Defining Terrorism

If you have been drawn to the Emergencies Act Commission in recent days, you would have seen that finally, we are now getting into the nitty-gritty of Ottawa backroom politics. There has been a delay in this blog as I dutifully awaited to finally hear from the grand master himself, Mr. Trudeau. These are the persons who determined that Ottawa was under “siege” and “occupation” and that the implementation of the Emergencies Act was in their view, sound judgement. They are the ultimate masters of circle talk, the power members who reply to questions with some combination of condescension and frustration as they try to explain what only they can see. A frowning Freeland, a puffed up Montecino, the arrogant Lametti, and the actor Trudeau, all in agreement with their righteous stance that what they did was both justified, and in fact the right thing to do. In their political view, the convoy, and the blockades was causing “threats to the security of Canada that are so serious as to be a national emergency”.

Their evidence of those beliefs is clearly inflated but not fully revealed, as it remains hidden behind cabinet confidentiality or because of client solicitor privilege as in the case of Justice Minister Lametti. They clearly struggled with their rationale, unable to point to what caused them to come to this belief. When confronted with the exact words used in the Act, which were lifted from the CSIS definition– that there must be “serious evidence against people or property, espionage, foreign interference, or an intent to overthrow the government by violence” they are stuck. You can physically watch them spin their mental wheels in the mud of the face of actual detailed fact . CSIS themselves of course testified said that they did not find any evidence to meet the criteria. Freeland argued that the Americans, in not getting their auto parts on time from Windsor was sufficiently damaging to the economy of the country and the reputation of the country, that she felt that it constituted a national emergency and a threat to Canadian society. She also related how the Biden government was concerned and that they needed to do something because they had been told by the Americans that they needed to do something. She did not know how to answer the fact that the blockade on the Windsor bridge was removed prior the implementation of the Act.

Is it possible then that the use of airhorns and the illegal parking of trucks was stretched in definition by the Liberals, to include a convoy of truckers protesting a vaccine mandate? In essence were they a terrorist group? Were they trying to overthrow the government? It defies the imagination, but alas, this is Ottawa, a city filled with cocoon like towers of Federal bureaucrats, all huddled in their cubicles, normally free from outside concerns. In this world they speak their own progressive lingo (a terrorist is an IMVE – Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremist), they are intolerant of those with differing opinions, safe in knowing that they and only they know what is best for the country, as they spend their lunch hours wandering Sparks St Mall looking for a cheap Chipotle lunch. They are for the most part safe from dissent, or at least the dissent of the unwashed, and they are never threatened with such things as job security, or the possibility of someone living amongst their midst with callused hands and poor manners. Marco Mendocino stated that this group was traumatizing the working from home residents–the “residents are terrorized” he exclaimed early during the protest. Lametti thought maybe they should use tanks. Although he says he was just joking in the email. He felt scared to the point that he re-located to the safe confines of Montreal. They came to a decision early on that these heathens needed to be removed, along with their children and pets who were apparently part of this un-controllable siege, who according to Trudeau were using the children as protection. Freeland said it was like playing “wack-a-mole” trying to control the discontented from rising up. Trudeau testified today he was frustrated by a lack of a plan by the police, and then was confronted under cross- examination with a 73 page plan that was distributed before the Emergencies Act imposition. You may also be interested to know that the Liberal government discussed the Emergency Plan and using it during COVID.

There was lots of testimony heard about the lack of a need for the Emergencies Act from the police and others. That it was not needed nor was it requested. However, political necessity always overrides fact, especially amongst this apparently now quivering group of Cabinet members. They wanted to do something and they were clearly having bad dreams about the American events of January 6th in Washington. But, they needed to be coached through this, someone who gave credence to their plan for implementation.

