‘Forever be implicated’: Hamilton MP speaks out against politicians’ ‘Freedom Convoy’ encouragement


Published February 14, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Hamilton Centre MP Matthew Green is suggesting history will be unkind to his elected counterparts who have encouraged the members of the “Freedom Convoy.”

Green spoke out on his Twitter account on Monday afternoon, hours ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacting the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history. Trudeau made the move in response to the 18-day-long sieging of downtown Ottawa and blocking of critical instastructure by anti-democracy and anti-public health demonstrators.

In Green’s message, the New Democratic Party of Canada member of Parliament tagged Conservative Party of Canada interim leader Candice Bergen and suburban Ottawa MP Pierre Poilievre, who has said he wants to replace Trudeau as PM. Green also quote-tweeted a link to a news article about the RCMP arresting 11 people at the Coutts, Alta., border blockade after learning they allegedly had access to a “cache of firearms with a large quantity of ammunition.” The Coutts crossing has been blocked for a couple of weeks.

“Every elected politician across Canada who condoned and encouraged this nationalist extremism will forever be implicated in it,” Green wrote.

“This is not a subtweet @PierrePoilievre @CandiceBergenMP,” he added.

Along with occupying streets in the nation’s capital for more than two weeks, demonstrators have also held up truckers carrying goods across the border in Fort Erie, Sarnia and Windsor. Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency last Friday (Feb. 11), allowing police to begin clearing demonstrators who were on the road just off the Ambassador Bridge crossing between Windsor and Detroit. The crossing reportedly reopened fully late on Sunday night.

‘Unless you’ve flirted with fascists’

Over the weekend, Green said he was holding space for fellow Canadians whose pandemic frustration might have affected their choices whether to side with or sympathize with the convoy.

“I’m conscious of the need for a post COVID social recovery,” he wrote. “A lot of family, friends, and neighbours caught up in strongly held beliefs.

“I’ll hold space in my heart to revisit relationships that may have caused hurt.

“Unless you’ve flirted with fascists, then you’re on your own.”

Last Thursday, Bergen called for the blockades and Ottawa occupation to end. However, the Globe & Mail reported that 10 days earlier, Bergen wrote in an email that she was advising against opposing the convoy’s action.

“We need to turn this into the PM’s problem,” she wrote, just days before becoming interim leader after Durham MP Erin O’Toole was turfed by the party’s MPs.

Poilievre has met with Ottawa occupiers, according to pictures shared on his Twitter account. He has also used his social media accounts to collect voter information, saying he is aiming to replace Trudeau as PM. While he’s a candidate for the CPC leadership, Canada does not directly elect a prime minister.

Green, who was a Hamilton city councillor before running federally, has often been critical of Liberal Party of Canada policies. But he has also spoken up about far-right radicalization and violent rhetoric that has been directed at politicians, including Trudeau.

In July 2020, Green was one of the first MPs from outside of the Liberals to condemn Canadian Armed Forces reservist Corey Hurren’s Canada Day attack on the gates of Rideau Hall. Hurren, who was heavily armed, drove from Manitoba and crashed into a gate at Rideau Hall with plans to arrest Trudeau over COVID-19 restrictions. Most of those restrictions were actually put in place by provinces and territories.

Following the attack, Green shared a six-minute video on his Twitter account where he said such political violence was unacceptable, and expressed empathy for Trudeau and his family. The Trudeaus were not at Rideau Hall when Hurren, who now in prison on weapons convictions, attacked.

Act passed in Mulroney era

In the here and now, Trudeau said the Emergencies Act enactment will be limited in time, scope and geographical area. It is not being used to call in the military or to override the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

The act allows the federal government to override the provinces and authorize special temporary measures to ensure security during national emergencies. It was passed in 1988 under a Progressive Conservative government led by then-PM Brian Mulroney, and thus must be compatible with the constitutional rights enshrined in the Charter. The Charter was passed six years earlier, in 1982.

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