top of page

Why Canada’s truckers will lose - by Michael Cuenco for UnHerd - 02.02.22

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Though strictly speaking outside our brief, Michael Cuenco's article for UnHerd on recent demonstrations in Canada sheds a fascinating light on the country's political system and events in its history which have helped to shape it.

"The world does not usually pay much attention to Ottawa, Canada’s sleepy capital city. But over the weekend it generated international headlines. A “Freedom Convoy” consisting of anti-vaccine mandate truckers descended on the Canadian parliament to protest cross-border vaccine mandates and what they see as the infringement of their rights. Anti-establishment voices, ranging from Tucker Carlson and Elon Musk to Russell Brand and Donald Trump, all expressed their support.

The story blew up for no other reason than Canadian politics is not usually known for producing unruly sights like this one. While broader Western politics have been marked by rising populist fervour against elites over the last half-decade, Canada has, true to stereotype, remained quiet, contented, bland and unexciting. The patron saint of liberal elites was, after all, re-elected last year and continues to rule over a country that prides itself on its inoffensiveness."

There are profound historic reasons behind the country's imperturbable political system:

"Canada’s general incompatibility with populist politics goes back to its roots. Ask an American why the United States was founded and he might say something like: “We had a revolution to secure freedom and government of, by and for the people…” The foundation of Canada was an explicit rebuttal to this notion.

As a country, it was designed to serve as a bulwark against the spectre of revolution and the idiom of popular sovereignty. Its two main political cultures descend from peoples who were defined by their conspicuous non-participation in the great revolutions of the eighteenth century, the American and the French, from which much of the modern rhetoric about liberty, rights, and the will of the people is derived.

Subsequently, the evolution of Canada’s political identity can be thought of less as having a liberal or conservative orientation, but as, quite simply, anti-revolutionary. This means that when change does happen, it is actively managed and mediated by elites at the top rather than brought about by uprisings from below. Though the country has had its own bouts of populism of the Right and Left varieties (and a few failed revolts), it has never been the dominant tradition."

In other words the truckers will soon disperse and political life will resume as normal.

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article by Michael Cuenco - Why Canada’s truckers will lose - 02.01.22
Download PDF • 178KB

29 views1 comment
bottom of page