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Frontier Centre for Public Policy

The end of Canada: The shift from democracy to totalitarian behavior in the ‘pandemic era’


70 minute read

From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Ray McGinnis

It may be said that fascism comes on little cat feet. But in the 21st Century, autocratic forms of governance are unfolding with a twist. Democratic norms of tolerance, debate, proportionate responses to any infractions by citizens, and more, are disappearing in Canada.


March 2024 marks the fourth anniversary of one of the most disastrous assaults on human rights in Canadian history. This assault was in synch with what unfolded in democracies across ‘the West.’

In her 2007 book, The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot, Dr. Naomi Wolf warned readers of ten steps repeatedly used by those seeking to closing down a democracy. Wolf describes the slide from democracy into a totalitarian state that follows a pattern that can be observed across nations for over a century. Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mussolini’s Italy, East Germany, Pinochet’s Chile, Czechoslovakia, Romania under Ceausescu, communist China, and North Korea are all examples cited in Wolf’s book.

Four years into the ‘pandemic,’ The End of America provides a lens for understanding the decline of democracy, not only in America, but across Western democracies. In this article, I discuss the ten steps studied in Dr. Wolf’s book to reflect on recent political developments in Canada. Most of these steps are on display in Canada in 2024.

Much has been written about predictive events leading up to the ‘pandemic.’ This is beyond the scope of this article. Though, it’s worth noting even USA Today fact-checkers concluded, it was true that Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the Trump administration, three years ahead of the ‘pandemic,’ that a “surprise infectious disease outbreak” would occur during Donald Trump’s term of office. Fauci made the statement on January 10, 2017, at an event organized by the Center for Global Health Science and Security in partnership with the Harvard Global Health Institute.[1] As well, Dr. Fauci was involved in running a lab in Montana that received a coronavirus strain from the lab in Wuhan, China, in 2018 before the ‘pandemic’ began.[2]

Step One: Invoke an External and Internal Threat

Step One, studied by Wolf details, how in the 20th Century and early 21st Century tyrannical leaders invoked an External and Internal Threat. This resulted in concentration of power and a compliant, anxious, often fearful population.

Fast forward to the 2020s. In the winter of 2019-2020 an external threat of the Covid-19 virus made the news, leading to lockdowns, social distancing, mask wearing, PCR tests and more. This was not only in Canada, but around the world.

External Threat

As in other nations, the Trudeau government and the mainstream media described an external threat to Canadians from the Covid-19 virus. It was coming from China, then Italy, landing in America and coming to Canada’s doorstep. The crisis of the ‘pandemic’ was accompanied with a sense of overwhelm. Canada was faced with a crisis of a magnitude beyond any the nation had faced before, or so we were told. The CBC ran this headline on March 17, 2020: “Ventilator manufacturer says Canada should have stockpiled machines after SARS.”[3] The article lamented government inability to think ahead and be prepared for the next pandemic. Days later, the CBC triggered anxiety by reporting “Hospitals scramble to secure more ventilators amid coronavirus outbreak.”[4] It appeared that the province of Ontario would run out of ventilators within 15 days. The assumption was that Covid-19 was a virus that killed those infected on a scale similar to the Ebola virus. Hospitals were pushing use of ventilators to stop the spread of the virus.

However, it soon became clear that the ventilators were the catalyst for a huge spike in the deaths of Covid patients in hospital. By April 9, 2020, Business Insider reported “80% of New York’s coronavirus patients who are put on ventilators ultimately die, and some doctors are trying to stop using them.”[5] While the CBC reported on April 17, 2020, that “Ventilators are being overused on COVID-19 patients, world-renowned critical care specialist says.”[6] The Italian specialist cited in the article, Luciano Gattinoni, is a professor in the department of anesthesiology and intensive care at the Medical University of Göttingen in Germany. He concluded that many COVID patients were being put on ventilators with the pressure set too high, causing damage, and typically death.

To address the external threat of the coronavirus, the nation went through a series of lockdowns. The number of lockdowns over the next few years varied across provinces and territories. But what was being learned as early as February 2022 was that the lockdowns were doing a lot of damage to society. And it was a bust as a mitigation strategy to prevent deaths from COVID. A National Post headline stated, “Lockdowns only reduced COVID deaths by 0.02 per cent, John’s Hopkins study finds.” The study concluded, “We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality.”[7]

It was known prior to the ‘pandemic’ that lockdowns would not work as a strategy to deal with a respiratory virus. Appearing at the National Citizens Inquiry in Red Deer, Alberta, was former head of Emergency Management Alberta, Lt. Col (ret) David Redman. He testified that in response to an emergency, the task of emergency managers is to reassure the public and to try to maintain a normal state of life. “Lockdowns did not save a single” life in Canada. But they created “massive collateral damage” to Canadian society. Redman said that Public Health Canada, their provincial counterparts, and politicians violated a first rule of emergency management. They “used fear” instead of trying to “control fear.” He was astonished that what had been learned from pandemic responses for over a century in Canada was completely discarded. Politicians and public health officials failed to “mitigate societal disruption,” failed to ensure “continuity and recovery of critical services,” and failed in “minimize adverse economic impact.” [8]

The Prime Minister also lobbied provincial and territorial leaders to invoke the Emergencies Act in response to the ‘pandemic’ by mid-March 2020. His pitch to invoke a national emergency weeks into the ‘pandemic’ was roundly rejected at the time by the First Ministers.[9]

Internal Threat

In December 2020 a rollout of the ‘vaccine’ was prescribed to stop infection and transmission of the virus. The external threat of the virus was now domestic (internal), combined with the internal threat of the unvaccinated. It was alleged that the ‘unvaccinated’ were 99% responsible for the spread of the virus, and for a spike in hospital beds.

On September 9, 2021, the CBC reported that Joe Biden told the press, “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approval (sic). Over two-hundred million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us …. Listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breath, saying, ‘If only I’d gotten vaccinated. If only.”[10] Though the lead CBC story was from the United States, its message was aimed at unvaccinated Canadians. But was this true? Were these new vaccines a panacea? Were the unvaccinated plague spreaders? The media didn’t question these premises. A season of stigmatization was upon us. And lots of citizens joined in the sport.

The Public Health Agency of Canada released an epidemiological report that Global News ran a story about in July 2021. PHAC asserted “Since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 14, 2020, the majority (89.8 per cent) of cases being reported to PHAC were among those who were unvaccinated.”[11] This was a statistical sleight of hand since the rollout of the vaccine was graduated. Many citizens were still waiting for their first dose in the summer of 2021. In August 2021, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that the 25% of the population that were categorized as unvaccinated – 1.45 million people – were responsible for 84% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations. Henry said, “The science is clear.”[12]

On August 26, 2021, the Toronto Star ran a front-page story with the headline “When it comes to empathy for the unvaccinated, many of us aren’t feeling it.” The front page ran comments from those who weren’t feeling any empathy: “If an unvaccinated person catches it from someone who is vaccinated, boohoo, too bad.” “I have no empathy for the willfully unvaccinated. Let them die.” “I honestly don’t care if they die from COVID. Not even a little bit.”[13] Whether it was the intention to incite antipathy toward the unvaccinated or not, the Toronto Star was paving the way to make ‘the unvaccinated’ fair game.

