Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the “media has been predictably silent” on the display of communist signs at pro-lockdown counter-protests in Ottawa, drawing a contrast to the wide condemnation of Nazi symbols that appeared in isolated incidents during the trucker protests, which Kenney said he had called on convoy organizers to disassociate themselves with.
“Two weeks ago I called on convoy organizers to disassociate themselves from symbols of hatred displayed by a small number of people. They did so,” Kenney wrote in a post on Twitter on Feb. 12.
“Today pro-lockdown counter protestors displayed Communist flags & signs in Ottawa, but the media has been predictably silent about it.”
Kenney said it’s “vile” for some on the left in Canada to continue the romanticization of communism—which resulted in the death of more than 100 million people worldwide, according to Harvard University Press’s Black Book of Communism—yet he said such conducts have largely been ignored by the mainstream media.
“As the death toll mounts—as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on—the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression,” the Harvard University Press wrote in a description of the book.
The continued romanticization of Communism by some on the Canadian left is vile, & is consistently ignored by mainstream media.
According to Harvard University Press’s Black Book of Communism, >100 million people have been killed by Communist regimes: https://t.co/xQaLnVyW3D
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) February 13, 2022
The ongoing “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa began as a protest against the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, but soon expanded to become a national movement calling for an end to all COVID-19 restrictions.
On Jan. 29, when the convoy arrived at the nation’s capital, Tory MP Michael Cooper brought a container of coffee to the rally “to show our appreciation” for the truckers. But a demonstrator carrying a flag donning a Nazi symbol was caught on camera behind Cooper while the latter was doing a TV interview with CBC News, which said the MP came under fire for the photo.
Cooper later issued a statement saying he wasn’t associated with the person carrying the flag.
“Whoever flew this flag is personally responsible for that reprehensible decision and should be eternally ashamed of himself or herself,” Cooper said. “He or she does not represent the thousands of peaceful protesters who waved Canadian flags and acted responsibly.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has refused to meet with the truckers, previously said the protesters are a “fringe minority” who hold “unacceptable views” and espouse conspiracy theories.
Trudeau’s comments have draw criticisms from several Tory MPs, including Colin Carrie, MP for Oshawa, Ont., who said on social media on Jan. 21 that many of his constituents were “angered” by the Prime Minister’s “hateful language.”
“The PM’s egregious statements were, many believe, made with the express aim of promoting hate against an identifiable group of citizens–and specifically–against individuals who, for whatever reason, remain unvaccinated,” Carrie said.
“On behalf of my constituents and those Canadians who are angered—and saddened—by the PM’s hateful language and demonization efforts, I’ve urged the Commissioner of our national police force to uphold the law and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to investigate the PM for using his position to bully, coerce, punish, or demonize a subset of Canadians.”
At least two Liberal MPs have also condemned Trudeau’s remarks toward the protesters.
At a press conference on Feb. 8, Joël Lightbound, MP for Louis-Hébert, Quebec, listed the harms caused by his government’s COVID-19 mandates and called for an end to the approaches that “demonize” those who voiced legitimate concerns about these restrictive policies.
A day after Lightbound accused his party of using the issue of vaccination as a wedge to divide Canadians, Liberal MP Yves Robillard, another Quebec MP, followed suit in publicly denouncing his government’s COVID-19 policies.
On Feb. 9, Robillard told The Hill Times in an interview that Lightbound “said exactly what a lot of us think” and that he agrees with everything Lightbound said.
“From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge, to divide, and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in our public health institutions,” Lightbound said.