The Epistle of Q — Chapter 175

Oooops, at least one person is very upset with me…

One of my eastern readers, while thanking me for my perspective on THE ACT, warned me that I would no doubt get some serious blowback. And that I did, although not as overwhelming as I might have thought. The respondent was quite clear that my writing often makes them angry but this time I was too much, and I deserved to be told…

As an aside, let me say that I appreciate getting into thoughtful conversation, and I take rejection well

The individual did not wish to comment directly on the site, but rather wanted to make sure I heard directly! (I guess there is always the possibility that trying to use the site might either get things lost in the firewalls, or have my webmaster re-route the missive.) It is not my intention to reprint the entire conversation, but there are a couple of thoughts I would like to share.

Number 1: do I think that the Freedom Convoy was a thoughtful, well-organized and strategic protest? No, even their lawyer at the Inquiry showed pathetic judgment when s/he never questioned the PM to explain the difference between the Convoy protest and the Coast Gaslink one. Generally they seemed to lose their way once they got to Ottawa, and they really missed an opportunity to make a meaningful impact.

Number 2: do I think that the Freedom Convoy had the right to protest and express their concerns about the vaccination dogma? Absolutely, while I have now had five [5] shots, I have friends and relatives that refuse. And while I think that is not a good stance to be against vaccinations given the troubling return of polio and measles, I will not compel people nor will I shame them. I want to know about their position and then am content to keep them off my travel vehicles and require certain preventative measures in my home as needed.

Number 3: the writer congratulates the government for having the BALLS to finally stand up and put forth THE ACT. I just hope that feeling is transmitted that next time a not so leftist government decides to do the same to stop snowmobiles from roaring through parks and disturbing my peace and quiet. More critically however is my contention that by the time THE ACT was utilized the only place where there was a continuing problem was Ottawa. Moreover, no one seems to want to reflect on the fact that the Convoy also sent trucks to at least two other cities: Québec City and Kingston. What happened there? Well in Québec the first truck was met & stopped by a police officer who quietly gave the driver two options, either turn around and park outside of town or accept a $500 ticket (and this would continue for as long as the truck was in the city). Not surprisingly, the driver turned around and no one else came into the city. In Kingston the police stopped the first truck and directed it to park on the outskirts. Again, no more trouble. If a truck appears without a trailer, and without a manifest that indicates where it will pick up a trailer & a load, it is a small effort to stop it and direct it to either a truck park or a major open space (e.g. in Ottawa the convoy could have been re-directed to the parking lot at the big hockey rink in Kanata and the occupants could have taken transit in to carry out their protests). The problem in Ottawa was policing or the lack thereof – hardly a justification for THE ACT…Elsewhere the police did their job without the need for THE ACT – enough said…

Number 4: The one part of the response that I have most trouble with is the very negative tone against a number of western politicians and a related comment: so very crazy American Republican in attitude and actions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help the conversation because it gets to a deeper issue that I have long sensed and commented upon, at times to the annoyance of some of my good friends in Central Canada. If you come from the prairies or the interior of BC people in the TOM [Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal] world tend to simply call us all political problems. What we stand for, what we criticize Ottawa for, what we want to see as part of the Canadian fabric, is discounted and disparaged. It’s fine to disagree, but if you keep trying to marginalize our perspectives, you will find an increasing sense of alienation and from there it is a short slope to vigorous opposition and for there to separation. I should note that this is different than that experienced in the Maritimes (I haven’t lived in Newfoundland so I am cautious to comment on their perspective, some of it tainted by those I’ve met in Fort Mac). The Maritime feeling is more that TOM simply doesn’t care — it ignores the Maritimes as long as lobster is available at their [TOM] nice restaurants and they can still buy oceanview property relatively easily. Besides, the Maritimes elects enough Liberals that nasty comments would be dealt with inside of caucus and from there to the media!!

Number 4 (cont’d): I have known some very bright Republicans and some very thoughtless Democrats. I have American grandkids. They will carve a future for themselves and their country just as we have done. As I note the number of colleagues who have passed away in the past year or so, I realize how much each of them contributed to a thoughtful growth in the Canadian (& American) living experience. Am I troubled by the increasingly divided world that seems to be interjecting itself into the evolution we have been part of? Yes I am, but please don’t castigate the supposed right, by using the very same kind of anger and vitriol against them/us.

Number 4 (cont’d): Another unsettling comment in the response: I have grave doubts about some of the lawyers for the Convoy and fail to understand how they have the nerve to work on the side of these terrible specimens of so-called humanity. Firstly, every one deserves a lawyer in times of legal malfeasance – that is part of a true democracy. Even police officers who do bad things are entitled to a legal defense team. But there is something else here that concerns me – calling people unhuman, who most of the time spend their lives in rigs costing six figures navigating the highways and byways of our country delivering the goods we need to survive. Perhaps they do dumb things at times, but have you been at a rink and listen to parents berate officials, or have you been on university campuses and watched student residence parties that get out-of-hand (e.g. Queen’s, UVIC, etc). I was told that the convoy folk used bad language and had terrible signs: well during my time in Grad School I was called pretty negative things and had serious threats leveled at me by violent leftists. Shouldn’t happen, and may even be inexcusable – but again neither political pole is being helped by extremism. I think it would become the conversation to be a little less dogmatic. As I have said in the past, if we don’t try to move closer to the middle, we will fracture even more violently than we have seen to date.

Number 5: I was castigated for my assertion on leadership and again I will quote: I also was appalled by you suggesting that Lanny MacDonald and Darryl Sittler were showing leadership by holding up Borje Salming (bless his heart) when he was on the ice. That was just a silly assertion. They showed compassion, empathy and a great friendship for what he was enduring. Funny thing but I thought that these were characteristics of good leadership – leaders are compassionate, empathetic and demonstrate friendship such that their teammates know they can count on support even when they make mistakes. Here’s my follow-up suggestion: Can you imagine if the PM had done something similar: invited a few of the convoy people (men, women & maybe even a younger person) into the cabinet room and had a conversation, including discussing how government actually operates and how they can have more effective protests? IF he had been able to show compassion, empathy and even a smidgen of friendship – it’s indescribable what could have happened. One of the indictments I have against educators is that civics in no longer a mandatory subject through the latter days of elementary and throughout high school. Most people have no real clue about how government operates (if they did, they sure would turn out to vote in municipal elections in much higher numbers, because that is the one level that impacts us more than any other).

The writer concluded by a reference I made to tolls on highways – I had forgotten what I had said and I really will have to study previous Chapters to comment significantly now.

I do know that the writer did say that they seldom lose their temper but this time I guess I crossed the rubicon, so to speak (for those of you who know your Roman history!!). I was also told: please don’t write back to try to explain anything. I have had it!! While I did make a quick reply and I am sure the person doesn’t read the Editorialog any more, these musings today have been simply another part of the conversation. As many pundits have said, the majority of people in Canada support the use of THE ACT – not surprising, the majority voted for Brexit, majorities initially put both Stalin & Hitler in power – ironically the majority didn’t vote for Trump or Trudeau. Moreover the populace have not yet had any opportunity to vote for Danielle Smith or David Eby premiers of the two most western provinces. So I guess it’s still okay to voice one’s opinion – just as long as I continue to take rejection well!!

If you still care – Have a reflective Advent Season