Toward February’s end, Judge Paul Rouleau threw at the Nation a 2,092 page Report packing an absolution to Trudeau-the-Son for invoking the “Emergencies Act”. In six weeks of hearings he heard from 76 witnesses and received 9,500 pages of evidence in his mission to determine whether the invocation of the Act to end the “occupation” of the Nation’s capital by 230 truckers in rigs and some 900 fellow travellers in light-trucks was appropriate.
The Emergencies Act is a milder version of the War Measures Act which Trudeau-the-Father invoked in 1970 to end a protest which in the end was solved by the police, not by tanks. Prominent Journalist (This Hour Has 7-days) Patrick Watson describes that event in his 1988 book “The Struggle for Democracy”:
“And then, almost twenty years ago, one particular incident helped to galvanize me: in the early predawn of October 16, 1970, police and uniformed officers fanned out across the sleeping city [Montreal]. Armed with extraordinary powers, they broke into homes, ransacked apartments, consficated what they wanted and seized people at will; over 450 were arrested. The police had orders to bring in the suspects, and bring in the suspects they did. Holding them without charge or bail and refusing to provide reasons for their arrests.”
This time around, Rouleau found that the Police were remiss – did not apprehend the truckers, did not issue them parking tickets and did not tow away their trucks from duly signed “No Parking” zones. Rouleau found Trudeau acted adroitly to liberate the Nation’s Capital after the cops failed to defend it against the invaders. The absolution given Trudeau-the-Father for the 1970 boondoggle was a handy “precedent” and Rouleau duplicated it to let Trudeau-the-Son go, too.
Rouleau advised Trudeau to supercharge the bureaucracy and keep it forever ready and able to suppress irksome protests. This profound recommendation cost us some $20M – Justice can be cheap but not inexpensive!
Rouleau’s solution could be had from any redneck couch-potato dude at the cost of a bag of chips. For $20M one would expect better than an unreadable 2,092 page “haystack with a needle in its middle”.
My thesis is independent of whether the truckers or Trudeau were right or wrong. I write because I am flabbergasted by the Judge’s failure to probe under the surface and his readiness to be remiss in his mission. Oblivious to prevention, Rouleau prescribes a bigger sledge-hammer for hitting citizens airing grievances. Rouleau missed the axis of the thing. He had a great opportunity to “blow up the system from inside” as Trudeau-the-Father once recommended instead of attacking it from the outside. I will fill in the void the Judge left.
The cause of the Convoy was the same as that of virtually all the protests we are made to endure, as well as for the emergence of the Emergencies Act. This, succinctly said, is the suppression of the democratic way of doing that which people resort to seek via protests. I will explain.
In the 1970 event the FLQ was denied the facility to communicate their “Manifesto”. This resulted in the murder of Pierre Laporte and the quick retreat of Pierre Trudeau, author of the “just watch me” pompous utterance. Shortly after that bravado show, Trudeau capitulated and the FLQ Manifesto was broadcast as a part of the surrender protocol signed by or on behalf of Trudeau.
The rain follows the Path of Least Resistance from the mountaintops to sea. “As the crow flies” is the Path of Least Resistance to a destination. This is the essence of intelligence, universally irresistible. If the Truckers or other “protesters” would discern a path of lesser resistance, if they had an easier way to air adequately their grievances, they would have taken it. It ought to exist but it was absent.
Rouleau’s recommendation for more and mightier tools with which to suppress public protest is stupid. It will scare the wronged to silence and handicap the airing of grievances thereby building up ire, adding sticks of dynamite for a bigger bang. This irrespective of whether the grievances are true or false. Reasonable ideas will be suppressed and unreasonable ones will not be aired to be blown in the wind. Both eventualities are damnable. Rouleau fosters vindictiveness where the need is for Democracy.
We need a “soapbox”, a big one, indeed more than one, set not behind the bushes in Hyde Park, but prominent like the lighthouse on the rock. Of course the establishment loves “protests” for they cleverly manipulate us to blame the “unruly” for the establishment’s wrongdoings, thus distancing the perpetrators from the victims. We should not fall for that. Let’s bypass the relief valve and send all the steam we can raise to the cylinders to push the pistons that drive the wheels of the Locomotive of civilization.