At a time when the world is becoming more and more dangerous, the Canadian government has let our military continue to erode, leaving us more and more reliant upon the United States. In such circumstances, Trudeau’s attempt to compare American tech companies to the regimes we fought against in the past is appalling.
Justin Trudeau says so many foolish things it can be easy to lose count. At some point, they all blend together.
But even given Trudeau’s history, one of his most recent comments stands out for both its stupidity and its appalling hypocrisy.
Speaking in French about Bill C-18, Trudeau compared the ‘fight’ against those tech giants to Canada’s fight against fascists in WW2:
“Facebook decided that Canada was a small country, small enough that they could reject our asks. They made the wrong choice by deciding to attack Canada. We want to defend democracy. This is what we’re doing across the world, such as supporting Ukraine. This is what we did during the Second World War. This is what we’re doing every single day in the United Nations.”
As Mark Goldberg said on Twitter, this is shameful:
“Talk about trivializing the sacrifices of our veterans and the real horrors of war and the Holocaust.
This is shameful hyperbole that has no place in the debate over poorly drafted legislation. There is no equivalence to the millions of lives lost in wars to defend freedom”
Talk about trivializing the sacrifices of our veterans and the real horrors of war and the Holocaust.
This is shameful hyperbole that has no place in the debate over poorly drafted legislation. There is no equivalence to the millions of lives lost in wars to defend freedom
— Mark Goldberg (@Mark_Goldberg) July 6, 2023
An insult to our American allies
Let’s really look at how disgraceful Trudeau’s comment is.
To start with, Meta – the parent company of Facebook – is owned by Mark Zuckerberg, who is Jewish. To imply that a dispute between that company and the Canadian government is equivalent to fighting the genocidal fascist regime of Germany in WW2 is an incredibly foolish thing to do. It makes zero sense, and it’s incredibly tone-deaf.
Then, to also compare it to Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion is an insult to the many Ukrainians who have been wounded and killed in the war. Ukrainians are paying a massive price to preserve their freedom and stop Putin’s dictatorship from taking over their nation. What price are we paying to ‘fight’ tech companies? How many Canadians have died in that fight? How many Canadians are ‘suffering’ because of those tech companies?
There is also a deeper insult here, an insult to our American allies.
Objectively, the ‘American tech giants’ have democratized the flow of information. Many pro-freedom protest movements in authoritarian states have become stronger because of social media. The government monopoly on the free flow of information has been weakened, and governments can no longer seek to control the information flow by co-opting a few established outlets.
Are these companies perfect?
Of course not.
Is it legitimate to criticize them?
Of course, we should be able to criticize anything in a free society.
But to compare those companies to vile dictatorships that murdered millions of people is so far removed from any sense of reason or rationality that it almost calls Trudeau’s mental state into question.
To imply that such large American companies are evil is almost to imply that America itself is hostile, when the exact opposite is the case.
Beggars can be choosers?
When it comes to our national defence, Canada is a beggar nation. We have allowed our military capability to so thoroughly erode that we are now almost entirely dependent upon other nations (principally the United States) to defend us.
I’ve written at length about this in previous columns, so there is no need to go over it in detail here again, but suffice it to say that Canada only really has ‘control’ over our own territory because any potential hostile foreign power knows the United States would intervene to defend us.
Now, the United States will always have a more powerful military than Canada, because their population is much larger and their economy is much larger.
But we aren’t even close to having a proportionately strong military.
The U.S. spends about $877 billion annually on national defence.
Canada spends around $27 billion.
We aren’t even close to our NATO target, with spending lagging around 1.2% of GDP rather than the target of 2.0%.
And even that number is exaggerated, since the Liberal government recalculated what is included in defence spending, which pushed our number from about 0.9% to 1.2% without any actually additional spending.
Making matters worse is that Canada’s population has been growing rapidly and our federal spending has been growing rapidly, yet our military remains short of personnel and short of funding. The Liberal government has clearly made a deliberate choice to continue underfunding the military while spending massively nearly everywhere else.
This choice not only leaves Canada more vulnerable in a dangerous world, it also imposes potential costs on our closest allies.
Since it is in the interests of the United States to protect North America, Canada’s lack of military strength means more and more of the burden of North American defence is taken up by the United States. It also means that in the event of a massive war, the United States would have less resources to use in other theatres because they would have to cover for Canada’s vulnerabilities.
For example, if a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was accompanied by Russian military action in the arctic – where they have vastly outbuilt Canada – the United States would have to use precious resources in the arctic. This wouldn’t be necessary if we were investing in our own military capabilities. We could at the very least help ease the pressure on the United States if we were involved in a significant conflict together – which is the very least a staunch ally should be able to do.
We are also imposing costs on the United Kingdom, who have hinted – not subtly – that they will take a larger role in defending the arctic due to our refusal to do so. This diverts their resources away from other theatres.
Thus, we are not only increasing our vulnerability by refusing to strengthen our national defence, we are also making our closest friends and allies more vulnerable.
Now, what does this have to do with Bill C-18, Meta, and Google?
Well, a Canadian leader who refuses to strengthen our own national defences should really think twice before so viciously demonizing tech companies from the country that defends us. And no, it’s not because America will stop defending us if we criticize them, as our alliance is stronger than a few foolish comments from a Prime Minister. It’s because it is deeply unethical to be dependent upon an ally for our national defence while simultaneously using them as a political punching bag.
Trudeau is right about one thing: Freedom and democracy are under attack. But that attack isn’t coming from American tech companies, it’s coming from countries like China and Russia that are seeking to become more and more powerful and overturn the democratic-capitalist world order. And it’s coming from politicians in some of the democratic-capitalist countries who would rather restrict individual rights and freedoms than allow different perspectives and viewpoints to flourish.
Now is a time when free nations need to be encouraging more freedom internally and strengthening our defences externally, while working more closely together. Trudeau either doesn’t understand this, or is choosing to ignore it. Whichever one it is, he continues to demonstrate his unfitness for leadership.
Photo – Screengrab