Invoking the Emergencies Act – the most sweeping set of powers available to a Canadian prime minister, the act that replaced the War Measures Act – only confirms Justin Trudeau’s complete and utter failure at dealing with a positive, optimistic and peaceful grassroots movement.

This comes 18 days after he dismissed this movement as a “small fringe minority.” 

The Freedom Convoy will go down in history as one of the most powerful and effective protests our country has ever seen. It has inspired “Canadian-style” freedom convoys all over the world, overzealous rules are being removed and failed leaders are being replaced. 

Trudeau has been absent all weekend, hiding out somewhere, having closed-door meetings with no updates and showing no leadership whatsoever. This comes one week after a poll showing BOTH sides of the convoy blame Trudeau the most out of anyone for how the demonstrations have been handled.

Abacus Data.
Abacus Data.

After initially fanning the flames, smearing the truckers and sounding remarkably delusional and out of touch, Trudeau stepped back. He seemed to acknowledge he was making things worse, so he almost disappeared, waiting for someone else to solve the problem. Police, Mayor, Premier? 

This is where things get really interesting. One of the most remarkable things about the protests is the relaxed, almost supportive attitude of the police. Many seem simply unwilling to arrest or break up these protesters (even when they’ve crossed into civil disobedience).

This has clearly triggered Ottawa journalists. They are fuming and furious that the police aren’t cracking down, towing the trucks, issuing mass fines and arresting the protesters. They desperately want the police to do Trudeau’s dirty work and end this thing. 

Instead, we see many videos like this (that angered the journalists and led the Ontario Provincial Police to launch an investigation): 

The police are trying to de-escalate tensions, keep the peace. But also, culturally, they’re on the same side as the truckers.

They don’t want to arrest their friends – guys they play hockey with, people they go to church with, or went to high school with. They don’t want to stop people who are (rightly and bravely) standing up against unjust and illiberal laws, especially when public opinion has so sharply shifted. 

So suddenly Trudeau wakes up, realizes he’s lost control and that every day he’s absent is another day the protesters are emboldened and his supporters think he’s failed. So he leaks to the media that emergency measures are coming and that he will come out this afternoon swinging.

Unfortunately for Trudeau, his sweeping powers need to be enforced by someone. The police, the military, the towing companies have all to varying degrees thus far refused. Will issuing stronger, louder warnings in his grown-up voice change their minds?

Or will issuing *yet another* set of “temporary and emergency” powers (after two bloody years of “temporary and emergency” powers) simply expose a leader who is angry, out-of-touch and more interested in fortifying his own power than in doing what is right for Canada?

It’s a serious gamble, one that requires others to do the heavy lifting and be on the front line against peaceful protesters, families, blue collar workers, veterans and the diverse group of Canadians who want their freedoms back.

Final point here (aimed at those claiming law and order conservatives are hypocrites for supporting the convoy):

The rule of law is based on the principle that laws are just, equal and fair. Bad laws undermine the rule of law and need to be stopped. That’s what this is all about.