Combined with Saskatchewan’s announcement that restrictions are ending, the momentum continues to grow for a return to normal and an end to the authoritarianism being imposed on Canadians.
In yet another significant development in the rising revolt against authoritarianism in Canada, Liberal MP Joel Lightbound has broken ranks with Justin Trudeau’s divisive approach.
In remarks in Ottawa, Lightbound spoke in nuanced terms.
He both called out what he disagreed with in the protest, and sharply critiqued the approach being taken by the Liberal government.
It must be said that he has shown immense political courage in this instance.
"I have enough respect for my fellow Canadians not to engage in these easy absurd labels," Quebec Liberal MP @JoelLightbound says the #TruckersForFreedom protesters have legitimate concerns. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/qj5SRfZ0eA
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) February 8, 2022
He also acknowledged that the Liberal government made a deliberate decision to wedge and divide Canadians ahead of the election:
“Liberal MP Joël Lightbound calls out Justin Trudeau, saying that the “policies of my government changed drastically on the eve, and during, the last election campaign.” Lightbound says that “a decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stimatize.””
Liberal MP Joël Lightbound calls out Justin Trudeau, saying that the "policies of my government changed drastically on the eve, and during, the last election campaign."
Lightbound says that "a decision was made to wedge, to divide and to stimatize."
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) February 8, 2022
Lightbound also says there are others in the Liberal Caucus who agree with him:
“”I made my views known in caucus many times,” Quebec Liberal MP @JoelLightbound says he’s still hopeful that the government will change course. He says there are other Liberal MPs who share his discomfort with how the Trudeau government has divided Canadians.”
"I made my views known in caucus many times," Quebec Liberal MP @JoelLightbound says he's still hopeful that the government will change course. He says there are other Liberal MPs who share his discomfort with how the Trudeau government has divided Canadians. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/Vn6I1bzaDE
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) February 8, 2022
Here are some key parts of what he said:
“I’ve heard from parents worried to see their kids sink into depression and slowly lose their joy of living. I’ve heard from pediatricians in tears telling me about their young patients’ despair, anxiety, isolation, as well as the stunning increase in school dropouts they are observing. I’ve heard from artists are on the brink of mental and financial collapse after two years, barely enough work to get by. I’ve heard from social workers answering suicide hotlines who are overwhelmed by the number of calls they’re receiving. I’ve heard from entrepreneurs and restaurant owners who are contemplating losing but they’ve spent their whole lives building — that’s when it hasn’t happened already.
I’ve heard from fellow Quebecers who are rightfully appalled that in our province 2022 we’re locking up triple vaxxed seniors for days on end. I’ve heard from fellow Quebecers appalled that in Quebec, January 2022, we have locked up kids aged six to 10 years old for up to 10 days in windowless rooms. Kids who tested negative who had no symptoms, who had been in contact with someone, though, who had the virus.
So let me repeat in Quebec in 2022 we locked up kids aged six to 10 for up to 10 days in windowless rooms.
Let that sink in. This was a public-health measure that had been drafted, approved and applied. I’ve heard from people worried that we seem collectively to have forgotten the population’s health is kind of like a pie, and Omicron is but a slice of that pie. Economic health, social health, mental health must be accounted for.”
Later, he said this, about how Canadians are confused watching our government act so differently than much of the rest of the world:
“They’re confused when they see the undeniable trend around the world whereby, for instance, the World Health Organization recently recommended dropping or alleviating many border measures, including vaccine requirements, as they’ve proven to be ineffective in fighting the propagation of the Omicron variant. That’s the World Health Organization.
They’re confused when they see countries around the world like Ireland, Sweden, Norway, (inaudible), the Czech Republic, Brazil, Denmark, Spain and the U.K., who have either dropped almost all restrictions or fast moving in that direction. All countries, I note, with lower vaccination rates than us.
Now while folks are hearing and seeing all of this, they’re left rightfully wondering, ‘where the hell are we heading here in Canada?’”
