Meghan Murphy

Justin Trudeau isn’t the progressive leader he thinks he is

Justin Trudeau isn't the progressive leader he thinks he is
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It came as no surprise to me to see activists ‘celebrating’ Canada Day by setting fire to churches and toppling statues of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, while chanting, ‘No pride in genocide.’

Canada has managed to cultivate a culture that is simultaneously self-hating and self-righteous. We have no pride in being Canadian. Yet we are confident we are better than everyone else.

It is true that Canada has a shameful not-so-distant history. An estimated 751 unmarked graves were recently discovered at a former residential school site in Saskatchewan. This is not an imagined or non-serious issue. But calls to cancel Canada Day seem wholly misguided and typically Canadian, as did prime minister Justin Trudeau’s response to the protests.

Trudeau dutifully said the word ‘accountability’ and commended Canadians for their bravery over the past year, participating in Zoom cocktail hours, ordering take out, and banging on pots and pans from the safety of their condos. ‘If we all pledge ourselves to doing the work,’ he said, ‘we can achieve reconciliation. We can build a better country for everyone.’

Everyone? I’m not so sure about that.

As part of their effort to build this better country for all, Trudeau's Liberal party is working to push through a number of bills suppressing free speech for those who don’t identify as members of certain politicised minority groups, or who are not fully on board with positions our government has deemed progressive.

Bill C-36, introduced last month, aims to tackle ‘online hate’ by amending Canada’s Criminal Code and Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill would make it a ‘discriminatory practice’ to communicate hate speech online, where it is ‘likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination’. 

Should the bill pass, it will become much easier for individuals to file complaints to be adjudicated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which would decide if the speech in question has been ‘motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor’. Hatred would be defined more specifically as an ‘emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain’.

The bill seems like a great way to allow unhinged people with too much time on their hands to tie up the system with endless complaints about things other people say on the internet. Kind of like the way Twitter allows aggrieved activists whose beliefs and politics represent a tiny minority of the population to determine who may say what on the platform. And kind of like the way Jonathan/Jessica Yaniv was permitted to drag a bunch of Vancouver area beauticians to a human rights tribunal, charging women with ‘discrimination’ for their unwillingness to wax his scrotum. 

Giving oversensitive individuals the power to use the courts to bully others into toeing their party lines is exactly the wrong direction for Canada, especially given the institutional and cultural capture we have already witnessed in North America, where even journalists are afraid to report accurately, for fear of cancellation.

Bill C-36 was introduced by MP David Lametti, who tweeted in its defence: 

‘Protecting freedom of speech also means ensuring that all Canadians can participate in healthy debate, without fear of being targeted by real hate or abuse — the impact of which is often devastating both online and offline.’

But ‘hate speech’ — which is a relative term — does not limit participation in debate, whereas laws against ‘hate speech’ do. Indeed, the whole point of this kind of legislation is to ensure people cannot speak freely about certain issues, groups, and ideas.

Conservative shadow minister for justice Rob Moore has pointed out that ‘The Trudeau Liberals are empowering a bureaucracy to subjectively restrict the rights of Canadians.’

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, wrote:

‘In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.’

Arendt famously recognised the ‘banality of evil’ — that often those who do bad things are not necessarily very bad people. Rather, they are ordinary people who follow protocol. 

What we are facing in Canada right now is not reign by an evil tyrant, but rather a pleasant seeming, probably well-intentioned leader who is leading us down a dangerous path. Canada’s do-good leader is not doing good — he is ruled by a desire to be viewed as ‘good’. He therefore delivers platitudes such as ‘building a better country for everyone’. He will participate in anything viewed as ‘progressive’ or that can be attached to words such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’. It doesn’t occur to him that such measures could be nonsensical or harmful, because it doesn’t occur to him that it could be.

A glaring example is Bill C-16 — Canada’s gender identity legislation — which Trudeau passed in 2017, thinking he was protecting a marginalised and vulnerable group: trans-identified people — a category of people who are impossible to identify in any material sense and who, even if vaguely self-identified, make up a tiny minority of Canadians. 

The trans ideology has managed to overtake the media and most institutions, altering language and reality as we know it. The result of this takeover has been that females — half the population — no longer get a proper say. Our sex-based rights have been effectively nullified now that a man who says he’s a woman must be accepted as such, regardless of how this identification impacts women and girls, their safe spaces, or their ability to compete in sport. A man can rape a woman yet claim to be female, and the media will report it as such; our government might even place him in a female prison. Women’s reality (material, that is) no longer matters because it has been deemed hateful.

Lametti is the same man currently pushing Bill C-6 through the system, overriding the concerns of those who worry that such legislation will rush kids down the path to medical transition before they can possibly understand the long-term consequences.

Another Liberal bill that looks likely to be passed soon is Bill C-10, the Broadcasting Act reform bill. This would require social media platforms to take down content determined to be ‘hateful’, meaning those who challenge government orthodoxy are likely to face censorship.

None of these bills aims to build a better country for all. In fact, they are incredibly harmful. Canada's government has proven time and time again that it doesn’t care what the actual impact of its policies are, so long as they appear woke.

I am not a person who is proud to be Canadian. Not anymore, anyway. ‘What makes Canada special is not the belief that this is the best country in the world, it’s the knowledge that we could be,’ Trudeau said this week. Perhaps, but we are headed in the opposite direction, limiting freedom of speech and expression, and encouraging activists who believe censorship, bullying, and destruction are an appropriate way to get their message across. 

We have a government that fears the wrath of a small number of individuals and abandons rationality and fundamental rights in order to maintain Canada’s reputation as being one of the most progressive countries in the world. Who cares about reality?