The Hypocrisy of the Left’s Attacks on the Ottawa Truckers

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Protestors gather in front of Parliament Hill as truckers and supporters take part in a convoy to protest Covid vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 2022. (Patrick Doyle/Reuters)

If you were to read the mainstream coverage of the Ottawa trucker convoy — or more specifically, to listen to the long line of researchers and academics who have been trotted out by the mainstream media to provide their expert insights — you’d think that the protests here are a hotbed of frothing-at-the-mouth right-wing extremism.

Here’s NPR: The Ottawa trucker protest is rooted in extremism, a national security expert says. Alternatively: Experts say online conversation around trucker convoy veering into dangerous territory, CTV News warns. “Canadians ought to be worried about whether crowdfunding websites could be used to finance hate groups and other extremist organizations, financial crime and security experts warn,” writes Canada’s Global News. A Politico headline informs readers that Ottawa truckers’ convoy galvanizes far-right worldwide, citing the influence of “American far-right influencers like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro” — Ben Shapiro! — as contributing to the convoy’s momentum. “Experts raise concerns about far-right, racist views arising from protests against vaccine mandates for truck drivers,” Al Jazeera reports. A national-security expert tells the New York Times that “this was an extremist movement that got mainstream attention.” The Washington Post announces that Canada’s Trumpian trucker protests show the global radicalization of anti-vaxxers.

You get the point.

Of course, having been on the ground here for a few days, I can say with some confidence that this isn’t true. The protests have been remarkably peaceful; as I detailed at length in a longer piece out today, truckers are shoveling the streets and cleaning up after themselves. Christian groups in attendance are giving out free food to Ottawa’s homeless people. The protesters are holding prayer circles, throwing dance parties, and going on brisk morning walks around Parliament Hill. Hardly the face of violent right-wing radical — unless, of course, Canadians really are so nice that this is their version of violent radicalism.

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But perhaps more important, where were all these experts — and the journalists eager to quote them — when genuinely violent protest movements swept the country? In June and July of 2021, 68 Canadian churches were vandalized or set on fire — 25 were burned to the ground. The arson was carried out by left-wing protesters in response to the alleged “discovery” of unmarked children’s graves in a former Catholic residential school that had been set up to teach Indigenous Canadian children. But there was just one problem: The story was total bunk. As Barbara Kay writes:

The “discovery” meme arose from a scanning by ground-penetrating radar in a search for the remains of children already surmised to have been buried there. A preliminary report did not find bodies, but rather soil disruptions in a nearby apple orchard. No remains were exhumed, but First Nation Chief Rosanne Casimir stated that according to community “knowledge,” the soil abnormalities were 215 “missing children,” some as young as three.

The anthropologist who oversaw the scans cautiously theorized that there were likely 200 “probable burials” — not specifying age — based on the disturbances. But only excavation could provide further evidence of anything, and no excavation has yet been done. But the story was too good to fact-check, and went viral, often with the trope “mass graves” substituting for “unmarked graves,” a distinction with an enormous difference, since “mass” graves are associated with genocide.

And yet, neither Justin Trudeau nor the various other left-wing political officials who are currently waxing poetic about the Ottawa convoy’s “extremism” had much to say about the actual extremism destroying Canada’s churches in 2021. Quite the opposite: The parliamentary flag was lowered to half-staff, and Trudeau released a statement — actually, he released a long line of statements, and went on something approximating an apology tour giving speeches and holding press conferences to address the allegations — mourning the story as “a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced — and continue to face — in this country. . . . Together, we must acknowledge this truth, learn from our past, and walk the shared path of reconciliation, so we can build a better future.” The statement listed a “National Indian Residential School Crisis Line,” which was “available 24 hours a day,” if aggrieved readers “need[ed] someone to talk to.”

The Ottawa truckers, on the other hand, aren’t looking for garment-rending statements, crisis lines, or parliamentary flags at half mast. They just want their freedoms back. Apparently, that’s too much to ask for.

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