Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on February 16, 2022

in Country Problems, Current Affairs

The Wall Street Journal‘s Elliot Kaufman decries the instincts and tactics of Canadian strongman Justin Trudeau. Two slices:

For Justin Trudeau, emergency powers are too often a policy of first resort. In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the Canadian prime minister sought arbitrary power to tax, spend and borrow for 21 months. He had already negotiated a Covid-relief package with the opposition, but he wanted a blank check. Now, as the pandemic seems to wind down, he has returned to the well.

Mr. Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday for the first time in Canadian history. (The law’s predecessor, the War Measures Act, was used only three times: World War I, World War II and the 1970 FLQ crisis involving Quebecois terrorists.) Now, in response to protests and blockades started by truckers against vaccine mandates, the prime minister has granted his government extraordinary temporary powers “to make orders or regulations that are believed, on reasonable grounds, to be necessary to respond to the issues at hand,” the Canadian government explains on its website.

This broad authority doesn’t junk the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It does, however, include the power to prohibit travel, public assemblies and use of any specified property, to force people or companies to render essential services, to impose fines and imprisonment for violating any of the emergency rules, and to use the military as police, though Mr. Trudeau suggests he won’t do that last one. He says the powers will be used for 30 days, strengthening the federal police, beefing up penalties, dragooning private tow-truck companies and, incredibly, directing financial institutions, without court orders, to freeze personal and corporate bank accounts connected to the protests. Without due process, and used against despised and often caricatured protesters, these powers invite further abuse.

“This is not a peaceful protest,” Mr. Trudeau says, though in more than two weeks, there has been no violence.

…..

Backlash from the unvaccinated—vilified, excluded, pushed out of work, barred from Walmart in Quebec’s case—shouldn’t have been unexpected. This is true even in Canada, which was hailed prematurely during the Trump years by the New York Times and the Atlantic as possessing the “secret” to avoiding populist politics. If there is such a secret, it probably has to do with maintaining public order and not marginalizing substantial segments of the population. Mr. Trudeau and other Canadian authorities could have done both with the powers they already had.

Further analysis of Canadian strongman Justin Trudeau’s most recent power grab is offered by Reason‘s Liz Wolfe. Here’s her conclusion:

People ought to have as much freedom as possible to make donations to nonviolent anti-government political causes that are aligned with their beliefs, without government insinuation that they’re supporting terrorism.

Whether it’s government officials sending in muscle or private companies deeming activists to be in violation of terms of service, the liberatory promise of crypto lies in the fact that it can bypass these intermediaries and make transactions more discreet—something Trudeau’s lackeys surely know, and seem a bit threatened by.

Jim Bovard also has an opinion about Canadian strongman Trudeau. Two slices:

To save Canadian democracy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must first destroy it.

Since the start of the pandemic, Trudeau has acted like COVID entitled him to unlimited power in the name of public safety — sort of like Gov. Andrew Cuomo on amphetamines. Now he claims he is entitled to use an iron fist to crush the trucker protest movement against a vaccine mandate.

Many of the protesters believe the risks of the vaccine outweigh the benefit and, more important, that they have the right to control their own bodies. Trudeau responded by vilifying the peaceful protesters: “There is no place in our country for threats, violence or hatred.”

…..

Of course, Trudeau is not opposed to all protests: He recently boasted of his support for Black Lives Matter. Though he invoked martial law to respond to truckers honking horns, Trudeau had no problem with BLM protests that spun out of control into looting, arson and shootings. In Seattle, rioters allegedly sought to trap cops inside a police building they had set on fire; protesters also set up an “autonomous zone” that became the site of numerous murders. GoFundMe still allows you to donate to that group.

Trudeau claims that his crackdown on truckers is “about restoring confidence in our institutions.” But truckers have already gloriously succeeded in demonstrating the tyrannical nature of Trudeau’s regime. As Canadian columnist Andrew Lawton quipped Tuesday, “If you have to tell people you’re not trampling on their civil liberties, you’re trampling on their civil liberties.”

And here also on Canadian strongman Trudeau is the Editorial Board of the New York Post. A slice:

Fine: Send in law-enforcement — the Mounties, if need be — to clear out trucks snarling traffic. On Sunday, police told drivers on the Ambassador Bridge, a key link between Detroit and Canada, they’d be arrested and their vehicles subject to seizure if they refused to move. Many did, a few were arrested and the bridge soon reopened.

