February 20, 2022

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Trudeau’s Destructive ‘Emergency:’ The truckers protest could have been handled without abusing the law.

Mr. Trudeau justifies the “public-order emergency” by inflating the protest into a terrorist plot to overthrow government. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association disagrees and sued Thursday. It says the standards for an emergency—“threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians” beyond “the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it”—are not met.

Protests aren’t emergencies, and Western leaders had better get used to handling civil disobedience firmly without traducing civil liberties. Mr. Trudeau criminalized a protest movement, deputizing financial institutions, without due process or liability, to find and freeze personal accounts of blockaders and anyone who helps them. These extraordinary measures are a needless abuse of power. . . .

Weak responses to civil disobedience have hurt Canada for years. New gas pipelines are increasingly stymied by blockades, often by green or aboriginal activists. On Thursday men wielding axes attacked a pipeline drill site and its workers in British Columbia. That’s worse than anything the truckers have done.

In early 2020 Mr. Trudeau urged dialogue with pipeline blockaders. Facing Black Lives Matter protests in violation of Covid rules in June 2020, Mr. Trudeau joined in. But with the truckers, the Prime Minister refused to meet or compromise. Even as province after province ends Covid restrictions, he drags his feet.

The establishment sees environmentalists and Black Lives Matter protesters, however violent, as essentially allies. It sees working-class protesters, however peaceful, as deadly enemies. Each group is treated accordingly.

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