The Freedom Convoy Has Made Its Point

January 31, 2022 Updated: January 31, 2022

Commentary

Dear Freedom Convoy: It’s time to go home. Declare victory and withdraw from the Heart of Darkness. The protest is over. And it worked.

I know, I know. Justin Trudeau is still prime minister and still annoying. But seriously, think about what might have been done and what was instead.

A lot could have gone wrong. The protest could have been dominated by people who were bigoted, unruly, or both, and wrought their cause lasting harm. Instead, there were a couple of isolated incidents, quickly repudiated, not repeated, and blown out of proportion by critics who embarrassed themselves by calling a flag and a sign on a Terry Fox statue desecration, or claiming a swastika scrawled on a flag meant the Nuremberg Rally, not a few overheated people thinking Trudeau is a fascist, and so on.

One prominent person not inherently friendly to you tweeted Jan. 31: “No physical violence, no government buildings stormed …. I feared that this was gonna be a Canadian Jan. 6th. Glad I was wrong.” I’m glad he had the clarity to say it. And yes, it’s something to be proud of. Not because most of you had any inclination to run amok, but because any large protest attracts some strange people, and they could have gotten out of hand.

Instead, a lot went right. You may be frustrated at the abuse, especially given the disorder and extremism at other protests that doesn’t inspire a “two minute hate” from the legacy media. Like actually tearing down statues. But these folks didn’t show you up, regardless of how often they retweet one another. Instead, in jiu jitsu fashion you came and behaved, and the MSM threw themselves to the floor in a tantrum that did not win friends or influence people. You showed them up, as you’ve long wanted to.

As for Trudeau, he ducked out and people saw it. As many also saw, including some skeptics, that the convoy was mostly composed of and representative of a large, polite, Canadian majority whose patience is exhausted. They heard a chorus amounting to “Sexist, racist, KKK, trucker’s convoy go away,” but most weren’t persuaded.

For proof that all the upturned noses were pointing the wrong way, a new Angus Reid poll finds a small “fringe,” 54 percent, of Canadians now want all COVID restrictions to end, up 15 percent this month alone. You don’t get all the credit. But you get a lot. You said what many people were thinking and emboldened them to say it too, across Canada and around the world. What more could you ask?

Answer: A graceful exit. Don’t blow it now. You can’t get rid of the PM by coming to Ottawa in large numbers and saying he stinks until you start to. Our system doesn’t work that way and shouldn’t, because even if Saint Francis were PM there’d be thousands of people angrily convinced he was for the birds, for reasons ranging from convincing to plausible to unabashedly insane.

If you prolong the protest, it will either fizzle out or explode. And for what? Ottawa mayor Jim Watson just said, “Quite frankly, [residents] feel they’re prisoners in their own home” and called on the police “to have a serious discussion about moving these people on.” Pfui. But don’t stay until you vindicate him. Instead heed the immortal words of Calvin Coolidge, America’s last genuinely conservative president, “In my experience, it is best to leave while they still want you.”

Speaking of Coolidge, and history, when you go home you should study up on our political system. One of my former colleagues brushed off the protest, saying you were no more likely to vote than the grunge rent-a-mob kids at climate protests. Again, pfui. But it is true that a lot of you didn’t have a very clear idea how to achieve your goals.

Which is OK. Most people weren’t high school debaters (I was, obviously) and they don’t think less of you because you didn’t descend on Ottawa ready to put it into a deep sleep with polished musings about the Notwithstanding clause. But now let me insist, as a historian and dissenting member of the chattering class, that our real and ancient constitution is a thing of beauty worth understanding precisely because it is worth preserving and, indeed, rescuing from its current dilapidated condition. And that’s the next task.

We the People made Magna Carta. I don’t care where your biological ancestors were in 1215; your political ancestors were at Runnymede. And from Magna Carta came parliament, with an elected legislature whose job was not to govern but to control the executive. This system isn’t working, and needs to.

So you’ve made the case for freedom and shown up the mockers. It’s time to bring the victory home, and carry on with dignity and focus.

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

John Robson
John Robson is a documentary filmmaker, National Post columnist, contributing editor to the Dorchester Review, and executive director of the Climate Discussion Nexus. His most recent documentary is “The Environment: A True Story.”