Right now a large trucker convoy is traversing across the country and expected to arrive in Ottawa this weekend. This has attracted a lot of media attention so below are my thoughts on this.
I do not support the convoy at all and think both their goals are misguided and this could even turn ugly. I am appalled some Conservative MPs are endorsing this and the rhetoric coming out of some. This is not about freedom as Canada is still by and large a free country but with some reasonable limits for greater good. We are not on the road to tyranny as some on right claim. While we cannot stop such rhetoric on social media, politicians should not be endorsing or playing into it. Reality is the vaccine mandate is hardly draconian. Canadian truckers who are not vaccinated cannot enter the US so even if Canada dropped ours, these truckers who are unvaccinated still wouldn’t be able to cross the border. Likewise seems silly to allow unvaccinated American truckers into Canada if US won’t allow unvaccinated Canadian ones.
As for problems with supply chains, I believe weather and absenteeism due to infections from Omicron are much greater threats. But I can also accept some like Canadian Chamber of Commerce have legitimate concerns and while I think mandate should stay in place, I am open to pausing it if it does disrupt supply chains. But so far I see little evidence this is the case. But for those pushing the libertarian nonsense of no vaccine mandates, I have zero sympathy for that. We live in a society where our actions impact others and as I’ve said in other posts; moment exercising your rights harms others is the moment they end.
A lot in this convoy are fringe types with extreme views so I would urge all politicians and reasonable people to stay away from this even if you disagree with vaccine mandates. I didn’t support closing of BC gyms earlier (thankfully re-opened since). But I would never attend an anti-restrictions rally as I know they tend to bring out a lot of crazies so instead I would do things like make my views here, on social media known and even maybe write to my local MLA. When you associate with people on extremes, don’t be surprised if it backfires politically. More importantly, associating with such gives them cover of legitimacy. That is why I am very worried that some Tory MPs supporting this. If it turns violent and someone gets killed or hurt, they will have blood on your hands. It was obvious this convoy is full of extremists and reasonable people should never associate with extremists even if they agree on some things.
I believe Tories need to disassociate with this convoy immediately and O’Toole needs to tell MPs that anyone caught supporting extremists will be booted from party. I am disappointed at how soft O’Toole is with some of the more extreme members. He is a moderate like me, but for party to be viable going forward, it must expunge more extreme elements. Those types can go join Mad Max’s PPC. Yes risk of split on right, but being a leader means doing right thing even if it is not easy. At this point I am almost torn whether to get rid of O’Toole or not. On one hand not happy with him being too soft on more right wing elements, but at same time worry replacement will be even further right. As for Trudeau’s comments on anti-vaxxers; they may have been over the top but he is simply just reflecting how many of us feel. Reality is most of us share the same disdain for anti-vaxxers as he does. Its hard to respect those who don’t show any respect for you. And for those claiming its their right to not get vaccinated; that may be true although don’t fully agree, but its also my right to be pissed at those too. I have little tolerance for selfish types even if it is their legal right so maybe just do the right thing and get the vaccine. All anti-vaxxers are doing is pissing off the rest of us and claiming fighting for our freedom won’t fly with most thankfully. Some blame Trudeau for badly dividing our society, but I don’t think he is particularly divisive. I dislike a lot of Trudeau’s policies, but I also realize Canada is a left wing country and Trudeau is simply a reflection of where median voter is. I may not like that but I accept that and will work on trying to convince people this is not best direction, not take extreme rhetoric some on right are doing now.
The most worrisome part is those calling for overthrow of government. I did not vote for Trudeau once of the three times he ran for PM, but I respect he won fair and square. One of the fundamentals of a democracy is we all respect the outcome even if it was not our preferred one. As we saw with January 6th, once we get to a point where people don’t accept the government as legitimate when their guy doesn’t win, it becomes very dangerous. That is why all mainstream political leaders need to condemn such extreme rhetoric not play into it. I really worry this could turn ugly and someone could get hurt or killed. Giving sympathy to extremists won’t change them, only coming down hard can stop the damage they are causing.
