…it certainly painted a different picture of the hardened veteran.
      I too have a lot of respect for the lawyers. I thought Paul Champ in particular made the point well that the people he represented, the residents of Ottawa, were confined to a morning of testimony while the convoy organizers got all the time in the world to spin their revisionist history–Pat King told Paul Champ that “millions” of protesters showed up. Champ refuted that but King refused to budge. It must have taken all of Champ’s will power not to call King a @%$&* liar.

  6. Greg Spaetgens says:

    Susan, thank you for bringing such luminosity to the awful and ill-crafted freedom fiasco. In my view the Emergencies Act had to be invoked, particularly given the mirky police response.

    • Thanks Greg. You make a good point with respect to the police response. The testimony shows that the Ottawa police had ample time to prepare for the truckers’ arrival and knew the truckers were planning to stay for more than the weekend.
      Add to that the testimony that the police were leaking information to the truckers and the truckers bragging about their special relationship with the police, and it’s no wonder the citizens of Ottawa, indeed all Canadians, felt their police had let them down.
      It shouldn’t have taking the invocation of the Emergencies Act to force the police to do their jobs, but that’s what it came down to. And I’m glad the Liberal government with the support of the NDP invoked the Act.

  7. MM says:

    “Diversity” and “Diagolon” and both start with “d”. Maybe Tamara Lich meant to say, “Hold the diagonal line.”

  8. Dave says:

    At first I had reservations about this inquiry, that it would just turn into a Monday morning quarterback, bash the government thing. I can see now, it is not.

    Scrutiny is a good thing and it is showing these protesters contradictions, delusions and lies. A person may convince themselves what they are doing is right and perhaps some others too, but that does not make it so. What comes across is a group so consumed with their grievances that they do not seriously consider the impact of their words and actions on others.

    We should be grateful that at least no one got seriously injured or killed in this situation, unlike in the insurrection to the south that this tried to imitate. I think this is in large part due to how this was handled by the government.

    These protesters, some with a seemingly pathological dislike for the current Federal government, are unlikely to change their views much, but perhaps after a stunning rebuke are less likely to try a stunt like this again. The politicians who initially supported this and brought them donuts, seem to have also gotten the message too, having been a bit burned by getting too close to this imitation insurrection.

    • Dave, agreed.
      No one wanted to invoke the Emergencies Act, but we can take comfort in the fact it was drafted in a way that required Parliament to be involved from the very beginning, to vote on whether to invoke the Act, to monitor it, and then when the emergency had passed, to set up a public inquiry into “the circumstances that led to the declaration being issued and the measures taken for dealing with the emergency.”
      The commissioner’s report is due within 360 after the end of the emergency
      . (sections 63(1) and (2)
      As you said, it’s given us a glimpse into what drives people to do something like this. For example, while James Bauder and Pat King may have had different motivations, both of them showed a stunning lack of understanding of the laws that govern our country and how our constitutional monarchy works.

      • Carlos says:

        ‘ ……both of them showed a stunning lack of understanding of the laws that govern our country and how our constitutional monarchy works.’

        I am sure they know the American laws very well but forgot they were in Canada or they thought we were just another state.

  9. Jane McDonald says:

    From one of the postal codes affected by the convoy, I thank you. You are a joy to read. I wish your columns were more frequent.

    • Thank you Jane. As an Albertan I was horrified when I saw the likes of Tamara Lich, James Bauder and the rest who characterized themselves as proud oil patch, farmer types, do what they did to your city.

  10. Joanne M Helmer says:

    Thank you for the insightful and factual comment. It is a useful comparison since these convoyers seem to rely so heavily on their “rights.” I don’t think they understand what human rights are at all.

  11. aratureis says:

    Your work is always so valuable to me. Thank you.

    Yvonne Spies

  12. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Only after Doug Ford testifies will the “Confederacy of Dunces” be complete.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      I’m really looking forward to Dougie losing his bid to avoid testifying–and then losing his cool on the stand.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Sorry Mike, just satisfaction denied:
        Doug is ‘immune’, so decreed by Judge Simon Fothergill, former senior associate with Miller Thomson LLP. Pierre Po’ used to work there too, no?

