Canadians usually are not happy with what they see as international interference of their home politics.
Protestors in downtown, Ottawa, Canada, Feb. 11, 2022.
The information that the Canadian authorities has responded to the trucker protest with emergency powers that permit it to quickly seize financial institution accounts and not using a court docket order has generated a firestorm of condemnation on either side of the border.
Even many commentators who aren’t on the file as supporting the trucker protest are uneasy with the prospect. Some progressives who harbor little sympathy for the protestors fear about setting a disturbing precedent: Maybe subsequent time, these emergency powers will likely be unleashed towards a left-wing protest motion?
I perceive these issues however suspect even well-meaning American observers haven’t actually tried to probe the Canadian authorities’s motivations. In the long run, I’m sympathetic to Prime Minister’s Justin Trudeau’s place with out being totally comfy along with his authorities’s broad emergency powers.
I believe the Canadian authorities has been influenced by what it’s seen from the US over the previous couple of years. The protests themselves have had a distinctly un-Canadian taste, with its calls for for freedom and Gadsden flags. Like many European nations — however not like America — Canadians place larger emphasis on their collective well-being than on particular person rights. American protestors routinely demand freedom, however this can be a comparatively unfamiliar spectacle up north.
The Canadian truckers have obtained appreciable backing from the US. Many GOP politicians in America have supplied their help, together with former President Donald Trump and senators reminiscent of Ted Cruz of Texas. After gofundme.com stopped accepting donations for the truckers, funding efforts shifted to the Christian crowd-sourcing platform givesendgo.com. This was promptly hacked, revealing the identities of the donors. Over half have been Individuals. None of those developments may have been too welcome in Ottawa. What nation needs to see foreigners meddle in its home politics?
And what the Canadian authorities noticed down south over the previous couple of years couldn’t have been encouraging. In April of 2020 armed protestors occupied the Michigan statehouse a few weeks after Trump tweeted the phrases “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” in response to COVID restrictions there. In December, armed protestors occupied the Oregon statehouse; this time a member of the Legislature actually unlocked the door for them. A couple of weeks later, protestors tried to cease the certification of election outcomes on January 6. Pundits and state and federal legislators have blessed all these mass actions.
The trucker protest has adhered to Canadian stereotypes in some ways. Initially the protestors honked their horns late into the evening, however they politely desisted after a court docket order. And the protests have been principally freed from violence.
However a gaggle of 11 was arrested in Alberta for plotting violence. Fourteen weapons have been seized, together with physique armor and excessive capability magazines unlawful in Canada (however authorized in most U.S. states).
Put this all collectively: a persistent legal protest motion receiving encouragement and materials help from the identical of us that lately supported unprecedented types of political violence in the US, and also you would possibly recognize why the Canadian authorities is keen to undertake harsh measures to quell the occupation of its capital.
Professor, Division of Household and Client Research, Adjunct Professor, Division of Sociology College of Utah
Nicholas H. Wolfinger is professor of household and shopper research and adjunct professor of sociology on the College of Utah. His most up-to-date guide is Soul Mates: Faith, Intercourse, Youngsters, and Marriage Amongst African Individuals and Latinos (with W. Bradford Wilcox; Oxford College Press, 2016).