Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Justin Trudeau/Flickr).

Most of the day yesterday, the voices of Canada’s Conservative hive mind were screaming in unison for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lift the emergency and lift it now.

Some of them, like would-be United Conservative Party leader Brian Jean, even had scheduled tweets set up to automatically demand an end to the state of emergency that Mr. Trudeau had declared nine days earlier on Valentine’s Day when Ottawa still seemed like a city under siege.

Conservative-adjacent CTV commentator Don Martin (Photo: Twitter).

When the PM unexpectedly revoked the national emergency declaration yesterday afternoon, the Conservative social media anger machine was not struck dumb. On the contrary, it was almost as loud as the “Honkies” in their trucks when they were still occupying Ottawa a week ago. 

Their message discipline, however, immediately crumbled. 

A large group angrily accused the prime minister of flip-flopping. “Emergency Monday. Gone by Wednesday. A flip-flop for the ages,” complained Conservative-leaning CTV commentator Don Martin on Twitter in an early example of what would become a common theme.

An even large number, probably, predictably took credit for the unexpected revocation, or assigned it to one of their allies. “BREAKING: Trudeau backs down,” screeched Conservative Party leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre in another early tweet. “Will drop Emergencies Act. Thank you to all who fought this abuse of power.”

In addition, there was a smattering of more creative efforts. “Senators appeared set to refuse extension of emergency powers,” Sherwood Park-Ford Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garnett Genuis, who is no genius, tweeted speculatively.

Ummmm, probably not, responded Alberta Senator Paula Simons. “I have seen some conversation on social media, speculating that the Senate was poised to defeat the motion to confirm the Emergencies Act. Of course, with no vote, we can’t ever know what would have happened. But I think that would have been a rather unlikely outcome.”

Senator Simons, with whom I am acquainted, is unfailingly polite. What she really meant, I am pretty sure, was … you’re so full of it, Garnett! 

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Notwithstanding her moderate and mannerly tone, Senator Simons was immediately sniped at by a number of well-known Conservative trolls. Well, that’s the (ill) temper of the times, and she signed up for it when she mailed in her Senate application in what I’m pretty sure she thought at the time was a journalistic lark.

Meanwhile, the tweet by Mr. Jean – who is running on the UCP ticket in the March 15 Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election on a vow to unseat and replace Premier Jason Kenney – went out on schedule about 10 minutes after Mr. Trudeau announced he had renounced the declaration. 

If nothing else, this proves the man’s ability to do things at exactly the wrong moment remains undiminished after a three and a half year hiatus from politics.

Naturally, Mr. Jean didn’t have the good sense just to pull his tweet, but replaced it with a new one to remind Albertans of his blunder, which in the great scheme of things would otherwise have been immediately forgotten. 

Well, Mr. Jean isn’t the only Alberta politician who doesn’t know when to zip his lips. It wasn’t long before Mr. Kenney was tweeting that Alberta would proceed with its sure-to-be expensive and unpopular court case against the invocation of the emergency. 

Alberta Senator Paula Simons (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

He must have realized that the potentially embarrassing inquiry required by the act will proceed anyway even with the revocation, so he might as well spend more public money on an effort to discredit the whole exercise. “Those whose rights have been violated, and provinces whose jurisdiction has been violated without justification must have their day in court,” he grumped.

There is, of course, a legitimate argument to be made about whether using the Emergencies Act was necessary or the right thing to do. 

Anyone who was paying attention to what was happening in the streets of Ottawa and at several border crossings scant days ago knows there was a real enough crisis that needed to be dealt with promptly – whether or not the Emergencies Act was the right tool to use. 

But if Conservatives are going to continue to accuse Mr. Trudeau of being a communist dictator trying to force us all into slavery to a shadowy new world order, as a surprising number of seemingly mainstream Conservatives appear to think, “your messaging has completely jumped the logic shark,” as my northern Alberta neighbour Shawna Gawreluck reminded them. 

UCP leadership aspirant Brian Jean (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Notwithstanding Mr. Kenney’s bluster, one hopes the inquiry will proceed and identify just how serious a threat the country faced, what the true cost of the “Freedom Convoy” was, who was really responsible for it, and what can be done to prevent a similar situation in future – other than never again electing a Conservative federal government, which should be obvious, at least until that party has dealt with its extremist right. 

Perhaps if Mr. Kenney had had any sense of what the news would bring a few hours hence he would have wisely kept his own counsel about his legal plans. 

With Vladimir Putin’s announcement at 5 a.m. Moscow time and the news clips soon after of Russian shock and awe unfolding near Kyiv in Ukraine, I imagine the attention of most Canadians along with the rest of the world will be focused for a long time on a far bigger tragedy than the crisis successfully resolved by Mr. Trudeau this week. 

