I suppose it starts with the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa. It was an emotional few weeks, and it culminated in a violent quelling of a peaceful protest, which was perfectly in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 2(c) (the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly). It was legal to participate in, and fund, such a gathering until the government decided to pass orders and measures which made it illegal. Indeed, the Emergencies Act was used for the first time in Canadian history in order to deal with a ‘small, fringe minority’. While there came to be second or third hand reports of harassment and people being made to feel uncomfortable by the protesters, there were many more first hand reports and videos of them cleaning up the streets, feeding the homeless, taking care of memorials, and generally being about as Canadian as one would expect. The only first hand examples of violence I saw were carried out by the police: an elderly woman was run down and trampled by a police horse; people were shoved with sticks and beaten once they had been dragged to the ground by officers without names and badge numbers.
Indeed, our collective shadow was seen openly and plainly in the handling of that movement. It was a turbulent time in a sea of turbulence, and it was emotionally draining. Deeply so. To witness our shadow acting out in that way was challenging for many, myself included.
Oh, and the bank accounts of people and businesses who donated to the Freedom Convoy, helping to raise around $10 million dollars – twice! – were frozen. Without warrant or due process the bank accounts of hundreds of Canadian civilians and businesses were shut off. All because the government didn’t like what they were donating to. Yeah, that happened. Of course, it’s since come to light that there was no evidence of foreign funding or terrorist activity at the Freedom Convoy, but that these were ordinary people donating to a cause that they felt gave them a voice, a voice that was repeatedly not being heard. Prime Minister Trudeau even recently received scathing remarks from several members of the European Parliament for his handling of the Freedom Convoy after his speech on democracy. Oh the irony.
So how have I been, you ask?
It’s been a ride and things are still shifting. Many provinces changed gears after the Freedom Convoy, perhaps because the science conveniently led there, or perhaps because they wanted to save face, but mandates, taxes, testing, and segregation systems began to get the axe within a few days or weeks of the “occupation” coming to an end (tell me, how can it be an occupation when Canada is home to all Canadians?). And because of that there has been a change in the energy of my community.
People seem to be feeling a sense of relief, that things may “go back to normal”, even if only for a while, and things feel lighter. The situation feels a little less urgent, for what has been a global pressure is, after two long years, lifting its contact point off Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada.
But the federal mandate for travel requiring COVID-vaccines has not yet been lifted, meaning that unvaccinated people are still prisoners in their own country. They cannot board a plane, train or boat without submitting to a medical injection. For this reason, the last living signatory of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford, is suing the federal government.
But we can go out to see a movie now, or go to a restaurant – here, have some treats! The point now of course is that we do not forget. Never again (where have we heard that before?). Those responsible should be held to account for the decisions they have made, or been told to make, over the course of the last two years. Lives were lost, years of life were lost, experiences lost, goodbyes lost, friendships lost. Of equal importance was the fact that those who did speak up, or even dared to merely question the status quo, were silenced, censored, cancelled, fired and removed. Their platform, their voices were removed. I’ve written before about the importance of differing views and the ability to question everything as a foundation of democratic process.
Have we not come to understand that in a free society it is vitally important to hear all our voices? For too long we have known that history is the voice of the victor, telling only one perspective, and yet for the last two years we have allowed only one story to be told. To question it is heresy. Thankfully, Citizens Alliance Nova Scotia’s request for a Judicial Review of the Nova Scotia government and its Chief Medical Officer of Health’s conduct regarding the Health Protection Act Order of October 1st 2021 is still underway. The government and CMOH now have to provide ‘the record’, i.e. all the evidence, materials and documents used to justify that and subsequent Orders. That should be interesting.
Add to all this the fact that the Pfizer vaccine documents have started being released recently. The exposure is palpable, even if it’s not sought out or covered by the legacy media. Lights are being shone on the “adverse events of special interest” related to the jabs, including, but by no means limited to: stillbirth; Guillain Barre syndrome; myocarditis; cardiac failure; and COVID-19! But they’re safe and effective and prevent transmission. Ugh, lest we forget.
So how have I been? I’ve honestly had to unplug for a while. It’s been too much. I’ve been teetering somewhere between despair for what has happened, and faith that a stronger, more loving humanity will emerge from these experiences.
One thing I return to though, is the fact that for the last two years people have not been able to congregate as they pleased – the State intervened in private relationships in an unprecedented way, telling us how many could be seated at our tables at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, Eid. Telling us who could accompany us to a restaurant or a movie theatre. We were told these unprecedented actions were needed because we were in “unprecedented times”; but were we? The all cause mortality rate wasn’t unprecedented for 2020, or for 2021; in fact it was well within what one might have expected based on previous years. But COVID was used by the State to justify their effectively choosing our friends and affiliates for us, and it chose those who were also compliant, those who followed their rules. Naturally. If we went out to a restaurant with our friends it was because they were also allowed to go out and enjoy the pleasures and conveniences we all once took for granted. This made those of us who could do that feel special, having privileges others didn’t. And this too was the great sleight of hand of the State over the last 2 years: the transformation of freedoms into privileges. Incredible if you weren’t paying attention.
And then Russia invades Ukraine! Bloody hell.
So how have I been, you ask?
Forgive me for not having a lot of energy. Forgive me if I’m a little bitter, if I’m not rushing into the now open arms of a restaurant or movie theatre chair, which suddenly claims to welcome me. This has all been rather draining. It’s been concerning. As a father, raising two little people in this kind of community has been daunting, but we’ve been surviving, as I’m sure many have.
I still get up every day, because I must. Finding and creating the little joys, co-creating community with those I feel I can trust again. That too – there’s something of a trauma among us now, collectively. I feel as though we are all less trusting of one another. Whether it’s because we suddenly now view others as sick, harbouring a disease that will kill us fatally dead if we step within 6ft of them, unless their face is covered by some cloth, mask, scarf, bandana (it doesn’t matter really so long as their mouth and nose holes can’t be seen); or because we’ve been on the receiving end of such treatment, and excluded because we weren’t agreeing with the narrative and following these new societal norms. Almost overnight our culture has been cut down the middle.
And even though the mask mandates have been mostly lifted for the province of Nova Scotia, based on the advice of The Nova Scotia Pediatric Pandemic Advisory Group, Dr. Strang and Premier Houston once again flopped and decided to continue to require masks in public schools. Why? At this point they’re not even hiding the fact that they are using children to shield the vulnerable.
Truth be told, I’m angry and upset for those kids, and for those parents who have no choice but to send them to school in such an environment.
So where do we go from here? We’ve been told this is the “new normal” and that this is all part of “building back better” (God help us). The truth is I don’t think any of us know where we go. Not really. Maybe we have some vague notion, but the best adventures always tend to have elusive destinations: mountains shrouded in mist, some dark enchanted forest or cave, the ethereal heights unbounded. But the destination is always reached by trusting in the path, having faith in the quest. And perhaps more importantly, you bring companions with you. Frodo has Sam, Elsa has Anna, Shrek has Donkey, and Jesus had his disciples. You get the point. We may not know exactly where we are going, but if we have faith in each other and in each step we take, we’ll get there.
So how have I been? I’ve been okay. I’m still on a path that occasionally feels like slogging through mud, but I’m with company. I’m walking into the great unknown, hoping to shape my little piece of it with love and joy, and then share that with you. I hope you will do the same.
– Aldous M. Cluverius