Oh, they care about rights again
No one wins, but particularly not the kids, when Canadian labour unions and political agitators start seeing dollar signs and opportunities after spending two years in a medically-induced coma.
Remember the sad and sordid pandemic tale of Canada’s Dollar Store Jimmy Hoffa?
I do, for I have long found the behaviours of one Jerry Dias, former head of the largest private sector union in Canada, Unifor, to be particularly fascinating. When he wasn’t doxxing blue-collar workers who crossed picket lines, or spending every week on the television cosplaying as some blue-collar working man of the people, he was putting out weaponized cringe like this, to help try and win elections for his friend Justin Trudeau (while further debasing the reputation of the thousands of Canadian legacy media members of whom he once represented).
I start with Jerry Dias because in the two-and-a-half years that preceded this column, the accomplishments of the Canadian labour movement, and the left-leaning politicians who so benefit from them, can be written about on the back of a cocktail napkin, for there have been so few.
Employers turned on employees.
Hospital admins turned on staff (and even the right for patients to pass away with dignity, and not cold and alone on Facetime).
Many provincial governments turned on schools, businesses, and places of worship; the federal government turned on travellers, truckers, federal employees, and separated families across borders both near and far.
We’re still counting the costs, but Canadians have been deeply harmed by mandates both mentally and physically. Some were even hurt by the vaccines themselves.
All throughout that human rights debacle, and all the additional gaslighting that accompanied it, teachers’ unions and the Unifors of the world toed the government line. Go along to get along. Don’t ask any questions, lest ye be cast out as a heretic. Keep up the mandates. Keep up the hygiene theatre. The cheques will keep coming, even if this stopped making a whole lot of sense a while ago . . .
Then Jerry Dias was popped for taking $50,000 from a rapid test supplier to promote the product to union employers.
And then came the Freedom Convoy, all those false cries of insurrection and terror, the eventual abuse of the Emergencies Act, and yet somehow, many of Canada’s self-styled equity activists and newly-minted progressive land-defender types remained silent (although some chose to openly cheer for those scenes of trampling and bank account freezing).
For many in the Western world who found themselves struggling with the logical incongruity of Covid policies, and anything that resembled China’s abhorrent and draconian ‘Covid zero’ response, that moment in time will always serve as a great awakening of sorts; not in a weird QAnon kind of way, but in the kind of way where one found themselves running through a kind of stream of consciousness on a daily basis, one that sounded a little bit like:
“The progressives in my life who talked a big game were the first to abandon those virtues and principles they’re always so quick to chastise others for. I can appreciate that many aren’t capable of weathering the militarized deployment of fear and propaganda, but why do they still think that my child is killing grandma by having a playdate with his friends? And how do they think the soggy piece of t-shirt on his face is actually keeping him healthy? Is that the prime minister calling me an extremist for not wanting to have him vaccinated yet until I see some real data that didn’t come from Pfizer? Do our leaders really have our best interests at heart, or are we just being managed by some amorphous blob of bureaucratic incompetence, and vast corporate, pharmaceutical interests? And why on earth is that person wearing an N95 outside and walking into traffic to avoid others? How is that any safer than Covid?”
And the school closures, God, the school closures; that irredeemable bit of institutional cowardice that will have children in Ontario, blue-state America, and parts of Asia playing from behind for decades to come . . .
Thank goodness, then, that there won’t be any disruptions this year in the one-time lockdown capital of North America. Because that would just be ridiculous. Surely no two sides could be that out-of-touch to pull a stunt that tosses kids out of school now. And surely all those discrimination-adjacent progressives who placed their moral compasses in medically-induced comas for the past two-and-a-half years won’t suddenly and shamelessly rediscover their passion for protest and human rights when it suits them, will they?
I’d say please don’t answer that. But we’re both here for the same reason, aren’t we?
Everything about this CUPE strike is wrong; disgracefully and embarrassingly so. And no side deserves to emerge from it unscathed.
If we’re to hold Jerry Dias up as a poster boy for the moral failings of the Covid industrial complex, and the institutional grift that continues to this day, Doug Ford and CUPE leadership shouldn’t be too far behind.
Written about extensively by yours truly, Ford remains the least-bad option for Ontarians, but that’s about as tepid a compliment as they come when your opposition happens to be a rogue’s gallery of mewling administrators and lifetime politicians whose only interaction with the real Ontario is when they glance out the peephole at the over-worked UberEats driver placing their $60 dinner on the doorstep.
Just don’t forget to leave that two-dollar tip.
