You must really feel for Paul Rouleau, the Ontario Superior Court docket justice tasked with chairing the Public Order Emergency Fee. Whereas the remainder of the nation will get to spend the subsequent few weeks having fun with the vacation season with family and friends, he’ll be buried beneath the mountain of proof his inquiry simply spent six weeks amassing from greater than 70 completely different witnesses. He and his crew could have only a few weeks to dig themselves out, weigh these testimonies alongside the roughly 9,500 written submissions despatched to the fee and write the ultimate report that will likely be tabled within the Home of Commons and Senate on Feb. 20, 2023.
On some fronts, not less than, he has a little bit of a head begin. It’s abundantly clear the police made issues far worse than they wanted to be, each of their failure to arrange correctly for the risk posed by the convoy and their incapability to dislodge it as soon as it had taken root in downtown Ottawa. The sheer scale of their shared incompetence calls for an inquiry all its personal, one that may unravel this dysfunction and the curiously situational method some law enforcement officials must implementing the rule of regulation.
It’s additionally clear that direct negotiations with the convoy, an method many conservative politicians and pundits wished the federal authorities to pursue, would have gone nowhere. As Rex Murphy urged in a current column, “what would have been improper with somebody, anybody, from the federal government being prepared to satisfy and discuss with a few of the residents they represented?”
The leaders of the convoy answered that query in the midst of their numerous testimonies, the place they repeatedly contradicted one another and even generally themselves. Because the Toronto Star’s Tonda MacCharles and Alex Ballingall famous, “The general image that emerged this week was of a gathering of infighting protest teams that had differing and generally competing agendas, and lacked the power for anybody faction to regulate one other.”
Lastly, and maybe most significantly, it’s clear that, by and huge, the system works. Sure, folks like Murphy are already transferring their mental objective posts in anticipation of a closing report that upholds, not less than to a point, the federal government’s determination to invoke the Emergencies Act. As he wrote in his column, “I’m starting to surprise which is the extra empty, the extra theatrical — the invocation of the Emergencies Act, or this doubtful shell of an inquiry.”
For individuals who approached the proceedings with a extra open thoughts, although, it’s arduous to not see a sure magnificence in the way in which occasions unfolded over the past six-plus weeks. By and huge, the hearings had been outlined by respectful disagreements, precisely as Justice Rouleau stated he hoped on the outset. Legal professionals had been in a position to ask pointed questions of elected officers, residents had their considerations heard out and regulation enforcement businesses had been requested to account for his or her decisions in full view of the general public. Canada, a rustic that has lengthy been outlined by its dedication to “peace, order and good authorities,” could be happy with this course of.
Don’t count on the convoy’s supporters to share that sentiment. As he wrapped up the general public testimony final week, Rouleau stated: “I feel this course of, I hope, will likely be of help to folks to know and transfer ahead.” However that assumes that everybody concerned desires to do these issues — and in terms of the convoyers and their numerous political, authorized and media enablers, that’s clearly not the case.
Something in need of a abstract conviction of the prime minister and his closest advisers will likely be spun by the convoy’s leaders and their numerous enablers as a betrayal of democracy, an insult to the rule of regulation and but extra proof of the federal government corruption they had been protesting within the first place. They’ll blame Justice Rouleau. They’ll blame the method. They’ll blame the press. Heck, they’ll blame something and anybody however themselves. They usually’ll proceed to chase the contact excessive they received throughout the occupation of Ottawa, one which’s being rigorously nurtured by a quickly increasing far-right data ecosystem.
They may proceed to consider they’re squarely on the fitting aspect of historical past, and that, as convoy chief Tom Marazzo demonstrated in a current Twitter post, anybody who supported vaccinate mandates or different public well being measures is by some means corresponding to a Nazi. They may proceed to spurn the mainstream media in favour of sources that flatter their emotions and nurture their sense of victimhood. And they’re going to proceed to pursue what lots of them are actually after: vengeance in opposition to a system, and a society, they really feel wronged them.
Justice Rouleau can’t, and gained’t, give them that. Neither will any of Canada’s courts, because the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms’s string of COVID-19-related authorized defeats continues to exhibit. However regardless of: because the JCCF’s current surge in fundraising exhibits, there’s loads of curiosity in tilting in opposition to this specific windmill. Preston Manning’s “Nationwide Citizen’s Inquiry,” which formally launched earlier this month, will nearly actually give this nation’s pandemic grievance retailers one other golden alternative to ply their commerce.
Something in need of a abstract conviction of the prime minister and his closest advisers will likely be spun by the so-called freedom convoy’s leaders and their numerous enablers as a betrayal of democracy, writes columnist @maxfawcett. #cdnpoli #opinion
That is the opposite type of lengthy COVID that Canada must cope with within the years forward — one which impacts the hearts and minds of thousands and thousands of Canadians. The convoy die-hards will consider they’re victims of an unlimited injustice, one perpetrated by their very own authorities, and the informational silos which have sprung up round them will solely reaffirm and reinforce that perception. There may be little that any of us, even somebody as eminent and skilled as Justice Paul Rouleau, can do to vary that. At this level, their emotions merely don’t care concerning the information, regardless of how artfully or articulately they’re organized.