Although Canadians and Americans share the North American continent and have many cultural similarities, we also have differences, both in history and personal characteristics. This has led to marked differences in our forms of government and our personal behaviour. Justin Trudeau has ignored these historical differences and is using the recent events in the United States during the 2020 presidential election as a cover to create startling changes in Canada.
Historical Differences Between Canada and the U.S.
Americans broke away from Britain in the 1776 Revolutionary War. Untrained settlers, mostly farmers and tradesmen, fought bravely against the highly trained, disciplined British troops and won because they were fighting for the very soil on which they fought.
Canadians peacefully formed their nation in 1867 when several provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, joined together with British approval to negotiate an agreement called the British North America Act (BNA), which formed the foundation of our country. Other areas in Canada were gradually settled and became provinces and territories and joined Canada, until finally, in 1949, the British possessions of Newfoundland and Labrador finalized the boundaries of present-day Canada.
Throughout the years of Canada’s existence, Canadians have remained mostly peaceful, even docile, in their behaviour, willingly administered by the governing elites, many of whom were, in the early years, appointed by Britain. There were a few skirmishes over the years, such as the 1837 Rebellion of Upper Canada, the Riel Rebellion in Saskatchewan in 1885 (North-West Rebellion), and more recently, in 1970. At that time, Quebec nationalists demanded independence from Canada, creating the so-called October Crisis, which led to the murder of a Quebec Cabinet minister and the imprisonment, for 59 days, of a British official. Generally, however, Canadians have remained quietly agreeable, reasonable, and even deferential to authority, exceedingly brave in battle (during two World Wars), have paid their taxes and have, undisturbedly, gone about their business.
Americans, on the other hand, seem a more spirited lot. For historical reasons, they, unlike Canadians, are permitted to carry firearms. They are more likely to be demanding of their leaders and to speak their minds more directly, whereas it takes an awful lot to stir up Canadians!
These American characteristics came to a head in the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump. This was the spark that led to continuing fiery protests and unconscionable deaths in several major cities during the summer of 2020. With the election of Mr. Biden as president in the November 2020 election, these protests in American cities ceased. However, questions about changes in voting procedures, i.e., mail-in voting, led to questions of fraud during the election. A large rally was held in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, following which an intrusion was made into the Capitol building. There was evidence which indicated that the occupation of the Capitol building was pre-planned – by whom is still being investigated.
The left-wing Democratic Party in the U.S., however, has used this turmoil, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, to impose restrictions on civil rights, in particular, freedom of speech and opinion. The Big Tech organizations of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are now eliminating conservative voices from social media because they provocatively claim they are “inciting violence”.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Although Canadians, as described above, are different from Americans, and their protests have been limited and have not caused the turmoil that has recently occurred in the U.S, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using the U.S.’s experience as an excuse to curtail civil rights in Canada. He argues that it is necessary to impose restrictions on our civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, in order to protect Canadians from “hate” (undefined).
Trudeau’s Proposed Restrictions on Canadian Civil Liberties
Trudeau’s proposed restrictions on Canadians include the following:
- Controlling Social Media to Eliminate Supposed Hate and Terrorism
In January 2021, Trudeau announced plans to act against supposed hate on social media platforms. He stated that this is necessary in light of the U.S. Capitol riots in January. His plans to curtail social media were outlined on January 15, 2021, in the “mandate letter” forwarded by Trudeau to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. According to this mandate, Mr. Blair was ordered to “take action on combatting hate groups and online hate and harassment, ideologically motivated violent extremism, and terrorist organizations…to combat this growing threat”.
The mandate further stated “…Canadians are relying on journalists and journalism for accuracy and timely news, especially in the face of a concerning spread of misinformation.” This was a surprising statement. Journalists? Accuracy? What reasonable person believes that what journalists write and say is the actual truth? Journalists are the last people in Canada who should be relied upon to provide accurate reporting. Most journalists in the mainstream media are part and parcel of the left-wing coalition, customarily emphasizing only one side on controversial issues. The briefing note from Trudeau to Mr. Blair further claimed that social media platforms were being used to “threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people or are used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist, and homophobic views”. Threats and intimidation are always unacceptable, but Trudeau is not referring to this. He wants conservative dissent from his party’s progressive views to be removed from the public debate.
Differences of opinion are part of our pluralistic society and are not necessarily hate speech. Yet, for example, anything spoken or written dissenting from the homosexual/transgender ideology is considered by the left as “homophobic” and “hateful”. Because of concerns about hate speech, one rarely hears about “Islamic” terrorism, as that would, apparently, encourage Islamophobia.
Determining what constitutes hate is not easy and appears to depend, far too frequently, on the bias of the beholder. Even the courts have not been able to give adequate direction as to what constitutes “hate speech”.
