Rex Murphy @ National Post
The protected class versus the working class, East versus West, urban versus rural — the protest is a marker of all these unfortunate divides
It is getting very rich, this protest. Rich and raw. Very much so; as each day passes and the protest deepens and extends to areas beyond its initial phase, the country is witness to a depth of division not seen in decades. The prime minister is nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be heard.
Rich and raw — I’ll expand on these adjectives, but must note first and condemn the sublimely arrogant, despicable actions of the wretched GoFundMe autocrats.
What mind of a cabbage told you that you had the right to refuse to pass on $9 million donated in good faith to a democratic cause?
What is it about these internet gods with their fat billions and their laptops of gold, that they think they should be the judges of that which is right, and that which is not? Who shall speak on Twitter and who shall not? Who shall be allowed to assemble in the temple of Facebook and who shall be stricken from its pages?
As yours truly was unceremoniously denied the site that had been enjoyed by many since 2008– Yup, google.
Who knew that GoFundMe operates as the woke court of cancellation culture? As an utterly self-nominated moral clearing house? “These monies we shall pass on to those for whom they were donated. But those we shall stay and send wherever the wind shall list — for those who drive trucks and do manual labour belong not under the wing of GoFundMe Inc.” The intrusion of the tech monarchs into the politics of our democracies is grim and dangerous.
The intrusion of the tech monarchs into the politics of our democracies is grim and dangerous
Back to rich and raw.
Rich in the sense that issue after issue is mingling with this ever-swelling protest, greatly broadening from the original impulses that brought it about. It started around mandates and triple vaccines as they affected a single industry, but it is now so much more. It is among other things, a contest over civil rights; the guttering of the Charter; about Canadian politics as seen from the metropolises of central Canada versus the view from the always less regarded concerns and sensibilities of rural and Western Canada.
I’m in Ontario. Dominated by Toronterrible and Doug Ford (rolling eyes)
Also, as it has evolved, it has given form to the deep divisions of class and economic standing made starkly manifest under the COVID lockdown regimes — a brutal rebuttal of that silly mantra that “diversity is our strength.” Not when diversity takes the form of one set of Canadians having it rather better than another set. And certainly not when one set, those at the lower end of economic security, mount a protest and receive contemptible denunciation from the prime minister and some of the higher elements of the Canadian press.
Who has most carried the hard weight of the COVID regime imposed by their governments and the protected class? Everyone knows the answer to that question: those in precarious economic positions, the independent, the unpensioned, blue-collar workers. Family and small business people, service employees, the staff of hotels and restaurants. The old and the very old, most cruelly those ill and in care, who were not only the most exposed and least protected, but who were cut off during their most difficult days from family contact. Anxiety was deepest, the burden greatest — as seems always the case in this world — for those least equipped to bear it.
Those most shielded by secure or government employment, those inoculated by high income from emergent and record inflation, have from the altitude of their security and comfort affected a dismissive, scornful and mean attitude. Very much a “who are these people?” Very much a paternalistic, very much a scolding-from-their-very-superior- understandings tone towards this “mob” of “racists,” “yahoos,” “nutters,” “traitors,” “misogynists,” and other golden terms of deepest courtesy and understanding towards our worker-citizens.
The current protest is the marker of that unfortunate divide. A sign, too, of a new divide in our governance, where politics has swollen into a kind of moral marker, or an identity tag, where what should be simply a disagreement or an argument over this issue or that, has taken on the character of a shibboleth. Sign on here, you are good. Sign on there, you’re a wastrel and a pirate.
This has not been helped by a ruthlessly absent leadership. The country is in real division at this time, East versus West, rural versus urban, our celebrated harmony and instinct for compromise severely impaired. None of our political leaders has taken on the banner of “binding up our wounds” which would seem to be, even in the time of COVID, a priority medicinal requirement.
This has not been helped by a ruthlessly absent leadership
Apart from hurling nasty invective at the protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could be in Madagascar for all the presence he has shown during the past 10 days. The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, with his invocation of “bloodlines” and wrath directed at the protest, has been all too present. The poor Conservatives … well, what’s to say?
And of course our even poorer Parliament, either empty and unattended, or open for Zoom debate, which is not much of a distinction from empty and unattended.
Internet-adulterated democracy, in a minority government, during a crisis, is a sad business.