, 02.15.2022 09:28 PM

My latest: without the rule of law, we have nothing

The rule of law.

It’s a phrase we hear a lot in times like these. It’s tossed around like confetti, I think, until it becomes as trivial as confetti.

But those four little words are so, so important. And they, deserve definition — now more than ever.

The four words aren’t new, and nor are the principles that they embody.  Aristotle, no less, wrote centuries ago in his Politics that “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens.”

The law.

The law must apply equally to all, prince or pauper.  History is full of stories of princes who met unhappy ends — marched to the gallows or the guillotine — because they favoured an unequal form of justice.  One that favoured them.  One that placed them above the law.

The ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese.  Islam.  Christianity.  Judaism.  All advocated that the law — God’s, or humankind’s — needed to apply to all, without fear or favour.

But the rule of law does not only guarantee the equal application of laws.  The rule of law is at the centre of democracy itself.

All of our forms of governance — legislatures, courts, cabinets — derive their legitimacy from the rule of law. When they lose that, the centre will not hold.  Governments, and all of the institutions of government, will wash away, like sand on a beach. History has shown us that many times, too.

Without the rule of law, we do not have true equality and true justice.  Without equality and justice, we cease to be a democracy.

People always think democracy is durable and eternal, like a rock, but that’s a lie.  Democracies like Canada’s are always held together by gossamer and angel’s wings.  It doesn’t take much to upend them.

And, now, we are seeing that in so-called real time, even though it doesn’t feel real.  It doesn’t feel much like Canada anymore, either.

Swastikas being waved around, with impunity, at our very church of government, the House of Commons.  Thugs and drunks urinating on our War Memorial.  Soup kitchens being robbed.  Buildings full of sleeping people being set afire, or handcuffed shut.  Citizens being threatened for simply wearing a mask.  An entire city being occupied and held hostage.

And, down in Windsor, children being used as human shields, which is what is usually done by those who have ceased to be human.  In Coutts, Alberta, a group apprehended with body armour and guns and ammunition – and a machete.

Because, you know, nothing says “freedom-loving patriot” like a machete.

Have we lost the rule of law in Canada?  Not yet, but it feels close.

So, another definition that is debated, often, is this one: what is terrorism?

The word gets thrown about quite a bit, for the obvious reasons.  In debate, it’s a powerful political weapon. But, in its essence, terrorism simply means using force to achieve political ends.

The Ottawa and Windsor and Coutts truckers — and I hesitate always to call them truckers, because most truckers are vaccinated and hard-working and decent — are like terrorists, to me.

Proof of that is found in what the RCMP stopped from getting to the border in Coutts.  Proof of that is found in why police haven’t raided the Ottawa blockade yet – because the place is reportedly chock-a-block with weapons.

The rule of law has not yet caught the last train out of Canada for some other place.  But it is close — and proof of that, too, is found in the main editorial of no less than the New York Times on Sunday.  “Effective leadership,” editorialized the Times about Canada, must never permit anyone to “compromise the rule of law.”

The rule of law is democracy’s soul.  Terrorism, unchecked, can kill it.

The government was right to invoke the Emergencies Act.

Too much is at stake, and history is watching what we do next.

Kinsella has been an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law


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    Pedant says:

    So, Gerald Butts and other TruAnon are now doxxing the freedom convoy donors.

    This is a wonderful development isn’t it? Mostly wealthy, urban sophisticates who made out like bandits during the pandemic, doxxing working class people and some of their better-off sympathizers. They are going after these people’s jobs and threatening their families.

    This will create a very large group of people with nothing to lose. What do you think happens then? Does this situation escalate or calm down?

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      Steve T says:

      That sounds like a veiled threat.

      Just remember, the vast majority of Canadians oppose the blockades, and the stance the anarchists are taking (and make no mistake – they are anarchists).

      So for every “working class person” who supports the bozo blockade, there are many more who oppose it. And they are the ones who continue to slog away over the past few weeks, delivering goods and supplies to their fellow Canadians. They are the true heroes – not the anarchists.

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        Howard says:

        Veiled threat…right, like the maoist Twitterati trying to get working class people fired for their political views? If that happens, do you think these people are going to cower in fear under the boot of Butts?

        The blockades were dealt with in Windsor and Emerson with little incident. The 1% of freedom defenders that are breaking the law and restricting trade can and absolutely should be removed while the 99% peaceful protesters can carry on. You do NOT have the right to pick and choose which causes can receive charitable contributions.

        Your perception of public support is off and in reality is nowhere near so one-sided. Most polls show around 60% opposition to the truckers, through a recent Léger poll shows 46% are sympathetic to the truckers’ cause, if NOT some of the tactics. And here’s an interesting finding – in that same poll, the percent sympathetic to the truckers rises to 61% among 18-34 year olds.

