The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Is Trudeau an Authoritarian for Using POGG Powers Against the Truckers?

Well? Yes and no. Trudeau has always been an authoritarian. He’s been willing to use harsh force against the left — especially anyone interfering with the petroleum industry and other resource extraction industries.

But Trudeau did nothing about the “truckers” until they blocked trade between the US and Canada.

He did not use authoritarian measures (seizing bank accounts and shutting down insurance, in the case of the “truckers”) when the blockaders were making Ottawa citizens’ (but not its politicians) lives miserable, because Trudeau doesn’t care about them or that.

In every order, there are sacred objects, and there are the ruling class’s core interests. It is when you move against them that you are taken out.

Covid, as I have discussed at length in the past, has been good to the ruling class. It has at least doubled the wealth of the world’s billionaires and vastly increased the wealth of the top .1 percent. To them, Covid is good, not bad. This is a fundamental truth that most people refuse to understand, because they can’t, psychologically, face the fact that their leaders kill them whenever it’s to their leaders benefit (and often enough when it isn’t).

The general class of powers Trudeau used to take out the “truckers” come under the Canadian constitution’s POGG (Peace, Order, and Good Government) clause. Using the powers of that clause, Trudeau could have easily created a law to allow him to take federal control of Covid policy. In Canada, there are ten provinces, and the Maritime provinces did a good job against Covid, while everyone else did a bad job. So it was clear, even without international comparisons, that a lot of people were dying and getting sick who could have been saved under a decent national policy (and many more will later be disabled or die due to Long Covid or t-cell depletion and so on.)

The “truckers” are, and were, in a minority; most people in Canada support mandates, masks, and so on, but major provinces are removing restrictions, just like in the US. (“We’ve half-assed this, and now we’re not even going to try.”)

If Trudeau had wanted to, he could have used the authoritarian powers outlines in the Constitution to save thousands of lives. Maybe even 20K or so, perhaps more, if he was the competent sort who could actually run a Zero-Covid policy properly (he’s not, but we can imagine a Prime Minister who was).

He didn’t. He never even contemplated it. But the second the “truckers” impacted trade with the US? BOOM. (This is also because the US, who is Canada’s overlord, made it clear they were upset.)

Trade with the US matters. Covid deaths are not a problem, but rather, are a good thing when they are making the rich, richer. Ottawa residents’ discomfort during weeks of occupation is basically irrelevant.

Trudeau’s authoritarian, all right — if you go after what matters to Canada’s rich, who are his supporters. Otherwise, no. Die all you want, that’s not his problem. (Certain Canadian resource elites support the Covid protestors, but not the manufacturing elite, as a rule.)



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 20, 2022


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  1. GlassHammer

    “Otherwise, no. Die all you want, that’s not his problem.” – Ian

    When the pandemic started I thought it was crazy that the conservative party would enthusiastically spread the plague among their voters since by population size they are a minority party and could lose power if enough deaths occurred.

    But it dawned on me that a.) there are not many competitive districts left (most are either very red or very blue), b.) most people vote on party line no matter what, and c.) you only need a majority to win.

    So to put it plainly more deaths means less votes required to win elections. And that is true for either party.

  2. KT Chong

    Patrick King, the leader of Trucker Convoy:

  3. Occasional Poster

    The media (right, left, mainstream, “alt”, podcasters) are all guilty of signal boosting these protests for the clicks and eyeballs they bring and sensible discussion of the event and surrounding issues are far and in between. The internet has ‘democratized’ communication but the Silicon Valley controlled for-profit clickbait model ensures that, at the same time, quality has taken a massive nosedive.

    The heyday of the free and open internet (www) with its plethora of truly independent blogs and DIY websites didn’t last long. in 2007 Facebook and the iPhone signalled the beginning of its end. Now it’s mostly just people sitting on their proverbial sofas yaying or naying things their preferred media tells them are important. It’s neoliberalism all the way down.

    I appreciate blogs and sites like this one that still value rational discussion and keep the spirit of the original internet going. Apologies if this post is OT for this thread.

  4. Ché Pasa

    National governments by nature are authoritarian. There’s no way around it. You can’t have a nation (or empire) without a principal authority whether or not subject to limitations. A democratic veneer doesn’t change that essential nature. Whether you agree or disagree with the authority, you’re subject to it no matter what. Even those who exercise it are not ultimately immune.

    All prime ministers, presidents, potentates and premiers are authoritarians. Trudeau invoking emergency powers is not at all out of line. What was out of line was the Ontario premier and the Ottawa police enabling the “truckers.” An abrogation of authority? Not necessarily. It was using their authority to accomplish unlawful ends through unlawful means. And justifying it by their disagreement with the laws and rules in place and their political animosity toward Trudeau and the Liberals.

    That’s essentially a declaration of civil war.

    Canada is facing many of the same political fractures as the United States. The January 6 insurrectionists in Washington obviously had inside help, just as the “truckers” were being enabled in Ottawa by a faction of the government. Insiders. Much of the financial support for the “rebel cause” in both Washington and Ottawa is coming from the same sources. And it is relatively powerful in both capitals.

    Not quite powerful enough to overthrow the government, but close enough to taste the authority they seek.

    Ordinarily, I support rebellion, but this rebellion — which is global, not simply in North America — is among those who seek (and often obtain) power and authority to harm others, on a vast scale, implacably, for purely selfish ends with no concept of “general welfare,” “public interest,” or “society.”

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