It seems to be that time of year in Canada again – namely, early in the year – when true limits of the country’s staunchly declared, yet increasingly loosely adhered to, democracy is tested.
Two years ago it was the Freedom Convoy participants that got “manhandled” by the state and its supporters debanked in a way that could have taught Stalin himself a thing or two about repression – and this January, it’s the freedom of the press that’s in the authorities’ crosshairs.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland features in both these controversies – it was under her watch that people’s bank accounts were frozen as punishment for participation in a peaceful civil protest in 2022.
This time around, Rebel News reporter David Menzies (whom Canada’s public broadcaster CBC refers to as “Rebel News personality” that “encountered” Freeland) got arrested for attempting to ask Freeland questions related to a 2020 incident, where Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is accused of shooting down a Ukrainian jet.
The incident, which Tehran said was an “error,” happened on January 8, and so activists trying to keep this issue alive organized a vigil, urging the government to designate IRGC as a “terrorist group” in response – considering 55 Canadian citizens were among the victims.
When Menzies tried to ask Freeland why IRGC was never designated that, he not only got arrested, but also, according to his media outlet, got assaulted by the minister’s “bodyguard” – apparently, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
But Rebel News and its “personality” maintain that the approach was just an attempt to ask a question, and note the irony of this happening in a democracy (considering it’s around an issue that happened in what Western democracies consider an authoritarian regime, namely, Iran.)
It turns out – neither those in power in Ottawa nor Tehran care much for the free press.
But in the end – in a win for Canada – the charges were dropped, since according to CBC, the police found David Menzies’ behavior to have represented “no credible security threat.”
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