Later, Lightbound calls on the government to provide a roadmap to lift all restrictions:
“First, I believe the government should provide quickly a roadmap with clear and measurable targets (to) lift all restrictions within its purview. To be clear, I do not necessarily believe that all measures should be lifted immediately. But I do believe that we must have a clear and measurable benchmark for when measures will be lifted. For instance, at what point can we lift restrictions while respecting the capacity of the provinces’ health-care systems?
Second, I believe that if more and more Canadians find it hard to comply with the restrictions, it’s not because they lack solidarity. It’s because increasingly Canadians don’t understand the measures. And they don’t understand them because governments no longer care to explain them. It’s a lot easier to comply when you understand, particularly when these restrictions impact your day-to-day life.”
He then rips the vaccine mandate for truckers as a policy that even goes against WHO recommendations and which has caused higher inflation:
“The vaccine requirement for truckers to me is a good example. And if we forget about the demonstrations, and we forget about the convoy for just a second, and look at that policy for what it is. This is a policy that now goes against the World Health Organization’s recommendation and for which no epidemiological studies and projections have been provided.
While the industry is clear, when this measure took effect, the price of transport for fresh products from the United States went up by 15 to 20 per cent on average. Now I understand there are many factors contributing to inflation, but inflation happens over time, not overnight. This is not a small consequence, given that Canadians are already facing the highest inflation in 30 years. And unfortunately, it affects more of the most vulnerable amongst us.”
He concludes by calling for a unifying approach:
“Last, I think it’s time to stop dividing Canadians, to stop pitting one part of the population against another. I can’t help but notice with regret that both tone and the policies of my government changed drastically on the eve and during the last election campaign.
From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge to divide and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization (of) the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in public-health institutions. This is not a risk we ought to be taking lightly.
And this last year, Canada has reached one of the highest levels of vaccination in the world, something we should be proud of. It is something we should be celebrating. Yet here we are more divided than ever.
Time to stop with the division and the distractions. It’s time to choose positive, not coercive methods. It’s time to unite. Finally, why am I alone voicing these concerns publicly today? I can tell you that I’m not the only one who feels varying degrees as I do within our ranks.
I remain hopeful this call for more humanism, for more reason, for more hope will be heard. Thank you all for your attention.”
Significant political courage
At a time when the establishment media and the Trudeau government are trying to demonize the truckers and dismiss anyone who questions government policy, Lightbound is going in the opposite direction.
He gave the speech that Justin Trudeau should have given, and in breaking with the divisive approach of Trudeau has chosen to put the interests of the country ahead of his own political interests.
As Tristan Elliott said on Twitter, Lightbound has shown more political courage than much of the CPC Caucus:
“So basically, a Liberal MP from Quebec, @JoelLightbound, has been braver than half the CPC caucus, and our entire Quebec caucus. Do I have that right?”
— Tristan Elliott (@ETito604) February 8, 2022
MPP Roman Baber also praised Lightbound:
“MP @JoelLightbound is a hero. He wasn’t afraid of the party leader or damaging his career. He put people before politics.
I hope that @JustinTrudeau will not remove Joel from caucus like @fordnation removed me for opposing the lockdown. Listen to this gentleman.”
MP @JoelLightbound is a hero. He wasn't afraid of the party leader or damaging his career. He put people before politics.
— Roman Baber (@Roman_Baber) February 8, 2022
A changing nation
In the past weeks, we’ve watched as Canadians – known for being submissive and meek before authority – awaken to a newfound strength and willingness to speak our minds and push back against the government.
The Convoy, the rising power of Independent Media, the revolt in the CPC Caucus against O’Toole’s weakness, and now Joel Lightbound’s courageous remarks are all examples of how this country is changing, and how we are leaving the submissive attitude behind.
All of us – regardless of party – should stand together in support of our rights and freedoms and maintain the courage that is helping to put the corrupt authoritarians on the defensive.
Photo – Twitter