by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Corporate media outlets like The Atlantic and The New York Times have been telling us for years now how Hungary and Poland are incubators of authoritarianism that represent an essential threat to democracy. But it turns out we should have been worried about Canada and Australia, of all places.
If you had told me 18 months ago that Australia, a democratic country that once seemed to exude rugged individualism, would devolve into a Covid police state that imprisons its citizens in quarantine camps and deploys riot police to crush lockdown protests with brute force, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are.
Now comes Canada, where the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers that arrived in Ottawa more than a week ago to protest Covid vaccine mandates has effectively shut down Canada’s capital. The mayor declared a state of emergency on Monday after the city’s law enforcement authorities talked openly about calling in the military over the weekend.
Foremost among these has been Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, who has ominously called the protests “highly organized, well-funded, extremely committed to resisting all attempts to end the demonstrations safely,” and rather recklessly said there “may not be a policing solution” to the crisis. Meanwhile, the police appear to be making the situation worse. Faced with hundreds of heavy-duty trucks and tractors downtown, authorities in Ottawa are now seizing gasoline, food, and other supplies from protesters, although it’s unclear they have any legal authority to do so.
News media in both Canada and the United States have worked hard to portray the protesters as far-right conspiracy theorists and white supremacists, despite little evidence that the protests are motivated by anything other than sincere opposition to Covid vaccine mandates.