It took a while for the stop sign near our house to get over the Stephen Harper government.
Someone had defaced the sign around the time of the 2015 federal election, adding the former prime minister’s last name under the word “Stop.” It’s something that occurred in communities throughout B.C., in the hopes the Conservative Party leader didn’t receive a fourth term.
“Harper” stayed on that sign for some time after the election. Personal politics aside, this act of vandalism never sat well with me. However, that was nothing compared to the public attacks I see nowadays directed at the person who succeeded Harper, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It’s not uncommon to find stickers with the “F-bomb,” or versions of it, along with the prime minister’s last name, stuck to vehicles in Salmon Arm.
Such messaging could also be seen here and there last Sunday when the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ rolled through town.
We received several letters from people upset by our coverage of the hundreds of demonstrators (or “thousands and thousands” according to one email) who lined up along Highway 1 near downtown Salmon Arm to show their support for participating truckers. It was a significant event.
Thankfully, and despite what some might say, our rights and freedoms around expression, association and peaceful assembly prevail.
I am, however, grateful for the letters. Thank you. They are thoughtful and raise important points.
One writer noted how, contrary to messaging in our story, the event wasn’t all about “love and support.” In addition to a small number of people who were abusive to police, there was among the Canada flags and “freedom” signs messaging promoting more specific causes, such as opposition to vaccinations and mandates (the convoy was prompted by a federal mandate that truckers crossing the border be vaccinated), as well as the odd flag boldly displaying a vaguely censored version of the F-word (no, not “freedom”) preceding “Trudeau.”
But hold on a fuddle-duddle minute you say. This is Salmon Arm, home of the Salmon Arm salute, named after the obscene gesture shared from a private rail car by late prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Justin’s father, to protesters as he was passing through our community in August 1982. Trudeau Sr. was also famously heard using the F-bomb in response to Opposition MPs during a heated question period in February 1971 (He claimed he’d actually said “fuddle duddle.”)
Surely this further justifies the vulgarities being directed at Trudeau Jr? Sorry, this fallacy amounts to nothing but abuse.
I know our prime minister has done things that warrant criticism. But really, apart from further tarnishing Canada’s reputation on the world stage, such crude, derogatory flags, signs, stickers and apparel, etc. (yes, someone’s making money off this stuff) will do little to effect meaningful change.
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