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        GoinFawr, I saw the CBC coverage. My reaction was, “WHAT!?!” Looks to me like legalistic quibbling.

      • Carlos says:

        To me it looks like Ford trying to hide the fact that he started on the side of the convoy until he realized that they were too crazy. Ford is good at barking but when it comes to hold on to your beliefs he is a good snake. If he has any beliefs anyway. The notwithstanding clause is just another example. To hard to handle.

    • Carlos says:

      To me it looks like Ford trying to hide the fact that he started on the side of the convoy until he realized that they were too crazy. Ford is good at barking but when it comes to hold on to your beliefs he is a good snake. If he has any beliefs anyway. The notwithstanding clause is just another example. To hard to handle.

      • Jaundiced Eye, GoinFawr, Mike, and Carlos: As one who supports the rule of law, it’s good that the issue landed in the courts. Who knows, an appellate court may have found the public inquiry’s need for all the information overrode Ford’s right to invoke parliamentary privilege. Unfortunately by the time the higher level courts could have heard the question, the inquiry would have been over, so we’ll never know.
        Nevertheless, this raises the question Carlos asked which was why did Ford refuse to testify? Ford is on the record as supporting the federal government invoking the Emergencies Act, did he say something about the OPP or the other police forces which opens an even bigger can of worms?
        On an unrelated note: at least he backed down on the “notwithstanding clause” legislation. And good on the unions for standing their ground.

      • Carlos says:

        I am sorry to everyone about the repetition but I can clearly say it is a WordPress problem.
        I have been dealing with it for a while now so I am doing a little better but sometimes it happens

      • Carlos says:

        ‘On an unrelated note: at least he backed down on the “notwithstanding clause” legislation. And good on the unions for standing their ground.’

        I agree Susan. A big victory for all of us. These governments are way more interested in protecting businesses, we all know why.
        Unions have been attacked constantly but I think that most people are finally understanding what is going on.

        Unions were fundamental for all the gains people enjoy today, whether they do or do not like them. Yes they have made mistakes and some of them operate more like mafias but they are the only support we have as workers.
        Governments try to fight them to extinction especially Conservative ones because they prefer companies and the market define our lives.

        That is a big pile of you know what.

        People are made to believe through propaganda that they are useless but I wished you could have asked that question in the 1930s when people were 100% at the mercy of corporations.

      • Kelly Miller says:

        @susanonthesoapbox: The answer to why Ford refuses to testify despite supporting the Emergency Act? The CPoC chewed his ass out for admitting the Act was necessary, and he doesn’t want the party turning on him for being a “traitor”.

  13. MARILYN MCLEAN says:

    Your posts are simply the best. Never shouty, always reasoned. I like the way you think.

    Twitter: @MarilynMcLean12

  14. Anita says:

    Thanks for your post and clearly articulating the difference between a protest about human rights and the one in Ottawa about petty grievances and greed. I fully supported the use of the Emergency Act and was appalled at the actions of some politicians including one that now hopes to be PM. I was equally appalled at the Alberta/Montana border protest and lack of action by our provincial government. We must elect leaders who have integrity and are willing to stand up for law and order.

  15. Anne Irwin says:

    Nailed it!

  16. Mike Semeniuk says:

    Excellent article. The comparison to MLKing and Birmingham, and the misguided self serving convoy is right on. Although this was resolved today, the protests in Ontario regarding use of ” Not withstanding clause” in collective bargaining again illustrated legal protest, and violation of actual rights.

    • Excellent point, Mike Semeniuk. Interestingly, the truckers had not spoken up in support of the education workers and all the other union members who would have been deprived of their Charter rights of association. Neither have they issued press releases lauding this as a victory for freedom. I guess their fight for “freedom” only applies to certain groups.