4 thoughts on “Trucker Convoy”
Miles, I heartily agree that pandering to extremists never ends well. And when it is done for perceived political gain, it is both disgusting and likely to end badly for us all. So I cannot respect how Erin O’Toole is leading through this time. At the same time, while I think the feds have largely steered a sound course through the challenges that our country has faced during COVID, I do find Trudeau’s comments unnecessarily divisive, I wish we could all find more compassion for each other, while standing firm on the limitations to rights that are needed to get through this war in a more united manner. And I think that if anyone thinks this is not a time of war, they should talk to their nearest health professional, or recent refugee, or community worker, or person with disabilities, or homeless person, about what the last two years has been like for them.
I generally agree but also with pandemic unlikely to end soon, we need to find a way forward to a new normal that works best. That does not mean going back to how we lived in 2019, at least not at this point. But also not either imposing restrictions in March 2020. I think by in large BC has had good balanced restrictions. They haven’t been as harsh as Ontario which is what some want, but have dropped them all like Florida either. And while you will never get everyone on same page, at least taking such approach shows trying to balance both sides.
I know O’Toole has been quiet but I think he is scared. In the base ridings, there is at least a strong minority – if not majority – of the population that are at least sympathetic to the cause. Those are seats they would risk losing to the PPC if they jumped away. While it is true they can lose some support to the PPC without creating long term challenges, if they lose 25, 30 points or more in those ridings (such as in the rural Prairies) then they are at risk of flipping to the PPC. It also makes it impossible to make any headway in urban Canada when rural areas have largely moved so much to the right, even though he has to in order to win a majority. It’s also why in provincial polls lately, “Other” has been often polling in the high single digits to around 10%.
There are maybe 15 to 20 ridings they could reasonably pick up without an urban breakthrough (such as in northern Ontario, other rural Atlantic areas and the BC resource belt) and then another 20 seats they can get from the Bloc in a big shift in Quebec. That still leaves them short with no friends in Parliament though. At the same time, if the base is dismantled, they would be starting from scratch. The only realistic way for the Conservatives to win a majority these days is with an NDP breakthrough that splits the votes in the suburbs, which is a rare event.
I do think traditional polling numbers don’t matter anymore. Even if the CPC rose to 40%, they could lose to the LPC who may have 30% due to vote distribution. After all, CPC+PPC would have been an 7 point win in popular vote yet still fewer seats than the Liberals. The fact that the major metro areas (especially the GTA, Ottawa and Greater Vancouver) are zooming leftward makes the math a lot more complex.
There are challenges but even if lets say rural Prairie ridings did flip. In a minority parliament PPC is not going to back the Liberals although risk they would back neither. As for suburbs, I agree sweeping 905 belt is probably over, but there were lots of close ones. Ridings like Whitby, Newmarket-Aurora, Mississauga-Lakeshore, Oakville, and Burlington were fairly competitive and wouldn’t take that big a shift to turn them blue. Thus why being moderate could flip those. Yes ones like Markham-Thornhill, Ajax, and Mississauga Centre probably gone but if party just won half the ridings in 905 belt (more outer 905 than inner) plus gained the rural ones you mentioned it would put them close to majority. Yes very tough to achieve but not impossible. Real problem for Tories is they probably can only win a majority if Liberals become super unpopular and its likely for one term only. Liberals have more efficient distribution, but even a 7 point CPC lead would probably give CPC more seats as a 7 point lead wouldn’t result in a uniform swing.
In rural Prairies party is maxed out thus little room to grow. While in more left wing areas like Downtown Toronto, party always does bad as people there hate Tories. I’ve found in both British and Canadian politics, swings tend to be bigger in marginals than in safe seats. And makes sense to some degree. If you live in a riding where almost everyone, always votes Tory, you only hear one side so unlikely to switch. By same token live in a riding where everyone hates the Tories same thing. If in a swing riding where a sizeable minority support them, but a sizeable element dislike them, you hear both sides so more likely to take a nuanced view on party, meaning open to voting for them, but not locked up.