The Trudeau government went public this week with a condemnation of Cuba over its lack of free speech protections as the government deployed unprecedented powers to crackdown on Canadian truckers and their supporters. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the 1988 Emergencies Act for the first time to freeze accounts of truckers and contributions by other Canadian citizens. It was entirely unnecessary and, while the media is largely supportive of Trudeau, the powers have been condemned by civil liberties groups in Canada.
As noted by the Miami Herald, it is rare for Trudeau’s government to criticize Cuba where Canada has considerable economic interests. Canada not only pumps millions of dollars into the economy through tourism but Canadian companies hold lucrative mining contracts on the island.
The condemnation was triggered by Cuba’s outrageous sentencing of protesters from last July to up to 20 years in prison. The government was clearly correct in expressing its outrage. However, there was something jarring in the Trudeau government then adding “Canada strongly advocates for freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly free from intimidation. We stand with the people of Cuba in their aspiration for #democracy.”
The 1988 law is meant to address the greatest national threats when existing laws are insufficient. However, there are ample laws allowing the clearing of roads and bridges. Trudeau is using the Act to intimidate not just the truckers but anyone who supports them. That includes sending lists of names to banks for accounts to be frozen and going to court to prevent donations from reaching the truckers.
Ironically, it was Trudeau’s father, who used the predecessor to the Act for the first time in peacetime to suspend civil liberties. Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act on Oct. 16, 1970, after separatist terrorists calling themselves the Front de libération du Québec kidnapped British Trade Commissioner James Cross and Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. The prior Act had never been used in peacetime and only twice before during prior wars.
Justin Trudeau, like his father, has never been a strong supporter of free speech. Indeed, he has more often championed its limitations. He previously declared that “freedom of expression is not without limits . . . we owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet.”
He has long been criticized for his anti-free speech policies, including his move to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act to criminalize any “communication that expresses detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.” That regulation of speech was criticized for its vague terms to prevent “social media platforms, [from being] used to threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people, or used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynistic and homophobic views that target communities, put people’s safety at risk and undermine Canada’s social cohesion or democracy.”
The sweeping and ambiguous standard is clearly intended to chill speech and allow the government the broadest possible scope of powers over speech. It is the codification of the type of ambiguous speech codes used on college campuses.
The timing for the condemnation of Cuba’s free speech policies could not be worse. As the statement went out, images of protesters trampled by police horses were triggering outrage in Ottawa. Yet, Trudeau has always relied on a largely compliant and supportive media in cracking down on conservative speech or dissenting views.
Trudeau caused an uproar when he condemned members of Parliament questioning his powers as supporting Nazis. Trudeau later refused to apologize for his comments.
The sense of impunity by Trudeau is understandable. The media has largely echoed his attacks on the truckers and supported his use of these powers despite the clear threat to free speech and associational rights. We have a de facto state media where the government reasonably expects media and social media to reinforce its message — and effectively silence its critics. To raise questions about these measures is to invite attack.
The response to the Canada crackdown is particularly striking. When mounted officers were shown holding off undocumented migrants at the border, the media went into a collective condemnation of photos that falsely suggested that officers were wipping migrants with their riding straps. This false claim was amplified by President Joe Biden who promise (before any investigation) to punish the officers. (The Administration continues to this day to refuse to release the results of its investigation or to clear these officers). The fact that people fell around a mounted unit does not make the Canadian police the new Cossacks. However, the same was true for the customs officers who actually appear to have been falsely accused.
The fact is that the government always had the power to clear these roads. Trudeau wanted to use the crisis to crackdown on political opponents by threatening funding and chilling supporters. The media has again assisted in this effort by using hacked information to name some of those who are donors. While Twitter barred discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election on clearly false grounds of hacking, Twitter is allowing such hacked information to be used against supporters of the truckers.
The personal information of roughly 90,000 donors was leaked after hackers reportedly compromised the accounts of GiveSendGo late Sunday. Media figures reportedly posted the hacked list to facilitate the harassment. There is still no word of an FBI investigation into the hacking. In the meantime, donors report being harassed and doxxed by supporters of the Trudeau government and its crackdown on the truckers. It is an organized attempt that parallels the efforts of the Trudeau government.
While Canada is not sending away people for 20 years, it is clearly seeking to use these powers to chill the exercise of free speech. The millions of frozen contributions for the truckers could have been used to support trucker families or activities other than the blockades. The government now could use such powers to shutdown any political group in the name of public safety.
