Emergencies Act to break up “Freedom Convoy” protest was the right thing to do
Watching the so-called “ Freedom Convoy” and its hangers on last month was not easy. A minority purporting to represent an industry which I hold in the highest regard, took Ottawa hostage. The common claim that they were doing it for me, my children and my grandchildren made my blood boil.
The only reason they were alive and healthy enough to protest was because 85 % of Canadians obeyed the lockdown orders, wore masks and got their jabs. Pure and simple. I did not want to be associated with what happened on the Hill and breathed a huge sigh of relief when Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to get the situation under control.
I can empathize with Ottawa residents and store owners caught up in the protesters’ fight with the federal government. My concern for what the possible outcome could have been was because I lived in Montreal in the years leading up to October 1970 and experienced another minority movement purporting to be speaking for their fellow Quebecers. The FLQ. No, I am not saying the two groups are the same, just that they both did what they wanted, regardless of the effects on those not involved.
Almost 20, I was living in Outremont and working on the other side of Mount Royal at Sun Life’s head office in downtown Montreal. For several years the FLQ had been blowing things up, mainly mailboxes. A symbol of federalist Canada to them, to me they were a merely a means of paying my bills. Many moved to the opposite sidewalk rather than walk past a mailbox, “just in case”.
Then, in October 1970, things took an ominous turn. James Cross, a British envoy, was kidnapped followed by Pierre Laporte, a Quebec Minister. He was later found dead in the trunk of a car. Both the Quebec Premier and Mayor of Montreal begged then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau for aid in a situation now out of control and Pierre, father of Justin, invoked the War Measures Act – and I and most others felt a wave of relief, as well as some trepidation. Things changed overnight. The school across from where I lived became a barracks and the playground a helipad with noise 24/7. I wasn’t sure whether to feel safe or scared at the thought of living across from a potential target.
Armed soldiers in combat gear were everywhere and became part of our everyday lives. Sun Life closed all but one of its massive brass doors, as well as the smaller end doors. Just one facing Dominion Square remained open, guarded by armed soldiers standing on the steps. We had to show our ID, previously only used for the cafeteria, to get in.
To get to and from work I took the Metro, Montréal’s underground railroad. Every trip, as I walked past soldiers at the entrance, on the concourse and on the platforms, I wondered if this would be the time the FLQ tried to blow one up. A huge sigh of relief when the trip was over.
It was a difficult time, but, to be honest, the fact that soldiers were there made it more bearable and things did eventually settle down and the culprits arrested.
Now, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau using the Emergencies Act, he ensured the ability of the police forces to end this uprising too, which should never have taken place in the first place.
Things will return to normal for the majority of Canadians. As for this minority, they will now have to pay the piper for their uncaring deeds.
Angela Dorie is an agricultural writer and a Jersey farmer near Cornwall.