Prime Minister Trudeau was explicit about who was responsible for spreading Covid in Canada, and spelled out consequences for travelers. “Canadians know that the way to get through this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated. So, unless people have a medical exception, they will not be able to board a plane or a train in Canada if they are unvaccinated. That is about protecting our young people. It’s about protecting Canadians. We are absolutely unequivocal on that because this is how we get through this pandemic.”[14]

Implicit in all the vilification of the unvaccinated was the depiction of those who were vaccinated as victims. If only the unvaccinated would step up and get their jabs, life could return to normal. Meanwhile, the unvaccinated were holding the vaccinated ‘hostage’. As well, the superior wisdom of Prime Minister Trudeau, and public health officers was being treated in the media as exempt from scrutiny. The higher wisdom of their strategies to combat the virus needed no explanation. The duty of every citizen was to simply comply with the mandates, to follow orders. The unvaccinated among us were meant to be understood as a danger to society and public safety.

Step Two: Establish Secret Prisons

Step Two in the unwinding of democracy, The End of America points to the Establishment of Secret Prisons. In Canada, travelers at the border who did not test negative for COVID, or who didn’t have up-to-date vaccination were sent – in most cases – to quarantine hotels. The location of these hotels was made public. Those sent to these hotels had to pay steep prices for occupancy. Those who didn’t obey were sent fines of $6,500 which they either chose to pay, or had to fight in court. Coercive as these quarantine hotels were, they were not secret prisons. Though MP Randy Hillier warned that the Trudeau government was setting up ‘internment camps’ for the unvaccinated. The government argued this was the stuff of conspiracy and disinformation.[15] Of course, if there are secret prisons, no one knows about them.

Step Three: Develop a Paramilitary Force

A third step in the slide from democracy to totalitarian behavior is the Development of a Paramilitary Force. There were some reports at the time of the Freedom Convoy that the government was flying in soldiers of fortune to aid in the crackdown of the protesters. However, these stories were treated as disinformation. There have been reports in the news about the establishment of police stations run by the government of China in Canada.[16] While concerning, this is not a matter that falls under the third step Dr. Naomi Wolf describes in her book.

However, it’s worth noting that when the police cracked down on the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, a significant part of the police presence was from officers brought in from other municipalities. This didn’t make them a paramilitary police force. Yet, the cordial relationship between the protesters with Ottawa Police was replaced with officers who had an assignment to rough up the crowd. Text messages entered as evidence at the Public Order Emergency Commission indicated some RCMP officers were eager to get a chance to kick butt. Upon learning that several protesters were trampled by mounted horses, one officer texted to another that they thought this was “awesome.”

Step Four: Surveillance of Ordinary Citizens

Step Four in The End of America involves government Surveillance of Ordinary Citizens. News of widespread surveillance in America was popularized in 2013 when Edward Snowden disclosed the extent of the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of ordinary citizens in the digital age. “Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA to build what it calls ‘a pattern of life’, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with them.”[17] Canadians who use these online platforms and technological devices are also swept up in the intelligence gathering.

Two years after the Freedom Convoy protests, the Trudeau government has now introduced Bill C-63 in parliament.[18] Bill C-63 is known as the Online Harms Bill. The bill is promoted as a way to stem child pornography. But there are already laws in the Criminal Code to address this problem. If passed, the bill will also provide for expanded government monitoring of posts on social media. It rewards citizens to be vigilant for signs of ‘hate speech.’ The Bill allows for the creation of protocols for individuals and groups to report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that online speech regarding them has occurred and is unfair. The Commission would be empowered to order fines of up to $50,000 to those alleged to be in violation of online hate speech. As an incentive, virtuous complainants are to be awarded up to $20,000 for alerting authorities about online harm. It’s also possible for complaints to be lodged anonymously.

A judge would make a ruling on the basis of mere “balance of probabilities” standards. This would be instead of the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s feared that protections for protected speech will be eroded, while the net for punishment will be enlarged.

Bill C-63 provides for an increase in maximum sentences for “advocating genocide” from five years in prison to life in prison. As a result, an individual may end up in prison for life based on his or her words alone. It will also empower judges to put prior restraints on people who they believe on reasonable grounds may commit speech crimes in the future. This may include house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor, and plausibly being sent to prison. In Bill C-63, section 810.012, under the caption “Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime,” it states “(1) A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay in information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit” a hate crime, as described in several sections of the bill.[19]

Step Five: Infiltration of Citizen Groups

In the march to subdue democracy, Step Five in The End of America involves Infiltration of Citizen Groups. I’ve had conversations with some key persons involved in the Freedom Convoy. They inferred that there may have been some people who attached themselves to the protests who were aligned with the government. Were some people posing as protesters trying to sabotage, disrupt, or discredit the protest. Were there protesters posting on social media that sought to undermine the protest? There were no actual incidents of violence in Ottawa. No protester was charged with physical assault. There was no looting or smashing of windows.

It is a separate matter that undercover police were checking in on what was unfolding during the protests. This has been made public in testimony at the Public Order Emergency Commission.

At a 2007 summit in Montebello, Quebec, David Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, told the CBC about police infiltrating summit protests. “[Our union] believes that the security force at Montebello were ordered to infiltrate our peaceful assembly and provoke incidents,” said Coles. Three Sûreté du Québec officers were dressed as protesters and arrested for disruptive behavior. When they were lying on the pavement, other protesters noticed the three infiltrators were all wearing police-issued boots.[20]

Step Six: Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens

Step Six in Naomi Wolf’s book concerns the Arbitrary Detention and Release of Citizens. During the Freedom Convoy, Tamara Lich became the most visible face of the protest. She was arrested on February 17, 2022, and accused of counselling to commit mischief. Initially denied bail, she was granted bail on March 7, 2022. There were a number of bail conditions, including a prohibition against contact with other protesters. On June 16, 2022, Lich appeared at a gala event hosted by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Lich was awarded the George Jonas Freedom Award. National Post columnist, Rex Murphy, was the keynote speaker who offered a tribute to Lich and the Freedom Convoy protesters.[21] At the gala, she appeared in a photo alongside fellow protester Tom Marazzo. In attendance at the event were several of Lich’s lawyers. Though the photo took only a few seconds, the photo was taken by police as a breach of her bail conditions. A Canada-wide warrant was issued for her arrest.[22]

In a National Post column, Rex Murphy pointed out the unequal application of the law in the case of Tamara Lich. Asked Murphy, “On the breaching of bail conditions, have the police or the courts, especially the courts, been quite as rigorous with those involved in gun-and-gang offences? Especially those whom having been released from jail, commit further offences while on bail? … When the police can catch a violation of bail conditions for Tamara Lich in Medicine Hat and move with perfect swiftness, and are still nowhere, months later, on an “organized violent attack” on an oil and gas site in British Columbia — does something seem out of proportion or uneven within our justice system?”[23]

The bail breach for appearing in a photo at the George Jonas Freedom Award gala in June 2022 was stayed by a judge in October 2023.[24]

Normally, when someone is arrested on a mischief related charge in Canada, the courts take about half a day to hear the case and issue a verdict. In the case of Tamara Lich, her trial began September 5, 2023. Nearly 50 days in court have been scheduled into late August 2024. The trial has no end in sight. It appears that should the charges against Tamara Lich be dismissed, the Crown will appeal.

On February 18, 2022, police moved in to crush the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa. One of the protesters was Christopher Deering, a Canadian Armed Forces decorated veteran who fought in the Afghan War. After being brutally beaten by police, Deering was made to stand in freezing sub-zero temperatures for two hours. In his testimony before the Public Order Emergency Commission (Ottawa), Christopher Deering stated, I was “not able to sit or kneel, and denied my medication again … I had my information taken, I was then placed in a squad car. They read me with what I was being charged with, public obstruction and mischief.”

Deering sat in the squad car for another five minutes and the police officer came back and told him he wasn’t going to be charged after all. When he asked the officer why the sudden change, Deering was told, “No. You don’t need to know that.” Though he thought he was free to go, since the charge was dropped, Christopher Deering was placed in a paddy wagon.

