Prime Minister Justin Trudeau annouces that the Liberal government is envoking the Emergencies Act Feb. 14, 2022. Screenshot

Editorial: Damaging lies

  • February 17, 2022

More than 130 years ago, in a foundational encyclical of Catholic social teaching, Pope Leo XIII warned against “crafty agitators” within the political class bent on dividing society for pernicious ends.

Canada in the first months of 2022, under the influence of a sustained media and political operative barrage, our minds might reflexively apply that memorable phrase from Rerum Novarum to the big rig truckers and those who joined them at protests in Ottawa, Windsor and elsewhere.

Without question the demonstrations against State suspensions of our natural liberties, e.g. vaccine mandates, have been disruptive economically and in the daily lives of Canadians. Without doubt some elements in the self-styled Freedom Convoys caught themselves in leg-hold traps of their own crafting by acting like buffoons or, much worse, using phrases about government overthrow that have no place in our country’s democratic life.

But it’s worth considering that the very imbecility of such idiot theatre agit-prop disqualifies those agitators from the qualifier “crafty” used by Pope Leo. That in turn might cause us to wonder where the late, great Pontiff’s cautionary epithet applies. We would do well to follow the clues back to the Prime Minister himself.

In fact, two of his own MPs did just that before breaking ranks and publicly criticizing the Prime Minister’s “divisive and stigmatizing” dismissal of the whole body of protestors before the “Freedom Convoy” even arrived in Ottawa. The PM, while rejecting requests to meet those involved, dismissed them as a “fringe minority.” He apparently forgot, in the moment, that his own minority government survives on the fringes of power, and of Canadian popular support at less than 33 per cent in the 2021 federal election.

It’s now credible to draw a line between the Prime Minister’s derisive initial stance toward the protestors and his sudden need to invoke for the first time in our history the Emergencies Act. It would be naïve to overlook a crafty agistator’s intentionality bridging the PM’s rhetoric and action.

Certainly, it’s valid to infer that this perilous act was what his dissenting Liberal MPs saw as low-ball wedge politics. Both word and deed are a vicious calumny against thousands of Canadians citizens who have directly supported the protests, or cheered them from the sidelines. They are, to be blunt, the nadir of political lies. Lies are always damaging. These threaten deep and dangerous divisions among Canadians.

Such bluntness is in no way partisan. It does not ascribe a quality inherent to the federal Liberal Party or to Prime Minister Trudeau. Rather, it is said in the spirit of Catholic fraternal correction to call both the Party and the PM away from this crooked path of crafty agitation and back to the rightful way of respectful democratic discourse.

Pope Leo XIII himself would have done no less.

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