Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

That’s certainly how many Canadians responded to a clip in which American podcaster Joe Rogan described their country as “communist,” one that had the hashtag #CommunistCanada trending over the weekend. “Today in Communist Canada, we were permitted to travel in a government-allocated vehicle to a government-approved beach,” one user tweeted. “The sand and rocks were all government issue, and we were properly searched and questioned beforehand. Pravda!”

Canada, of course, is as much a Communist country as Rogan is a reliable source of information. He even acknowledged as much in his comments, saying, “I have zero understanding of their system. I never looked into it at all.” But that didn’t stop him from insinuating that Canada’s COVID-19 response was somehow informed by Justin Trudeau’s supposedly corrupt impulses.

“I would like to see where the money is coming from,” he said. “Why do you want everybody to get injected every four months? We don’t need that anymore. You can’t even get into Canada unless you’re vaccinated.”

Rogan doesn’t seem to know much about his own country, either, given that foreign nationals can’t get into it unless they’re fully vaccinated. But this complete absence of facts and evidence in his remarks, which included the now-familiar description of Trudeau as a “dictator,” didn’t deter the Toronto Sun from treating it as a legitimate news story. In a video, columnist Brian Lilley suggested that while he “didn’t love” seeing elected officials get called dictators, he “gets where they’re coming from. Trudeau has a tendency to use dictatorial measures.”

What, exactly, is Lilley referring to here? Why, the Emergencies Act, of course — the invocation of which was voted on in Parliament and received the support of three different parties, including the governing Liberals. You’d need to have the same level of understanding of Canada’s system of government as Rogan — that is to say, none at all — to believe the leader of a minority Parliament could exercise anything even remotely resembling dictatorial power. And remember: some of the politicians who have traded in this accusation were the same ones upset that the prime minister decided to call an election at this time last year. If Trudeau really is a dictator, he’s the least effective one in recorded history.

The truth of the matter, one that conservatives like Pierre Poilievre and his fellow travellers would like their supporters to forget, is that Canada is one of the freest countries on Earth. The Fraser Institute — no friend to Liberals or Trudeau, much less communists and dictators — released an annual update to its “Human Freedom Index,” which takes 82 different indicators and blends them into scores for personal, economic, and human freedom. Their ranking for 2021 saw Canada rise three spots to sixth best in the world, tied with Finland and just behind Ireland. The United States, by comparison, came in at 15th.

This ongoing attempt to paint Canada as some sort of quasi-Communist country and its prime minister as an aspiring dictator isn’t actually about freedom writ large. It’s about a very specific and small subset of freedom: the freedom to remain unvaccinated without any consequences. It’s what clearly animates Rogan’s perspective on our country, and it’s driving and defining the leadership races for the Conservative Party of Canada and the United Conservative Party in Alberta. The recent decisions by supposed moderates in both races — Jean Charest and Travis Toews — to pay homage to the anti-vaccine forces in their respective parties speaks to just how powerful that constituency has become.

This wouldn’t be a problem if it was just an internal party matter, but it’s infecting the broader public debate around the necessity of COVID-19 measures right as another wave of cases gets ready to hammer our provincial health-care systems. As hospitalizations start to rise (up 50 per cent already in Quebec) and experts suggest we ought to start considering renewed public health measures, our elected officials seem less willing than ever to do that. "We're no longer at the point of imposing things when people are well aware of the risks,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said last week. “It's just a question of reminding them.”

Opinion: "Canada, of course, is as much a Communist country as Joe Rogan is a reliable source of information," writes @maxfawcett for @natobserver. #disinformation #cdnpoli

The front-runner in the UCP leadership race, Danielle Smith, has already promised she wouldn’t bring in new public health measures to deal with whatever this and future waves might bring. You can be sure that Doug Ford will wait until the last possible moment, and then a little bit longer, before doing anything to contain the spread of the virus in Ontario. Even our dictator-curious prime minister is probably going to be reluctant to impose any additional measures, given how much political blood was spilled over those he just lifted and how many other priorities his government has.

We’re on our own, in other words. That’s about as far as you can get from living in a Communist country, and it’s probably going to come at the cost of lives that don't need to be lost to a pandemic we know how to contain and control.

But, hey, at least Joe Rogan should be happy.

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Thanks Max, an excellent article
The Fraser Institute like so many right thinking think tanks doesn't believe government has a legitimate role in our society or democracy.  Think about that and what that means. Like Post Media, it lambasts or discredits anything that doesn't include privatizing some aspect of our social life or government.  When leading politicians habitually critize our governments,  our institutions,  it isn't long before we as the 6 th freest country on earth will start to lose that freedom.  As for Joe Rogan, I tried him several years ago and frankly was disgusted. An alternative perspective leaning left is Thom Harmann. But even he goes over the top. I have never in my 70 plus years in Canada felt any impediment to my personal, family or employment freedom.

I really enjoyed the NewsRadio series, including the Joe Garrelli character played by Rogan. Rogan, like a lot of people in this day and age, has lost the ability to distinguish between a TV show and reality.
I wonder if Dave Foley has tried to talk some sense to him.

What do these people think Communists ARE, anyway? I mean, Trudeau clearly isn't nationalizing anything, or collectivizing agriculture, or putting a network of overseers from an organization loyal only to him as a layer of control all through industry and the armed forces. He isn't even taking any money away from stinking rich people. In short, he's not doing anything that Communists normally did when they were in power.

So like, in what sense do these people think he's a Communist? I get the impression that, first, they don't know, and second, they don't know what Communism is. All they know is, Communism = Bad, Person X = my tribe thinks they = Bad, things that = Bad are = to each other, therefore anyone we don't like = a Communist. Given what the hard right normally object to, it seems like the new definition of "Communism" is "believing in science".

Re: "We're no longer at the point of imposing things when people are well aware of the risks,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said last week. “It's just a question of reminding them.”

Has it never occurred to him, I wonder, that the people who don't care about the (lesser) risks to themselves are the very ones who are imposing greater risks on vulnerable people? That'd be the same vulnerable people whose health he's Minister of.

Not only have our "leaders" shown themselves to be followers, but followers of a minority of an arrogant, inconsiderate and ill-informed few.

It used to be that the singular mandate of Public Health was to protect the health of the public.

AFAICT, there was no law passed that would suggest that instead, it was only to control illness-and-death just enough to claim we have a working public health system: a "working" public health system that has been overwhelmed for decades, because successive federal governments reduced the level of federal government contribution to provincially-run systems.

It started as a 50-50 cost-sharing; the feds' contribution now is less than 25%.

There's been a fair bit of finagling over the years, outlined here: