Things are escalating in Ottawa as the Freedom Convoy protesters continue to fight against Canada’s draconian COVID-19 measures. But while the focus started on the message, it is now firmly on the behavior of the Ottawa Police Department.
As RedState has chronicled, numerous videos of mistreatment and violence perpetrated by police on peaceful protesters have emerged. Perhaps the most stunning example was the trampling of a disabled woman by officers on horseback. In response, the police lied, claiming a bike had been thrown at the horses. That was quickly debunked, showing how valuable it is that people are videoing what’s happening.
On Saturday, Ottawa’s chief of police gave a press conference where he dutifully played the role authoritarians assigned to him. As my colleague Duke reported in his write-up, Steve Bell threatened protesters and reporters alike, showing that “[i]n these types of scenarios, evil always shows its face.”
Ottawa Police: "If you are involved in this protest, we will actively look to identify you and follow up with financial sections and criminal charges. Absolutely. This investigation will go on for months to come." pic.twitter.com/iLbWpA32Z6
— Andrew Lawton (@AndrewLawton) February 19, 2022
And just like that, the Ottawa Police chief made a major tactical error.
That’s not to say riding horses through a crowd wasn’t incredibly stupid, but this is a much bigger mistake in the grand scheme of things. In one arrogant attempt to sound tough for his globalist bosses (and I mean that quite literally, given Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland moonlights as a board member for the World Economic Forum), Bell has now given every single protester a reason to hold the line. After all, if the Canadian government is going to track them down and punish them anyway, then what’s the point of leaving?
The smart move would have been to promise immunity to anyone who heads home by the end of the weekend, giving things a chance to settle down. But petty tyrants rarely make the smart move, and Bell hasn’t shown the mental capacity to do that anyway. By pledging to pursue financial and legal retribution against those who dared to have the wrong political beliefs, he has now backed the protesters into a corner. If there was any thought of going home before among some protesters, that’s likely gone now because the punishment for speaking out is now a sunk cost.
Sure enough, the violent actions of the police and the government’s escalating rhetoric have only galvanized the movement. As day turned to night, this was the scene after Bell’s press conference.
This is what Trudeau is so afraid of.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 20, 2022
Notice no one is talking about vaccine mandates anymore — because long ago, this protest became much bigger than opposition to draconian COVID-19 measures. What’s happening in Canada is now ground zero for freedom-loving people everywhere. You don’t even have to fully agree with what the Freedom Convoy is fighting for to understand the importance of their battle. If the government authorities succeed in quashing peaceful dissent in Ottawa, it portends dark things, not just in Canada, but across the world.
There’s rarely an easy time to do the right thing in the face of authoritarians, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. Those in the cold, snowy streets tonight deserve respect and support. Canadian officials have gravely miscalculated, throwing gasoline on the fire instead of quelling it, and while they may have caused some damage today with their thuggish attacks, things are far from over.
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