But freezing bank accounts? Blocking donations under an anti-terror law?

Trudeau had countless other options — starting with easing restrictions, now that the virus is petering out. (On Monday, Ontario premier Doug Ford announced that, with COVID waning, he’ll lift his requirement for people to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor spaces as of March 1.)

Yet the PM didn’t even try to talk with the protesters; he simply dismissed them as racists. And now he’s all-but-gone to DEFCON 1.

Trudeau, a Liberal, fancies himself a human-rights champion. Yet now rights groups are blasting him.

“The Emergencies Act can only be invoked when a situation ‘seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada’ & when the situation ‘cannot be effectively dealt with under any other law of Canada,’” tweeted the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“Governments regularly deal with difficult situations, and do so using powers granted to them by democratically elected representatives. Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties,” the group added.

The just criticisms of strongman Trudeau keep pouring in, such as this one – in the Telegraph – from Eric Kaufmann. A slice:

Contrast his combative posture towards the truckers with his gentle approach to protesters who would seem to share his philosophy. When Left-wing arsonists burned some 30 Catholic churches over a false claim that mass graves had been discovered near a former residential school for indigenous Canadians, Trudeau called the violence “understandable”. When indigenous protesters and their allies blocked rail lines and pipelines over a longer period than the trucker convoy, Trudeau patiently called for “dialogue and mutual respect”.

These double standards are rooted in ideology. Cultural liberalism upholds freedom of speech, due process, equal treatment for all and the scientific method. Cultural socialism, which Trudeau promotes, believes that the speech and heritage of historically dominant groups must be restricted so as not to offend minorities.

Wokeness is Trudeau’s moral compass, and that of an important section of the 60 per cent of English Canadians who vote for Left-wing parties like Trudeau’s Liberals or Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP).

I’m always happy to be a guest of Amy Jacobson and Dan Proft.

Eric Boehm is looking forward to the mid-term elections. A slice:

It takes a lot to make a libertarian look forward to the next election.

Like, say, two years of miserable government mandates ignored by some of the very people imposing them. Like watching over 70,000 maskless adults (and many celebrities) partying at a major sporting event in a city where children are required to wear medical-grade masks to school and keep them on while playing sports. Like imposing border controls on immigration and travel meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, and then keeping them in place (with no off-ramp) long after the virus is spreading here.

For once, we can be thankful that another election season is already upon us since politics is the last realm where the pandemic is dominating decision-making. The economy emerged from the omicron wave in better shape than expected. Sunday’s Super Bowl was the latest signal that lots of Americans are done with the health theatrics of the past two years. But even the political class’ commitment to COVID policy is wavering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and President Joe Biden might be refusing to offer much hope that COVID-related mandates should be lifted soon, but they are increasingly being undone by rank-and-file Democrats who are looking at favorability ratings that are falling nearly as fast as COVID case counts.

Jeffrey Tucker asks: ‘Are they finally admitting natural immunity?’

Madeleine Kearns applauds Novak Djokovic’s principles. A slice:

The reporter then asked whether he would be willing to forgo the opportunity to be the greatest player that ever picked up a racket (statistically) for this belief. Whether he would sacrifice participation in the French Open and Wimbledon, for instance. “Yes,” Djokovic said. “Because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title.”

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

One piece of advice for the @CDCDirector: never lie. Since there is evidence that covid recovery provides strong immunity and that the vax does not stop transmission, say so. Don’t support executive orders for vax mandates premised on lies.

Lou Saverio-Eastman celebrates Norway. A slice:

Now the Norwegian government has added a new reason to visit this region of the Scandinavian Peninsula. On February 12, 2022 Norway has completely opened their borders to all tourists and lifted all travel restrictions, face masking, social distancing, quarantining, and vaccination requirements throughout the country (with the exception of Svalbard.)

Could this be the beginning of a domino effect across the globe? One would certainly hope so.

Charles Oliver reports what has become an almost daily occurrence – namely, the unmasking of instances of Covidocratic hypocrisy.

Covidocratic tyranny continues in France.

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