Along comes 40 year civil servant, Janice Charette, Clerk of the Privy Council Office, who writes a memo to the gathered group of senior ministers in which she states: ” the public unrest is being felt across the country…which may provide further momentum to the movement and lead to irreparable harms–including social coercion, national unity and Canada’s international reputation” She goes on to say that this “fits with the statutory parameters of the Emergencies Measures Act”. Of course it doesn’t, but again why let the facts get in the way, and she gives us a hint as to the psychological incentive for the Act when she says: “god help us if we have another January 6th”. If you analyze the words of this statement it gets even a little more Orwellian. She feels the act is warranted because she is worried about “social coercion” to a non-Liberal sanctioned cause, namely the vaccine mandates. As far as Canada’s international reputation, she may want to speak directly to the Prime Minister about having hallway chats with the Chinese leadership. But that is for another time. Trudeau says that the Charette memo was “essential” in his decision.

When grilled as to the fact that none of the reporting agencies felt that the protest was a national emergency, Charette said that her job and the job of the government was to look at the “totality of the circumstances”, that even though there was no “specific site”, no “specific actor”, it was the movement itself which had her perturbed. The movement apparently in her reasoning was a monster all by itself, it breathed life on its own, it was not made up of individuals. She did say though, in her memo, that the use of the Emergencies Act “could be challenged”. Apparently even this non-lawyer knew she was skirting and widening the legal definition. But her pronouncement was apparently enough for the cowering politicos, who a couple of hours after the Cabinet meeting, decided that the Emergencies Act should be implemented.

But let’s assume she was right– and the charges against Tamara Lich and Chris Barber for mischief, and counselling mischief, and the 3000 parking tickets met the requirements to justify the use of this militarized piece of legislation. If one accepts this to be the case, then let’s compare the Ottawa convoy to something which happened in a lonely part of northern British Columbia.

Approximately 60 kms south west of Houston, B.C. there is a Forest Service Road which if you go up about 60 kms, you will find the the Coastal Gas Link pipeline being built by TC Energy. At this particular location, the $6.6 billion pipeline, which has been approved by all levels of government, goes under the Morice river.

But there is a problem. This particular area is also described as “sacred land” by the Wet’suwt’en First Nation. This particular “un-ceded area” to which they claim is made up of 22,000 square kilometres of land, and is “overseen” by no less than six elected Band Councils. However, the problem is that even though the Band Councils approved the pipeline (with the usual amount of economic incentives given to them) the “hereditary chiefs” of the Wet’suwt’en were not in agreement.

On February 17, 2022 about 20-30 white camouflaged hooded individuals decided to take matters into their own hands. These masked individuals came up the Marten Forest Service Road, in the middle of the night, carrying axes, fire sticks, an even a cordless angle grinder, used to cut through the security gates. Another similar group was attacking from the other end, closer to the Morice River drill pad, where an overnight crew was preparing the site.

The security guard in his truck was immediately attacked, windows broken out of his vehicle and axes swung at his vehicle, one which such force that it ended up in the back seat of the vehicle. He tried to escape, but the road was blocked, so he came back and was once again attacked. They then also tried to torch the back of the vehicle. The group continued with their rampage, smashing heavy machinery beyond repair, remote buildings were gutted, and bulldozers pushed on to their sides. The local RCMP was called shortly after midnight and began the journey up the forest service road. At kilometre 41 the road was blocked with tar covered stumps, wire, boards with spikes, tarps and lit fires. Some of the attackers were there as well and began throwing smoke bombs and fire lit sticks at the police. One officer was injured in stepping on a spiked board. Once past this roadblock, another 2 kms up the road, an old school bus was being used to block the road. By the time they reached the actual site of the attack, millions of dollars in damage had been done. The pictures are self-explanatory.

In the words of the then C/Supt of the RCMP Warren Brown was that this was a “calculated and organized attack”.

Of course this was not the first attack, nor are the primary suspects in these matters hidden, in fact they are hiding in plain sight.

In 2020 protestors who supported the Hereditary Chiefs, calling themselves the “Land Defenders”, blocked the work site for 59 days, and finally after receiving an injunction and an eviction notice were then forced to leave, but they did not go willingly, another police action was warranted and/or in the words of the CBC, thirty people were “violently arrested”.

