Canada is a nation of laws, a nation with courts and governance, and a nation which at times of unrest, law-breaking, crisis and uncertainty, looks particularly to its prime minister for leadership.
Today, Canada finds itself slipping into lawlessness with law-enforcement increasingly reduced to impotence by paralyzed political leadership.
Cases in point: British Columbia MLAs being denied entry to the provincial legislature; intersections in Toronto faced with clogging; and Canada’s historic economic life-blood rail system stuttering to a halt, all due to expanding solidarity protests relating to the ongoing dispute over a B.C. pipeline.
As the nation slid off the rails this week (literally), where was the prime minister? He was touring Africa in pursuit of a shiny UN trinket — and a temporary one at that.
His response to the Canadian distress? From Africa, Trudeau called for meaningful talks on the growing crisis, delegating actual speaking parts on home soil Transport Minister Marc Garneau, whose contribution consisted primarily of declaring that while blocking rail lines is unlawful, it’s not Ottawa’s responsibility to sort things out. That, claimed the minister, falls on provincial governments.
With respect to Garneau, he’s not who Canadians expect to lead them to a speedy resolution to chaos — that responsibility rests on the shoulders of the prime minister.
It is Trudeau who should be addressing B.C. hereditary chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline and directing attention to the British Columbia Supreme Court decision that empowers the RCMP to end the blocking of pipeline construction and gives them powers of arrest for those who refuse to disperse.
Trudeau might choose to highlight elected chiefs and councils of the Wet’suwet’en bands who are in agreement with Coastal GasLink and who have signed documentation in that regard, recognizing economic benefits which will follow.
The prime minister of Canada has considerable power and influence and should be engaging all available options to end what is a multi-pronged assault on public well-being, as well as on the economic stability of this nation — an assault which has grown well past legal tolerance for public protest.
On Friday, Trudeau was pursuing face time at a security conference in Munich, after which he was to jet to Barbados for the Caricom Conference with heads of Caribbean governments.
His place is in Canada. If rule-by-mob isn’t effectively countered it will again be on display whenever an opportunity presents.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.