For 25 minutes he was there by himself. Then, over the next several hours the paddy wagon filled up with other protesters. Then they drive us around for approximately half an hour to 40 minutes. It was very hard to tell because there’s no windows … in the paddy wagon, there’s no concept of time. They then drove us to a Public Works building that was 10.2 kilometres away from Parliament Hill. When they let us out of the paddy wagons, due to the cold, our cell phones died. No one had any money. We couldn’t go into the building to make a phone call. So, we were stranded.”[25]

In February 2022, Christopher Deering was one of many Freedom Convoy protesters arbitrarily detained, charged – then told charges were dropped – and then released in a remote location.

On February 15, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, spoke to the press. It was the occasion of the first anniversary of the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations. She said, “The practice of arbitrary detention puts all citizens at risk, especially those who travel, work or live abroad …. “A year ago today, Canada launched the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations as part of an international initiative promoting human rights, the rule of law, judicial independence and the rules-based international order. The declaration fosters a global common front against arbitrary arrest, detention and sentencing in diplomatic relations.”[26] The Canadian government was on the lookout for arbitrary detention of citizens in state-to-state relations. However, on the domestic front, the government was arbitrarily detaining and jailing Canadians. The common denominator seemed to be the uneven response of the courts, and the police, concerning those who dissent from official government policies.

Step Seven: Target Key Individuals

Step Seven involves the Targeting of Key Individuals. Government agencies in Canada have been targeting individuals in a variety of sectors whose public views are off-message. Punishing dissenters sends a message to other citizens to be obedient and follow orders.

Nurse: Amy Hamm

In November 2020, British Columbia nurse Amy Hamm learned she was under investigation from the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives. A “Professional Conduct Review” was begun in response to her “off-duty conduct.” Amy Hamm is a single mother of a baby and a toddler. She had posted a positive comment about J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author who questioned the safety of hormone blockers for children and youth.

On March 19, 2024, Hamm posted on X about her ordeal over the past three and a half years. Hamm wrote, “I refused to keep the investigation confidential. I refused to accept a suspension or to publicly say I had been transphobic (because I am not). I was accused of spreading “medical misinformation” but then that charge was dropped, with zero explanation or apology. (I demanded one but this demand went ignored). The BCCNM fought like hell to prevent me from having a single witness to testify in my defence. They didn’t want the public to know that they were persecuting me, and they also didn’t want me to even be able to defend myself. They spent days and days of the hearing attempting to disqualify every single witness I brought forth. It was as astounding as it was terrifying. I’ve received countless threats and have had plenty more anonymous, cowardly complainants try to have me fired for standing up for women and children …. I’ve been through more than 20 days of trial, which finally ended today, March 19, 2024. Now I wait for a verdict and hope for justice.”[27]

Hamm states that numerous anonymous complaints have been lodged against her asking that she be fired. This all because she is questioning the rush to give hormone blockers to children and youth, and to remove safe spaces for biologically born females to gather on their own. The pattern of intimidation and secrecy is emerging as widespread in Canada in 2024.

Doctor: Kulvinder Kaur Gill

Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill is a frontline physician in Ontario. She supports fully informed voluntary consent without coercion or restriction in making any medical decisions. In the summer of 2020, Dr. Gill was among the first physicians to speak on social media about the catastrophic and irreversible harms of lockdowns. Among her tweets, she stated “There is absolutely no medical or scientific reason for this prolonged, harmful and illogical lockdown.” As a consequence, Dr. Gill found herself in the crosshairs of an orchestrated vindictive online smear campaign. Members of the public were encouraged to lodge complaints to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO).

In March 2021, the CBC reported that the college ruled that Dr. Gill’s ‘pandemic-related’ tweets were “irresponsible.”[28] In an attempt to clear her name from manufactured defamation, she began legal proceedings against those responsible. However, in October 2022 there was a pre-trial procedural ruling against her resulting in an order to pay fines of $1.2M. Gill appealed the court procedural motion and ruling, and the cost order. This resulted in a February 2024 ruling which reduced her fines to $300K. Dr. Gill has until the end of March 2024 to pay these fines. In mid-March, she appeared on Dr. Jay Bhattacharya’s Illusion of Consensus podcast.

In a separate investigation, the CPSO alleged Dr. Gill was “sharing factually incorrect information about immunity and a variety of other things.” She recounts, “miraculously, in September 2023, all the charges were dropped.”[29] However, since Dr. Kulvinder Gill’s tweets went against the “accepted facts” promoted by public health, the fine of $300K remains.

Writing for the Brownstone Institute, Jeffrey Tucker summarized, “The Canadian medical associations, media, and government all seized on her simple posting on social media to make an example of her. They hounded her, smeared her, investigated her, and attempted to destroy her career and even life. She attempted a pushback and then they used every mechanism to bankrupt her and drive her to the brink of insanity.”[30]

Student: Josh Alexander

Josh Alexander was a student at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Pembroke, Ontario. At the age of 15, he spearheaded a walkout of his school to protest the mask mandates. At the age of 16, he disagreed with a math teacher in a classroom setting that there were 72 genders. Josh insisted there were two genders: one with an xy chromosome, and the other with an xx chromosome. In response to numbers of female classmates expressing their discomfort with finding persons with male genitalia in “Women’s” washrooms, he led a student protest against biologically born males being able to enter women’s washrooms.

Alexander told the Toronto Sun, “It was about male students using female washrooms, gender dysphoria and male breastfeeding. Everyone was sharing their opinions on it, any student who wanted to was participating, including the teacher. I said there were only two genders, and you were born either a male or a female, and that got me into trouble. And then I said that gender doesn’t trump biology.” For this, since November 2022 Josh Alexander has been indefinitely suspended and unable to graduate.[31]

An appeal was heard by a panel of three Renfrew County Catholic School Board trustees. In December 2023, the panel rejected the appeal. Josh’s lawyer, James Kitchen, stated the ruling is shrouded in secrecy due to a publication ban. “They have sealed the entire file as if it was a case of a national security concern, or some sort of criminal case … the public should not have access to.”[32] School board representatives have stated that Josh Alexander was being a bully for expressing the view that transgender females should not be allowed in women’s restrooms.

Josh Alexander’s parents were both teachers in Ontario school boards. But on May 9, 2023, Josh Alexander said to a reporter, “I have been informed that both my mother and father have been put on leave and removed from the classroom. My parents are under attack simply for having raised me. They couldn’t get to me, so they’ve attacked my family. This morning, I found out that my mom has been put under investigation and removed from the classroom indefinitely.”[33]

Dr. Jordan Peterson interviewed Josh, and his brother Nick. They explained that their father was “suspended from his job” in the spring of 2023. “On paper the justification was because of his online action. At the time, the Alexander boys’ father had no social media (no Twitter, no Instagram). They put him on leave from his work for his online action, which was a blatant lie.” They added, weeks later “somebody … posted a pride flag” on their mothers’ kindergarten classroom door. “She took it off her door, and she was placed under investigation.” Jordan Peterson asked, “on what grounds?” Josh Alexander explained the school board judged that their mother’s action of taking a pride flag off her kindergarten classroom door was judged as “hateful,” and “that she was a danger to students.”[34] The incident was months away from any pride festivities. There was no memo to teachers indicating rainbow flags were to be placed on classroom doors.

Canadian Armed Forces Sniper: Brett Campbell

On March 7, 2024, former Canadian Armed Forces sniper Brett Campbell sued the CAF. Campbell was discharged for refusing to either “take it or fake it.” He recalls, it was explained to him that they were going to have a doctor “pretend to give it to me.” “I think the whole thing was to get you to go talk to the doctor, whether you got it or not. Just so that they would see, ‘oh, everyone’s going to get it. They’re complying with this. This is normal. It’s just like any other vaccine schedule.’”

