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You Don't See This Every Day: Liberal US Paper Calls Out Trudeau for Being a Hypocrite

AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis

File this under things you didn't expect to hear from a liberal news outlet, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's hypocrisy is hard to overlook.

As Trudeau condemns the Freedom Convoy protesters, demanding they stop "trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens' daily lives," he took a much different approach to protests in India in November 2020, The New York Times's editorial board members point out.

Back then, the liberal prime minister supported the farmers' protest over agricultural reforms, which blocked main arteries into New Delhi. He pledged, "Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest."

Indian diplomat Deepak Vohra also had pointed words for Trudeau on this front.

But now things are different, apparently.

While the editorial board distances itself from the Canadian truckers' cause, they argue the demonstrators "have a right to be noisy and even disruptive."

"Protests are a necessary form of expression in a democratic society, particularly for those whose opinions do not command broad popular support," the editors write. "Governments have a responsibility to prevent violence by protesters, but they must be willing to accept some degree of disruption by those seeking to be heard. The challenge for public officials — the same one faced by Minneapolis and other cities in 2020 during the protests after the murder of George Floyd — is to maintain a balance between public health and safety and a functioning society, with the right to free expression."

With the truckers' protest inspiring demonstrations in other nations, leaders around the world are confronted with similar challenges. 

"Effective leadership in this stage of the pandemic means finding ways to confront the understandable frustrations and legitimate protests engendered by the pandemic without stoking more strife, compromising the rule of law or succumbing to unreasonable demands," the editors note. "With populists like Mr. Trump primed to attack any Covid-19 action by the government as an assault on 'freedom,' safely exiting the pandemic will be that much more treacherous. Allowing nonviolent, even if disruptive, protest is an important tool for maintaining social cohesion in a polarized society."

By invoking the Emergencies Act, Trudeau has only made matters worse.

This broad authority doesn’t junk the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does, however, include the power to prohibit travel, public assemblies and use of any specified property, to force people or companies to render essential services, to impose fines and imprisonment for violating any of the emergency rules, and to use the military as police, though Mr. Trudeau suggests he won’t do that last one. He says the powers will be used for 30 days, strengthening the federal police, beefing up penalties, dragooning private tow-truck companies and, incredibly, directing financial institutions, without court orders, to freeze personal and corporate bank accounts connected to the protests. Without due process, and used against despised and often caricatured protesters, these powers invite further abuse. (WSJ)

Many protesters vowed to stay even after Trudeau invoked the act, with one saying the move would only invite "more freedom fighters." 

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