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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
29 Apr 2023


NextImg:Cory Morgan: Why Is the Media Not Calling Out Blatant Scapegoating by Politicians?

Commentary

The COVID-19 pandemic was the most divisive world event in generations. Differing views over government actions such as lockdowns and vaccine mandates split families, friends, and social groups. Protests erupted across the nation and the truckers’ Freedom Convoy made Canadian history as a government in panic invoked the Emergencies Act in response to the demonstration.

Canada should be in a period of healing right now from both the physiological damage caused by the pandemic, and the social damage caused by the government’s response to it. Instead of aiding social recovery and reunifying Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is insistent on reopening the wounds as he continues a campaign of division and vitriolic attacks against people who choose not to take the COVID-19 jab.

Playing games of societal divide and conquer has proven to be an effective political tactic for authoritarian governments for centuries. Picking a minority group to scapegoat and blame national ills upon often consolidates majority support for the state and can distract the population from misdeeds committed by the authorities. This political tactic turns a group of citizens into social pariahs, however, and has led to some of the worst atrocities in history against minorities. It is a lazy, dangerous, and immoral way for a government to maintain popular support. Legacy media has allowed Trudeau to get away with it and it’s keeping the country hopelessly split on an issue that should be in its collective rear-view mirror by now.

Currently, the number of people who have taken one or more COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada sits at 83.4 percent. After years of coercion and social isolation, over five million Canadians still refuse to submit to the jab. It’s clear this sizeable minority isn’t going to embrace the vaccine under any circumstances. Adding further pressure upon them is pointless. Belittling and insulting them is just petty, punitive, and destructive. Inclusive nations are supposed to support minorities, are they not?

As recently as April 24, Trudeau went on a rambling and insulting tirade comparing vaccine-hesitant people to “flat-earthers” when speaking to a group at University of Ottawa. It was an off-topic tangent inserted into the presentation without reason. All it accomplished was to reignite the hostility between people obsessed with vaccines and those who obstinately won’t take them.

What was the point in going out of his way to taunt millions of Canadians like that?

It’s as if Trudeau had recently added a new term into his lexicon of insults for the unvaccinated and wanted to ensure he got maximum use out of it. He also labelled vaccine-hesitant Canadians as “flat-earthers” when speaking at a fire service training centre in March.

The Rouleau report controversially concluded the use of the Emergencies Act against protesters was justified. That said, the report did also condemn some of the actions of the government during the unrest over the pandemic mandates and restrictions. The report was critical of Trudeau’s provocative statements and said the comments “served to energize the protesters, hardening their resolve and further embittering them toward government authorities.”

Some legacy media members finally questioned Trudeau on his disparaging statements once the Rouleau report was released. Trudeau said he regretted calling protesters a “fringe minority” but he was hardly contrite. He said he wished he had phrased it differently. How so? As flat-earthers perhaps? Trudeau’s recent statements indicate he hasn’t learned a thing and he still holds people with differing views on vaccine mandates in utter contempt.

Legacy media and other people in positions of influence should have called out Trudeau as soon as he began on his dehumanizing campaign against the unvaccinated. The dangers of letting a political leader socially segregate and demonize a minority within a nation should have been recognized and called out immediately. Trudeau’s language used against anti-mandate protesters was beyond the pale yet he got a pass on it. It’s of little wonder he still uses it.

Even before the truckers’ convoy set off for Ottawa, Trudeau was pouring gasoline on the fire with his statements. Calling the vaccine-hesitant a “fringe minority” was almost polite compared to when he called them “racist and misogynistic extremists” in an interview in December 2021. Trudeau literally said “do we tolerate these people?” during that rant. When a prime minister is implying a nation should stop tolerating a minority, alarm bells should be ringing. The silence from legacy media outlets at the time was deafening.

As the Freedom Convoy began to ramp up, so did Trudeau’s intolerant and divisive rhetoric. He said people in opposition to mandates held “unacceptable views.” When a political leader takes it upon himself to determine which views the populace may or may not have, the nation should be wary. Again, Trudeau was given a pass on his inflammatory language when he should have been taken to task.

Some voices tried to speak up as Trudeau’s vitriolic language continued to incense Canadians. Liberal MP Joël Lightbound held a press conference during the protests asking his own government to tone down the division on the issue. His pleas were ignored and Lightbound has been buried deep in the Liberal party backbenches for his insolence, as was Liberal MP Yves Robillard who dared to raise similar concerns.

Former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau said in January that Trudeau shouldn’t have used vaccine mandates as a political wedge issue in the 2021 election. Speaking up on the issue well over a year after it happened and when no longer within the government has limited impact, however.

There is likely nothing that Justin Trudeau could have said during the convoy protests that would have brought them to a quick end. It’s clear, though, that he could have eased the situation just by toning down his belligerent language directed at the protesters and their supporters. Some convoy leaders said they would have been willing to leave if the government would respectfully “register their message.” Many of the protesters just wanted to be heard, then to go home.

Trudeau’s personal contempt for the protesters wouldn’t allow him to even listen to them, much less let them register a message. He continued to antagonize them until the situation became totally untenable. The prime minister galvanized the protesters. The only question now is whether or not that was the intent.

The protests are done as is the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act. Now is the time to look back and recognize mistakes that were made. We should be examining what inspired thousands of Canadians supported by millions more to cross the country and protest in Ottawa during the coldest days of the year in hopes of avoiding such a situation again.

Instead, we have a prime minister insistent upon maintaining division among Canadians and inflaming it whenever possible. Whether this is a political tactic designed to distract Canadians from budding scandals such as the Chinese Communist Party election interference, or Trudeau can’t contain the loathing he has for the unvaccinated, it is dangerous and intolerable behaviour from a prime minister.

The best time for the media to call out the prime minister for his provocative language was in 2021. The next best time is right now.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.