Feb 16, 2022Liked by Line Editor

Jen / Matt, again, a superb effort.

I can tell that you have rushed this dispatch [those typos, etc. do creep in] but, as with all your previous dispatches on this topic, I found it well considered and thoughtful, particularly, in noting that there were other considerations that would have to be considered (sorry) later but time did not allow anyone to deal with those considerations right now. I mean RIGHT NOW.

So, again, well done. As I read this dispatch and consider the previous ones, I am left agreeing with parts, disagreeing with parts and left with an incredible sense of WTF?

In truth, I have previously largely given up on Canada and the utter total incompetence of all levels of government and the stupidly partisan approach of all those non-leaders causes me to believe that my previous opinion was spot on.

Thank you.

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Journalists (and yes I'll include the good editors of the Line in that bucket) seem confused by a protest that isn't performative posturing in which the media is the audience and the purveyors of the message. Listening vs judging is the trait of both good leaders and trustworthy communicators.

Secondly, the level of vitrol and doxxing makes the Puritans (much less the Stasi) looks like amateurs.

Finally, perhaps our current Prime Minister should read the words of his predecessor who wrote the first "Sunny Ways" speech and was known for his Policies of Compromise (and Laurier in turn, invokes the words of the Prince of Peace)

"What is hateful is not rebellion but the despotism which induces the rebellion; what is hateful are not rebels but the men, who, having the enjoyment of power, do not discharge the duties of power; they are the men who, having the power to redress wrongs, refuse to listen to the petitioners that are sent to them; they are the men who, when they are asked for a loaf, give a stone." ~ Wilfrid Laurier

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You ask the question - "Was the Emergencies Act really necessary?" CBC's David Common on Power & Politics, also put this question to Bill Blair, Federal Minister of Public Safety. Both of you cited the peaceful resolution of the Windsor Bridge blockade as evidence that the Act is overkill. Neither you, Mr. Common or Mr. Blair enlightened this dialog by acknowledging that without US tow trucks to start the ball rolling, that bridge might still be closed today. Do we really want to be characterized as timid weenies who need the US to provide us a little backbone. I'd say that this alone makes the Emergencies Act imposition a good move.

Perhaps you noted that today the towing companies struck a defiant note, Emergencies Act be damned, as they vowed to refuse cooperation for the dismantling the Ottawa occupation.

The leaders of this action understand that might makes right and they've been applying this principle since day one. Their success has come a long way with skillful use of intimidation. And make no mistake, our collective fear is showing. There may be bouncy castles but the threat of dangerous force is lurking, symbolically represented by the walls of heavy equipment. The government must win this challenge to its authority and the Emergencies Act is a good start. We should all hope it will be enough to give "we the people" a little steel too.

Let's wait to see the whole drama play out before fretting that its imposition is overkill.

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I would prefer a stronger line be taken on the doxing aspect of this. Do people really believe that destroying peoples lives and or livelihood is the way to being the country together? Already several unrelated businesses has been targeted for boycotts. It can only get worse.

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I'm finding the way you obviously want to side with the government in their efforts to segregate and persecute 15% of the population, but have enough integrity to notice the peacefulness of the protesters, the unnecessary overreach of the government action, and the sheer nastiness of the individual segregationists in their doxxing and harassment, interesting. What I don't understand is why you so clearly want to side with the segregationists. Is it just that you were deeply afraid of COVID and hate admitting that all the NPIs and mandates were wrong, useless, and designed to appeal to your fears?

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Given the display of organizational ineptitude Canadians have witnessed over the past three weeks, I'm inclined to welcome the Emergencies Act as possibly breaking that log jam of institutional chaos.

I am not overly worried by its potential excess because it will receive heavy scrutiny from the public, wary premiers, affected institutions and a rabid partisan opposition. The act itself is already the product of scrutiny that corrected the overreach of the War Measures Act.

What are its benefits?

Our institutions are clearly inadequate to the current situation and this limited, temporary use of such federal power may create the impetus for the various levels of government, private institutions and the general public to reassess and renew their democracy in the light of its weaknesses and the threats against it.

