Kevin Geenen is a former Conservative Party of Canada staffer and third-year student at the University of Ottawa.
After almost three weeks of disruptions, the rail blockade in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs near Belleville, Ontario, was finally dismantled early Monday morning. It seemed that the #ShutDownCanada movement would finally come to an end. Right? Wrong.
The protestors are instead using the arrests to inflame the movement. Monday evening protestors near Hamilton blocked tracks leading to the cancellation of GO Train service to Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Hamilton, and West Harbour stations impacting thousands of GTA commuters.
Protestors near Caledonia have blocked a section of Highway 6.
In British Columbia, there are new protests popping up yet again on rail tracks, at the Port of Vancouver, and at the BC legislature.
There have been reports of rail blockades in Quebec and Saskatchewan as well.
It seems that the whole country is in political turmoil. And it is Trudeau who has allowed the situation to become so bad. When the blockades first started Trudeau was on a trip pandering to foreign politicians for a seat on the United Nations Security Council even though the United Nations is becoming an increasingly irrelevant entity.
When Trudeau should have been at home dealing with the protestors and directing the RCMP he was abroad shaking hands with the anti-gay Prime Minister of Senegal and bowing to Iranian regime officials who are responsible for the deaths of 57 Canadians on Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.
Once Trudeau finally spoke about the blockades it was only to inform the Canadian public that there was essentially nothing he could do because “we are not the kind of country where politicians get to tell the police what to do.”
Never mind the fact that the RCMP is actually under the authority of Public Safety Minister Bill Blair whose boss just so happens to be Trudeau.
In the early days of the blockades Trudeau wouldn’t even call them what they are: illegal. Instead, Trudeau used the blockades as an opportunity to talk about freedom of speech and how we must listen to opposing views. Trudeau then quickly forgot his words and shut Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer out of a meeting for daring to suggest that the rule of law must be upheld.
Something else that Trudeau and the radical left has trouble understanding is that the freedom to protest does not give one the right to do whatever one wants. Freedom to protest does not allow one to participate in illegal acts such as shutting down an entire railway corridor.
And yet Trudeau continued to pander to these environmental extremists, insisting that dialogue, not force, was the solution. And so, while CN laid off 450 workers and VIA Rail laid off 1,000 workers and while communities began experiencing propane shortages, Trudeau’s ministers were busy meeting with protestors to attempt “dialogue”.
What was the result of this dialogue? Nothing. Just blockades that continued to stand and Indigenous leaders that continued to issue ultimatums to the federal government. Let’s be honest, these protestors will only ever be happy once they get their way. They want to cancel the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a pipeline that has been approved by all 20 First Nation’s councils along its route, and will stop at nothing until they get what they want.
Trudeau’s weak stance on this issue has simply shown protestors that it is okay to block rail lines, highways and bridges. Trudeau is a juggler. He pretends to be on everyone’s side. He pretends to care about reconciliation by emphasizing dialogue between the government and First Nations. And he pretends to care about the economy and public safety by finally calling on the blockades to come down after nearly three weeks of unsuccessful “dialogue”.
Trudeau’s hesitation is also to blame for the cancellation of Teck Resources Frontier oil sands mine. The project was cancelled due to the uncertainty of the political climate perpetuated by the #ShutDownCanada blockades and Trudeau’s decision to let the project’s proposal sit on his desk since July without making a decision on the matter.
The only thing that Trudeau has succeeded in doing is making everybody angry at him. The thousands of people, including First Nation’s people, who won’t have jobs because of the Teck Frontier cancellation are not happy. The small business owners losing money because of the rail blockades are not happy. And the #ShutDownCanada protestors certainly aren’t happy with Trudeau (and probably won’t be until every energy project in the country is shut down).
In seeking to please everyone, Trudeau once again has pleased no one. And it leaves one wondering what he’s actually prepared to take a stand on.
Can’t comment on NewsClick’s China link, respect media freedom: US
The US government has seen reports of NewsClick’s alleged links to China and is aware of concerns around it though it can’t independently comment on the veracity of those claims. But, as a general principle, the US continues to urge Indian government as well other governments across the world to respect the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression online and offline.