In November 2021, again the protestors attacked the site, commandeering heavy equipment, trenching the road surfaces, and erecting blockades. About 500 employees were stranded and unable to leave the site.

More recently on October 26, 2022 there was an arson attack in Smithers, B.C., in the parking lot of the Sunshine Inn. A total of eight vehicles were burned, four RCMP cruisers, along with four other vehicles which included a BC Hydro truck and an ambulance. One of the RCMP vehicles was marked with the “C-IRG”. The RCMP have set up a uniform contingency group to patrol the areas, their vehicles identified by the “C-IRG” on their vehicles, who are there to safeguard from any further “energy industry incidents”. This is the hotel that the police usually stay at when working the security patrols for the pipeline. The mayor of Smithers, Mayor Atrill, admitted that there was a “temptation in the community to ascribe the crime to conflict…over the pipeline”.

So up to this date, it is currently estimated that over $275 million in economic damages have been sustained in attacks on this build of the critical national infrastructure. The RCMP at the time felt that they had identified one or two of the suspects in the axe attacks, but currently no one has been charged, even though the RCMP claim that they have had forty officers involved in the investigation. There remain no leads, nor any confirmations of the funding or methods of the attackers.

The Band councils after the axe attack at the site said: “we call on those who are inviting violent non-Wet’suwet’en people into our territories to withdraw their invitations”. A curious wording to be sure, and one could interpret this as an admission that they are aware of the suspects while at the same time saying it is not them.

Are they concerned about the economic damages? Not really. They are concerned about that this attack “…should not have any ongoing investigations negatively impact their ability to carry out their traditional practises or limit access to their territories”.

Much more recently there was a fire in Montreal in a residential driveway, where a Jaguar and a Land Rover were burned. The home was owned by Royal Bank of Canada, Michael Fortier. RBC has been involved in the financing of the pipeline, although one can only surmise that it ties into the pipeline issue.

So let’s compare Ottawa to the events in northern B.C.

What is the most terroristic act?

Could we get the Liberal cabinet ministers together for another meeting, like the one in Ottawa, and let them decide whether this set of circumstances meets the criteria for another declaration of the Emergencies Act. In northern B.C. the police clearly are being stymied, they have no other avenues of investigation left open to them, unlike they did in Ottawa. The attacks are national in scope, there are claims being made for their own governments to replace the current existing authorities, it is violent, it is causing economic harm, and it is attack on the basic infrastructure of the economy.

If the government invoked the Emergency Measures Act in Northern B.C. , maybe they could freeze the assets of the Wet’suwet’en until such time as the Bands could come forward with a more co-operative effort and a list of the suspects.

Of course, one knows this is not going to happen. Let us not mince words. There is a Go-Free card that the Indigenous pull out at every opportunity in the Canadian monopoly game. This includes the breaking of the laws of this country and committing acts of “terror”. They have been over-stepping the bounds of the law for quite some time now, and they continue to do so with impunity.

The only explanation for this is that they are the Justin Trudeau’s cause, so much so that Lametti when asked by the Indigenous lawyer representative at the Commission as to future possible use of the Emergencies Act, said they would look at including the Indigenous in the any future decision making process when in judgement as to what constitutes an act of insurrection and a future use of the Emergencies Act.

It is said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The Indigenous are the freedom fighters, the convoy members are the terrorists. It’s all in the definition.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons by Ross Dunn – Some Rights Reserved

Pandering

Under the cloak of COVID, while monies are raining down from on high, the Canadian government has decided that this is an opportune time to pander to the select groups who hold the Federal Liberals dear to their socially active and political hearts. Their slobbering self interest doesn’t seem to know any bounds and it is certainly not constrained by any concern for budget. 