Regarding the Ottawa Police, we have to consider (and prove of course) the possibility of a 'compromised institution'.

Institutions are no longer managed inside physical walls as they were 30 years ago. Cybernetic activity makes institutions inherently permeable. We already have evidence, via videos, of members of police and military whose allegiances are raising questions. This is nothing new. However, the coordination capacity across those permeable institutional boundaries is.

Sadly, this rightly draws fears of fascist soldiers banging on doors in the middle of the night demanding tests of loyalty. And yet. Democracy must defend itself. The first defence is to know what democracy is and what it is not.

Therefore, in a nutshell, I see the current historical moment as a moment for a challenged democracy to renew itself in the face of a challenge it has not properly addressed. Hopefully the events of the past weeks and the scrutiny of the weeks to follow will allow Canadians to re-assess and renew their democracy in a cybernetic age, and not fall, by neglect and complicity, into the fascist tendencies of far right, paramilitary, multiplayer, meme addicted, fascist, criminal gamers.

So folks need to focus on the cybernetic threat, the money, the coordinated activities, and learn to distinguish what's democratically ok and what's not. Closing your eyes, passing the buck, enjoying the fascist products while believing anonymity guarantees non-accountability, needs to be challenged with and on democratic values and principles.

Good luck.

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This is by far the best account of the situation that I have read to date.

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Doxxing is indeed bad. In the earlier leak, the info was protected and made available only to journalists, right? Whereas in this case, the hacker just dumped everything.

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So the people blocking the highway at Milk River were "ordinary protestors" who blocked highway while bringing out their children to party/act as shields. All is well then!

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'And yet. The text of the order gives us some pause. We don't know if the Emergencies Act is justified — that'll be up to legal experts and scholars and will remain controversial for generations. But we have a lot to think about. This could get interesting. '

One aspect that I found interesting was the bread-and-circuses aspect you noted in the article. Who funded it and was it planned, innocently, from the get-go, because that was organised. Spur of the moment? Maaaybe. Only a committee could have done it, though, and it served its purpose as a shield. Another is the apparent total support the ultra-Christian group(s) gave to this brouhaha. Evangelism by force? Odd. Such a rich mine for researchers from so many disciples, for years.

Too soon to make pronouncements about the Emergencies Act decision but it wasn't taken lightly and we might, indeed, find out, in the future, just how dark things are.

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I don't feel too much sympathy for a business - in Ottawa, no less - that gave money to the protest after it was very clear what was happening & had to go on a 2nd crowdfunding site to do it. Maybe her business benefitted from the protest but countless others didn't.

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Feb 16, 2022·edited Feb 16, 2022

Personally I think it's better to invoke the Emergencies Act a bit *before* it's absolutely crystal clear to everyone that it's necessary. Kinda like how calling the police in a domestic situation during the screaming but before the hitting starts is often better for everyone.

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Excellent read!

"It may be allowing a small minority with bad intent to operate under the cover of an otherwise non-violent protest." While these people are not the FLQ I don't think we've seen anything since then where the overthrow of the government was demanded. Whether these Memorandum of Unity people are merely seriously delusional and brainwashed from too much Facebook and QAnon or actually coordinated with some militia-types to do serious violence remains to be seen.

If those people are not prosecuted for treason or sedition it will be a big mistake!

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Again, not too bad. It is more even handed than usual. Getting closer to the "no bullshit" tagline. But, not quite there yet. It does still shows strong bias amongst the attempts to temper it.

Let's take some examples:

"We maintain a very healthy skepticism of government claims that lack strong evidence."

OK, great. Skepticism against government claims is good. Skepticism against the press is also good, though not mentioned for probably obvious reasons. Evidence is good. Strong evidence is even better. Do you live up to it?

"But this does, generally, align with what The Line was hearing last week about a hard-core element hidden among a larger, frustrated protest movement."

