Canadians have been looking for the first spark of something special to excited about in their politicians. Justin Trudeau tried to do this in his speech about liberty in Toronto Monday night.
He began by asserting his party’s claim to liberty. “I think it’s time Liberals took back liberty. The Conservatives talk a good game but look at what they’ve done with it.” A good argument to begin with; especially powerful when you consider his father wrote the charter and repatriated the constitution. However any perceived attacks on our freedom have been stopped either by popular uprising (remember the hashtag #tellviceverything?) or the courts, which have been especially good at slamming the Conservatives.
It all falls apart when he starts talking about fear. “Fear is a dangerous thing. Once sanctioned by the state, there is no telling where it might lead. It is always a short walk from being suspicious of our fellow citizens to restricting their liberty.” This section is likely a veiled reference to Bill C51- the government’s anti-terror legislation.
He a has a point here but it’s a weak one. The proposed law goes after terror suspects, most of which happen to be Muslim at the moment. But it goes after everyone’s liberty too by lowering the bar on evidence, and allowing suspects to be detained for 7 days without a warrant. It attacks everyone’s freedom of expression as well with the provisions on propaganda websites.
In outlining his grand vision for his party’s plan to re-take the concept of liberty he leaves himself wide open to one very important question. How does Trudeau plan to reconcile his idea of liberty with his party’s apparent support of bill C51? How he answers this will determine whether he becomes Prime Minister.