Lest Ye Be Judged

March 20, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Anthony Carnovale

One of my favourite short stories to teach is Ray Bradbury’s The Utterly Perfect Murder. It’s a story about Doug Spaulding, a middle-aged man who wakes up in the middle of the night and decides that he wants to kill his old classmate, Ralph Underhill. We find out that that Ralph wasn’t very kind to Doug. He bullied Doug and took advantage of Doug’s desire for companionship. While he’s planning the perfect murder, Doug surmises that, perhaps, the two of them needed one another, and that, in some strange way, they may have even loved one another.

I was thinking about this story after reading Brian Giesbrecht’s column, ‘Damaged Country’, in last week’s Orangeville Citizen. In it, Mr. Giesbrecht rails against Justin Trudeau’s double standard in employing the Emergencies Act to end the protests/blockades in Ontario but failing to do the same for the Wet’suwet’en and Black Lives Matters protests. He accuses Trudeau of ‘crushing’ protests with views that are unacceptable to his own and setting a dangerous precedent for all Canadians who might want to protest in the future. The tone of his column is typical for the times in which we live.

What Giesbrecht doesn’t mention in his piece (why would he?) was that it wasn’t only Trudeau that found the views and actions of the protesters unacceptable. In this weekend’s Globe and Mail, Nik Nanos, chief data scientist at Nanos Research and global fellow at the Centre for Scholars in Washington, reported that two-thirds of Canadians supported the government’s introduction of the Emergencies Act, and the freezing of bank accounts of protest organizers. In effect, he was given permission, by a majority of Canadians, to end the protests/blockades. Trudeau didn’t act on his own; he was given permission by over sixty percent of the population. For the record, Mr. Giesbrecht does not cite a single source in his column (I’m not sure this sort of thing matters to many of his readers).

Let me be straight with you: I’m not a fan of Trudeau, either (you see, this is us agreeing on something, Mr. Giesbrecht). I don’t like a lot of the things he does — he’s smug, and his entire aura is one of privilege; I don’t like the way his apologies are never followed up with meaningful action. I don’t like the way he looks into a camera and feigns concern. But just like Trudeau, Giesbrecht knows who his audience is. He knows what to say to get the requisite clicks and shares. His column also appeared in the Toronto Sun. Here are some of the comments that followed it: “Just the name of Justin Trudeau makes me want to puke”.

And this one:

‘Time for the truth to be told. Some life’s (sic) appear to matter more than others. Old stock Canadians matter the least in Trudeau’s world of illusion and fantasies’. (I have a pretty good idea about what this person means by ‘old stock’).

Most of Giesbrecht’s articles for Troy Media follow the same formula (in a February 2022 he describes Canada’s residential school ‘experiment’ as ‘a clumsy attempt at education’). Mr. Giesbrecht is not trying to solve problems — he’s rallying the troops. And the troops are blindly marching along.

What I find most absurd about his piece is when he declares: “The truckers are not our enemies. Our enemy is authoritarianism and those who want to inflict it upon us.” He states that Canada is becoming more and more like Russia and China (Russia is currently bombing Ukraine and has forced almost two and half million Ukrainians from their homes; China is committing a genocide as Uyghurs are being hauled off to labor camps and forced to undergo sterilization procedures in an effort to cull their population). Spare me the hyperbole, Mr. Giesbrecht! If Canada were an authoritative state, you’d already be in jail for what you’ve written in your columns (Mr. Giesbrecht called Trudeau a ‘bozo’ in one of his most recent columns; imagine if he did the same  to Putin or Xi Jinping).  

I’m tired of people being taken for fools; I’m tired of people who, so willingly, play the fool. I know it’s wishful thinking at this point, but we need to find new, less hostile, ways to communicate our ideas and frustrations or we’re just going to continue to watch our social fabric, and what’s left of it, unravel. Mr. Giesbrecht and Trudeau are preying on, and taking advantage, the anger, frustrations and anxieties that so many Canadians are feeling at the moment. We’re being stretched like elastic bands; I’m afraid a breaking point may soon be upon us.

I see you, Mr. Giesbrecht. I know the game that you’re playing; I know the game that Trudeau is playing. It’s a sucker’s game with no winners or losers. A colleague once told me: “Hating someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” If you hate your enemy, you’re only hurting yourself.

In ‘The Utterly Perfect Murder’, Doug doesn’t follow through with his plan to kill Ralph. Once he sees what Ralph has become – old, frail and sick – it’s enough for him; Doug can now move on with his life ­– he’s found peace. Let’s hope people like Trudeau and Giesbrecht can both do the same – for their own sakes, and our country’s, as well.

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