  17. Lee Neville says:

    Lovely column – here is my musical pick for the whole sad pathetic “Free-Dumb” convoy – Zappa’s “Dumb All Over” – https://youtu.be/Y8TKiRo-W4U

    • Lee, Zappa was a perfect choice. The line in the song “Hey, we can’t really be dumb/If we’re just following God’s Orders” reminded me of Bauder testifying that God told him the answer was “unity.” Bauder said the convoy was divinely inspired.
      Far be it from me to criticize a man for his religion, but he didn’t appear to care much about the impact his beliefs were having on the men, women and children trapped by his convoy.

  18. GoinFawr says:

    Not to be ‘shouty’, but this is unbelievable, outrageous:


    So Ford is ‘immune’ from testifying? In what honourable world? Fine, he doesn’t ‘have to’, but everyone else in Canada (that didn’t read The HandMaid’s Tale like it was a freaking manual) knows that Ford SHOULD feel supremely compelled to testify. It happened on his watch, in the province he is being paid to govern, his job should positively depend upon his giving honest testimony to the inquiry.

    Who exactly is this Judge Fothergill, the individual who decided Canadians’ elected national government is powerless to compel key witnesses to testify regarding national crises, anyway? Simon Fothergill, formerly with Miller Thomson, an allegedly Religious Right activist front. Oh.

    Apparently this country is yet under serious threat from theocratic fascists.

    • Carlos says:

      ‘Apparently this country is yet under serious threat from theocratic fascists.’

      I never had any doubts about this. That is why I call them the Christian Taliban

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      GoinFawr, I agree it’s outrageous. This looks (to my inexpert, non-lawyer eyes) like a narrow, legal-rules-of-evidence interpretation of parliamentary privilege. (I apologize in advance to our hostess, for any perceived insult to her profession.)

      I note the judge says Ford and Jones SHOULD testify, but they can’t be forced to. That may be what the rules say; but the rules are wrong.

      Given the legal (there’s that word again) equality between the federal and provincial governments (they are “coequal,” not superior and subordinates), the judge’s decision must be correct. But it doesn’t feel right at all. Who the hell can hold a bad premier to account when he or she screws up? Worse, what happens when, like Ford and soon Danielle Smith, the premier deliberately bends the rules to hide behind them?

      Ford’s refusal to testify may be legal (but what about “natural law”?). It shouldn’t be, because Ford’s refusal looks too much like butt-covering. The notwithstanding clause was supposed to (according to an analysis I, of course, can’t find now) make the governments superior to the courts. If true, that’s backward.

      The Constitution deliberately set the Supreme Court of Canada as the final arbiter of whether legislation was constitutional or not. The notwithstanding clause gave the governments a loophole big enough for the Freedom Convoy to drive through, horns blaring. Doug Ford is doing what generations of Quebec separatists failed to do: abusing the Constitution badly enough to show the need for a rewrite.

      At minimum, the notwithstanding clause must be revised to limit its scope. Dougie pushed the boundaries past what the public would stand. Now the legal limits should be revised to match public opposition to the Ontario government’s overreach.

      Even better, Constitution 3.0 would make the provincial governments subordinate to the federal government. Thirteen squabbling, semi-independent princedoms are making Canada ungovernable in a world so complex, and dangerously close to environmental collapse.

    • Kelly Miller says:

      Hey, yet another technique being smuggled in from the USA! Religious wacko judges defending their political friends from having to do anything they don’t want to by making a mockery of justice itself.

      • GoinFawr, Mike J, Carlos and Kelly: I too find the Federal Court judge’s decision hard to understand. What’s the point of finding that the Commission had the jurisdiction to issue the subpoena, but then give Ford the right to decline to appear?

        I wish the Commission’s lawyers had appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Even if the SCC’s ruling came down after the Inquiry was over it would have offered some clarity and guidance to federal and provincial government which, as Mike points out, appear to be hiding behind parliamentary privilege more and more these days.