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22 Comments

  1. I have but one wish: Brian Jean to be defeated. Alberta would have another opportunity to do the right thing for Premier Notley, and they would open the heaven’s gate for a normal evolution of politics in a perverted Province. I wish.

  2. Its the three stooges! Martin, kenney and Genuis. Well, maybe Martin is more of a dupe than a stooge. He doesn’t have any official power other than being a weak prognosticator with a big Conservative crush.

    It is a tough and confused crowd – the Conservatives. The PM does just what they asked for and they got all flustered and upset. I suppose flip flop is not too harsh, although the PM would probably argue he was just doing what he said, which was to end the use of the Emergency Act when it was clear it it was no longer needed. I suppose if you are dogmatic, being pragmatic might seem to be flip flopping.

    However, despite the automatic tweets, the award for the most hilarious response here surely must go to Kenney. He reminds me of Wil E Coyote who runs off a cliff and keeps on running, not noticing he is still ridiculously running in mid air. Only when he looks down and sees his ridiculous position does he stop and then falls.

    Kenney is still running with his lawsuit. He does know the Emergency has now ended, doesn’t he? If so, could someone tell him again? Please speak slowly and clearly, so perhaps it can sink into his addled mind how ridiculous he looks at this moment.

  3. Speaking of art, I mean sharks, I believe the logic shark was jumped here in Alberta when Drew Barnes posted that art for the truck convoy. Talk about subliminal seduction: two hidden sharks! This means more logic-shark-jumping, namely, the Alberta budget. Somehow it was better when Fonzie did it. At this point I’m cheering for the sharks.

  4. These pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP, and the CPC, just don’t have a clue. They are supporting anarchistic tyrants, with these convoy protesters. The money donated by individuals to support these convoy protesters could be used for illegal purposes, such as purchasing more weapons, and this would put more people at risk. How foolish would that be! With Russia and the Ukraine, it looks pretty tense. I hope we are not in the start of another world war. That would be very bad, if we were to have that.

  5. Our glorious leader, Bumbles, made the most outrageous twitter post after the invasion, where he said the following:

    “Devastating to see that Vladimir Putin has now launched an invasion of Ukraine.
    Weakness invites aggression.
    The democratic world must be united in standing with Ukraine.
    That should begin with a hard global embargo of all Russian oil & gas exports.”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jkenney/status/1496706075050999811

    Unbelievable. He packs both victim blaming and shilling for AB oil and gas into the same tweet. Never mind that he should just stay in his lane. He is the exception to the rule that no one is a total 100 percent a*hole.

  6. Well, for everyone’s surprise and delectation, there’s always what has happened in Denmark. Rather surprisingly, about three or four weeks ago, Denmark decided out of the blue that this here Covid, we’ve got to live with it, and dropped restrictions. Their case numbers were going down and so were hospital admissions. Seizing upon the wrong message, that of removing restrictions, disregarding increasing numbers of new cases and climbing hospital admissions, and who cares what public health thinks anyway, the PeaNUT brain of SloMoe, decided Saskatchewan would emulate Denmark and remove restrictions.

    Now Denmark has 25,000 new Omicron BA2 infections per day for a population of 5 million. It’s the highest per capita rate in the world! Yassir.

    Not to worry. Saskatchewan and Alberta will soon beat that going away. The Brits believe they have 160,000 a day, as folks fill in an app with their symptoms, vs 25,000 confirmed by PCR test. Ah, politicians, what Would we do without them?

    In my province of NS, all restrictions will be dropped by March 21, as our Chief Public Health Officer bowed to trucker nonsense. We have to learn to live with Covid, said he, repeating the same words everyone else uses. Older folks will have to watch themselves, he continued, because Covid’s not over. The usual CBC doc they dredge up for comment of a morning was not impressed. No sh!t. At 74, neither am I. Who knew I’d have to emulate a hermit in my retirement, apparently forever till I croak? I’m so looking forward to it all.

  7. Well, that was quite the whiplash.

    The CONs’ indignant screaming over the application of the Emergencies Act (AKA not the War Measures Act) are now calling coward as PMJT revokes the Act. Can never please a CON so why bother?

    Now that Putin has turned his personal armies loose on the Ukraine (Because everything in Russia belongs to Putin) there are bigger things of concern than the daily Convoy tantrums. Personally, Trudeau’s move is an interesting one. Being very conspiracy-minded, I suspect Trudeau and Canada’s security services have what they need. What is that? The timing of the Convoy protests and the action in the Ukraine may not be entirely coincidence. Since it is well known that Putin takes advantage of internal strife for his advantage, and manages that strife through various compromised agents, it maybe that CSIS knows who these agents are and is getting ready to drop the hammer in a big way.