        Working class, and young people – the two largest disenfranchised groups in the country. Guess which politician is busy courting their support?

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          Ronald O'Dowd says:


          With a consistent voting record like that, are they actually worth courting?

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      Terence says:

      Stupid decisions have consequences. The law will be upheld and if it has to come down on your pals like Thor’s hammer, it will.

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        Pedant says:

        Well 99% of freedom defenders are peaceful protesters, so tell me what law they are breaking?

        You are right that actions have consequences, and the current campaign by the left to destroy the livelihoods of working class people is no different.

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          WestCoastJim says:

          Pedant you make up statistics to support your vacuous opinion. Most Canadians condemn the vile hatred, racism and sexism that has been show by members of the “Freedom Convoy”. And if you are a fellow rider who does not condemn the appalling activities that have repeatedly occurred from attacking school children to attacking health care workers to planning to murder RCMP officers then you are in fact implicitly condoning those acts. Either act like a responsible adult or STFU.

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      The Doctor says:

      Pedant, you really seem determined to frame this as some heroic class war.

      Again, I would ask you to kindly provide some polling data or other evidence that support for, and opposition to, covid measures differs materially according to social class, income, education, whatever. Otherwise your assertions are pure speculation, or even worse.

      FACT: among my social circle, the most voluble opponents of covid measures that I can think of are people with multiple university degrees and decidedly high incomes.

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        Pedant says:

        This US Gallup poll shows remote and hybrid workers (usually higher income, the laptop class) far more likely to support vaccine passports than on-site workers (usually blue-collar). The values in Canada would shift more in favour of mandates overall, but the relative gap between the groups would probably be the same. It’s pretty inconceiveable to think that the group whose livelihoods are most impacted by these strict measures wouldn’t be most opposed to them. I suspect Canada’s polling firms are deliberately avoiding the issue of class and wealth in their Covid opinion polling.


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        Derek Pearce says:

        Sadly Doctor you’re correct. I work among the lowest strata of workers (& yes I can use this language even though I work retail.) My fellow co-workers are pissed with this convoy bullshit and think people who are part of it, in general are awful for not caring about protecting our health.

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          The Doctor says:

          Consider the British right-wing publication The Spectator. It has been a veritable firehose of Covid skepticism over the last two years (some of it well-argued). And it is a publication written and edited by upper-class Oxbridge toffs, for consumption by upper-class Oxbridge toffs.

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      Sean says:

      I’ll never buy the “working class” baloney. Even if they aren’t terrorists or thugs… at the very best, they are still ANTI SCIENCE, ANTI FACTS, ANTI REALITY. They’ve chosen fantasy over career. Q-Anon before family. Fake protest over a real pay check. Well, fuck, that’s a real choice big boys and big girls. Be an adult and live with your choice. Don’t blockade a city because you don’t like the consequences of your own choices. Any *real conservative* would say let the market sort it out, fire these clowns and allow regular people to fill in these jobs. If you don’t like reality, try finding work somewhere else. Guess what, there is a very, very high unemployment rate in Crazytown. There is a reason for that.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The layers in a cake are not necessarily the same: non-violent protest is one thing. Committing illegal acts is quite another. And then comes the gradation of said illegal acts. If you use violence or destroy property then yes, you are well on your way toward domestic terrorism, most especially if you happen to have weapons concealed or otherwise. They aren’t Timothy McVeigh YET but they sure as hell aren’t Mother Theresa either.

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    Bill Malcolm says:

    The racists, swastika flag waving nutters are the problem here. I forget all the names, Proud Boys, Soldiers of Odin and on and on, and Bernier and his PPC should figure in there too.

    They co-opted some not very bright people, illiterate unvaxxed truckers, as the front for this terrorist attack on our country. Classic misdirection. We, the general populace and not-too-bright journos, tend to concentrate on surly truckers, to whom the police seem friendly and unwilling to move on, while the “brains” of the operation are the ones issuing demands that the government be dissolved and that the GG and Senate take over. Or some such gobbledygook.

    Meanwhile, our Security forces such as CSIS have for decades concentrated on spying on the left/First Nations/eco-freaks in classic Cold War fashion. These security dopes have completely disregarded the hard right and likely know bugger all about them. Yet it is the hard right attempting and damn near succeeding in toppling our democracy. They have outmaneuvered our security people with impunity and ease, even welcoming the more insane into their ranks.