        Anyway, Justice Fothergill was appointed by Peter MacKay in Dec 2014 to fill a vacancy after another judge died. Given the Harper conservatives loathing for “activist courts”, Fothergill may have been reluctant to render a decision that may have had the effect of weakening parliamentary privilege.

      • Carlos says:

        People like Ford and Jason Kenney are extreme bullies and have all the courage when it comes to fight teachers, doctors, nurses…etc

        But when it hits them back Ford cannot even face a simple inquiry. He is just to important to face that kind of test. The real issue is that they cannot face the truth, facts do not matter. Total lack of character.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Susan, I’m sorry to say your guess about Justice Fothergill’s motives leave me at best disappointed. If you’re right, it would mean Fothergill was influenced by a personal desire to avoid “rocking the boat.” That’s not a motive I’d like to see from a judge in Canada.

        I can’t guess what sections of the law(s) Fothergill parsed to make his decision. From the little I’ve seen, constitutional law may be as open to interpretation as the Holy Bible. (I’m gonna get fried by the Radical Right for that….)

        I too am hoping (though it’s a bit late for it) that somebody will ask the Supreme Court to review Fothergill’s decision. Parliamentary privilege may be important in most cases–though I doubt it. In this case, of extreme civil (and literal!) unrest, with national security implications, it shouldn’t be tolerated. Reports throughout February implied Ford and his government were paralyzed by fear, or something. Why rebuff the feds and then sit and argue what to do? Ontarians, at least, deserve to know how the Ford government made decisions–or why they couldn’t.

      • Carlos says:

        Mike that just makes a lot of sense so forget it.
        Anything that is the right thing to do has no place in todays Conservative agenda. It is absurd that he is not in the inquiry and whatever he says it is just pure garbage. He just does not have the guts to testify period.

  19. Linda says:

    Jim’s comment about how the convoy/protest would have been broken up in record time had it been peopled by indigenous protestors is bang on. I’d add if it had been environmentalists they too would have been rounded up/dispersed long before any Emergencies Act invocation. There are many troubling aspects to the protests but what I find especially concerning is that at least some police officers enabled or supported the actions of the protestors. While I am no proponent of blind obedience in following orders, if officers felt those orders were not legal or something they should or could support they should have recused themselves from acting as police officers. Not leaked information to enable protestors to get around measures taken to contain them/disperse them. Instead, some officers made the choice to collect their salaries even as they worked behind the scenes to sabotage the plans to disperse/end the protest. In an army, that is the kind of offense that leads to a firing squad or hanging. Have to say if I were a fellow officer I’d have serious concerns about whether I could rely on such officers to back me up in any situation. Just saying.

    • GoinFawr says:

      It’s appalling to think that those same lawless, likely treasonous officers are yet collecting their salaries. It must take giant horse tranquilizers to get them to sleep at night, assuming they aren’t actually getting a kick out of the lack of accountability for their culpability.

    • I agree Linda. At least Daniel Bulford, the former RCMP sniper and onetime member of Trudeau’s security team, had the decency to resign because he couldn’t support the Covid mandates.
      As far as I know only one cop has been disciplined for supporting the convoy. Const. Kristina Neilson pleaded guilty to twice donating money to the convoy. She donated $55 to GoFundMe account, when that was returned to her, she re-donated it to another fundraising platform on the same day that Chief Sloly declared the convoy to be an illegal occupation.
      She was ordered to forfeit 40 hours of pay and participate in a restorative justice program. The Court said the donation served to “undermine public trust and confidence in the impartiality of the police.” No kidding!
      Here’s the link: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-police-officer-who-donated-to-the-freedom-convoy-docked-pay

    • Kelly Miller says:

      It seems to be a pattern across the Western World that white conservatives get a much more “kid gloves” treatment than anyone else protesting. Despite the fact they’ve shown to be MUCH more violent about it than most other protesting groups.

  20. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Let’s never forget that these occupation forces, like infants, mewling and puking about their victimhood, were using children as human shields.