    The idiots on social media defending and promoting the Convoy and its antics have already been targeted and scanned. Are they benefiting from Putin’s largess? These characters are not that interested in the plight of the Convoy protesters, unless they are paid to be that interested.

    As the days wear on and the events in the Ukraine unfold in their hideous fashion, we may find out more about the activities of the so called opposition and what motivates them.

    Interesting times, indeed.

    1. Re: your point about it being impossible for the liberals to please the conservatives…

      During the WE scandal, I was trying to explain to a reasonable adult who doesn’t follow politics why it mattered and why the government needed to be taken to account. His take was, “the conservatives would be saying stuff like this about Trudeau no matter what he did.” I had a surprising amount of difficulty getting past that sentiment.

      Perhaps partisan politics is a tool that cuts the user.

  8. If the Emergency Act was required to allow the government to freeze bank accounts of the protestors and block people from supplying the protestors, then I totally support it.

    The Emergency Act was invoked shortly after the arrest of some protestors at Coutts that showed they were prepared to mount an armed attack, equipped with body armour and a significant weapons arsenal. Just because the police caught some people with weapons gave them no assurance they had removed all the weapons.

    Not knowing what sort of paramilitary action the Ottawa protestors were prepared to take, authorities in Ottawa had to be prepared for the worst case scenario. It had already been discovered that within the ranks of the protestors were retired military and police personnel, who had expertise with both police operations and military strategy.

    Unfortunately, any kind of conventional police action would have required a confrontation of some sort, which could have easily set off some crazies, who had already been making comments about civil war and overthrowing the government. Unlike Coutts, the Ottawa occupation was in a densely populated area that had the potential for a large amount of collateral damage. The beauty of freezing bank accounts, and blocking people bringing supplies to the protestors, was that it put significant pressure on the protestors without actually confronting them.

    Ultimately a slow, determined line of police were able to move the protestors out, but I would argue that it was made easier when the protestors were aware that they would be starved out anyway.

  9. Great comments David you have nailed it. It leaves these phoney conservatives with egg all over their faces. Add in the stupidity displayed by whining about our highly overpaid doctors and deliberately destroying our health care system by not listening to our doctors during this pandemic, he wants us to be dumb enough to believe we need a privatized health care system to fix the mess he deliberately created. You would have to be a damn fool if you think he has any intention of paying for these extra costs out of the public purse when he increasing the costs with his privatization.

    When Klein tried to pull this stunt his own supporters forced him into early retirement.

    1. Vote Democrat or vote Republican, your president will kiss the Saudi’s butts. Vote Liberal or vote Conservative, your tax dollars will be spent buying a pipeline so that billionaires can extract your oil. We need a new way. Damned if I know what that is.

      Imo the best play available to the west was to give putin the promise that nato would not expand into Ukraine. Maybe even could have gotten something back in exchange for playing nice. Nato has been expanding eastwards pretty hard over these past few decades. If we were playing risk and I was trying to hold Asia, I might see that as threatening. I don’t support putins invasion, but I can see him thinking that maybe if he doesn’t do anything in 30 years nato would be farther east still.

      I think whether we like nato or not, we can at least understand that, to Russia, the spread of a multinational military alliance to defend against Russia might seem alarming.

      Hard not to see the leaders of the west as a bunch of spineless sock puppets for money worshiping oligarchs though. It’s not that putin is a genius, it’s that he doesn’t choose to believe easily falsifiable absurdities. The gains we make by being smart are squandered by the incredibly stupid decisions we make. I’m so disgusted with the leaders and institutions of the countries of nato. As my bridge playing uncle says, “we played that like a sausage.” Jmo anyway

    1. BRET LARSON: Maybe you should research what fascism and the federal Liberals and the NDP aren’t following that. The pretend conservatives and Reformers are, and they support these convoy trucker protesters, who are without any real reason for protesting, and they want to overthrow a democratically elected government in Ottawa.

  10. The Conservatives desperately need an issue. Even if it an empty issue.

    Three leadership conventions in three years. People like Baird, Moore, Rait, and Ambrose did not walk…they ran.

    Even now, the first declared candidate. Poilievre, has already been blackballed by the socons because of his record on abortion. Something that was decided years ago.

    And the next potential draftee, Charest, has apparently been nixed by yesterday’s man Stephen Harper.

    If it keeps on going like this the Conservatives will be lucky to hold on to the 8/116 urban seats in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. They may pick up a few votes to add to there huge pluralities in western ridings but really…so what?