Campbell spoke to several journalists. He said, “This psy-op, they’re playing with us. So, I don’t know how many people this happened with, we don’t know the real numbers of who got vaccinated.”[35]

Because he refused to fake taking the vaccine, Brett Campbell was kicked out of the military. However, he doesn’t regret his decision. He points to people like Kayla Pollock, who became a paraplegic after taking the jab.[36] Kayla was told by one doctor that the vaccine caused her plight. Pollock was also offered MAID – Medical Assistance in Dying – several times.

Amy Hamm, Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, Josh Alexander and Brett Campbell are just a few of the countless Canadian citizens’ who’ve been singled out for punishment in the public square.

Step Eight: Restrict the Press

Step Eight in the march to vanquish democracy is to Restrict the Press. Trusted News Initiative was established in Canada and numbers of other democratic countries. A June 2019 Trusted News Summit discussed a BBC news story from March 1, 2019, about “misleading and dangerous information” spread on social media by “anti-vaxxers.”[37] Citizens were warned about ‘misinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and ‘fake news.’ To help us separate the true from the false, we were encouraged to seek out analysis exclusively from the ‘fact-checkers,’ funded by the pharmaceutical industry or government. Few viewers of mainstream media coverage were noticing what news stories were being suppressed. These included the record number of serious post-vaccine side effects and deaths, exposure to the viewpoints of dissenting health professionals, and the efficacy of Ivermectin as an early treatment option for addressing COVID prior to hospitalization. [38] Elizabeth Woodworth wrote in her article “COVID-19 and the Shadowy ‘Trusted News Initiative,’” “the public has the constitutional right to full information to form and express its own conclusions and does not need a coordinated TNI to corral and contain it.”[39]

The mainstream media could have held power to account by covering a court challenge against the vaccine mandates launched by Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard. Both Harrison and Rickard were unvaccinated expat Brits who had family in the UK they wanted to visit. This included Harrison’s 88-year-old mother. Rickard’s father in Britain is suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s.

Into the void, it was left to independent reporter, Rupa Subramanya, who ran a story on August 2, 2022, on the US alternative media outlet The Free Press. The headline read: “Court Documents Reveal Canada’s Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis.” Subramanya described how just days before the vaccine travel mandate was put in place “transportation officials were frantically looking for a rationale for it. Then came up short.” The Canadian government had always insisted that its COVID policies were based on “the science” and the latest evidence. The director-general of COVID Recovery was Jennifer Little. Her government panel issued the vaccine travel mandate and called it “one of the strongest vaccination mandates for travellers in the world.”[40]

But during pre-trial discovery in the case there were a number of bombshells that should have been of interest to the Canadian public. Especially since it had only been five months since Freedom Convoy protesters were challenging the rationale for having the vaccine mandates. But the legacy media were silent. During discovery for the travel mandate trial, it was learned that none of the members of the COVID Recovery unit, “including Jennifer Little, the director-general, had any formal education in epidemiology, medicine or public health.” It turned out that the vaccine travel mandate did not originate from the COVID Recovery unit. Her unit had “discussions” with “very senior” people in the government about the vaccine travel mandate. Little was asked under cross examination by Harrison and Rickard’s lawyer who had given her unit the order to impose the travel mandate. She replied, “I’m not at liberty to disclose anything that is subject to cabinet confidence.”

The term “cabinet confidence” was in reference to the Prime Minister’s Liberal cabinet. It was comprised of cabinet ministers, one (or more?) of whom had given the directive to the COVID Recovery unit to announce. The COVID Recovery unit itself, issuing its consequential mandate to require vaccination to travel by air or rail, has no website.

It was learned during discovery that Associate Assistant Deputy Minister for Safety and Security for Transport Canada, Aaron McCrorie, was behind the eight ball. In late October 20021, he was emailing Dawn Lumley-Myllari with the Public Health Agency of Canada. McCrorie wrote in an email, “To the extent that updated data exist or that there is clearer evidence of the safety benefit of vaccination on the users or other stakeholders of the transportation system, it would be helpful to assist Transport Canada supporting its measures.”

As late as October 28, 2021, Lumley-Myllari was ignoring the questions Aaron McCrorie was asking now in a series of bulleted points. All she wrote back was to assure him that the Public Health Agency of Canada would be updating its “Public health considerations.” The vaccine travel mandates went into effect October 30, 2021.

Subramanya’s exposé was picked up in the London, UK, newspaper the Telegraph. A mid-August 2022 headline read “Justin Trudeau’s Tyranny has Finally been Exposed – by Two Brits!”[41] Less than five months after protesters gathered in Ottawa to demand the government furnish documentation to support the need for vaccine travel and cross-border mandates, senior public health officials testified under oath they didn’t have data to support the mandates. They didn’t even recommend them. But the Canadian media largely ignored the story.

An exception was the Toronto Sun. Brian Lilley reported that Dr. Celia Lourenco, the person who authorized the vaccines for use in Canada was not asked for her advice regarding the vaccine travel mandates. She is the director general of the Biologic and Radiopharmaceutical Drugs Directorate within Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch. No one in the prime minister’s office, the health minister’s office or the transportation minister’s office thought to contact her and ask for an opinion. No one thought to ask Dr. Lourenco if it would be useful to mandate vaccination for travel by air or rail. As the court challenge was a matter of public interest, a judge made pre-trial discovery testimony available. Brian Lilley’s article provided a link to the court records.[42]

Keith Wilson cross examined eleven senior officials with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The cross examination lasted for six weeks through May and June, 2022. This resulted in over fifteen thousand pages of evidence and transcripts from the discovery phase of this case. On a Viva Frei podcast in September 2022, Wilson detailed that during cross examination, Dr. Celia Lourenco “confirmed in her testimony that the final phase that has been used for every other vaccine in Canada was not completed by the pharmaceutical companies for the Covid-19 vaccine. (It) is going on now on the mass population. (Lourenco) was under oath, (stating) that the last phase is going on and Health Canada is collecting the data from the general population. And she admitted this.”

Dr. Lourenco was also asked by Wilson if she was familiar with the National Institutes of Health in America: “NIH.” This is the primary agency of the United States government that is responsible for biomedical and public health research. The NIH partnered with Moderna in 2020 to develop a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. When she was asked on the stand if she was familiar with the NIH, Dr. Lourenco said “No.” On June 6, 2022, she testified that she agreed both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could contract and spread Covid.[43]

Another official under cross examination was epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Waddell of the Emerging Sciences Group at PHAC. Waddell and her group are responsible for reviewing all “COVID-19 scientific literature being published on a regular basis.” She is responsible to ensure this literature is communicated in lay terms for use by interested government personnel. Waddell, whose team reviewed the scientific literature on the issue of in-flight transmission, confirmed during cross-examination on May 31 that the latest PHAC brief on that topic was produced on Nov. 25, 2021.