    • True, Jaundiced Eye. Some of the kids slept in their trucks and had to be treated for frostbite.
      It should be noted that Martin Luther King was criticized in the Birmingham campaign for allowing kids, (elementary school to university) to join the protest. They were set upon by police dogs, firehosed, and arrested (the youngest kid in jail was 8).
      The difference here is MLK took responsibility for this decision. The convoy truckers do not.

  21. GoinFawr says:

    It looks like the unelected, no mandate, unseated in the legislature leader of the UCP Danielle Smith has found her replacement for Deena Hinshaw: Meet Dr. Paul Alexander (former Health and Safety Advisor to Donald T), featured on ‘InfoWars’ apparently characterizing Covid vaccines as ‘bio weapons’.

    Double Yikes

    • Carlos says:

      We should not be surprised – This is who Danielle Smith really is – a total conspiracy theory believer and without any common sense whatsoever. She demonstrated that all the time she was a radio person and we should not expect anything much different. She is convinced she saw the light and she is very willing to drag us all into it.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Interesting commentary in the Calgary Herald that lays out the selfish mindset of the anti-vaxxers and their favourite alt-right premier, Danielle Smith:


      The comments at the end show an appalling ignorance and selfishness. Cue alt-right trolls….

      • GoinFawr says:

        This suggests the troglodyte homunculi are currently out and about exercising that freshly purchased, never mandated (cough) ‘right’ in full force:

      • Dwayne says:

        Mike J Danysh: How long do you think it will be before Danielle Smith slips up?

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Well Dwayne, I can’t be sure when she’ll display foot-in-mouth symptoms again. When’s her next presser?

    • Dwayne says:

      GoinFawr: I saw your posting, below. That is levels that are downright creepy, and those numbers should be concerning to government officials. Danielle Smith still won’t address that very serious health related issue, and will choose to ignore it, thinking it will go away, or sort itself out. It won’t go that way. When it gets worse, all h e double hockey sticks will break loose. Firing Dr. Deena Hinshaw isn’t the smartest idea, not that Danielle Smith could do anything that was remotely smart to begin with. Those school children have older relatives, as well as other family members, who can be immunocompromised, and they could end up getting very sick. Danielle Smith has shut down the Alberta Legislature for November, so there is no way she, or Jason Copping can be grilled for what is going on here. Danielle Smith just won the by-election in Brooks Medicine Hat, with less than 40 percent voter turnout, so it should be a very rough 8 months before the next provincial election in Alberta. Albertans better get their act together and get the UCP out of power. If they don’t do that, and the UCP are in power for 4 more years, it will get much worse.

    • Thanks for raising this GoinFawr. I follow Timothy Caulfield who is crystal clear that Danielle Smith has fallen deep into the conspiracy theorist’s hole. Recently I saw a column from Rick Bell (of all people) saying Smith’s people have advised her to pivot away from this nutjob covid conspiracy stuff to things like inflation, affordable housing, and healthcare, but I don’t think she’ll be able to do it. It’s like a plane flying into a mountain, sometimes it’s too late to pull up.

    • Kelly Miller says:

      Hey, guess what?


      Yeah, that would be Dr. Alexander at the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa.

  22. Linda says:

    Dwayne, agree with you on the likely response – if any – by the UCP to growing levels of illness. No doubt they’ll cite that former Trump medical advisor as an authority on how ‘herd immunity’ can be achieved.

    Regarding the by election, while Ms. Smith did ‘win’ the vote as predicted, I found it very encouraging that the NDP candidate did so well in what is regarded as a solid bastion of Conservative support. My thought is that unless the UCP starts acting “for” the people that by the time May rolls around they will have riled the populace up enough that the general voter sentiment will be ‘anyone but’ the UCP. This of course supposes that Smith & crew don’t decide to postpone the election to May 2024, which as all too many have pointed out they could actually do. The fact it keeps coming up as a concern makes me think that idea has been seriously considered by the UCP to the point where such speculation has become general knowledge.