    Mr Kinsella, you have been on the receiving end of racist white supremacist attacks on more than one occasion, merely by standing up for decency. You know they never stop, distributing right wing hate literature like Ward News. You temporarily halt them over here by court injunction, and they pop up over there, always attacking, never relenting, spreading hate. And now they have reached a critical mass and want to take over the country.

    Most of the comments you receive are still surface-scratching nonsense about “why I hate Trudeau” from not very well-read Conservatives, oblivious of the true danger lurking off to one side, cleverly hidden from direct scrutiny.

    CSIS and the police are just as dumb as the commenters. Right wing OK, commies bad. It’s not 1955 but it might as well be to these wizened minds. They neglect the real haters operating as white supremacists calling themselves patriots and clutching our flag as “proof” of their “loyalty”. And here we are. Damn near screwed.

    We have to get far beyond petty party politics, and see the threat to our liberties posed by the real lunatics. I see eff all sign of this among the general population or the average politician mouthing the usual partisan inanities. All we look at is the obvious, without digging into who’s behind all this unrest.

    It really isn’t unvaxxed truckers or even Skippy poilievre, a first class dolt ten times less intelligent than he thinks he is. No indeed, our enemy within is out-and-out white supremacist haters bound and determined to get in power, then trash all we’ve built up as a society. At that point truckers will be sacrificed, First Nations demonized, workers noses applied to grindstones and any non-whites hounded to suicide and told to “go home” or some such nonsense. A society of hate enforced by thugs. It’s happened before in Italy, Spain and Germany just to mention the semi-recent events. And Canada with its sleepy population is easy meat for haters when a divisive issue like vaccine mandates can be exploited damn near for free.

    I don’t see any of your commenters realizing the true danger, and you seem reluctant to raise it, maybe out of pure self-preservation. But until you get to the real point, instead of dancing around it, hoping that your dropped hints will somehow be embraced by people putting two-and-two together which they obviously are incapable of grasping, the comments will be dominated by dullards who haven’t thought past their noses, completely incurious as what’s really behind all this sh!t, and happy to dish out shallow party politics insults that have bugger all to do with the serious situation we’re facing.

    Get cracking. Be concrete not abstract. The audience needs to be awakened to the reality instead of skimming over the top of it with fine words. So far, you’re getting nowhere and time is ticking away.

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      Pedant says:

      The ongoing shift away from globalism and back towards nationalism and patriotism, which began under Trump and now accelerating worldwide, must be difficult for you to behold. You can rant all you like and accuse people of racism (nobody cares), but the pendulum always swings and we’ve got a good 30-40 years ahead of us of steadily decreasing globalism and there’s nothing TruAnon can do about it.

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        The Doctor says:

        Steve Bannon, is that you?

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    Leo Fleming says:

    I find this argument bizarre… The Emergencies Act was invoked with flagrant disregard to the statutory legal reasons that it can be invoked. None of this rises to the level of an Emergency as outlined in the law. The government has chosen to enact this, knowingly, without regard to the wording of the law. Don’t preach at me about the Rule of Law when the government is just as lawless in their actions as the protesters.

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    Pedant says:

    So in the House today, Trudeau told a Conservative MP of the Jewish faith that she “stands with swastikas”. He’s losing it and I’m increasingly wondering if his leadership will survive to year end.

    Also, new Nanos poll released today, taken Feb 11, shows the Liberals and Conservatives tied at 31% apiece. I think, on balance, the lack of any movement in the polls despite the convoy is good news for the Conservatives given the coordinated onslaught from the legacy media.

    One other bit of news, if Warren will permit this somewhat scattered comment. A café owner in Ottawa donated $250 to the convoy fund. Her name was part of the doxing and she was forced to close her café amid threats. Seems like a down to earth lady whose business, like many, suffered terribly amidst the authoritarian lockdowns, distancing rules, and mandates. The threats aimed at this hardworking lady and others are being cheered on by the likes of Gerald Butts.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      This is where we have to split hairs. If a convoy fund has absolutely no ties to that small minority of anarchists or other extremists who commit violence or destroy property, then we as citizens or landed immigrants should leave people alone who donated. If the convoy fund has ties to the reverse, then we should condemn those donations — without threatening anyone, verbally or physically.

      As for this Prime Minister, if your rendition of the facts is entirely accurate, then guess what, the PM ain’t too swift now is he… (No kidding.)

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        Pedant says:

        Not sure I follow you.

        Are you saying it’s okay to dox people (name and shame them) for donating to a cause in which it turns out a tiny proportion of participants act objectionably…as long as they aren’t threatened?

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          Ronald O'Dowd says:


          No, my comments are reserved solely for cases where the organizers of said crowd funding sites have direct ties or links to the perpetrators of violence or destruction of property. Sloppy writing on my part.

