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LETTER: Saying protest is about 'freedom' makes it 'more egregious'

'Our democratic institutions are under assault by the same dark forces that are rocking other democracies across the world,' says letter writer
terry fox statue convoy
The Terry Fox monument in Ottawa was defaced during vaccine mandate protest this weekend.

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor ([email protected]). This letter, in response to the truckers' protest in Ottawa, is from Gary Machan who is the president of the Simcoe Chapter of Canadian International Council. 
To say that I am outraged by the spectacle unfolding in our nation’s capital would be something of a vast understatement. That it is done under the banner of ‘freedom’ makes it all the more egregious. Cheered on by Erin O’toole, no less, who if he wasn’t up for leadership review before, should most definitely be now.

Lest this sound like a partisan attack, I am even far more disturbed by our Prime Minister who has opted to go AWOL. Where is our home guard when you need them? The extra boots on the ground who should have been ordered, and most especially given who the organizers were behind the scenes?

Was there a failure in the chain of command to ensure their was adequate police presence to protect our most cherished national treasures? Did anyone follow the money? Will the RCMP get their man?

None of which even gets into how different the response would have been if a group of Indigenous people shut down the city for days on end. Not so sure they would have been cheered on, despite the fact they have real issues with the government.

Having worked in Ottawa, I can tell you the security is air tight if they want it to be. So tight that if a Black person was holding up traffic because their car ran out of gas, they would have in all likelihood be surrounded by a SWAT team in a matter of minutes.

But I digress. Because the real issue for me is this has nothing to do with FREEDOM. The type of freedom that was earned through the sacrifice of our soldiers doing their part to bring an end to the Nazi regime in the Second World War. I would not be here if not for them, because my family wouldn’t have survived since they were Jewish.

So when these so-called freedom fighters desecrate war memorials parading around in Nazi swastikas under the guise of freedom, I do not take this lightly.

No true Canadian should.

Like it or not, what this nadir in Canadian politics is showing is we are no better than the Americans. Not anymore. Because just as the Republican leaders refuse to level with their base that Trump did not win the election, so too O'Toole caters to the mob that has now clearly hijacked a once great political party in plain view. One that lives in a largely fact-free zone.

Fact check: The vaccine mandate does not violate Canadians’ constitutional rights. No one is forcing anyone to physically take a vaccine. As for the mandates these would be supported in a court of law because government’s have the RIGHT to take ‘REASONABLE measures’ which this would surely be deemed due to the efficacy of the vaccine and the protection it affords.

As for the vaccine being ‘anti democratic’, since when is the vast majority considered undemocratic. Bear in mind, 80% of Canadians have taken the vaccines not just willingly, but many gratefully, to which an equal percentage strongly support the vaccine mandates.

Clearly, the ‘freedom fighters’ notion of democracy is that 20% of the population should impose their recklessness and disregard for other peoples health on everyone else.

Bottom line, the hard truth is our democratic institutions are under assault by the same dark forces that are rocking other democracies across the world.

Moreover, as evidenced by the unfolding of the past few days, what is equally clear is we cannot rely on our elected leaders be it the enabling of our conservative members, or softness and naivety of the neo-liberals.

Ultimately, it will come down to we the people and how many are willing to let their voice be heard when it most matters.

Gary Machan