What do you mean by "hearing last week", and what do you mean "hard-core elements". That's not even a claim. It's vague innuendo. Do you mean Matt's spidey sense about "hard men"? That not any kind of evidence, not even anecdotal. That's literally just saying he didn't like the look of somebody, and he has an admitted bias against the Ottawa protest.

Do you mean Jen's experience in Alberta? While that too was just a personal perception, that group has nothing to do with the Ottawa group.

Can you be specific. Heard from whom? Heard what claims exactly?

"If the feds have concluded, as we believe they might have, that there is an organized, anti-government faction at play, then the government could indeed make a case that such a threat would be beyond the ability of any province or local jurisdiction to handle alone."

As of yet there's been zero evidence presented publicly for any of this. What I read this as is that the government (and perhaps pseudo-apologists in the press) are now in the business of hypothetical pre-crime as justification? If you have some actual evidence please present it. Real evidence can actually sway support. Smears and empty hypothetical claims just reinforce support by noting the opposition is just psychologically biased and has nothing real. Evidence matters.

I'm not saying you are claiming it is true. You do say, quite nicely, "We aren't saying we buy it, and we'd like to see the feds make this case more explicitly. But it's worth thinking about."

It's that last line. Why is it worth thinking about? Right from its origins this has been a peaceful protest by design, with very public discussions, and so far has lived up to it completely as far as the actual protest (as opposed to a few fringe people that are at best unaffiliated and unrepresentative of the protest and at worst are intentional agent provocateurs -- and rejected by the protesters and organizers.

The Freedom Convoy 2022 goals were openly posted on GoFundMe, then GiveSendGo and still there, with videos. They had public messages as well, all stating their cause was only about the mandates and digital passports, and that is was to be peaceful. Their Twitter posts are all there as well, all saying it is to be a peaceful protest. Read them yourself: https://twitter.com/Tamara_MVC

Jan 21: "Just so I’m clear you are reporting a Métis woman working with Clan Mothers across the Nation to support a peaceful protest with a group of people losing their livelihoods."

Jan 22 list of demands:

"1. Federal & provincial governments must Terminate the covid passport and/or any and all other obligatory vaccine contact tracing programs or inter-Canada passport system.

2. Terminate covid vaccine mandates and respect the rights of those who wish not to be vaccinated.

3. Cease the decisive rhetoric attacking Canadians who disagree with government mandates.

4. Cease to limit debate through coercive means to censor those who have varying or even incorrect opinions."

(They have since simplified it to the first two, though still complain about the last two.)

Or watch this early video (Jan 22): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YATLJuopMc&t=65s

Tamara (Metis) talks about working with other First Nations for support, all walks of life, all races, all religions.

Are you sure you weren't biased by the PM and press that tried to smear them, and/or confused them with a completely different group, Unity Canada, who had a "Convoy for Freedom" in October 2021 and a MOU that they tried to deliver to the Senate on Dec 10, 2021: https://adnausica.substack.com/p/protesting-the-pretext-of-the-protests?r=p061j

To continue:

"The second observation we would offer is that many of the most notable features of the encampments — the bouncy castles, the saunas, the BBQs — serve as an incredible PR move. These amenities give the protests the aura of a peaceable street party. This deceives not only the broader public, but also the protesters themselves who believe they are merely attending a happy fun times event to show their support for ending mandates etc. "

See, why would you say it like that. That's almost defamation. Does it deceive? Do you have any evidence that there is more to it? Or is this just spidey sense pre-crime premonitions, or perhaps divine revelations?

"For most attendees, that is entirely true. We believe that the majority of these protesters have no connection to extremist movements. Pretending otherwise — and presenting the entire convoy as a collection of racists and misogynist radicals because of a few bad actors — is not only inaccurate, but serves to drive distrust between mandate-skeptics and mainstream media."

Great. But what "few bad actors"? Do you mean the mention those flags again? Those people unaffiliated with, and not supported by, the protests?

I mean, at what point do you associate things? If you see on the news a "few bad actors" caught committing a crime who happen to be of some race, do you then associate all people of that race with them? If a "few bad actors" commit crimes in Canada, do you associate Canada with those bad acts? When people commit crimes at Canada Day celebrations, do you associate them with the celebration, and smear the organizers with those acts?

