The Second World War fascinates me, in large part because all four of my grandparents suffered through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, from 1940 to 1945.
My grandfather was also a prisoner of war in a German camp. He returned to the Netherlands in 1945 as a mere shell of his former self, both physically and mentally. Some of his scars never healed; the kind, jovial, fun-loving practical jokester from the pre-war years was gone forever.
When the rights and freedoms of Canadians were abruptly trampled into the ground in early 2020, I could not help but notice there were some very real similarities to what the Dutch experienced for five ugly years: restrictions on meetings and gatherings, violations of religious freedom, pastors in jail, curfews, the censorship of ideas which the authorities deemed “wrong” or “false,” a host of new rules to make daily life miserable, and the ongoing public vilification of a minority as being responsible for society’s problems.
All manner of suffering and hardship were inflicted on people in the name of an ideology, an ideology to which everyone was required to pay lip service.
But surely we’re now in the clear in Canada, some might argue. We are no longer required to virtue-signal our allegiance to the government’s false claim that COVID-19 is as bad as the Spanish Flu of 1918, because mask mandates have lapsed. Federal government officials admitted publicly, in the context of Brian Peckford’s court action against travel restrictions that violated our Charter mobility rights, there was never any medical or scientific basis for barring uninjected Canadians from boarding airplanes.
Houses of worship are fully open, and no pastors are in jail … currently. Small businesses crippled by lockdowns appear to be making a come-back, save those that will never come back. The recent public inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act made it clear to reasonable Canadians there was no legal basis for declaring an inconvenient-but-peaceful protest in Ottawa to be a “national emergency.”
Many, though not all, of the unjustly dismissed employees are back to work, no longer punished for their legitimate decision to refuse an injection with a substance for which there is still no long-term safety data. Many Canadians regret their decision to surrender to unethical pressure to get injected with something that’s clearly not effective in stopping COVID transmission or illness. With growing evidence of vaccine harms and vaccine deaths, many double-injected Canadians plan to refuse a third shot if the authorities mandate it.
Indeed, Canada is in better shape than it was 12 months ago, or 24 months ago.
But the lack of remorse and the unwillingness to accept responsibility on the part of most politicians and health bureaucrats is disconcerting. So is the unwillingness of many Canadians to take a hard and honest look at the harms caused by lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
We are one successful round of political fearmongering away from losing our rights and freedoms all over again. Federal legislation to extend the power of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over Canadians’ podcasts and YouTube videos is ominous. Talk of banning and punishing “hate” speech (which is speech woke progressives hate) and “disinformation” (excluding government disinformation, of course) is ominous, and very much in line with the rationale that all repressive regimes use to justify censorship: “we need to protect the public from dangerous ideas.”
The forced imposition of the woke ideology of “diversity, equity, inclusion” (good things when properly understood, but dangerous slogans when abused) is infecting universities, schools, corporations and government bodies at an alarming rate.
If lockdowns, travel restrictions and discrimination against the uninjected minority do not make a comeback, we likely still face further aggressive assaults on our Charter freedoms in the not-too-distant future.
This current lull, between the recent violations of our Charter freedoms (2020-2022) and others that may be forthcoming in 2023, makes me think of the Phony War that took place from September 1939 to May 1940.
After Hitler and Stalin sent their respective armies into Poland in September 1939, both France and Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. But virtually no fighting took place during the next eight months, until the Nazis successfully invaded and conquered the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and France in May of 1940. Hence the term “Phony War” to describe those eight months of “formal war” with almost no military activity. It seems Canada’s federal and provincial governments are not willing to reimpose lockdowns at this time. But the spirit of authoritarianism is alive and well in the hearts and minds of most politicians and their G20-attending fellow travellers, pointing to grave dangers in 2023.
So, what to do?
Pro-freedom Canadians need to continue spreading truth to open-minded friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members. Those who cherish a free and prosperous society must continue communicating with our MPs and our provincial politicians, even if our message sometimes falls on deaf ears.
Last but not least, those who appreciate the free society and the rule of law need to donate more generously than ever before to the organizations whose mission and purpose consists of defending our Charter rights and freedoms. Many worthy groups exist, some of them registered charities, others not, which deserve our sacrificial support.
I take inspiration daily from the heroes of the Dutch resistance who risked their own lives by hiding Jews, thereby saving Jews from being deported to their deaths in Germany. For five long and dark years, the Dutch resistance continued to undermine the Nazi occupation in many ways, for example by forging ration cards to obtain food for those in hiding, and by spreading what the authorities deemed to be “disinformation” about the inevitable victory for freedom.
Those who resisted Nazi tyranny were on the losing side for five years, until they won. Their courage, determination and persistence are worth emulating, even if our own present circumstances in Canada, while depressing, are far less dire and dangerous.