Is it all aimed at a near future election call by the Liberals? Most likely. Is it cynical, opportunistic and ethically questionable? Yes it is. Do their actions have any merit? Possibly, but it would be difficult to measure. However, their motivations are obvious. 

On February 19th of this year, in a single day, the Prime Minister announced three items with that somber voice designed to instil righteousness and clearly aimed at those of us with Grade 8 education levels.  

The first, which is economically debatable but politically obvious, was the extension of the CERB benefits for an additional 12 weeks. Sick benefits were extended as was Employment Insurance for a cumulative total of 54 weeks. The pros and cons of doing this is one for the economists to debate. Clearly though, the handing out of funds never seems to engender any liberal or social antipathy and Mr. Trudeau seems to relish the daily ritual coverage of the doling out of monies, as he guides us to health and prosperity and implores us to save lives.

The second announcement was the re-tooling of the Official Languages Act, which Mr. Trudeau described as legislation to further enhance that “beautiful french language”. In this “modernization” of the Languages Act  as presented by Ms.Joly (a rumoured “favourite” of Mr. Trudeau) should raise some concern and debate; although admittedly no one seems to be paying close attention to an Act to do with languages. It seems like strange timing in terms of priority, until you read what the changes entail. The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP who are currently supporting the minority Liberals must be aware that Mr. Trudeau is preparing to try and pull the rug out from under them— by usurping their claim as being a better representative of the people of Quebec. 

The first amendment is to Section 83 —which states that “nothing in the Act abrogates or derogates from the rights of other languages, by explicitly mentioning Indigenous languages”.  This is lawyer inspired convoluted language but the intended results are that Nunavut and the North West Territories will officially recognize English, French and “indigenous languages as official languages”.  Surprisingly, little fanfare to announce that Canada has another “official” language? It may also seem trite but compliance to this could have profound effect on the courts and the providing of government services.

Also in this Languages Act the government is proposing to “encourage” further funding for french immersion across the country– including the hiring of more french immersion teachers, and even stream lining a “Francophone immigration corridor”. All this to aid them in their search for French speaking teachers outside of Quebec. 

No matter how meritorious this promotion of the french culture and language it is coming at a time when French as a language and culture is dwindling. Using their own statistics, the francophone population outside of Quebec in 1971 was 6.6%. It was 3.9% in 2011 and is anticipated to be at 3.0% by 2036.  One has to question whether an “immersed” Canada outside of Quebec is a relevant and achievable goal. The Liberals clearly think so, but they are likely more concerned in how it will “play” in Quebec. 

Finally, since 2016 the Government of Canada has been “committed” to appointing “only functioning bilingual judges to the Supreme Court of Canada”. However, there was an exception clause in the act under Section 16(1) which was purposefully placed there in consideration of the need for geographic representation on the courts and a possible lack of bilingual judges in the unilingual West. The Liberals are now going to remove this exemption, so that all will have to be fluently bilingual to serve on the highest court in the land. This could have a direct impact on the makeup of this highest court, more francophone than representative.

As an oblique aside, the Government says that “it will be necessary to keep in mind the importance of representativeness of Indigenous peoples in the highest institutions of our country….”. They then direct the Government to “actively envision the appointment of Indigenous judges to the Supreme Court of Canada”.  One has to admire the “actively envision” language as camouflage for a direct order.

Which brings us to the the third announcement of this busy day.

It pertained to Bill C-22, which is to deal with the “Mandatory Minimal Penalties (MMP) as outlined in the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.  They are announcing changes to the fourteen offences in the Criminal Code and six in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Why? If you follow this Liberal government you probably have already guessed. Because, minimum sentences “targets black, indigenous and racialized communities”. 

Their blatantly stated goal is to bring down the numbers of the Federally incarcerated who are there due to “systemic discrimination and racism” and a system which they believe punishes “black and indigenous people”.   Mr. Lametti seems to want us to believe that this “over representation” was some form of pointed racist selection process, not the result of persons having committed the crimes.

The statistics are bold and clear.

