Who Is Justin Trudeau?

It is now common knowledge that Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, a former part-time high school teacher, snowboard instructor, and two-time university dropout—Trudeau studied environmental geography at McGill University and engineering at the Université de Montréal, failing to complete degrees in either facultyis not and never was leadership material.

If one studies the checkered history of Canada’s prime ministers from Sir John A. Macdonald to the present moment, one finds the inevitable gallery of eccentrics, short-lived tenants and corrupt operators among them, but none so feckless and inept, so morally impaired and puerile, in short, so unfit for office as the current occupant of 24 Sussex—that is, when he is not sojourning in his Harrington Lake country residence or governing from the Rideau Cottage steps.

Except truckers.

He has had, of course, his supporters and fawning acolytes charmed by comparative youth and apparent insouciance, at least during the early days of his candidacy. Jonathan Kay’s hagiographic extravagance in an article for The Walrus titled “The Justin Trudeau I Can’t Forget,” and Conrad Black’s praise of Trudeau in the National Post as “flexible in public finance… a very alluring personality, a quick intelligence and an apparently reasonable combination of principle and openness” are cases in point. Perhaps these magisters are now experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Justin Trudeau’s track record as prime minister of Canada is, to put it mildly, far from stellar.

Moreover, Trudeau’s clownish antics in blackface, his Peter Sellers imitation on a diplomatic visit to India, even his virtue-signaling rainbow socks at a Gay Pride parade are nothing if not national embarrassments. But all of his policy aberrations and cringeworthy absurdities count for little in the light of his latest adventure in political grotesquery.   

Vox populi, vox Dei.

His seizure of dictatorial powers via the Emergencies Act to disable a peaceful, legitimate and justifiable protest against the vaccine mandates and cross-border quarantine measures by a contingent of the country’s truckers is only the latest manifestation of this failed and oppressive Trudeau-led government.

As National Post columnist Rex Murphy writes, it is “something very close to lunatic.” The Act is by no means unexpected and was bound at some point to happen, a reprise of the elder Trudeau’s invoking of the War Measures Act against a small cadre of Quebec separatists. Like father, like son. It is an expression of a demagogic temperament that cannot tolerate opposition and that has no talent for compromise or dialogue, a sine qua non for prudent and respectable leadership, now conspicuous by its absence.

Indeed, his outrageous slandering of the truckers as racists and haters, his refusal to meet with them, his craven flight from office as the convoy assembled in Ottawa, and his invoking of legislation to seize the financial instruments and assets of both the protesters and of ordinary citizens who contributed to the trucker fund is unprecedented in Canadian history. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has brazenly authorized the RCMP to share with banks “the names of individuals, businesses and crypto wallets associated with the protest convoy.”

The peoples' choice.

As of this writing, the banks now have the power to freeze protesters’ accounts, including, it appears, the accounts of people who over the last two weeks donated in good faith. The retroactive application of fiscal reprisals is an egregious violation of legal norms, as is the sequestration order itself. It is a sign of unmitigated tyranny that compares with the typical excesses of the totalitarian despots Trudeau reveres. It seems to be a truism that small men with power are the scourge of their nations.

This is the man whom Canadians have thrice elected, which speaks for a country that—with the exception of a courageous and steadfast minority—no longer values its freedoms and traditions. Fear and ignorance triumph over patriotism and reason. Some might be inclined to argue that Canadians had little choice given there was no credible opposition and that vote-heavy Toronto, Montreal and Halifax effectively determine the outcomes of elections in this country. Nonetheless, Trudeau was always a popular favorite despite his autocratic nature and a clear tendency to abuse his office. Trudeau is working to remake Canada in his own tarnished image. He can do no other. That is who he is.

Trudeau Invokes 'Emergencies Act'

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has decided to invoke the Emergencies Act to end the ongoing Freedom Convoy protests in Canada. He will submit the decision for the approval of parliament sometime this week. New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh has already announced his party's intention to support the government, meaning that the prime minister will have the votes he needs.

"It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement's ability to effectively enforce the law," Trudeau told a news conference Monday afternoon. "It is no longer a lawful protest at a disagreement over government policy. It is now an illegal occupation. It's time for people to go home. This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people's jobs and restoring confidence in our institutions," he said.

The Emergencies Act is a successor to the War Measures Act, which was famously invoked only once during peacetime -- Pierre Trudeau, Justin's father, made use of it during the October Crisis of 1970, after FLQ terrorists kidnapped the deputy premier of Quebec and a British diplomat with the goal of achieving independence for Quebec. The Emergencies Act, like its predecessor, grants the prime minister authority to severely restrict civil liberties for a time in order to restore order and protect the national welfare, though it gives parliament somewhat greater oversight than the earlier legislation.

The Act also allows the central government to go after crowdfunding platforms, such as GiveSendGo, which has been collecting on behalf of the truckers. That site is currently down, perhaps as a result of hacking.

The fundraising website used to raise millions of dollars for a “Freedom Convoy” protest led by truckers against coronavirus restrictions in Canada is offline after reports of a possible hack that exposed donor information. On Monday, a screenshot of the GiveSendGo website featured an image from the Disney film “Frozen,” along with a ticker purporting to show the names, donation amounts and email addresses of people who helped support the cause. The image bore the words “GiveSendGo is now frozen,” along with a link describing raw donation data.

A video captured by Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reporter Travis Dhanraj shows scrolling text addressed to “GiveSendGo Grifters and Hatriots.”

This act of pique, petulance, and impotent frustration is completely unnecessary. As Greg Taylor explains in Canada's National Post:

Section 3 of the Act defines a national emergency as “an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that … seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.”

The protestors have been peaceful, and the blockaded bridges have already begun to clear with only a handful of arrests having taken place so far. Moreover, constitutionally, dealing with protestors is very much within the realm of provincial authority.

One thing that invoking the Emergencies Act does do, however, is create the potentiality for military involvement. Trudeau has said that he has no plans thus far to bring in the military. But the prime minister is desperate, and if marching the military into Ottawa to clear out the protestors will end this, he will absolutely do so and take what he likely thinks is a short term hit in his national standing to make the problem go away.

But another, more subtle but just as ominous, use of the Emergencies Act concerns the government's broad ability to regulate financial transactions. Global News reports on this announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland:

The government is issuing an order with immediate effect under the Emergencies Act authorizing Canadian financial institutions to temporarily cease providing financial services where the institution suspects that an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations,” Freeland said. “This order covers both personal and corporate accounts.” She said the government is also now “directing Canadian financial institutions to review their relationships with anyone involved in the illegal blockades and report to the RCMP or CSIS.”

Federal institutions are also getting “new, broad authority” to share information on anyone suspected of involvement with the blockades with Canadian banks and financial institutions. “As of today, a bank or other financial service provider will be able to immediately freeze or suspend an account without a court order. In doing so, they will be protected against civil liability for actions taken in good faith,” Freeland said.

These are the types of powers governments have used since 9/11 to combat terrorism. It is unnerving to see them deployed against non-violent citizen protestors. The Canadian national anthem contains a prayer: "God keep our land, glorious and free." Such divine intervention might be warranted in the days to come.