Protesters don’t understand freedoms, responsibilities of being a Canadian

Time to condemn the actions of neo-fascist protesters

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Gerry ChidiacThe trucker convoy to Ottawa has placed Canada under the international spotlight. I wonder what the world is thinking.

We hear people shouting “freedom,” but I sincerely question whether they know the meaning of the word. I’ve talked to friends and family who’ve lived in countries where people aren’t free, and we’re scratching our heads.

If these individuals feel their charter rights are being violated, they can use the millions of dollars they raised to hire the best lawyers to defend their interests in our court system.

We see no tear gas, no water cannons, no police with riot shields, no one being beaten and dragged off to unknown locations. These people are free to block roads, make noise and even disrupt international trade.

In fact, this group has been given far more leeway in their public protest than most groups receive, even in Canada. We recently watched heavily-armed police with attack dogs raid the camp of unarmed Wet’suwet’en land defenders and drag people off to jail. When the Mohawk blocked a bridge in 1990, the Canadian Army held them under siege and other citizens threw rocks at them when they tried to transport their sick and elderly to where they had access to medical care.

The reason for our government’s leniency seems too obvious to be stated. Yet people objecting to health mandates have the gall to claim their freedom is being infringed upon. And they expect to be taken seriously?

Our democracy is clearly imperfect, but unlike in the United States and many other countries, our elected members of government are extremely accessible and responsive to their constituents. There’s also a healthy diversity of opinion in the Canadian Parliament.

Clearly, few people in the history of the world have been as free as Canadians in the 21st century.

It has been so ironic to see clowns running around Ottawa with Nazi flags in the name of freedom. Has there ever been a more notorious dictatorship in the history of the world that systematically took away freedoms from its citizens, even the right to life?

Those waving Confederate flags, celebrating a regime that fought for the right to own and mistreat other humans, are also clearly misguided.

Thankfully, these people seem to have left and even members of Parliament are able to have open discourse with protesters. One of these is Bob Zimmer, my member of Parliament. He’s a conservative Conservative, and while he and I disagree on many issues, I appreciate his willingness to respectfully voice his opinion and the opinions of the many Canadians who share his views.

I also appreciate the official statements made by the Conservative Party of Canada condemning the actions of neo-fascist protesters.

What Canadians need now is for Zimmer and the Conservative leaders of Canada to tell protesters that they’ve made their point and need to go home.

In fact, what we’re watching could prove to be a tipping point for the leaderless Conservative Party. If their members don’t come forward and stand for the rights of Canadians to go to work, buy food and live in peace, one has to wonder if they’re a party that stands for the Canadian values of diversity and fair play. One would have to ask whether they’re a fringe-right party or one that represents the views of most Canadians.

Hopefully, Conservative leaders will do the right thing for Canada.

And if Conservative leaders speak and protests don’t end, then it becomes clear to everyone what these protesters really are: people who simply don’t understand the freedoms and the responsibilities of a Canadian.

Troy Media columnist Gerry Chidiac specializes in languages, genocide studies and works with at-risk students. He is the recipient of an award from the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre for excellence in teaching about the Holocaust. For interview requests, click here.


The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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