Convoy of Truckers and Maple Spring
Demonstration at Jarry Park, in Montreal, on Saturday, February 14.
CHRONICLE – It has been a long time since the public debate has been so occupied, without pun intended, by the manifest demands of any grouping. In fact, apart from those of the Wet'suwet'en, interrupted for pandemic reasons, we must potentially go back to the spring of 2012 in order to remember similar media resonance.
However, the game, even approximate, of comparisons ends here. Masterful, the points of divergence prohibit, to tell the truth, any serious analogy.
Because it is no longer a question here of demonstrations, but of illegal occupation: paralyzing a national capital with great blows of 18 wheels, preventing citizen and commercial traffic, horns, traditional fires and fireworks, blocking of a bridge and an airport, chain of children. For almost… three weeks.
Because said occupation was carried out, ironically, very smoothly, that is to say with the embarrassing complicity of police forces, which refused, until recently, to pass on any ticket, instead busily posing with the truckers for the benefit of social media, TikTok dances as a bonus. A coincidence, the fact that several ex-RCMP and military officers were organizers of the operation?
Because to the rank of co-architects are also added some infrequent stratospheric. At the head, among others, of an extreme right, having publicly called for the assassination of Justin Trudeau during the last election campaign, and which has recently given the blow: the outcome of this maneuver should be settled, according to one of the organizers, “with bullets”.
Because the Nazi or Confederate flags, symbols of slavery par excellence, were proudly displayed at least during the first days of the festivities. Ditto for transphobic and homophobic signs. Or those comparing Trudeau to the Fürher, or even ensuring the analogy between the health passport and the atrocities of the Shoah. If the cops had been interested in doing their job, they could have reminded haters of the existence of Section 319 of the Criminal Code:
Anyone who, by giving statements in a public place, incites to hatred against an identifiable group, where such incitement is likely to result in a breach of the peace, is guilty […].
Anyone who, by communicating statements other than in private conversation, willfully promotes hatred against an identifiable group is guilty […].
Because the transfer of funds raised by GoFundMe was, for the most part, refused by the crowdfunding platform, all after an in-depth investigation lasting several days. The reason for the refusal? The source and destination of the funds in question, directly or indirectly linked to the Canadian far right, of course, but also American. Hello, ProudBoys.
Because the content of the demands, in the end, boils down to withdrawing all the health measures at a still pivotal moment, when our health systems are holding up with pain and misery, when load shedding is becoming practically more the norm than 'exception. Nice social project, no doubt, especially when you consider that with 116 countries with insufficient vaccination coverage, a next variant could very well appear, before long.
No comparison possible, therefore, between the two movements. Both in substance and form. Does this excuse the excesses, even if slight, of Printemps érable? No, of course. Still, it is permissible to wonder about this: if GND and its gang had permanently stormed institutions or infrastructures in the same way as the apostles of freedom, how long before the adoption of a state of emergency, in your opinion? As Noël Mamère said: propaganda does not ask moral questions.