    Canada needs an effective Opposition Party. One that is ready to step into Government. We do not have this vital piece of our democratic institution. The current Conservative Party has not had the leader, the candidates, the unity, or the policies to be anything but for the past five years. And their future does not look any brighter based on the past two months.

  11. Exciting times call for exciting comments…here’s another one …

    Many are surprised by Putin’s sudden and rapid action in the Ukraine, but I am not. Putin has been telegraphing his intentions for years now, citing his rationales for them. It was only a matter of selecting the right time to make his moment, and what better time than in the middle of a pandemic?

    The Russian advance is not stopping — it will go all the way to the Ukraine’s most western frontier and envelope the Baltic States. It will be the old U.S.S.R. all over again.

    While the sanctions are rolling out with ever-increasing volume, they will have minimal to no impact. Putin isn’t concerned over sanctions. Of course, the rationale thing to do is immediately target the nine super-yachts, owned by Russian oligarchs, that are anchored off the Spanish coast, and sink them, with everyone on board. At a minimum, that will send the message to Putin that there will be blood. And I don’t understand why the UK and Germany are reticent about kicking Russian banks off of SWIFT. Russian funds are highly addictive and the supply must be cut off. If leading bankers and financiers must be taken out to break the resistance, so be it. Let there be blood.

    There is some question about the notion of turning the Ukraine into a no-fly zone. There should be no question about this option.

    Ukraine has three or four major population centres that the Russians need to overrun, but their invasion forces cannot take these cities and secure the entire country at once. Russia will be to increase their troop numbers and ramp up the supply lines to keep them in the field. With the strong likelihood of partisan Ukrainian resistance

    NATO air forces are superb in their equipment and their abilities. The much vaunted Russian air force is a weird collection of aircraft from the 70s and 80s with highly questionable service records. Russian fighter aircraft, like the MiG-27s, MiG-23s, MiG-29, Su-24, Su-27, and Su-25, are nothing more than bad copies of US fighter aircraft and are no more than vintage machines than front-line aircraft of any real effect. Combined NATO, French, and US air forces will completely obliterate Russia’s air assets easily.

    Putin can be stopped and forced back, provided there is the resolve to do it.

    1. I’m always struck by how emotional North American liberals are when they get caught up in government propaganda. Think about what you just said here: Since the Russians are killing innocent civilians, we in the West should immediately kill innocent civilians too – in Spain! Jeez, man, I thought you had more sense than that. Want to make those oligarchs living in Western Europe really scream with pain? Tax them appropriately. And while you’re at it, maybe tax their Western counterparts as well. Meantime, I’m not sure your assessment that Western airforces could clear the Russians from the skies is really true, even if their aircraft are as bad as you claim. They have done pretty well creating air-defence systems that are good enough the independent-minded likes of the Turks and Indians want to buy them in case they ever have to defend themselves against the Americans. I wouldn’t rule out the Russians clearing the skies of NATO aircraft. And then what would you do? Nuke them? You realize that they have nukes too, don’t you?

    2. Hi JM,

      Ok, just tell us how exactly we are to make Ukraine a no-fly zone? This is such a weird suggestion that we need to ask just WTF are you thinking.

      “Combined NATO, French, and US air forces will completely obliterate Russia’s air assets easily.” You apparently are a military aviation expert so I’d like to hear more about that. Russian air craft are vintage machines with no real effect? Look buddy, I’m not happy with how this is unfolding but chest-thumping hubris like that is stupidly dangerous. Do some research on modern air capabilities will ya, especially operating in someone else’s backyard. I’m all for rational discussion about options here but it has to be rational – get it – not my dick is bigger than yours stuff…

      You think France or even Britain wants to get involved in this thing? How about we send our CF-18 Hornets over there to teach those vintage MIGs a thing or two? These are the CF-18s we purchased in the early 80’s, although since upgraded by Boeing (famous for the 737 Max upgrade).

      I’ll repeat what I said earlier, thinking like this gets many good people unnecessarily killed. US Secretary Antony Blinken said Putin needs to get with diplomacy regarding Ukraine, oh and we’ve cancelled the Biden-Putin meeting – anyone see any inconsistency there?

  12. A good overview by one of the Globe & Mail law commentators today. Protesters are demanding their “First Amendment” rights be respected.
    Welllll nowww, see here, there is a minor matter regarding an international border. Seems that within the – Canadian – constitution that provision of the – American – constitution does not apply.

  13. Best wishes to anyone with loved ones in the Ukraine. Can’t imagine what you must be going through. Scary scary time, and hard to see where it’s going to get better.

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