Wilson cited a Public Health Agency of Canada report titled “Recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada to Transport Canada on the Mitigation of COVID Spread in Air Travel.” In the report, Wilson learned that PHAC recommended to Transport Canada several mitigation strategies for travel. The first strategy was wearing masks. The agency also recommended social distancing in the departure and arrival lounges, and if the plane wasn’t full. Finally, PHAC also recommended to Transport Canada COVID-19 testing. Keith Wilson was surprised at what PHAC omitted. They didn’t recommend vaccination to Transport Canada as one of the strategies to mitigate COVID spread for travel. So, he said to Dr. Lisa Waddell under cross examination, “I put it to you that the Public Health Agency of Canada did not recommend to Transport Canada the vaccination of air travelers. Right?” And incredibly, Dr. Waddell said “Yes.”[44]

He asked Waddell, “Do you agree with me that requiring Canadians to be vaccinated to fly is not one of the identified strategies, correct?” Dr. Waddell confirmed, “There wasn’t a lot of evidence on that so, as a strategy as a whole, it has not been evaluated in the literature and therefore is not elaborated in the review.” The evidence obtained by the Public Health Agency of Canada did not support a requiring vaccination for all travellers as being epidemiologically sound advice.[45]

Waddell confirmed that she was author of a study for Public Health Agency of Canada which showed little transmission on airplanes. Wilson read from the PHAC report that “A meta-analysis of studies from January–June 2020 found the risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 in an airplane cabin was estimated to be 1 case for every 1.7 million travellers.” Waddell confirmed that this was the conclusion of the agency report.[46]

On July 13, 2022, Dr. Celia Lourenco appeared before a hearing of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. She told the board that the people at public health “expected there to be a lot of underreporting” of COVID-19 vaccine injuries. Dr. Lourenco described this underreporting as “a well-known fact,” since health-care professionals don’t always report serious adverse events. Patients don’t always speak to their physician, even if they’ve gone to emergency. Others don’t even have a doctor.[47]

Prior to the ‘pandemic,’ this type of story would have dominated front-page headlines for weeks. There would have been subsequent articles drilling into the scandal, exposing the disconnect between the punitive vaccine passport requirements and the absence of any recommendation for them from the Public Health Agency of Canada itself. But in the COVID era, suppression of important news stories that were off-message was now in fashion. Instead of holding government to account, now the mainstream media in Canada cheerlead government talking points to ensure narratives of those in power maintained their dominance.

Step Nine: Cast Criticism as “Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”

Step Nine is to Cast Criticism as ‘Espionage’ and Dissent as ‘Treason.’ During the Freedom Convoy, politicians and the media depicted the protesters as the worst of the worst. Ottawa city councillor, Diane Deans, referred to the protesters as “insurrectionist.”[48] She told the press on February 9, 2022, the protesters were “people that are trying to overthrow a democratically elected government of this country.” Former head of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney, wrote an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail on February 7, 2022, that the protesters were guilty of “sedition.” The headline read, “It’s time to end the sedition in Ottawa by enforcing the rule of law and following the money.”[49]

Cabinet ministers and senior government bureaucrats testified before the Public Order Emergency Commission in the fall of 2022. They echoed inflammatory statements made by public officials at the time of the protests. National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Jody Thomas, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council Nathalie Drouin, were among those casting the protest in catastrophizing terms. Freeland wanted to avoid “a January 6th north.” Drouin charged that parents who were protesting were using their children “as human shields.” While Thomas vaguely ascribed “violence” by the protesters. Under cross examination, she clarified that the “violence” she was speaking of was the “noise” from “horn honking,” and “pollution” from diesel trucks with their engines on.[50]

On the two-year anniversary of the protests – February 14, 2024 – former Warrant Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces, Edward Cornell, was named as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit by twenty individuals and businesses. Defendants named in the legal proceeding commenced in the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa, include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and four other cabinet ministers, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Jody Thomas, former RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, a dozen financial institutions, police organisations and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. The lawsuit seeks $1,750,000 per plaintiff, including for the “malicious, reprehensible, and high-handed misconduct of the Defendants,” and for “injurious falsehoods” and “defamation.”[51]

Concurrently, lawyer Keith Wilson, represents Tamara Lich, Chris Barber, Tom Marazzo and 17 other protesters seeking $2 million each in damages. Wilson told Rebel News the basis for the lawsuit is Section 24 of the Charter. The section states, “Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court … to obtain a remedy ….” Wilson explained that the Charter is explicit that “if the government violates your rights as a citizen, you have the right to sue the government for damages, and the government has to pay you compensation.”

Wilson stressed that the reason this is laid out in the Charter is “to create accountability.” The consequences for governments that breach citizens Charter rights is to show “that the Charter rights mean something.” Wilson emphasized that the plaintiffs were launching this class action “to deter the government, and future governments, from stepping on Canadians’ rights.”[52]

Step Ten: Subvert the Rule of Law

Step Ten employed by totalitarian regimes is to Subvert the Rule of Law. On January 23, 2024, the Honourable Justice Richard Mosley completed his Judicial Review. He declared the Liberal cabinet’s invocation of the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022 was illegal. In his 191-page report – Reasons for Judgment – Mosley ruled the Trudeau government was in violation of sections 3 and 17 of the Emergencies Act, Part 1 of the Constitution Act of 1982, and several sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In his report, Mosley demonstrated that the Governor in Council (cabinet) was required by the Emergencies Act legislation to show that “the reasons for its decision” are “reasonable” and “demonstrate justification, transparency and intelligibility.” He pointed out that the Emergencies Act was intended to safeguard fundamental rights, even in emergency situations where temporary measures might be necessary.

Extensive evidence was brought to the court’s attention. This included the testimony of RCMP Superintendent Denis Beaudoin. He testified that RCMP officers gathered names of citizens whose bank accounts were to be seized and frozen and “did not apply a standard, such as reasonable grounds, before sharing information with the financial institutions.” It was all “ad hoc.”

Government lawyers attempted to dismiss the matter as moot because the Emergencies Act was revoked on Feb. 23, 2022. Justice Mosley rejected their argument. He concluded that “the Applicants have established that an adversarial context continues to exist and have built a record upon which meaningful judicial review of the decision to invoke the Act and issue the Proclamation … can occur”. The federal court ruled that the POEC inquiry was not a substitute for judicial review.

Mosley concluded, “If the Court declines to hear these cases, a precedent may be established that so long as the government can revoke the declaration of an emergency before a judicial review application can be heard, the courts will have no role in reviewing the legality of such a decision.”

Mosley found there were no “threats to the security of Canada,” within the meaning of the Emergencies Act. There was no “national emergency” within the meaning of the Emergencies Act. Banning attendance at Freedom Convoy protests violated freedom of expression. Violating freedom of expression by cracking down on the protesters with the police action that unfolded starting on February 18, 2022, was “not a reasonable limit.”[53]

In late February 2024, despite Justice Mosley’s Judicial Review, Attorney General Arif Virani refused to disclose to a parliamentary committee the basis for the government decision to invoke the Emergencies Act. Member of parliament, Matthew Green, objected to Virani constantly appealing to “solicitor-client privilege.” He observed, the government is obliged to provide the “highest level of transparency” to the Canadian people regarding its decision to declare a national emergency. “Being both the client and the solicitor, please explain to me and the public how you justify not providing basic information in the general public interest?” Green added, that people following this story in the news, “who heard you talk about your sacrosanct relationship with yourself will not be willing to accept the answers that you’ve provided here today.”[54]

Despite the Judicial Review by Justice Mosley, Freedom Convoy protester Jason Vandervier was found guilty of “mischief” on March 19, 2024. Justice Peter Wright found the beef farmer and truck driver from Niagara Falls guilty because the judge viewed the whole convoy as ‘mischief,’ ergo Vandervier was guilty. The beef farmer had parked his truck in late January 2022 on Wellington Street, near the Parliament buildings, at the direction of the police. Roxanne Halverson writes on her substack that Vandervier was “Ordered out of his truck by police, he was manhandled during the course of his arrest as he witnessed others being kicked, kneed and punched as they too were being arrested by police. He was charged with a number of criminal offences including mischief, and resisting arrest, a charge that was later dropped.”[55] Vandervier awaits sentencing in a few months. Wrights’ verdict sets a dangerous precedent for all Freedom Convoy protesters who still face charges.