    • Dwayne says:

      Linda: Alberta has had the lowest percentage of voter turnout in Canada for a long time. That played a role in Danielle Smith winning the by-election in Brooks Medicine Hat. Danielle Smith still fails to stop saying and doing foolish things. This will upset both segments of the voting public, rural and urban. That should play a part in her tenure as premier of Alberta to come to an end. If the UCP delays the provincial election, longer than the election date, swift action will be taken to get a provincial election in Alberta. That’s the law. Also, if Danielle Smith steps out of line, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta will stop her, as will the Supreme Court of Canada. Danielle Smith won’t get very far. However, Danielle Smith is still capable of doing some hefty damage in 8 months. She has a very twisted ideology.

    • Linda and Dwayne, from what I’ve heard Smith does have the ability to push back the election by a year. All she’d have to do is amend the legislation Kenney passed which set the fixed election date as “the last Monday in May in the fourth year after the last general election.”

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall listening to the UCP strategists explain Smith’s poor showing in Brooks-Medicine Hat. She won with 54.5% but she replaced a UCP backbencher who won with 60.6%. The NDP say Gwendoline Dirk’s 26.7% is a “solid victory” because they didn’t win a single poll the last time around.

      If 54.5% is the best Smith can do in her hand-picked, made-to-win riding she’s in big trouble. I’m sure the bright lights in the UCP are trying to decide whether to postpone the election or not, either way she’s doomed.

      More fun and games in Alberta.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: That by-election result from Danielle Smith is comparable to what she got in the UCP leadership race, although that took 6 attempts to get a dismal standing of under 54 percent. Ralph Klein, who was let down by his love of the booze, and in turn let Albertans down, (from his very harsh cuts, and big boondoggles), also had a knack for behaving inappropriately. He got drunk and threw money at the homeless, while visiting a homeless shelter in Edmonton, insulted and bullied a female opposition MLA, with the taunts of “Are you calling me a liar?”, and was making fun of the handicapped in front of television cameras, to name a few. His own party basically let him go with a 55 percent approval rating. After this, Ralph Klein started to issue these $400 cheques to Albertans, which economic experts, including Peter Lougheed said was a big mistake to do. Danielle Smith has a history of conducting herself in an inappropriate fashion. Now, she is trying to throw money at things, which suffered from the UCP’s needless cuts, because she knows a provincial election is pending. It’s basically trying to save face. The former leader of the UCP was doing the same thing too. Coincidentally, before the UCP’s leadership review, he thought he’d remove the provincial $0.13 gas tax. That sure backfired, and it also lost Alberta a lot of money. Last night, I went by 3 gas stations, which were very close to each other. The disparity between the gas prices was unreal. Give it a matter of time, and Danielle Smith will again cause controversy, from the things she will say and do. It’s still not ending with Danielle Smith. She still is trying to fight the federal government over things that she has no control over. It’s like an unruly teenager, or a petulant child. When they cross a certain line, their parents will put them back in their place.

  23. Carlos says:

    WOW Susan your blog is really the best one that I know of and where people behave and respect each other. Lots of good information and the discussion levels are picking up and are very interesting. Love it.

    I am just sorry for you because you have so much work producing it and then replying to everyone. That is an amazing dedication to the commons and I for one am very grateful for this opportunity especially in a province where social and political literacy is not that great and where conspiracy theories abound even at leadership level as we are seeing with Danielle Smith.

    I respect Danielle Smith as a human being with the same rights I have but I think that as an adult she has the responsibility to do better. Some of the stuff we are seeing like the mask mandates in schools is pure childish. We can do much better than this in 2022.

    Thank you Susan for your dedication and the opportunity you give a lot of us.
    It has become a place where I come daily and many times more than once to give my mind a deserved rest of lunacy we live in constantly at Alberta’s level but also at Canada’s level and internationally. Reading some of you gives me a bit of hope for our future that is very shaky at this moment.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: I think we need to let more reasonable heads prevail in this province. The UCP aren’t cutting it, from that standpoint, but they have made cuts to other things, making us no better off. I do like the civil nature here. There are also good insights here too, from different people.

