As a Canadian living in what amounts to a Covid dictatorship in a nascent totalitarian country, I envy my American counterparts, at least those living free of lockdowns, masks, mandates, and vaxxports in the so-called “red” or Republican states. Were the legislative chains struck from our ankles, and if the Biden administration relaxed its border controls, my wife and I would be among them in a heartbeat.
Federal Democrats notwithstanding, the contrast between our two countries is instructive. Citizens from progressivist states like New York or California or Oregon may conceivably move to conservative states like Florida or Texas or Tennessee—and are doing so in record numbers. In Canada, freedom-loving citizens from autocratic provinces like New Brunswick or Quebec or Ontario would see no purpose in moving to, say, Prince Edward Island or Manitoba or British Columbia, which are ideologically equivalent.
In the U.S., approximately half the country is politically offset by the other half whereas, in Canada, half the country is politically near-identical to the other half. Americans who wish to live free still have somewhere to go. Canadians have nowhere to go unless they leave the country entirely—though they are not permitted to do so if unvaccinated regardless of the Charter right to travel (Section 6). Approximately one quarter of Canadian citizens are symbolically wearing orange jumpsuits—indeed, according to recent polls, 27 percent of Canadians want to see these miscreants in literal prison garb.
In a letter to the prime minister of Canada, the national leader of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada writes: “collateral damage caused by lockdowns, layoffs, bankruptcies, mortgage foreclosures, business closures, supply chain disruptions, missed education days, missed and postponed medical appointments and procedures and other unforeseen impacts far outweigh any benefit gained by brutal and unfair restrictions.” This is a Canada-wide condition. The Biden administration in the U.S. has followed the same coercive and equally disastrous policies. As noted, the difference is that a moiety of Americans lives in democratic—not Democrat—states that have resisted the tyranny of the federal government and that all Americans are still manumitted citizens.
My wife and I live in possible expectation of punitive fines and possible internment in what was once a free country defended by a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a Constitutional Act. These rights have been abrogated and these freedoms have been indefinitely suspended. The same is true of countries like Germany and Austria, but given their histories a fascist substratum is not particularly surprising. Australia is a puzzle though its leaders appear to have deferred to Communist China, and France under the Napoleonic Code has always had an authoritarian bent. (Macron, however, will allow vaccinated people to eat popcorn in movie theatres, a sign of imperial generosity.) Canada has suffered under the powerful influence of the Trudeau dynasty, the father making no secret of his Socialist sympathies (Cuban, Chinese) and the son a professed admirer of Communist China. And of course, both are from Quebec with its Napoleonic patrimony and dirigiste tendencies—which may help to explain the country’s gradual totalitarian drift.
The U.S. is also in dire straits where the neo-Marxist cohort of politicians, intellectuals, and academics has organized its predatory march through the institutions, but we have seen many states reaffirming their republican heritage and remaining true to the originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Florida is a case in point under the wise administration of Ron DeSantis; indeed, it is there that Juan Ponce de Léon believed the Fountain of Youth could be found. But Florida is not unique in that respect and the republican tradition seems to be surging in its fellow states.
The typical Canadian perspective is exemplified by Montreal Gazette sports reporter Josh Freed who, vacationing in Florida (where else?), calls the state “cowboyland,” is astonished that “everyone’s out and about, filling bars, restaurants, movies, gyms, and jam-packed sports arenas,” and comments in an access of schadenfreude that “In ever-friendly America, some customers even shake hands with their waiters before leaving, to say: ‘Thanks, I’ll have some germs for dessert.’” He also fudges his Covid statistics, extolling Quebec’s pandemic record at the expense of Florida’s though, as Red State correctly points out, Covid-obsessed Quebec has proportionately a higher mortality rate by a factor of over two to one. The latter article concludes: “Americans in free states are going to continue living their lives as they always have because that’s the sane, rational thing to do.”
Canadian by citizenship but American in sympathy, my wife and I would happily join them should the prison gates ever open, especially now that our version of republicanism, despite the differences, namely, the spirit of conservatism, is politically moribund. Not a single political party, with the exception of the People’s Party of Canada (with no seats in Parliament), has opposed the Liberal Party’s roughshod trampling of the Charter. According to one story of Confederation, Canada took its original designation as a Dominion from the 8th verse of Psalm 72—“He shall have dominion from sea to sea” (A Mari usque ad Mare)—thanks to the New Brunswick Father of Confederation Sir Leonard Tilley. Regrettably, the promise of verse 4, that the Lord “shall break in pieces the oppressor,” was not fulfilled, as is becoming increasingly evident in our current predicament. The Canada we live in is no longer the Canada we once took for granted.
It is only fair to mention that “true north” sentiment is not entirely dead, as witness the massive and ongoing trucker convoy descending on Ottawa to protest a mandate-mad government, and helped with donations from patriotic citizens. There are still good people in a bad country. Predictably, the convoy has been condemned or downplayed by the mainstream media. The prime minister appears to have lobbied GoFundMe to shut down the money transfer to the truckers. As of this writing, the funds have been frozen. To his shame, the leader of the Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole, has not endorsed the truckers; he is willing only to “meet with” them. Merely a handful of Tory MPs have come out in support of the convoy. The majority of the public appears to be indifferent or opposed. A credible rumor is circulating that the Trudeau government is about to take a page from Merrick Garland’s domestic terrorists agenda. Meanwhile, a convoy of American truckers is approaching our borders in solidarity with their Canadian cousins, but Trudeau has the option of closing the border crossings. One thinks of Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a mountain.
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Canadians are fed up, National Post columnist Rex Murphy writes, with “the confused back-and-forth [Covid] imperatives coming out of Ottawa and the provincial capitals…the virtual amputation of our Parliament…the impotence of the official opposition and the slack coverage of the press.” This may be the case, but how many Canadians are really fed up and willing to keep on truckin’? Resistance is a brave and praiseworthy undertaking, to which we have contributed financially and pledged our support. What else is there to do, especially when one is living as an anti-vaxxer in a state of legal but illegitimate semi-confinement? Canada is a uniformly repressive country across all the provinces and Territories. Our leaders can no longer be trusted. Our universities are sumps of intellectual depravity. Our judiciary, our media and our parliamentary system are irredeemably compromised. The average voter has been co-opted by the left and is largely satisfied with things as they are, mandates and all. They are well on their way into their third jab.
Whether the convoy revolution and the degree of enthusiasm it commands among a sector of the population can effect a sea-change in our politics and national temperament rather than a temporary respite remains to be seen. It is a “hope against hope” phenomenon. But at the present moment, Canada is a veritable prison for people like my wife and me. Should any of our American friends manage to visit, bring a pie with a file inside.
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