What matters here is what the protest is about, not whether or not anybody anywhere in the vicinity has done anything wrong, especially if it is an obvious attempt to smear. That's irresponsible journalism. Do you have evidence of the protest organization itself, and the purpose, to be about something nefarious? If not, then stop suggesting it. If there are bad actors afoot somewhere in their midst, then that is independent of the protest and you blame those individuals, or that infiltration group.

"But the hot dogs, the concerts, and the entertainments for kids, all of this also serves to camouflage a small dark seam in this movement. It may be allowing a small minority with bad intent to operate under the cover of an otherwise non-violent protest."

What's with the phrase "it may be allowing"? You wouldn't shut down a Canada Day celebration if the police catch some bad people in the crowd. Would you say that the Canada Day celebrations "may be allowing" bad actors in the crowd? Attributions and labels matter. Unless the protest organizers and/or protesters themselves are aware of, and condone or allow, those bad actors, then it has nothing to do with them or the protest and they are blameless. You then need to separate the protest from the bad actors completely, even complaining that the bad actors are undermining the peaceful protests.

None of this suggests any justification for the Emergency Measures Act. I know you are skeptical about it too, and well documented here. Kudos. But, I don't see that anything you suggest provides even remotely a potential justification. If the police do know of bad actors, then they can act on those bad actors using existing police and laws, get them out, and address the protest separately on its own merits. If they don't know of specific bad actors, then it's just about addressing the protest directly.

Perhaps one might suggest that to end both the protest and remove any risk of bad actors, that they actually talk with the organizers and plan out the ending of the mandates and passports. Like the provinces have been doing. (Did you give credit to that in the ending of the Coutts case?)

Or, you know, like other countries are doing, or recommended by the WHO and health policy orgs: https://adnausica.substack.com/p/who-keeps-on-trucking?r=p061j

To give a nice "sandwich" here. I'll end on a higher note as I started with. I like this article. It's not perfect. It is hurried. It clearly has biased phrasing and implications. But, it is trying really, really hard to be fair. I recognize that and appreciate it. Maybe a few stray turds, but definitely no bullshit. Thank you and good work.

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(Banned)Feb 16, 2022·edited Feb 16, 2022

The bouncy castles were a little inferior, on the PR job, to Occupy feeding the hungry.

That offered the double-whammy of Good Works, plus pointing out that the homeless even exist in a country that spends $7000/house/year on the military, which was part of Occupy's whole point. Nothing like demonstrating your thesis, live, with examples right at the protest site. The protesters should have set up a "Free Restaurant, No Masks, No Vax".

The doxxing is obviously wrong, but I think it could have been avoided but for two things: the air horns, and the "memorandum" that was right out of the Sovereign Citizen movement. I haven't seen any North American media point out how Sovereign Citizen that document looks, but George Monbiot at The Guardian spotted it right off:


...and the spreading around of the material might have been less aggressive but for that chilling photo of the guns. The particular Ottawa vengeance-seeking probably wouldn't have happened except for the air horns costing a week of sleep.

I have some faith in Canadians, however: if the trucks leave over the next day or so, it'll all blow over.

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I think this piece is awfully generous in giving Trudeau the benefit of the doubt regarding invoking the Emergency Measures Act. This government has a long record of substituting performance for actual action, and focusing on image rather than substance. After 7 years, I think the burden is really to show that the government needed to invoke the act for any reason other than a gesture that now they're Doing Something after weeks of doing nothing.

The other problem with the Trudeau government's record has been their conviction that because they mean well, they should be able to do what they need to do. There's a straight line from Trudeau barreling onto the floor of the Commons to grab an MP by the elbow before a vote to attempting to interfere with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin to trying to assert unchecked budget authority for 2 years early in the pandemic. Trudeau's resistance to being challenged or admitting he's wrong raises a real risk of abuse of emergency powers authority, particularly if the NDP caves again.

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