Since before the Magna Carta, it’s been a cornerstone of Western justice that people are innocent until proven guilty. An accused person has the right to a fair trial, in a timely manner. Persons charged have a right to be released on bail, in some cases with conditions. Only in rare cases is bail refused: a flight risk or a past record of criminal violence. But at the Coutts, Alberta, blockade – in support of the Ottawa protests of 2022 – four men were arrested.[56] Initially the charges of mischief over $5000 expanded later to conspiracy to commit murder. After 723 days behind bars, Jerry Morin and Chris Lysak were suddenly released.[57] All the charges in the original indictment were dropped. They were released without condition after plea deals to minor arms offenses, like failure to securely lock and store a gun. Morin had been on-and-off in solitary confinement for about 74 days.

Remaining behind bars without bail are Tony Olienick and Chris Carbert. Olienick has been in solitary confinement for 80 plus days so far. And Carbert and Olienick are about 780 days now in prison without bail. They still await trial. Both Lysak and Morin have had charges of conspiracy to commit murder, mischief over $5000, and in one case ‘uttering threats against a police officer,’ all dropped. So what is the case the Crown has against Olienick and Carbert?

Conclusion: Step by Step

It may be said that fascism comes on little cat feet. But in the 21st Century, autocratic forms of governance are unfolding with a twist. Democratic norms of tolerance, debate, proportionate responses to any infractions by citizens, and more, are disappearing in Canada. We are not, strictly speaking, becoming a totalitarian state. At least not yet. We don’t have a dictator. While the Liberal Party of Canada amasses power through the Prime Minister’s Office, and shuts down debate on many important issues in parliament, we don’t have a single ruling political party. But with the Trusted News Initiative and government funded media, we do have a highly compromised media environment. One which has led to a massive betrayal in public trust given how the media reports often only one side of the story, enhancing government talking points.

We don’t have mandatory service in the military. But we have experienced in the ‘pandemic era’ quasi-mandatory population control practices. The consequences for those who didn’t get vaccinated included loss of employment, loss of employment insurance payments, and being marginalized from participation in the wider society on a host of fronts. This included restrictions on travel. Totalitarian behaviour was on display, for example, in the punitive treatment of Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill for not adhering to the “accepted facts” promoted by Public Health regarding lockdown policies. One has to ask what can stem the habit of meting out severe consequences for dissent in Canada? Or in the coming years will we see prohibitions on any form of public criticism of the government?

During the October Crisis of 1970, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau was asked by a CBC reporter how far he would go to protect Canadians safely from the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec)? Pierre Trudeau replied, “Just watch me.” [58] In 2024, Canadians are watching Justin Trudeau to see how far he will go to “keep Canadians safe,” from the Covid-19 virus, climate change, misinformation and online harms, and the “unacceptable fringe minority.”

Ray McGinnis is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Portions of the text in this article include excerpts from his forthcoming book, Unjustified: The Emergencies Act and the Inquiry that Got It Wrong.  This essay was originally published in the Journal Propaganda in Focus.

Watch Ray McGinnis on Leaders on the Frontier here. September 27, 2023 (70 minutes)

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Frontier Centre for Public Policy

The Toppling of the woke authoritarians

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Tom Slater, editor of Spiked.

If you – like me – loathe authoritarian, faux-progressive scolds, it’s actually been a good few years. I know it might not seem like it, with the ‘Queers for Palestine’ contingent currently running riot on American university campuses, but hear me out. Across the Anglosphere, one politician after another, beloved by the media but increasingly disliked by the public, have exited the stage, often jumping before they were pushed.

This week, we bid farewell to the SNP’s Humza Yousaf, whose year-and-a-bit-long premiership in Scotland produced more scandals and disparaging nicknames – Humza Useless, Humza the Hapless, etc – than it did any positive legacy. In the end, he proved himself to be as illiberal as he was inept. His Flagship policy, the Orwellian, broad-sweeping Hate Crime Act, alarmed voters and sparked a tsunami of spurious complaints, many of them about Yousaf himself. We can only hope it will now collapse under the weight of its own absurdity. (One thing’s for sure, voters are furious about it: only one in five Scots wants the Hate Crime Act to stay.)

Then, Humza managed to accidentally collapse his own government. He was apparently surprised to learn that his decision last week to suddenly terminate his party’s coalition agreement with the Scottish Greens –following some internal friction over trans and environmental issues – left the Greens angry and unwilling to prop up his minority government. As his short reign ends, Yousaf has at least managed the incredible feat of being even more unpopular than the leaders of the widely disliked Tories and the crackpot Greens, with an approval rating of -47. Yousaf – who was crowned first minister by SNP members and never gained a mandate from the people – was in negative numbers for all of this tenure.

Only in March, democrats were also toasting the demise of another despised, virtue-signalling leader who owed his position to elite politicking rather than democracy. Namely, Leo Varadkar. He became Irish taoiseach in 2017, after Fine Gael made him party leader. Even then, he had to rely on his support within the parliamentary party – in Fine Gael’s leadership-election process, the politicians are given much more weight than the members – given the membership voted two-to-one for his opponent. When Varadkar led his party to the polls in 2020, Fine Gael actually lost seats. Only by getting into bed with Fianna Fáil, his party’s supposed bitter rival, was Varadkar able to cling on to power.

Like Yousaf, Varadkar was a visionless leader who came to see superficial ‘social justice’ as his route to a legacy. While nominally on the centre-right economically, he was credited by international media with ‘Ireland’s transformation into a secular progressive state’. He clearly warmed to this image of himself, even if the Irish people did not. ‘We have made the country a more equal and more modern place’, he said in his resignation speech (my emphasis), ‘when it comes to the rights of children, the LGBT community, equality for women and their bodily autonomy’. This notion that Varadkar’s Ireland – like Yousaf’s Scotland – needed to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, that voters and their values desperately needed a politically correct makeover, gave the semblance of substance to his otherwise hollow premiership.

Ireland’s historic 2018 referendum, in which 66 per cent voted to overturn one of the Western world’s strictest abortion bans, was indeed a seismic blow for freedom. But Varadkar can hardly take credit for the decades of grassroots campaigning that got it over the line. His fingerprints were, however, all over the ‘family’ and ‘care’ referendums earlier this year, which produced two historic, humiliating defeats. Varadkar utterly failed to convince the people that this campaign to change the wording of the Irish constitution – to update the meaning of ‘family’ and to remove references to women’s role in the home – was anything other than an exercise in elite moral preening. He even insisted on holding the vote on International Women’s Day, just to heighten the sense of moral blackmail, even though doing so meant radically shortening the time the pro-amendments campaign had to prepare. The ‘family’ and ‘care’ amendments were rejected by 67 and 74 per cent of voters respectively. Varadkar tried to limp on, noting all major parties had backed the amendments. But this ballot-box revolt left his authority in tatters. He resigned two weeks later.

When Varadkar wasn’t talking down to voters, he was trying to censor them. Before he resigned, he had been toiling to pass Ireland’s own insanely draconian hate-speech bill, aimed at expanding restrictions on ‘incitement to hatred’ and adding gender to the list of ‘protected characteristics’, opening the door to criminalizing people for refusing to bow to the trans cult. To Scots, this may sound familiar. Indeed, it was as if Varadkar and Yousaf were competing to be the most censorious. Where Scotland’s Hate Crime Act criminalizes even private conversations in your own home (removing the so-called dwelling defence), Ireland’s proposed legislation would criminalize mere ‘possession’ of offensive material, including memes. From your phone’s camera roll to the family dinner table, no area of life is now safe, it seems, from the state censors. Having sailed through the Dáil in April 2023, the bill is now stuck in the upper house, after an almighty backlash from voters and civil libertarians. (Varadkar’s successor, Simon Harris, says he intends to table amendments to assuage voters’ concerns.)