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    Robert White says:

    I support rule of law based behaviour. If one goes outside of our rule of law ordered world that all OECD nations share it would be a step into nothingness & anarchy which is not order or lawful.

    Only law can guide behaviour as anarchy is no guide. And if people cannot obey the laws of the land we have jails for that.


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      El Guapo says:

      Credere Obbedire Combattere

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    Sean says:

    Optimus Prime is not a trucker. Optimus Prime is actually a truck. Optimus Prime wears a mask all the time even though he is a robot and therefore can’t catch COVID. He even wore a mask in the 80s before anyone even heard of COVID. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

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    Bob says:

    This is not complicated, it can be summarized in one statement.

    Trudeau must be run off.

    End of discussion

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    Peter Williams says:

    Rule of law?


    This type of activity has been going on for quite some time. Have the supporters of these groups had their bank accounts frozen?

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      The Doctor says:

      Whataboutism! Everyone take a drink!

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        Andy Kaut says:

        And yet, we can fairly compare the amount of laws broken, and the depth of the damage (apparently millions of dollars to actual equipment, not to mention the environmental disaster of cutting random fuel lines, etc.) with the Omicronvoy. This new example isn’t about anger (as Warren noted earlier), nor reasonable quiet protest with some exceptions. This is about night-riding anarchy that traps people in their vehicles and tries to burn them.

        Hey, everyone that’s looking for terrorists in Ottawa, I think we found them.

        I wonder if we can use the Emergencies Act to quell this protest, being as how it’s already in play….

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          The Doctor says:

          Personally, I condemn illegal activities regardless of where they occur.

          It’s just that trying to compare the situation in Ottawa with that Coastal Gaslink situation is comparing apples to rutabagas. Yes, they are both protests of a sort, but in different places for different causes.

          One huge difference is the Ottawa thing is visible, it’s not like the protest leaders are hiding. It’s visible political theater that also has outright illegal aspects to it.

          The Coastal Gaslink thing is outright eco-terrorism, basically. Nobody knows who did it, and it seems the perpetrators clearly don’t want us to know who did it (they wore masks, did it in the dead of night etc.).

          So I just don’t know how useful it is to try to equate the two.

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            ANDY JURGEN KAUT says:

            Honestly the differences are greater than the similarities, as you noted. The reason they’re comparable is the response to each lays in the same ‘most-corrupt’ regime ever.

            And if you jump the shark in Ottawa because you had a short-,sighted chief of police, I’m interested to see what federal interest will be taken in this other form of protest.

            Commensurate to escalation level, I think the Omicronvoy is a 3 compared to the 8 in Houston; the only criterion left in table is no serious personal injury in either case.

            But I fear it’s coming.

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        Peter Williams says:


        Warren’s comments were about the rule of law.

        The application of the rule of law is selective under the Trudeau administration. I provided an example.

        You can dismiss this as ‘whataboutism’’, but perhaps you could enlighten us with your wisdom as to why the BC protesters shouldn’t have their bank accounts frozen?

        Or you can hide behind an anonymous name hurling platitudes.

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          The Doctor says:

          Because we don’t know who the hell the BC protestors are FFS. They came in and did this in the dead of night, all masked up. They clearly didn’t want to get caught or detected. How can you freeze the bank accounts of persons unknown? Please explain.

          And btw I’m no fan of the Trudeau government. I didn’t vote for them. So if you want some apologist or spokesperson for JT or his government, look elsewhere.

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            joe long says:


            You can start with this group:
            …and the the people who fund them.

            The truckers (like them or not) protested peacefully. The aforementioned groups in BC openly advocate violence.

            Trudeau’sent ministers to meet with protesters who blockaded Coastal Gas Link. Trudeau would not meet with representatives of the Truckers.

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            The Doctor says:

            Like I said, Joe, if you want some apologist or spokesperson for JT and his government, it ain’t me, look elsewhere.

            If the cops have reasonable and probable cause to think the people in that twitter post are responsible, then they should have at ’em IMO. I can’t condemn what happened at Coastal Gaslink the other strongly enough. FFS as I understand it, a couple of people were nearly burned alive in their vehicle.

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    Joe Calgary says:

    Oh and Warren, you’ve lived in Calgary. 5 AR15’s and a few long barrel’s .762’s and a 12 guage, and a couple thousand rounds of ammo is hardly an armed insurrection.

    That’s a weekend hunting party gone amok in this neck of the woods.

    If it was hundreds of AR15’s, and tens of thousands of rounds, that’s a different kettle of fish, but what was seized in Coutes is what’s in every 10th basement south of Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.

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