By Jonathon Van Maren
One of the genuinely humorous aspects of the Freedom Convoy earlier this year, when hundreds of truckers and thousands of people descended on Ottawa for a weeks-long protest of government vaccine mandates, was how upset Canada’s progressive elites were by the sight of such flagrant dissent. Progressives like to boast about how Canada is filled with people who think just like them; small-c conservatives are rare, social conservatives are pariahs, and above all, Canadians are unlike Americans in every way—no flag-waving for us.
So when Canadian flags starting flapping from overpasses across the country and vehicles festooned with the Maple Leaf parked up and down Wellington Avenue on Parliament Hill, columnists mourned the “hijacking” of the Canadian flag. The flag, they told us (four times in the pages of the Toronto Star alone), was now a contested symbol. Why? Because people they disagreed with—Canadians, specifically—had waved it while saying things they disagreed with. This, they told us, was unCanadian, and the Canadians who had waved the flag were also unCanadian, because they were not the sort of Canadians that Official Canadians who worked for the media approved of.
The period of shock and mourning has now worn off, and the Canadian media elites have turned their attention to explaining why Tamara Lich should remain locked up. They are now proposing solutions to the desecration of the Canadian flag, despite the fact that this is a solution without a problem and nobody cares. Exhibit A is another recent editorial in the Toronto Star titled “One Way to Reclaim the Canadian Flag as a Symbol of Diversity and Inclusiveness.” This editorial is necessary, you see, because progressives were stunned to discover that there is diversity of opinion in Canada when it comes to vaccine mandates, and that is the sort of diversity that is unCanadian and must be stomped out.
The column was written by Timothy Dewhirst who, predictably, works for an institution of higher learning (he’s a professor and senior research fellow in marketing and public policy at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph). The presence of the Canadian flag at the Freedom Convoy, he wrote, makes it “unclear whether those displaying the flag feel satisfied about their country’s governance or prevailing values” and thus has been “regrettably co-opted” by those “opposing mandates [and]…wearing masks.” As such, Dewhirst writes (without a shred of evidence, I might add), “numerous Canadians have become hesitant to brandish the Canadian flag” because they “don’t want to risk being misidentified as a supporter of the Freedom Convoy and their world view.”