Say what you will about Leo and Humza, at least they were occasionally – unintentionally – entertaining. Both were famously gaffe-prone. (Who could forget Yousaf’s tumble from his knee scooter, or Varadkar’s Monica Lewinsky joke in DC?) The same cannot be said for Nicola Sturgeon, the former Scottish first minister, Yousaf’s mentor and the walking embodiment of the prickly puritanism and mad identitarianism of our age. She looked upon the masses as reactionary filth – she once smeared her opponents as ‘transphobic… deeply misogynist, often homophobic, possibly some of them racist as well’ – all while ushering in the most reactionary agenda Scotland has seen for decades. Her already hated ‘gender self-ID’ reforms collapsed in 2023, when the public realized they would mean putting rapists in women’s prisons – which, by a grotesque quirk of fate, had become the ‘progressive’ position.

You could be forgiven for forgetting that the SNP was founded to achieve the ‘liberation’ of Scotland from the UK, rather than the ‘liberation’ of perfectly healthy genitals from the bodies of confused young people. It speaks to the grip of woke identity politics over the technocratic, centre-left imagination that Sturgeon was not only sidetracked but, in part, brought down by her dogged, fanatical pursuit of ‘trans rights’.  Then again, social engineering has characterized much of the SNP agenda since it first came to power. Ending the Union has often taken a back seat to reforming Scots, from the SNP’s crackdown on offensive football chants to its profoundly creepy ‘named person’ scheme, which would have assigned a state guardian to every child had it not been held up in the courts on human-rights grounds.

One of the hallmarks of our woke, technocratic ruling class is that they increasingly define themselves against their own citizenry. Leaders today draw their moral authority not from the democratic endorsement of their electorates but from their ability to rise above the throng, to oppose our supposedly backward values. Skim-read the resignation speeches of Sturgeon, Yousaf and Varadkar and you’ll find them all peppered with rueful references to ‘populism’, ‘polarization’ and the supposed ‘toxicity’ of contemporary discourse. Voters are forever the implied villains of the piece, for refusing to just shut up and let the adults get on with governing.

All this speaks to why elites have become so insanely authoritarian in recent years. What we used to call illiberal liberalism, along with greenism and multicultural identity politics, has held a malign sway over our rulers for decades. But all these tendencies have been sent into overdrive over the past eight years. In the wake of Brexit and the rise of a more populist, democratic politics, our leaders have been confronted with the chasm that exists between their values and ours. And having failed to convince, they can only compel, coerce, punish. This self-righteousness has also bred an obnoxious, unabashed narcissism. In her resignation speech, Sturgeon used the words ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ 153 times. ‘Scotland’ appeared 11 times.

Covid added further fuel to this fear and loathing of the populace.

Politicians, already gripped by the panic about supposedly dim, irresponsible voters being manipulated by disinformation, gave full vent to their most authoritarian tendencies – locking us down and raging against any dissent. Arguably, no one did so as enthusiastically as New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, who was showered with praise by the globalist great and good for subjecting her own citizens to an unhinged ‘Zero Covid’ experiment. Naturally, she also became a campaigner for global censorship during this time, telling the United Nations in 2022 that ‘misinformation’ constituted a modern ‘weapon of war’, and calling on global leaders to confront climate-change deniers and peddlers of ‘hate’. She announced her resignation as prime minister and Labour leader in January 2023, just as she was enjoying her lowest-ever poll ratings while in office, all to the swoons of international media. Labour was wiped out later that year, in the worst election defeat of a sitting NZ government for decades.

Politicians seem to be going out of their way to alienate and infuriate voters, pursuing unpopular policies at the very same time as they demonize and clamp down on debate. On climate, they have embraced a programme of national immiseration, to be borne on the backs of the working classes, who are expected to just accept being colder, poorer and less mobile. On immigration, they have thrown open the doors to migrants and refugees on an unprecedented scale, without seeking public consent and without ensuring proper provision for – or vetting of – those arriving. On culture, they have embraced a new form of racism under the banner of anti-racism, and a misogyny and homophobia posing as ‘trans inclusion’. Meanwhile, voters are beginning to realise that all those calls to censor ‘hate’ and ‘misinformation’ are calls to censor them.

Even in Justin Trudeau’s Canada, a land long held up as ‘immune’ to populism, a backlash is stirring. The Canadian premier embodies woke authoritarianism in its most cartoonish form. When, in 2018, a woman confronted him at a corn roast about Canada’s enormous influx of refugees, he accused her of ‘racism’ to her face. Hell, he once corrected a woman who said ‘mankind’ instead of ‘peoplekind’. Worse still, his outrageous clampdowns on dissent make his contemporaries look subtle by comparison. When truckers rebelled against Covid mandates, he invoked emergency powers to freeze their bank accounts, break up their rallies and forcibly clear the streets. Of course, he’s also now trying to pass his own piece of censorship legislation, Bill C-63 – which, among other alarming provisions, would allow for people to be placed under house arrest if they are deemed likely to commit a hate crime. You know, like ‘precrime’ in Philip K Dick’s The Minority Report. Incidentally, Trudeau’s Liberal Party is currently trailing the Conservatives by a steady 19 points in the polls.

Wokeism. Climate extremism. Kindly authoritarianism. This is now the operating system of Western, ‘centrist’ politics. Take Joe Biden, America’s somnambulant president. At the 2020 election, even anti-woke liberals insisted this scion of the old Democratic establishment – a man so old he can’t even be slurred as a Boomer (he’s actually Silent Generation) – was the man to return America to normality, before the BLM riots and MAGA mania. ‘If you hate wokeness, you should vote for Joe Biden’, declared a piece in the Atlantic, arguing that Trump is to the culture war what kerosene is to a dumpster re, fueling the woke extremes. That take has aged like milk. On his first day in office, Biden signed sweeping Executive Orders on ‘racial equity’ and gender ideology. He later tried to apportion Covid relief on the basis of race. He’s a Net Zero zealot. He has allowed the justice system to be weaponised against his opponents. He invited Dylan Mulvaney to the White House, FFS. Biden’s return to ‘normalcy’ has been so successful millions of Americans are starting to wonder if Donald Trump might actually be the saner choice.

Everywhere, political leaders are pursuing the same batshit, authoritarian policies and everywhere they are colliding with reality – and the electorate.

Yousaf, Varadkar, Sturgeon and Ardern may have stepped down, but they did so in the face of growing public fury. Biden and Trudeau may not get the same privilege. Plus, while technocratic centrists remain in power or the ascendancy in various nations, they are at least being forced to adapt, albeit insincerely, to the new political reality – one in which voters are increasingly unwilling to put up with the punishing green policies, out-of-control transgenderism and woke censorship that have been rammed down their throats for years. And so, Labour’s Keir Starmer has suddenly worked out what a woman is. The SNP is watering down some of its ludicrous. Net Zero targets. Welsh Labour is paring back its more insane anti-car policies. The Irish government is finally, tacitly, admitting that it has let migration and asylum get out of control (albeit by just blaming it on the British).

The new authoritarianism is far from defeated. It is a feature, not a bug, of our technocratic ruling class. Worse than that, it is what gives our leaders meaning. The conviction that they are saving the world from a climate armageddon, that they are the protectors of all those supposedly easily offended minorities, that they must censor and re-educate the masses for our own good, has provided moral purpose to an otherwise simpleminded and disorientated elite. It won’t be easy to dislodge this stuff. But as one political leader after another exits the stage, having shredded their authority with voters, we see that the common sense of the demos remains our greatest defence against the insanity of the elites – if only we can find better ways to channel it. If there is hope, it lies in the masses. Always.