 From 2007-2017 they argue “black and indigenous were more likely to be admitted to federal custody for an offence punishable by a MMP”.  Although only 5% of the population is indigenous, they make up 30% of the Federal inmate population; blacks represent 3 % of the population but represent 7.2% of the incarcerated. The answer, according to the social progressives, is not to try and stem the crime by fighting the obvious crime instigators like poverty and unemployment in these communities. Their solution, if parties are caught in a criminal offence, is to promote “judicial discretion”. They are directing Judges that they “must take into consideration the individual and their experience with systemic racism”. 

They will even be funding $28 million to “social contracts training” for  Judges in case they are missing the message. 

Is there evidence that mandatory sentencing doesn’t work? Yes, but there is also evidence that it does work, so this reformation is not necessarily based on the evidence— what it is based on is playing to a certain minority.  

In 2008 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that minimum sentencing was constitutional but maybe not an “appropriate response” to Section 12 of the Charter which deals with cruel and unusual punishment. 

The pros of minimum sentencing point out that it eliminates disparity, provides consistency, and avoids Judge shopping. If one holds that the law should reflect the peoples wishes, in 2005 —74% of Canadians felt that sentencing was too lenient. It should be remembered that the minimum sentencing was brought into effect under the dreaded Stephen Harper Conservative government in response to Canadians and their complaints about the lack of justice. 

But none of this seems to have been the motivating factor for Justice Minister Lametti. What may be more relevant is that the multi-party “black caucus” issued a call to action  and “demanded the elimination of mandatory minimums”. Mr. Lametti a signatory to this document.  

There is little doubt that Mr. Lametti has been emboldened and given comfort by the courts, which are allowing him to play to the minority audience. 

In 2016 in R vs Lloyd, when dealing with some drug offences, the court thought that the drug offences and sentencing for them did not take into account “indigenous heritage and the impact of colonialism”.  In R vs Gladue the Judges said that a different “analysis and approach is required by Judges when sentencing aboriginal offenders and that “imprisonment is a less appropriate or less useful sanction”.  

Far be it for this writer to be in disagreement with the learned judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. They are a distinguished group of scholars, but their voting records seem to have a very natural lean to the left. Mr. Lametti and the Liberals are also playing in the Biden band and trumpeting whatever is currently playing in the North American media. The riotous Trump entourage is now thankfully gone but we now have the Trudeau and Biden love-in which could prove equally destructive and divisive with its approach to social issues, or rather its dogmatic adherence to Twitter driven policies.

Having lived most of my life in the criminal world, the positions of this Liberal government when it comes to crime and minority rights, seems at times completely ludicrous. We have been traveling down this left branch of the victim road for an interminable many years now. One has to wonder and ask that with each further step— are we getting any closer to some ill-defined justice utopia ? By creating different classes of criminals with different levels of personal and cultural responsibility are we moving towards justice and fair and equal treatment, or away from it? 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that the definition of justice is a concept on ethics and law “that means people behave in a way that is fair, equal and balanced for everyone”. Minimum sentencing seems to fit that definition whereas the policy of Mr. Lametti feels that the principal of proportionality applies and one should allow for “the role of the social context”, which seems counter-intuitive.

The symbolic scales held by the Roman Lady of Justitia symbolizes giving fair and objective consideration to all evidence, without showing bias one way or the other. Mr. Lametti and his Liberal colleagues are unhesitatingly standing on those scales and even trying to influence who hold those scales. They are brazen in their efforts, choosing a time when debate and accountability have been Zoomed out.

The fifth estate have been completely coopted by the the social agenda, content to just count the number of COVID cases and their variants. To them, application of justice, or the breach of charter and constitutional rights are far less interesting than Oprah, Harry, and Meaghan. The pablum of celebrity successfully diverting us from worthy debate on issues of importance; and, that is what the Liberals are counting on.

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey via Flickr Creative Commons – Some Rights Reserved