The last two years have normalized the expansion and abuse of government power.
As I’ve written about before, power has an addictive quality.
Once political leaders expand their power, they are generally unwilling to give it up.
We have seen this throughout history, even among those who most strongly claimed to be immune to it.
Many independence leaders in Africa fought against their colonial overlords, only to become ruthless dictators and violently oppress their own ‘liberated’ people.
The governments of countries like Russia and China claim to be ‘protecting’ their Citizens from supposed ‘domination’ by the West, while treating their Citizens far worse than the West ever would.
And unfortunately, while Canada is still freer than those examples above, the trend here is moving in a dangerous direction.
During the pandemic, Canada has some of the most stringent lockdowns among democratic countries, lockdowns that were imposed by Premiers of all political stripes.
On top of that, the Liberal government decided to use vaccination status as a wedge issue to try and win votes, and then imposed a vaccine mandate after their narrow 2021 election victory.
The resulting anger and division caused by the imposition of the vaccine mandate led to the Freedom Convoy, and the federal government then used the Freedom Convoy to try justifying the use of the Emergencies Act.
As a result, the use of expansive state power has been normalized for millions of Canadians.
In Quebec, the government is playing a more and more intrusive role in areas surrounding language and what public sector workers are allowed to wear.
And now in Ontario, the Ford government is using the Notwithstanding Clause to stop over 50,000 education support workers from going on strike.
As part of their justification for the move, the Ford government has said that further school closures are unacceptable after everything parents and children have been through.
What is left out here is that it was the Ford government that imposed those closures during the pandemic. In fact, Ontario had the strictest closures in the country:
“Ontario has closed schools for more weeks than any other jurisdiction in Canada during the pandemic, says a new study that summarizes the harm to children from disruptions in their schooling caused by COVID-19.
Ontario schools were closed for a total of 20 weeks from March 14, 2020 to May 15, 2021, the study found. The data doesn’t include regional school closures.”
So, it’s understandable for people to question the sincerity of the Ontario government when it now claims school closures are unacceptable.
With that said, the Trudeau Liberals – who have heavily criticized the Ford government – have zero credibility on this. They are glad to look the other way when Quebec uses authoritarian government power, and it’s the Liberals who have been trying to restrain freedom in many different ways, including the aforementioned vaccine mandates alongside all the anti-free speech legislation they are pushing.
It’s okay when our side does it!
The deeper problem here is that Canadians increasingly seem to feel authoritarianism is okay when it’s their own ‘team’ doing it.
This is dangerous, because it means whoever is in power will feel entitled – even obligated – to use authoritarian power to placate their supporters.
Nobody wants to ease up, because that would be seen as ‘selling out’ to the opposition.
And yet, if we don’t reverse this authoritarian trend, Canada will head towards a very dark place (and I’m not talking about a Trudeau costume party here).
If resorting to heavy-handed state power becomes the unquestioned norm, Canada’s freedoms will be steadily eroded, as is already happening.
Freedom lost is not easily regained, and we must hold the line even when it may be politically uncomfortable or inconvenient to do so.