In the Whatcott case (2013), the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal unanimously concluded that Mr. Whatcott’s material did not constitute “hate”. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously concluded that such material was, indeed, hateful. Based on the same facts, the Supreme Court arrived at a different judicial interpretation of “hate”.
Trudeau is certain that he knows what hate means, which will inevitably be interpreted to mean any statements based on Judeo-Christian principles. Canadians have every reason to be alarmed about Trudeau’s plans to regulate social media.
Big Tech Requires Regulation
The above discussion does not mean that Big Tech does not require regulation. It does. It certainly can’t be trusted to police itself because it is busily removing conservative views from its platforms, including removing the former president of the United States, Donald Trump. These monolithic companies should not be able to decide what is and is not acceptable speech online and then be allowed to delete anything they don’t like. The Liberal government’s proposal to appoint an official regulator to determine hate speech on the Big Tech platforms is not satisfactory at all. This might sound like a good idea in theory, but in practice, is a problem, since hate speech is tough to define, especially on the Internet.
The question we face is how are the boundaries to be set between hate speech and public dialogue and dissent? How can these be defined so as to distinguish between these two concepts fairly and objectively? It is a sensitive distinction that should concern Canadians.
It gives little comfort that the regulator of social media is to be appointed by the Trudeau government. Canadians have already had multiple negative experiences with Trudeau’s appointments.
- Online Broadcast Companies Required to Promote Liberal, Left-Wing Content in Their Programming (Bill C-10)
In November 2020, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government introduced Bill C-10, which requires broadcasters to include content that supposedly reflects “Canadian expression and values”. This legislation specifically requires that programming include content on “sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, etc.”
Under this bill, the online broadcasting programming is to be regulated by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The commissioners are all appointed by the Liberal government, and it is not difficult to guess the direction the CRTC will take in regulating online broadcasting. We can expect that the CRTC will limit speech online that does not follow the Liberal Party’s ideology. In effect, Bill C-10 will increase control and penalties for speech and content that is not approved by the Liberal Party. Also, Bill C-10 is contrary to Section 2 of the Charter of Rights, which provides for freedom of speech, thought, and opinion – not that this matters to Trudeau.
Bill C-10 will force large online streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, to support greater “diversity and inclusion in the broadcasting sector”, as though these broadcasters are not already indoctrinating viewers with their progressive and woke views.
- Amendments to the Canada Elections Act (Bill C-19)
The Canada Elections Act is one of two Canadian statutes (the other is the Income Tax Act) that easily wins the prize for convolution, confusion, and contradiction.
It is an experience reading through the Act to determine what it is all supposed to mean. To suggest that the provisions in the Act are difficult to grasp is to be exceedingly kind.
One can only hope that the Chief Electoral Officer understands the Act. If he doesn’t however, then it doesn’t much matter because the government of Justin Trudeau, under Bill C-19 (tabled in the House of Commons December 20, 2020), gives the Chief Electoral Officer sweeping powers so that he can do pretty much what he wants.
The amendment that should make voters’ eyes open wide is as follows:
During an election period, or within thirty days after it, if an emergency, unusual or unseen circumstance, or an error, makes it necessary, the Chief Electoral Officer may…adapt any provision of this Act. [emphasis ours]
The reason for this remarkable provision is stated in the explanatory summary of Bill C-19: “This enactment adds a new Part to the Canada Elections Act that provides for temporary rules to ensure the safe administration of an election in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The lack of control over mail-in voting during the U.S. presidential election led to much political turmoil and allegations of fraud. This will likely also occur in Canada in regard to the “special ballots”, which is the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. mail-in ballot.
Bill C-19 is supposed to ensure the “health and safety of electors or election officers” by allowing the Chief Electoral Officer to do whatever he wants, which would include the special ballots.
Under the present Act, special ballots are provided as an option if the voter is away from his/her riding, whether inside or outside of Canada during an election, or if the voter cannot or does not want to vote at an advance poll or cast a ballot on election day.
This extension of power of the Chief Electoral Officer in an emergency is very alarming. Bill C-19 does not define what constitutes an “emergency”, an “unusual unforeseen circumstance”, or “error”. It will not be the public which determines when this occurs. Further, no one knows how the Chief Electoral Officer will decide how to adapt the Act to fit the changed circumstances, etc. In other words, this provision is autocratic, high-handed, and a profoundly undemocratic provision in the Canada Elections Act.
These planned policies feed into Justin Trudeau’s insatiable desire for power and control over Canadians. How will Canadians react to these proposed changes? Will we be deferential and polite as always, or will we protest the changes which will fundamentally affect Canadians’ lives?