At a regular State Department briefing on Tuesday, when asked about the raids on the proprietors, staffers and contributors of NewsClick and a New York Times report that the news website was a part of a Chinese influence operation funded through an American businessman, State department‘s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said, “So we are aware of those concerns and have seen that reporting about this outlet’s ties to the PRC (People’s Republic of China), but we can’t comment yet on the veracity of those claims.”
Patel added that, separately, the US strongly supported “the robust role of the media globally, including social media, in a vibrant and free democracy”.
“We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian Government, with countries around the world, through our diplomatic engagements that are, of course, at the core of our bilateral relationship. And we have urged the Indian Government, and have done so not just with India but other countries as well, about the importance of respecting the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression both online and offline.”
Patel, however, said that he did not have any additional information about “this particular circumstance or any of the underlying issues that may or may not be related to this outlet”.
India’s Latest Media Arrests Put Washington in an Awkward Spot
(Bloomberg) — India’s latest media crackdown puts the US in an awkward position as it seeks to balance promotion of human rights with courting New Delhi to counter the influence of China.
Police in the South Asian country’s capital arrested the editor-in-chief and another employee of online newspaper NewsClick Tuesday under sweeping anti-terrorism laws. Authorities also raided the offices of the publication, without giving a reason.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been targeting critical independent media since he took office in 2014. NewsClick came to prominence in 2021 for its extensive coverage of farmer protests against government plans to liberalize agriculture. India has previously accused the media organization of having funding ties to China, which it denies.
For Arati Jerath, a New Delhi-based political analyst, the arrests create a challenge for Washington.
“The US does not want to get too involved in India’s domestic affairs,” she said. “They are looking at India through a geopolitical prism and with China in the picture, India is a strategic partner.”
US Department of State spokesman Vedant Patel said he couldn’t comment yet on claims NewsClick has ties to China.
Patel also stressed the importance of press freedom globally. “We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian government, with countries around the world,” he told reporters in Washington.
India has often argued its democracy and vibrant press are a counterpoint to China with its one-party state and heavily controlled media. The US frequently finds itself torn between its efforts to defend human rights around the world and the pragmatic need to partner with governments accused of rights abuses.
India’s government has often used its anti-terrorism law to intimidate and punish journalists. The law, which doesn’t allow for bail, empowers the police to detain suspects for years without leveling official charges.
India has also scrutinized many mobile app and technology companies for alleged links to China after a Himalayan border clash between New Delhi and Beijing in 2020.
In 2021, authorities raided NewsClick’s office and the homes of seven staff members for what they described as improper foreign investments. Several of them were questioned and NewsClick called the allegations “misleading, unfounded and without basis in fact or law.”
In August, the New York Times cited NewsClick as an organization allegedly being used for Chinese propaganda overseas. India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said at the time the media outlet was being funded by Beijing.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Thakur said he didn’t need to justify the raids. “If someone has done something wrong, the investigative agencies will work on it,” he said.
NewClick’s human resources head Amit Chakravarty was also arrested. Several employees’ laptops and mobile phones were seized. Local media reported at least 30 premises were raided, including the homes of six NewsClick reporters.
India fell to 161st of 180 countries and territories in a press freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy group, this year. In February, authorities raided the BBC’s offices in New Delhi, weeks after the British broadcaster aired a documentary about Modi’s role in 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat.
Last year, Mohammad Zubair, a journalist running a fact-checking website, Alt News, was arrested after highlighting anti-Islamic comments made by former BJP officials.
The Press Club of India expressed concern about the arrests and raid, saying it wants the government to explain its actions. The group plans to protest the detentions at a march Wednesday.
Jerath, the analyst, questioned India’s move to arrest the people under the terrorism law without providing details or evidence.
“You have already labeled them as terrorists,” she said.
(Updates with details on the crackdown. An earlier story corrected paragraph 11 to show authorities raided the homes of seven NewsClick staff members in 2021.)
What is NewsClick? A look at India’s media crackdown – Al Jazeera English
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