Canada is under attack. As the occupation of our nation’s capital by a loose alliance of anti-government activists, anti-vaxxers and hatred tourists enters its second week, it’s become increasingly clear they’re not going to leave without a fight.

And while the number of people participating in the occupation has steadily dwindled, they have attracted a powerful new ally: Trumpworld. Whether it’s Trump himself calling Justin Trudeau a “far-left lunatic” or his acolytes, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson and Jack Posobiec, whipping up their own frenzied followers, it’s clear there’s an organized push underway to undermine the Canadian government and invade our politics.

It’s time for Trudeau to push back.

Yes, he’s recovering from COVID-19, which explains his recent absence in — and from — Ottawa. But he needs to take control of this situation before it deteriorates even further. He’s clearly not going to get any help from the Ottawa police department, which has effectively surrendered the city to the freedom convoyers, and it’s unlikely Doug Ford (who faces an election in a few months and the risk of a split in his vote with Randy Hillier’s far-right Ontario First Party) is going to ride to the rescue here.

That leaves the federal government as the last line of defence standing between an emboldened far-right fringe and our democratic institutions.

That fringe is only going to get bolder. While the GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $10 million in their name has been kiboshed, a new flood of cash is pouring in from sources both inside and outside our borders. As my colleague Sandy Garossino laid out in a recent piece, the volume of money at work here reeks of Trumpworld fuckery.

“Any Canadian fundraiser will tell you this number is impossible to achieve organically within Canada. This group is not a registered charity, non-profit or even a trucking organization. Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly is on record saying there is significant influence and money pouring in from the United States,” Garossino says.

If Trudeau needs some inspiration here, he need only look to his father and how he handled the FLQ crisis in 1970. When the Front de libération du Québec kidnapped a British diplomat and Quebec’s deputy premier from their Montreal homes, Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act when it became clear the municipal and provincial governments couldn’t respond.

And when reporters asked how far he was willing to go, he delivered his famous response: “Just watch me.”

Opinion: As the occupation of our nation’s capital by a loose alliance of anti-government activists, anti-vaxxers and hatred tourists enters its second week, it’s become clear they’re not going to leave without a fight, writes columnist @maxfawcett.

We have been fortunate not to see any extreme violence in Ottawa yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Invoking the Emergencies Act, the 1988 replacement for the War Measures Act, seems unnecessary at this point. But maybe it’s time for Trudeau to engage more directly with the protesters and show Canadians the people occupying downtown Ottawa aren’t the ones in charge.

Here, too, he can channel his father and his display of defiant courage at a 1968 St. Jean Baptiste day celebration in Montreal. While many of the other assembled dignitaries and politicians ran for shelter when separatists started pelting their balcony with rocks and bottles, Trudeau stood his ground. The message was clear: I’m not going anywhere, and you can’t intimidate me.

Canadians need to see and hear that same message from their prime minister right now. Conservatives and their enablers in the mainstream media would surely portray any show of force or resolve as a provocation to violence and an insult to the protesters. Let them.

And when the rocks and bottles start raining down on our prime minister, let them defend that display of lawlessness and violence. Let it colour the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race and define the candidates who intend to run in it. The rest of Canada should not forget their behaviour here or who they chose to stand next to and support.

With the right message and the right leadership, the occupation of Ottawa can end. And when it’s over, we need to take full stock of who was really behind it — and what they wanted to achieve.

Few Canadians want to see our politics become as polarized and toxic as America’s have become under Donald Trump. But as the last week has shown, that process is already well underway. Whether the Conservative Party of Canada chooses to fight back against that incursion or surrender to the short-term advantages it offers them is still an open question.

But it’s time for Trudeau to end the siege on our capital — and start the inquiry into how it happened.

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I think that in many ways he has tried not to be his father. Do you think Pierre would have bought a pipeline to buoy Albertans? Likely not, not in a million years. And yet the reaction from many Albertans has largely been the same. He's been demonized. He's been personally attacked. And his life has been threatened. I can't for the life of me think of anything that he's said as being divisive. And yet Ms. Bergen repeated that in the House just the other day. He's divisive. And Pierre Poillievre is not? Is hers a childish taunt, or straight from the master narcissist's playbook? Either way, words matter and there should be consequences for spewing this crap, and not only apologizing for, but actively egging-on extremists who in their heart of hearts actually don't believe in our democracy.

Trudeau needs to come to terms with the fact he and his party is not and never will be liked in Alberta and half of Saskatchewan. Once he does, then he may find it easier to give up appeasing the conservative oil industry and the right wing nutters and truly start electrifying the domestic economy. While he's at it, he could quietly create tens of thousands in clean energy and climate adaptation specifically in Alberta and let the employed and the economist pundits speak for themselves.

"... tens of thousands of jobs ..."

How I wish there was an edit function in these comment sections.

The truckers and their colleagues want the freedom to infect me, something that may cause my demise. Do they not understand this?

Denial is a powerful brand of ear plugs and an effective tranquilizer for susceptible masses. Tribalism reinforces all that.

Not to mention their mothers, grandmothers and children.
They claim they'll "win by numbers." On that score, they've already lost. The entire population of truckers amounts to some 302,000 individuals -- while seniors alone make up a voting force 6 million strong.
Their answer to seniors, who've been essentially "locked in for their own protection" for nearly two years now, has been, "If you're afraid, go lock yourself up for your own self-protection." We already did that: because we knew full well that able-bodied young yahoos would be triaged in to the best hospital care available when they got sick, while we'd be dubbed "not suitable candidates."
At this point, the anti-jabbers should in solidarity with their misinformed fellows step up and pay the cost of their treatment ... and restitution for all those who've lost family members because of their impact on healthcare resources. If they wanted to do something for freedom, how about shouting out for freedom from being infected by yahoos who believe everything that comes across their right-wing nonsense feeds?
At this point, those without vaccine passports have been holding the entire country hostage, as they disproportionately spread the disease and occupy hospitals receiving treatments they've made unavailable to others.