Anthony Housefather is a Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Mount Royal, on the island of Montreal.
He recently sent out an email to those on his list, of which I am not one. My friend, Steve, sent it for me to see, and possibly craft a response.
Housefather’s email is long; it addresses many issues, but it is his statement on the current protests in Ottawa that needed the response. The pertinent portion of it is found here:
Here is my response to his letter.
Your email regarding the truckers and the protests has hit a note of discord among many Canadians who have seen it – and I would like to respond.
The protests in Ottawa are neither illegal nor a blockade. You have chosen to lie in every word of your statement.
It should be noted that the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge was a separate protest and is not affiliated with the Convoy. You and your colleagues have lumped them together in an unfair, and inaccurate portrait of what the original Convoy was all about.
While the initial days and nights of the peaceful protest in downtown Ottawa were filled with honking and fireworks, the truckers have responded to complaints by silencing their horns at a reasonable time in the evening; they have, instead, quieted to a continuous, but respectful protest.
You and your colleagues have also continued to accuse the truckers of “harassing citizens, journalists, and health care workers,” and it must be pointed out to you (though I suspect you already know) that these acts are not coming from the Convoy or anyone associated with it.
In fact, your boss and your colleagues in the Liberal Party have badly mischaracterized the protesters, from the beginning of this gathering on January 29th – and even when the truckers began to move a week earlier.
You know by now, Mr. Housefather, that there are always bad actors who show up to any large gathering, especially where there is media attention. Those provocateurs were present that first weekend, waving flags with hateful symbols on them, behaving in destructive and disrespectful ways, and rather than resort to the truth, your party chose to smear the peaceful protesters as hateful and racist.
The same bad actors returned this past weekend, holding signs such as the one in the photo below, on which a swastika was drawn.
Another counter-protester was seen holding this sign:
This is not the side of the truckers – it is the side of people who have listened to your party’s “leader,” who has lit an inferno of hate against Canadians choosing their Charter rights of bodily autonomy. Your boss has incited this. And you have stayed silent in condemning the division he has created.
You know better. Your party knows better. But your party’s lack of leadership – from the beginning even before the Convoy arrived in Ottawa – has been glaring, your leader has chosen divisive, disparaging rhetoric and has refused to even sit down and listen to what the protesters are asking for.
The truckers would leave within the hour after speaking with someone from the government to express the concerns of the Canadians they represent. But instead, your party has chosen not to give them the time of day.
It infuriates me to read the lies you continue to perpetuate, defaming the protesters with the specious accusations of having stolen from food banks. The prime minister first made that statement (and continues to do so), and the media ran with it. Your repeating it, even after it has been debunked, is atrocious. It infuriates me because those truckers are good people – every last one of them – and there was absolutely NO stealing from anyone, on their part.
Rather, they were the ones setting up tables of food, drinks, and supplies for any and all in the area who were in need. There are photos and videos to attest to this FACT, and your lies have only served to divide the country even more.
And you know this, Mr. Housefather. Instead, you’ve chosen the path of lies to try and justify your leader’s inaction in the face of his weakness and petulance.
Have you even watched any video from the scene? Have you talked to anyone personally? Have you even been to Ottawa since the truckers arrived?
No, Mr. Housefather, you have not; you haven’t been in the House of Commons personally for at least the last 19 days (the length of this protest so far), despite living a two-hour drive from Ottawa. You have, quite literally, phoned it in without any real experience with what is happening in the capital.
Without even personally witnessing what is going on, you have instead chosen to take up the chorus of your colleagues who have – despite being there – lied and defamed good people whose only goal was to travel to their country’s capital city in order to have peaceful talks with their government.
The government has let down not only the protesters, but the millions of Canadians who support them.
Is Canada tired of restrictions? Yes, but Canadians are more tired of being fed lies and false promises from a prime minister who has politicized this pandemic for his own personal and political gain.
Canadians are tired of the moving goalposts.
Canadians are tired of being a country under restrictions which no longer make any sense, scientifically or socially. The only people to whom these restrictions make sense are the politicians keeping them in place. Your party.
Canadians are tired of a prime minister whose one note is to push vaccinations which have been proven to be ineffective against the virus’s transmission. A prime minister who answers questions with one line: “get vaccinated.” And you, his loyal acolyte, parroting him.
A prime minister who, despite his obligation to represent ALL citizens, publicly smears the part of the population who disagree with his policies, calling them despicable names and echoing the language of one of the most hated men in history.
Canadians are tired of being in a country whose vaccination rate exceeds that of other countries whose citizens are freer than we are.
Canadians are tired of the feckless impotence of their government, stubbornly holding on to the last vestiges of this pandemic which has quieted to a shadow of its initial, deadly surge two years ago.
And your constituents, Mr. Housefather, rejoiced when you joined your Liberal colleagues, Joël Lightbound and Yves Robillard, in calling for an end to restrictions.
You might remember your words:
“But what I do agree with is that every level of government needs to effectively communicate with the population, what its plans are with respect to all restrictions, and needs to explain why they are there, and at what point they will be removed. And that is an important thing that all levels of government need to do.”
But when it came to putting your money where your mouth is, you chose to vote with your party against lifting the mandates, and were not even present in the House to join the debate afterward. Your brave colleague, Mr. Lightbound, showed he has the courage of his convictions and voted for the motion.
Your party, Mr. Housefather, is the only one capable of lifting the mandates it put in place. The truckers only want to be heard.
Instead, your leader initially hid, supposedly whisked away to hide in a “safe place,” though there was never any threat of violence – or manifestation thereof. He has steadfastly refused to even listen to their concerns, and is now pulling out the Emergencies Act to strongarm non-violent protesters. He is essentially bringing a tank to a sit-in.
How is that leadership? How can you sit in your house, Zoom into meetings, ignore the call of millions of Canadians who want their rights and freedoms restored, and then write this egregious collection of lies against the peaceful protesters standing up for Canadians? How can you continue to parrot “follow the science” when even your own health experts are saying the virus no longer requires the mandates in place?
And how can you send out an email like this one, filled with lies and rhetoric, talking points and propaganda, when you have absolutely no idea what is actually happening on the ground?
Instead of addressing the problem, you are only trying to put a bandaid on the gaping wound of the symptoms. Instead of addressing the core issue of freedom in this country, you and your party have exercised unprecedented and profoundly overreaching powers that will not do anything to improve your reputation – in Canada or around the world.
I am deeply disappointed in your personal approach to the protests – which are neither illegal nor a blockade. All you’ve chosen to do is lie about good people, many of whom drove the length of this country to talk to their government, only to be met with lack of leadership, a deaf ear, and the proverbial back of your hand to their faces.
Your party will not be able to hide from the fallout of your actions. History will not judge this time in our country’s governance with kindness. We are a laughingstock on the world stage, we are ashamed of our government, and your lies – in this email as well as in the times you do speak up in Parliament – make you complicit in this effort to keep the knee of the Liberal Party on the necks of Canadians.
You might want to think about speaking to an issue you have not fully examined. Just because you are a backbencher in the ruling party doesn’t mean you have to speak in unison with the rhetoric spewed by those in the front seats.
I don’t expect any amendments or adjustments to your email; after all, you are toeing the party line.
I did, however, want to express my anger and disappointment at the way your party has handled itself in these crises, and how you – personally – have shown that you are not an independent thinker, but one who feels the need to prop up his boss in every way; even if that means lying in order to gain favor with your leader.
Do better, Mr. Housefather. Be better.
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