    • Thanks Carlos and Dwayne. I was just getting ready to wrap it up for the day when I saw Carlo’s comment and Dwayne’s reply.
      I’d like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. We’re all here to protect the common good. 🙂

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Susan, Carlos and Dwayne speak for me, too. Thanks for providing this forum for us to air our opinions (and maybe beak off a little, too!) 😉

  24. Thorsten says:

    Another interesting factoid from yesterday’s byelection: in the city of Medicine Hat proper, the NDP actually won the vote with 1,850, compared to 1,694 for the UCP. Encouraging news for urban areas, especially for Calgary, where the provincial election will be decided…(Credit to David Climenhaga and Alex McPhee). Always useful to drill down…

    • Carlos says:

      Thorsten thank you for bringing that fact to us. It escaped me and I think the CBC touched on that point this afternoon but I only caught the end of it.
      Those are interesting numbers, especially, like you said, for areas like Calgary.

  25. Carlos says:

    ‘When asked why he referred to the prime minister as ’“Justine’ Bauder said it’s because he’s an alpha male trucker, oil patch, farm boy kind of guy. Yeah, that explains it.’

    This is just so 1950s that makes anyone cringe.
    He is not an alpha male trucker and farm boy – he is an idiot that was never able to grow up.

    Hard to believe these people do not feel embarrassed to open their mouths.

  26. Linda says:

    Dwayne, I saw headlines tonight that there will be ‘Danielle Bucks’ about to rain down upon the populace. The article mentioned $ going to ‘all’ Alberta households to offset the increase in electricity prices; the suspension of the 4.5 cent per liter gas tax, coming soon to a gas bar near you!; reindexing to inflation for AISH & seniors benefits (that at least I can agree with) yet more tax relief for businesses & more. So seems like the solution to less than stellar support in the recent by election will be to buy the votes. Meanwhile, Tyler Shandro has been tasked with creating an Alberta Sovereign Act which he proclaimed will the ‘Bill 1’ once the provincial legislature reconvenes AND the all important addressing of the terrible discrimination endured by those who chose not to be vaccinated. Presumably by making it illegal to refuse to interact with or refuse to provide services to on the grounds they might infect you.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Linda, it’ll be interesting to see how Smith & Co. gloss over the fact that they’re proposing to add to the provincial debt by more spending and less taxes….

      • GoinFawr says:

        Even at Alberta’s laughingstock-of-the-oil-producing-world rates I would bet oil and gas royalties are currently outpacing expenditures.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Probably true, GoinFawr, but it’s the optics that are all-important in politics. If somebody can convince Albertans that Queen Dannie is “running up the bills to bail out the oil companies” and that We the Peepul are payin’ for it again–it just might shake the confidence of some UCP supporters and force them to think. (Yeah, and the sun might rise in the west tomorrow morning; I know.)

    • Dwayne says:

      Linda: The UCP are trying to save their hides. They are doing it by vote buying, and wasting money, which they accuse other political parties of doing. Alberta’s gas tax is $0.13 a liter, from my understanding. When the former UCP leader eliminated that provincial gas tax, as a vote buying trick, it backfired. Danielle Smith, Tyler Shandro, and the entire UCP can’t fight laws and policies they don’t agree with, when they involve other governments. Given how the UCP made the heartless cuts to A.I.S.H to start with, which never should have happened in the first place, it’s still not going to help those who have a backlog of debt, from other bills, due to the payment dates for that program being changed to the first of every month, from four banking days prior to the first of the month. Oil prices will likely be going down again, and when the money wasted on vote buying runs out, the UCP will carry on with their usual finger pointing for why Alberta’s finances aren’t so great. Then, the UCP will have to make more cuts. No one will be any better off.

  27. Gerald says:

    Yes Susan, the UCP could repeal their own fixed date election law.
    I fully expect them to do so if polls consistently show an NDP win is probable.

    But therein lies a problem for the UCP; if they push back the election further than Aug 23, AND the Calgary Elbow byelection is not called, they are then in violation of the Elections Act.