The Canadian government has assembled a blacklist of citizens to have their accounts frozen while blocking support for the movement. It is all meant to intimidate those who want to speak and associate freely. That does not make Canada the new Cuba. However, it also does not make Canada the true north for guiding other nations on the freedom of speech.
189 thoughts on “Oh Canada: Trudeau’s Government Condemns Cuba Over Free Speech As Canada Cracks Down on Free Speech”
I’ll never understand why Canada elected the illegitimate son of Fidel Castro.
Ayn – that’s easy, if you understand our parliamentary system. First, we don’t vote for the individual, we vote for the party rep in our constituency. The party with the most elected reps becomes the government – most of the time. Trudeau’s liberals actually got fewer votes than the conservative party, but they “teamed up” with the far left NDP to form a majority.
Should you blame Trudeau or should you blame the people of Canada? Should you blame Biden or the people of the United States? We elect them (if that’s what you want to call elections today) knowing what they really are so who should be blamed?
@Margot… as a Canadian, I would suggest that you are unfamiliar with our parliamentary system. A majority of Canadians did not vote for Trudeau. In fact more people voted for the conservative candidate then for Trudeau, but our electoral system does not have the safeguard of an electoral college. Therefore Trudeau won the election with only 31% of the vote. In our system in order to function, he has to have another party backing him, and in this case, it is the far left NDP.
You want to be sure you fight for your electoral college. Otherwise, you get jerks like Trudeau in office.
We hear you, but our electoral college hasn’t saved us from the Biden and Clinton crime families.
@wise old lawyer – no, it did not, but it’s also kept the major cities from ruling your country be giving a voice to the rest of it.
‘First the Canadian government threw science and the basic principles of public health out the window.
Now they are throwing democracy and the basic principles of human rights out the window.’
Why doesn’t Putin recognize the independence of Ukraine?
Canada is no longer a free country.
Trudeau: once a Communazi, always a Communazi. But you can’t say that Trudeau didn’t warn Canadians that he’s always been a Communazi:
This is rich: The woman knocked down by Trudeau’s Cossacks is an AMERICAN INDIAN.
So much for the protesters being Nazis. Now Trudeau has injured one of his cherished protected classes.
What’s the matter with Canadian law enforcement that they are willing to act like this?
Watch Prof. Jordan Peterson describe Trudeau as a deceiving teenager: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VdeJRlVc88
I don’t see Trudeau surviving the damning criticisms very long.
When the cops start calling in sick, that’s the beginning of the end for Trudeau.
Incredible how Trudeau has lasted so long.
Trudeau has used COVID to stage his own Reichstag fire
Canada has a violent, leftist tyrant and apparently we have an imbecile for Vice President:
As for Joe, rap on his head and get that funny hollow sound.
North America is in trouble.
Isn’t the reason Quebec didn’t leave Canada because the federal government in Canada is paying them to stay?
@IB. No. Quebec has always been the recipient of considerable federal funds.
Worth reading in the context of this post.
Jonathan: The Canadian trucker protests have prompted a number of erroneous comments by some of your loyal followers. While I agree free speech is not a “popularity contest” and the smallest group has a right to peacefully protest what happened in Canada was a blockade of both the US/Canadian border and by 300 trucks in downtown streets of Ottawa. The trucker actions started as a protest against vaccine mandates but escalated into a demand for removal of all pandemic restrictions and even called for toppling the Trudeau government. The truckers wanted a revolution but there was no support in Canada for the truckers. If you want to stage a revolution that requires popular support. Facts are stubborn things. Trudeau did not seize “newly given-to-himself dictatorial powers”. Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act–passed in 1988. Most Canadians believe the prime minister’s action was long overdue.
