An American friend writes me that conditions in her country could not be worse. The good are increasingly persecuted and abused by the bad and the ugly. I reply that, yes, Americans think they have it bad — and they do. But if they want to see how far and fast the dregs of the so-called “social order” can rise to the top and the best sink to the bottom, I invite them to visit Canada.
Of course, we all suffer from the same derecho of adversarial forces: Big Government, Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Media, as well as myopic and corrupt leadership at every level. But in Canada, there are no provinces (with the partial and insecure exception of Saskatchewan) analogous to the “red states” in the U.S. where sanity and liberty yet prevail and government answers to the people. Residents of “blue states” can decamp for “fresh woods and pastures new,” but we have no such option.
Moreover, the great majority of Canadian voters, unlike their American counterparts, are dutifully complicit with autocratic government ordinances. Witness the recent election in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, which returned the grim and oppressive government of vulgarian Doug Ford with an increased majority. There is scarcely any need here to rig an election.
The evidence for autocratic rule and economic destabilization is everywhere around us. The destruction of Canadian values and economic viability is no accident with little relief in sight. It’s all part of the plan to assert and establish a demagogic regime in what was once a liberal democracy.
A short list:
Censorship: Bill C-261 is now before parliament proposing to convict Canadians of “hate crime” in advance of its commission before they have even broken the law, let alone knowing what the law precisely covers. Bills proposing Internet restrictions are also before parliament. One must go to China and North Korea to find comparable dystopian legislation and practice.
Parental rights: Bill C-4 criminalizes what is called “conversion therapy,” that is, the attempt to affirm the validity of a child’s birth gender. The bill allows the state to act in loco parentis and remove the child from the home for “gender reassignment,” chemical or otherwise.
Gas prices, et al.: I filled ‘er up yesterday at the gas station down the street. Transposing from liters, I paid nearly $11 per gallon. This is a marker of the general extent of inflationary pressures. Real inflation varies within a range of 20% to 50% for most products, comestibles, and services. For example, my Starbucks coffee sachet for which I paid $7.95 two weeks ago is now priced at $10.95. The cost of a regular shopping expedition has approximately doubled.
Taxes: Canadians are being mugged by their government. Utterly useless carbon taxes have contributed massively to inflation and are slated to rise incrementally for the coming years. The farming sector has been particularly impacted. Indeed, “the carbon tax stresses margins for everyone up and down the food chain.” The tax on capital gains is brutal for a competitive, free-market nation. A home equity tax is presently under discussion, which will dramatically impinge upon home purchases and retirement planning. Citizens are being selectively impoverished.
Masks: Face coverings are still mandated for official and many public departments, enterprises, and venues. Airports feel like holding cells, planes like a party of bank robbers on their way to a conference.
Vaccines: As Rav Arora writes in The Epoch Times of Canada’s ongoing authoritarian COVID-19 response: “Vaccines have not been carefully tested and distributed as a vital and life-saving preventive measure for those at risk, but as a repulsive pledge of citizenship and virtue for everyone regardless of their age, health, and other risk factors.” The unvaccinated are prisoners in their own country, stripped in many places of the right to work, exercise, or visit medical clinics, and federally deprived of the Charter right to travel freely or even leave the country. Canada remains one of the last countries to keep its federal vaccine mandates in place.
Assets: If one contributes to a public protest or demonstration frowned upon by government, such as the Truckers Convoy, one may find that one’s bank account has been illegally frozen. The courts need not be consulted and many banks are eagerly on board. This dictatorial intervention into the personal assets of citizens occurred during the recent invocation of the Emergencies Act. There is no assurance that such assaults may not happen again.
Double standards: As Queen’s University law professor Bruce Pardy writes, “Double standards on speech and conduct are baked into our current political order. Burning churches and blocking railways are blows in support of social justice, but peacefully protesting vaccine mandates constitutes a public order emergency.” The prime minister’s invoking of what is essentially the War Measures Act to quell a legitimate protest is unprecedented in a Western democracy. “The hypocrisy of our authorities,” Pardy continues, “is no accident. Their choices are deliberate and calculated.” The same applies to a bought-and-paid-for press and the usual run of insidious leftwing platforms.
In the light of these considerations, Michel Walsh at The Pipeline is correct when he writes that Canada “is now completing its post-Covid descent into a fascist tyranny.” The country is gradually approaching totalitarian status, having effectively canceled the Charter and Constitution and imposed, as noted, a flood of coercive measures, such as vaccine mandates, medical apartheid, travel restrictions, information censorship, punitive carbon taxes, and the like.
The executive, financial, juridical, and media elite, with the complicity of a majority supine and uninformed public, now control national affairs with an iron hand. No less sinister, the Canadian prime minister, unlike the American president, is in full possession of his faculties, which renders him even more dangerous. He is not demented. He is crafty, duplicitous, brazen, and vindictive, and his totalitarian leanings are readily discernible. Cuba is his lodestar, Venezuela his destination. Constitutional adherents, civically responsible citizens, conservative democrats, concerned parents fearful for their children, honest lawyers, and physicians — the ore of the nation — have become social pariahs.
The fact that we Canadians may have it worse than Americans doesn’t give us bragging rights — unless, of course, like certain valetudinarians and hypochondriacs, we like to compete against others with the severity of our ailments. Canadians have always felt they are better than Americans, and in this regard alone, they probably are.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His most recent volume of poetry, The Herb Garden, appeared in 2018 with Guernica Editions. His manifesto, Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics, was released by Shomron Press in 2016. He has produced two CDs of original songs: Blood Guitar and Other Tales and Partial to Cain, on which he was accompanied by his pianist wife Janice Fiamengo. His latest book is Notes from a Derelict Culture, Black House, London, 2019.