The following is a Letter to the Editor printed in the Feb. 16 edition of the Minden Times.
There is policing and then there’s policing
To the Editor,
Do Canadian police forces respond similarly or differently to right versus left social movement protests, and civil disobedience?
Many large trucks have effectively shut down central Ottawa and been supported elsewhere. Initially the vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers was the sole issue. The movement was quickly and cleverly co-opted by a far right anti-government agenda aided by ex-RCMP and military strategists, and south of the border funding.
Canadian media has closely followed police response to the occupations:
“RCMP and CSIS view a number of activist activities – particularly civil disobedience – as forms of attack. Blocking access to roads or buildings are framed as violence, depicting pacifists as national security threats.” (The Narwhal)
“More than 1,100 people were arrested when thousands of police cracked down on protesters. An alarming number of incidents of illegal arrests, detentions and police brutality.” (CBC)
RCMP deployed surveillance, militarized police patrols, helicopters, drones, heat-sensing cameras and a “media exclusion zone.” Assault rifles were hidden on approach because the “optics” of the weapons were “not good.” Children and elderly could be arrested. “No exception, everyone will be arrested in the area,” necessary for “sterilizing [the] site.” Instructions to “use as much violence as you want” and that “lethal overwatch” (deadly force approval) is required” were issued. (The Guardian)
Wait, my mistake! The above speak to police response to left social movements and protests as follows: old growth forests in B.C., the G20 in Toronto, and the peaceful Wet’suwet’en Nation opposing a pipeline through their unceded territory.
Trucker protest coverage appears below:
It was (an injunction initiated by) a 21-year-old resident … who stopped the constant blaring of truck horns, not the Ottawa mayor or the police. (CTV)
“…there are illegal activities taking place … that violate both Criminal Code and provincial laws,” RCMP. (CTV)
Alberta RCMP referred to soft enforcement including ticketing, “you can’t arrest your way out of the choices that people are making.” (CBC)
Not convinced? Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam has the final word: “If it was a First Nation standoff or blockade, I guarantee you the RCMP would have been in there in the first hour” (Toronto Star).