If we want to talk about “dictatorial powers” Donald Trump is the poster child for someone who aspired (and still does) to the powers of a fascist caudillo. On June 1, 2020 Trump used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Lafayette Park of peaceful protestors who had gathered to protest the killing of George Floyd. He deployed 1,600 members of the 82nd Airborne and wanted to deploy 10,000 US military troops on the streets of DC–all so he could hold up a Bible to demonstrate he was the “law and order” president. As protests continued in Minneapolis and other cities Trump wanted to send in federal troops to quash the protests. He declared that if the states did not act “I will deploy the US military and quickly solve the problem for them”. State governors objected to this unwarranted intrusion into state power as did the Joint Chiefs so Trump was forced to back down. After the 2020 elections Trump wanted to invoke his emergency powers to seize voting machines around the country to overturn the election. He never signed the EO because Homeland Security and the Joint Chiefs refused to go along. Unlike “banana republics” the US military refused to support Trump’s attempted coup d’etat. The draft order is now in the hands of the House Jan. 6 committee. But Trump didn’t give up. On Jan. 6 he staged another attempt at a coup to stay in power. That also failed because Trump had no popular support. So he was forced into exile at Mar-a-Lago where he plots his return to power–like Napoleon on the island of Elba.
What PM Trudeau has done in Canada pales in comparison to the “dictatorial powers” Trump wanted to seize to stay in power. Trump is still a threat to our democratic institutions and our system of checks and balances. That is the lesson many of your loyal supporters still don’t get.
Did you buy a b.s.manufacturing machine from Acme? You seem to have so much of it.
Obviously you watch corporate media and did not see the massive rally and protest in Calgary! For many of us freedom is Everything!
Dennis says: “Facts are stubborn things. Trudeau did not seize “newly given-to-himself dictatorial powers”. Trudeau invoked the Emergency Act–passed in 1988.”
The point isn’t that Trudeau ‘newly created’ dictatorial powers that he granted unto himself. The point is that there is no ’emergency.’ He simply declared it from his secret safe hideout and then Trudeau TOOK those emergency ‘war’ powers, from the act passed in 1988, to give himself the power NOW to essentially do what he wants in order to stop the peaceful protests against him and his government dictates that are NOT supported by “the science” or “the facts.”
Dennis says: “Most Canadians believe the prime minister’s action was long overdue.”
Most? Long over due? According to? Which ones? The ones against a free democracy? The ones believing what the propagnada they hear on state TV? The ones who think Trudeau should have MORE unchecked power to do what he wants to punish and silence his politcal opposition with not only criminal charges, but ongoing financial sanctions done as retribution after-the-fact?
If this is the kind of tyranny you would like to live under, be my guest.
As you said, “Facts are stubborn things.”
Dennis — You are on the wrong side of history. Chew on that.
Dennis said: “What PM Trudeau has done in Canada pales in comparison to the “dictatorial powers” Trump wanted to seize to stay in power.”
Not even close.
Tech companies have been censoring and deplatforming opinions, information, narratives they don’t want circulating — including Trump! And now financial deplatforming has arrived. They are deplatforming and removing political causes they don’t want to be crowdfunded. Wrongthink now affects your personal finances and banking freedoms. Banks are debanking customers whose political activities and beliefs are deemed unacceptable.
Financial deplatforming and “sanctions” is the next phase of censorship and control that Trudeau has only just begun to abuse.
And if you believe Trudeau will give up these “temporary emergency powers” now that he has seized and used (abused) them to silence, punish, censor, neuter, and control the ‘voices’ and ‘actions’ of his political opponents and enemies, you are a fool.
Trudeau’s “emergency” power grab will be made permanent if no one stops it.
@Dennis M – first of all, this article was not an excuse for you to rant about Trump. Secondly, as a Canadian I do not like having my rights taken away from me by an unlawful and illegal use of the emergency act, which is what this was. I suggested until you have the facts, you shut your mouth about what goes on in my country. At least I take the time to educate myself of what goes on in yours. That might not be a bad idea for you as well from what I’ve read of you.
They were not “peaceful.” Violent Left wing protestors and rioters in Lafayette Park burned a historic church, injured hundreds of federal officers and caused the White House to go on lockdown. It was worse than J6 if the truth was being told — which it is not.
Dennis says: “What PM Trudeau has done in Canada pales in comparison to the “dictatorial powers” Trump wanted to seize to stay in power.”
100% false. Trudeau is a full-fledged tyrannical dictator. Trump is not even close. Biden is the authoritarian acting like a dictator. Most of what Biden has done and said is FAR worse than anything Trump ever did. Without question.
The real outcome of this all depends on the Canadian voter. It all comes down to the people.
@ independent Bob… in our parliamentary system, no, it does not. The conservative party won more votes in the last election then did the liberals, but because of the way our system works, Trudeau was able to be elected PM.
We do not nearly have a say in the leadership of our country, sadly.
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