Tom Slater is editor of Spiked.

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Peckford: Hallelujah! Supreme Court of Canada to hear Newfoundland and Labrador charter case

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Brian Peckford

This will allow the SCC to address novel questions about the scope of mobility rights in Canada and the extent to which the government can limit Canadians’ rights to move freely around the country.

In what can only be considered a surprise move the SCC has agreed to hear an appeal of a decision of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland. Surprise because the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal refused to hear the appeal of this exact case.

For the Appeal Court it was the all too familiar excuse of the whole thing being too moot for the Court.

But now the SCC has agreed to hear the case. The parties, Kimberly Taylor and The Canadian Civil Liberties Association appealed to the court.

Here is a copy of the Civil Liberties Press Release dated April 26, 2024:

“Arbitrary travel restrictions infringe on the mobility rights of Canadians. CCLA’s challenge of Newfoundland government’s Bill 38 will continue before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), so that Canadians have clear, predictable, and stable answers to fundamental questions affecting their basic mobility rights.”

Back in May 2020, CCLA challenged the constitutionality of the Newfoundland government’s Bill 38 before the province’s Supreme Court. This Bill provided for a travel ban between provinces and other restrictive measures in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. CCLA asked the Court to declare Bill 38 in violation of s.6 (mobility rights), as well as other Charter rights. CCLA also argued that the law could not be saved by s.1, which says that limits on rights must be reasonable and demonstrably justified. In September of 2020, the province’s Supreme Court found that the travel ban did violate the s.6 Charter right to mobility, but that such infringement could be justified under s.1. CCLA pursued this case before the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal. In August of 2023, the Court of Appeal refused to settle the merits of the appeal under the motive that it was moot, since the ban had been lifted. This was done despite all the parties urging the Court of Appeal to decide the appeal on the merits.

CCLA is pleased to learn that the SCC just granted its application seeking leave to appeal in this case. This will allow the SCC to address novel questions about the scope of mobility rights in Canada and the extent to which the government can limit Canadians’ rights to move freely around the country. CCLA is grateful for the excellent pro bono work of Paul Pape, Shantona Chaudhury and Mitchell McGowan from Pape Chaudry LLP in this file.”

Like the Association I am pleased that the highest court is going to hear the case. One can only assume that it will not just issue a silly moot decision given that they could have let the Court of Appeal decision of Newfoundland stand and not hear the case.

I hope the highest court considers the following given it is high time for the Constitution of This Country to be fairly applied and interpreted as written.

Courts have not the power to rewrite this sacred document. They are not omnipotent. That is for the people through its elected representatives as expressed in Section 38 of the Constitution Act 1982 in which the Charter is located—the Amending Formula.

The intent of Section 1 Of the Charter was that it could only be applied in a war, insurrection, the state being threatened circumstance. As one of the First Ministers involved and whose signature is on the original Patriation Agreement I submit this point of view was what was operative at the time of the construction of this section. All remaining First Ministers whose names are on that document are no longer with us. Sadly, no court has called me to provide my view.

This intent is clear In Section 4 (2) of the Charter:

 “In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.”

So, decisions that have been made concerning the Charter should only be made in this context. Numerous court deliberations here and in many western jurisdictions have considered intent in determining the legitimacy of legislation. This is not novel or new.

Hence, a glaring, fundamental mistake has occurred in interpreting our Charter. The blatant omission of considering the opening words of the Charter in any interpretation of legislation by the Courts is an abuse of the Charter, our Constitution. Where is the power provided the courts to engage is such omission? Those words are:

“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”

The one reference of which I am aware in the Courts literature to any consideration of the opening words relating to God was by an Alberta Judge in a lower court foolishly indicated that the creators of the words did not identify God as being a Christian God. All the creators, the First Ministers, were Christians —that’s all. What an insult to our history and traditions and the authors?

And this has been allowed to stand?

And what about the rule of law? Little if anything has been done in considering and interpreting this point.

As for Section 1 itself of the Charter. If one can get past the previous points, which is impossible, but let’s speculate: the court in question in Newfoundland, like the courts across the land, have disfigured, misinterpreted the wording of this section —-

Rights and freedoms in Canada

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

What is of crucial importance is ‘demonstrably justify ‘and a free and democratic society ‘—-is it not? Many try and evade confronting these concepts by emphasizing ‘reasonable ‘. But ‘reasonable ‘is qualified, if you will, with ‘as can be demonstrably justified ‘and ‘in a free and democratic society.’ This was deliberate by the creators and authors of this section.

So, as we all know such reasonable demonstration would be a cost benefit analysis, a tool used frequently by Government in considering new policies or programs —and this case especially when sacred rights enshrined in the constitution were to be taken way!!! Yet, there was none!  And what about the Provincial Emergency Management organizations that were already established in all the provinces with immediate expertise. Were they consulted? Not one!

No such attempt was made, and the Governments did not conduct even a cursory cost benefit review and the courts eagerly accepted the one-sided Government narrative.  Yet experts like Lt. Colonel David Redman, who had been involved in Emergency Management and had written extensively on it were never consulted!

And ‘free and democratic society? Was there any meaningful engagement of the Parliament of Canada or the Legislative Assemblies —-not really, ——only to delegate power to unelected bureaucrats and relieve the politicians of direct responsibility. Where were the Parliamentary Committees? The sober consideration of all points of view in an open public session? Of independent science? Does not free and democratic society entail such deliberations?

And to those courts / governments who talk about little time—in this Newfoundland case it was 6 months before The Supreme Court of the Province ruled and 15 months for the Court of Appeal to issue a non-decision! So much for serving the people!

As for the concept of ‘mootness ‘that has been most dramatically used by the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal and The Court of Appeal in Newfoundland? This is a construct of the court not the Constitution.

It denies a citizen the right to know whether a government action to which a citizen was subjected violates the Charter.  Should a court idea of mootness, refusing to rule on whether a government action of only months before overruling the people’s right to know if their rights and freedoms were violated? Is this not the role of the Court? To protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens from Government overreach? That was and is the whole point of the Charter.

Whether the Government action is presently operative or not should be irrelevant, especially when millions of citizens were involved and especially when it involved rights and freedoms protected under the Charter, our Constitution. There may be a role for mootness if a frivolous matter is established but by any measure what we are discussing is anything but a frivolous matter, even though The Newfoundland Court of Appeal in calling the whole thing ‘moot ‘had the gall to find the Government’s action of denying rights ‘fleeting.’ Courts have abdicated their solemn responsibilities to the people in the exaggerated use of such Court constructed procedures.

So the highest court can go back to ‘first principles’, and examine intent and the opening words of the Charter and place them in full context in any interpretation of the Charter. If this were done then Section 1 of the Charter would not even be in play. Constructing a hypothetical i.e. considering Section 1 of the Charter during the so called ‘covid emergency’, well, even if we do, the Government and Court reasoning would have failed as demonstrated above.

There is an opportunity through this case as well as the one in which I am involved for our highest court to get it right——to return to the full constitution and re-establish the ‘supremacy of God and the rule of law, ‘the legitimate role of Parliament, to the plain meaning of demonstrably justify, and the importance of intent in interpreting our Charter.

Is the Supreme Court of Canada up to the challenge?

Will our Constitution, our democracy be restored?

The Honourable A. Brian Peckford P.C. is the last living First Minister who helped craft the Canadian Charter of Rights

Watch –  Leaders on the Frontier: Brian Peckford on Saving Canada’s Democracy | Frontier Centre For Public Policy (  January 20, 2022

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