    Wonder what Lt. Governor Lakhani would have to say about that?

    I once took a political science course in which I had to study the letters patent the Governor General and Lt. Governor operate under. One of the more interesting clauses laid out that if an elected official (prime minister, a premier, etc) breaks a law, the vice-regal representative is obligated to remove the offender from office.

    • Dwayne says:

      Gerald: That would be comical to see Danielle Smith kicking and screaming, if she is thrown out of office, by breaking election laws.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Gerald, that IS interesting. Unfortunately I see two constraints. 1) Lt. Gov. Lakhani would have to wait till Smith or whoever was convicted in a court of law, and 2) the resulting hysterics among the True Believers, here in Oilberduh, would make the Freedom Convoy look like kids playing with toy cars in the sandbox.

      Of more significance, changing the “fixed-election” date would obviously be desperate rule-bending by the UCP. Even some of their supporters would get mad for “breaking their own rules.” Generally, calling an election early is the better choice–if, repeat IF, the government is popular. You’ll recall that Jim Prentice showed how not to do it; and that Danielle Smith helped him lose. Despite appearances, Smith isn’t really stupid. I doubt she’d stick her foot that deep in it.

      • Gerald says:

        Well, I’m sure she does at least an average IQ; but I have ask, at what point does prior bad decisions & actions become functionally indistinguishable from stupidity?

        As for violations of the Elections Act, I suspect the breach would be automatic on the 1 year anniversary of Doug Schweizter’s resignation. No conviction necessary.

  28. GoinFawr says:

    Hey is it just me being alarmist and ‘shouty’ to have grave concerns about a mandate-less premier forming her own ‘Praetorian Guard’?

    I mean does anyone honestly believe that the UCP’s secret police are going to serve ALL Albertans rather than being selected based on how loyal they appear to be to UCP policies ?

  29. Linda says:

    Dwayne, I hear you about the UCP & agree that these folks are not what I think of when the words ‘fiscal prudence’ come to mind. Regarding AISH, for whatever reason that particular group always seems to be targeted for spending cuts under Conservative governments. The former PC rulers who reigned in Alberta for some 40 years certainly did their share of cuts over the decades; there was a brief reprieve under the NDP & then the UCP got stuck in again. I’ve got to say I’m not quite sure why those receiving AISH face such fiscal hostility. Does the UCP feel these folks are somehow gaming the system? Pretending to be handicapped & therefore should be punished for such behavior?

    Speaking of fiscal behavior, there had been that announcement that most of the much heralded fiscal windfall from higher O&G prices was going to be used to pay down Alberta’s debt. At the time I wondered whether the UCP would actually behave so responsibly & resolved not to believe it until said payment showed on the balance sheets. Would be interesting to see just how much of the funds that were supposed to pay down the debt will be utilized to buy votes via Dannie Bucks.

    GoinFawr: no, you are not being alarmist. The UCP has provided ample proof that the law is what they say it is & if a law doesn’t fit their world view the solution is to ignore it. Or challenge it in court. Media reports of the made in Alberta police force being touted by the UCP have noted that such a force would be under the control of the provincial government. So yes, I’d say loyalty to the ruling party’s version of rule of law is very much what the UCP has in mind.

    • Dwayne says:

      Linda: Ralph Klein was making very despicable comments about those on A.I.S.H, and laughing about the matter, and this was caught by news reporters. This irked many people. He also shafted them out of of a lot of money, $100 million. Danielle Smith is now attempting to buy votes and support with A.I.S.H recipients, with reinstating what was cut by the UCP, but A.I.S.H clients aren’t falling for this. The income these people get is way below the poverty line, so why would people want to fake some type of health condition, like a hypochondriac, to get a substandard amount of income to live off of, which is around$1,700 per month? They can’t do that, because there is very stringent standards for getting A.I.S.H. Many people don’t get it right away, and it can take them at least two, or even more times before they get it. It’s been this way for decades.

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