Does the federal government fund and support racially discriminating groups and individuals?

Drawing the contrast between the relative kid glove treatment of the “Freedom” Convoy and providing them a further platform in the Rouleau Commission:

Federal funding of hateful messaging has been in the news lately after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the comments of a senior consultant who was working on a federally funded anti-racist project. As a result of Laith Marouf’s anti-French and anti-Semitic postings, the $130,000 funding of the group, the Community Media Advocacy Centre, was suspended. This happened, despite the federal government apparently knowing about Marouf’s past.

Contrast that to the multi-million dollar federal Public Order Emergency Commission inquiry into the federal government temporary use of the 1988 Emergencies Act this past February to remove the Freedom Convoy protesters from downtown Ottawa.

Yet the Freedom Convoy group antics, which paralyzed Ottawa’s downtown core for more than three weeks this past January and February, forced authorities to spend millions of dollars in policing costs. The Freedom Convoy leaders are now wanting even more money than could be granted under Treasury Board guidelines and are asking for $450,000 of their $5-million in donations to be unfrozen, now held in escrow. This request may actually happen even though it’s a bit rich when such participation brings with it more propaganda for their disruptive causes.

In addition to the Rouleau inquiry giving the Freedom Convoy legal standing and funding, this federally funded commission is encouraging written submissions from Freedom Convoy supporters. The federally funded commission has made a point of encouraging Freedom Convoy supporters to make written submissions to it

The federal commission’s lead question on its website asks for those on side of the Freedom Convoy “protest” to describe their experiences. Those who were affected by the “protest” activities are asked secondarily to offer their experiences.

Rouleau is, in effect, placing the Freedom Convoy participants in an important, if not equal, position to those who were affected by the convoy, giving them more space and prominence than they deserve.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, meanwhile, according to highly redacted cabinet minutes, saw the Freedom Convoy protesters falling into two categories: the “harmless and happy with a strong relationship to faith communities,” and the “harder extremists trying to undermine government institutions and law enforcement.” However, it seemed as if the police in Ottawa were siding with the Freedom Convoy protesters during February’s occupation.

Mendicino did not comment on the tacit mix and dynamics of the happy folks and extremists who occupied downtown Ottawa for more than three weeks.

Does this leave federal authorities less than neutral or too easy on the illegal activities of the Freedom Convoy participants? Do we not remember the federal government’s past racist actions with residential schools or the internment of Canadian Japanese citizens during the Second World War?

The federal government continues to mount ineffective anti-racist “campaigns” and decries anti-Semitic activities without taking action.

It’s also standing idly by when it comes to Quebec’s racist Bill 21 and its overt discrimination against minorities and those, for instance, who teach and wear hijabs being ousted.

The Freedom Convoy protesters appear to be treated as official interveners.

So let’s call the feds for what they are: a bunch of yellow-shrinking-stand-by con artists.

Ken Rubin founded the Ottawa People’s Commission to hear from residents about the harm incurred during last February’s Freedom Convoy siege in Ottawa, though the views expressed here are his own personal ones.

Source: Does the federal government fund and support racially discriminating groups and individuals?

Krugman: When ‘Freedom’ Means the Right to Destroy

Good commentary:

On Sunday the Canadian police finally cleared away anti-vaccine demonstrators who had been blocking the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, a key commercial route that normally carries more than $300 million a day in international trade. Other bridges are still closed, and part of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, is still occupied.

The diffidence of Canadian authorities in the face of these disruptions has been startling to American eyes. Also startling, although not actually surprising, has been the embrace of economic vandalism and intimidation by much of the U.S. right — especially by people who ranted against demonstrations in favor of racial justice. What we’re getting here is an object lesson in what some people really mean when they talk about “law and order.”

Let’s talk about what has been happening in Canada and why I call it vandalism.

The “Freedom Convoy” has been marketed as a backlash by truckers angry about Covid-19 vaccination mandates. In reality, there don’t seem to have been many truckers among the protesters at the bridge (about 90 percent of Canadian truckers are vaccinated). Last week a Bloomberg reporter saw only three semis among the vehicles blocking the Ambassador Bridge, which were mainly pickup trucks and private cars; photos taken Saturday also show very few commercial trucks.

The Teamsters union, which represents many truckers on both sides of the border, has denounced the blockade.

So this isn’t a grass-roots trucker uprising. It’s more like a slow-motion Jan. 6, a disruption caused by a relatively small number of activists, many of them right-wing extremists. At their peak, the demonstrations in Ottawa reportedly involved only around 8,000 people, while numbers at other locations have been much smaller.

Despite their lack of numbers, however, the protesters have been inflicting a remarkable amount of economic damage. The U.S. and Canadian economies are very closely integrated. In particular, North American manufacturing, especially but not only in the auto industry, relies on a constant flow of parts between factories on both sides of the border. As a result, the disruption of that flow has hobbled industry, forcing production cuts and even factory shutdowns.

The closure of the Ambassador Bridge also imposed large indirect costs, as trucks were diverted to roundabout routes and forced to wait in long lines at alternative bridges.

Any attempt to put a number on the economic costs of the blockade is tricky and speculative. However, it’s not hard to come up with numbers like $300 million or more per day; combine that with the disruption of Ottawa, and the “trucker” protests may already have inflicted a couple of billion dollars in economic damage.

That’s an interesting number, because it’s roughly comparable to insurance industry estimates of total losses associated with the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the killing of George Floyd — protests that seem to have involved more than 15 million people.

This comparison will no doubt surprise those who get their news from right-wing media, which portrayed B.L.M. as an orgy of arson and looting. I still receive mail from people who believe that much of New York City was reduced to smoking rubble. In fact, the demonstrations were remarkably nonviolent; vandalism happened in a few cases, but it was relatively rare, and the damage was small considering the huge size of the protests.

By contrast, causing economic damage was and is what the Canadian protests are all about — because blocking essential flows of goods, threatening people’s livelihoods, is every bit as destructive as smashing a store window. And unlike, say, a strike aimed at a particular company, this damage fell indiscriminately on anyone who had the misfortune to rely on unobstructed trade.

And to what end? The B.L.M. demonstrations were a reaction to police killings of innocent people; what’s going on in Canada is, on its face, about rejecting public health measures intended to save lives. Of course, even that is mainly an excuse: What it’s really about is an attempt to exploit pandemic weariness to boost the usual culture-war agenda.

As you might expect, the U.S. right is loving it. People who portrayed peaceful protests against police killings as an existential threat are delighted by the spectacle of right-wing activists breaking the law and destroying wealth. Fox News has devoted many hours to fawning coverage of the blockades and occupations. Senator Rand Paul, who called B.L.M. activists a “crazed mob,” called for Canada-style protests to “clog up cities” in the United States, specifically saying that he hoped to see truckers disrupt the Super Bowl (they didn’t).

I assume that the reopening of the Ambassador Bridge is the beginning of a broader crackdown on destructive protests. But I hope we won’t forget this moment — and in particular that we remember it the next time a politician or media figure talks about “law and order.”

Recent events have confirmed what many suspected: The right is perfectly fine, indeed enthusiastic, about illegal actions and disorder as long as they serve right-wing ends.

Source: When ‘Freedom’ Means the Right to Destroy