Yes, Ontario, a swamp of special interests and ivory tower academia, with a hivemind for a press gallery, was always set up to fail when it came to pandemic restrictions. There were too many cooks in the kitchen, and often those cooks were sunshine list hospital admins who didn’t know how to staff or manage said hospitals, and whose bloated salaries were a drain on their own system at large, but they sure were talented at taking to Twitter or CP24 to pretend that we were all in this together and that everything was always Doug Ford’s fault.
Yet it was still Ford’s hand on the button. He closed schools — and far too often.
He closed parks.
He closed golf courses and ski hills.
He closed churches.
And he crushed gyms, restaurants, and most other forms of small business.
Yes, he had to win an election, and yes, he was being leveraged by all those aforementioned incompetents — and actual unwell ‘Covid zero’ academics and busybody hobbyists — but it never had to go that bad. There was so much pointless bartering with professional activists who were already angry and scared. The pandemic didn’t make them that way, if anything, it only sharpened their skills.
Yet he tried and tried again to strike some sort of impossible balance; even ginning up a fictional friendship with the Prime Minister of Canada for political purposes. And boy, how quickly that friendship dissolved.
In the curious case of Trudeau believing that he has any right to the moral high ground, he’d kindly ask that you pay no attention to the re-badged War Measures Act behind the curtain, or how certain “undermined” fundamental rights and freedoms of workers can be forgiven when they’re only keeping those Canadians from work, or crossing the border, or from getting on a plane to visit a dying relative, or enrolling their many-times-over Covid-recovered child in winter sports.
Then it’s O.K., and if you take any issue with any of the hypocrisy behind this whole pathetic show of solidarity there’s always a faux-equity, legacy media activist bro at the ready to really drive home the good word of a Liberal establishment that appears to have stopped giving a damn about fundamental rights on the very day they first took office. (Remember all those promises to fix the water on Indigenous reserves?)
By Ling’s own logic, by not standing and objecting in February of 2022, why should this use of the Notwithstanding clause, which is literally in the Charter (sorry, Mark Gerretsen), be met with anything but bemusement by exhausted parents and professionals who watched the known world turn on them in an instant, ignore the greater costs to children and society, and for which they’ve still yet to receive an apology for?
Yet even as Canada’s haughty, detached commentariat deals in the sort of absolutes that have helped them fall for arson hoaxes and fake insurrections, many of us lowly “yobs,” whom they so like to look down upon, still find ourselves uncomfortable with Ford’s actions. We’re not the ones normalizing the more-frequent use of extraordinary government powers; governments are.
The Notwithstanding clause may be an uncontroversial legal tool to some, and one that is frequently used in Quebec (to zero Liberal fanfare, of course), but surely there could have been some other path to resolution here other than the hammer? But it’s not as if CUPE has acted in good faith.
Lost in the media log-rolling for the collective cause and the chanting outside of Queen’s Park (where there has been a convenient lack of forensic accounting into some dubious signs and multiple symbols of communist oppression) have been the CUPE demands themselves.
That’s not a serious negotiating position; that’s quasi-collective-bargaining extortion, and at a time when kids need an uninterrupted school year more than union heads need the leverage.
With scenes of approved establishment protest surely set to spread in the days to come, this has become yet another instance for Ford where it didn’t have to get this bad. In burning down the forest to starve an adversarial union on the march, professional activist bluster has carried little fires everywhere. With fellow comrades now seeing dollar signs, only quick and serious negotiations can spare the province from the indignity of wildcat strikes, carried out by lesser versions of Jerry Dias who finally fancy themselves ready for the limelight.
If the cardinal sin of our entire pandemic response belonged to the adults who placed their hopes, fears, and interests before those of their children for the first time in the recorded history of our collective humanity, then how unfortunate it is to see that even the most recent of history can rhyme — if not outright repeat itself.
Such an approach didn't work then, and it sure as heck won’t work now.
It’s time to find common ground, even where it once shifted below our feet, and even where those who took leave of their humanity and their senses now march to the beat of that same old song and dance not heard since before that ill-fated winter of 2020.
After two-and-a-half years of mummer’s farce, I cannot imagine the cognitive dissonance required to believe that any of them are marching on the side of all that is light and good, when at the moment, all around Ontario is grey.
And once again, they decided to leave the kids at home.
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Quite possibly your most acceptable piece yet. Betty's tweet (which I hadn't seen until now) is profoundly good.
There is only one answer to this, and that is school choice with vouchers. Public education in Canada started with the most noble of intentions, but like most things in government, has become a cancer that is terminal. On top of all of this is the pathetic job they are doing with our kids, and their complete inefficiency. It's not going to get any better, it will only get worse. These unions act as if they are in a struggle with the government, when in reality, they are just blackmailing the taxpayers. There is no place for unions in the public sector and we need to find ways around them before they bankrupt us.