Hill Times February 28, 2022
Are elected officials who cheered on the occupation a threat to minorities?
Almost 200 people arrested, almost 400 charges, about 1,500 tickets for noise and parking and other infractions, 12 suspension and seizure orders on trucks and counting.
And yet, some MPs and Senators want to be seen with this crowd.
Multiple stories of occupiers actively harassing women trying to live and work downtown. Occupiers who threatened violence toward BIPOC for wearing masks or simply just for being BIPOC. Instances of occupiers swarming and knocking down individuals because they were thought to be counter-protesters. Throwing rocks at an ambulance and blocking its way.
Did the occupier crowd step in and stop one (or many) of their own? Or did they turn their eyes and just chuckle? Did women in the occupier crowd, or the few BIPOC in the occupier crowd, did they do nothing to step in to stop potentially criminal harassment?
And yet some Conservative MPs and Senators want to protect this particular group of people.
Occupiers attacked journalists on camera, as if they thought they were above the law. Stole food from the homeless. Orchestrated an attack on the city’s 911 system and put hundreds of lives at risk.
And yet some Conservative MPs and Senators are actively fighting for these people.
Let’s state the obvious: the Conservative Party will do anything to get votes. Viciously gaslight and taunt downtown citizens who couldn’t sleep nor feel safe for weeks (and will this taint any criminal investigations?). For what, 30 votes? Sidle or perhaps even run up to jailed individuals who advocated for sedition, and smile for the camera. Some 40 votes? Dismiss the experiences of BIPOC and women harassed and threatened downtown? How about 50 votes? This party will do anything to get white votes.
When Conservative Senator Denise Batters says with such the innocent look, “but I didn’t see it, I felt safe,” so surely all those women who were harassed are just making it up, this is what white privilege looks like. It is also an additional brutality to those who were traumatized. Batters decided to throw the women and BIPOC who were harassed under the bus, all in the name of her Conservative Party’s repugnant play for votes.
How could Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais claim there was no violence in the siege or by the occupiers? Does he not care at all about the experiences of BIPOC or women who were harassed? Apparently not.
This brutal play for votes is also racist. When a group of predominantly white people (hint-the occupiers) target minorities, and when a sitting Senator gaslights those who were traumatized, this is racism. This is an attempt to protect white supremacy and target the voices of BIPOC Canadians. Internal party influencers who care about the soul of the Conservative Party had better act quickly and decisively on these voices, or forever be lumped in with them.
Canada has lost something over the Ottawa siege. It’s not clear how deep or wide that loss is, and that, in itself, creates anxiety. It includes a loss of trust in elected leaders who stood with white supremacists and alleged criminals. It is a loss of faith that institutions will actually protect us. It is a loss of trust in a system that allows elected officials to play such violent games in the name of votes. It is a loss of trust that the House can act with ethical leadership and respectful debate, or only facile partisanship.
Canada needs a respect-filled House. Canada needs its MPs to show some professionalism. Canada needs its Senators to work for all Canadians, not just your white kin. Represent us all, or you shouldn’t be in the position at all. Stop with the partisan power-grabbing shit before we lose our country.