Politics & Media
Feb 14, 2024, 06:27AM

Hideaway from Trudeau

Ten years of Kiesza, two years of Canadian truckers, and the year of Ryan Reynolds.

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Maybe the grass always looks more liberal on the other side of the border.

U.S. citizens have for a long time thought that if they needed to flee authoritarian law enforcement tendencies here, there’s always Canada, which had looser pot laws and a reputation for sheltering runaway Confederate slaves in the 19th century, not to mention runaway slaves of the U.S. military during the Vietnam War draft.

I’d imagine the likes of NATO fan Nikki Haley and pundit Dana Perino would get snippy or just plain evasive at hearing military draftees called slaves—but then, the dimwitted and vicious Perino can’t even stomach atheists having First Amendment rights, so defending freedom isn’t her specialty.

Canada’s was a good reputation to have, despite drawbacks like its higher taxes, speech restrictions, and dangerously long wait lines for socialized, rationed healthcare.

But the draft-dodgers of old should be thankful they aren’t present-day truckers protesting against Canada’s pandemic rules. Two of those poor bastards (or “batards” in Quebec) just got out of prison after being political prisoners for two years under Prime Minister Trudeau’s dictatorial emergency powers. Their imprisonment was perfectly in keeping with the coldblooded yet woolly-minded left-liberal belief that following proper procedure renders coercive policies humane, as if boring bureaucracies can’t maim or kill.

There’s a “just following orders” attitude that makes some Canadian expats passively accepting of terrible U.S. laws when they move here and some U.S. expats passively accepting of terrible Canadian laws when they move there—the world’s blandest ratcheting-up of tyranny.

Right or wrong, Trudeau’s treatment of the trucker protestors has made him ripe for lampooning by, of all people, Putin, who seized the opportunity during a moment of downtime at an international conference a couple of years ago to play a few notes of “O Canada” on a piano, as if on a whim, at a time when a wave of protest convoys was getting broken up in particularly heavy-handed fashion. Putin’s no freedom-lover, but he plainly takes an almost Dr. Doom-like pleasure in underscoring Western hypocrisy.

(Whether Putin’s drily witty, murderously evil, or both, though, is no reason to begrudge audiences the occasional interview of him by someone like Tucker Carlson—or the countless mainstream media figures, from George Stephanopoulos to Barbara Walters, who’ve interviewed him in years past without being declared traitors.)

If those two freed truckers have lingering psychological problems after their time in prison, we’ll just have to hope no Canadian doctors urge them to choose euthanasia as their best treatment option. (Dementia sufferers such as President Biden might want to avoid making any hasty medical decisions while visiting Canada.) Not that I’m suggesting candidates for euthanasia instead seek counseling from pro-life Canadian organizations such as the Catholic Church, though: One of Canada’s cardinals, an advisor to Pope Francis, has just been accused of sexual assault, a reminder religiosity is not synonymous with having a moral compass.

I don’t mean to imply Canada is bad compared to the rest of the globe, though. Religion and government alike, around the world, are dangerous monsters—almost as bad as a Kentucky day care, where apparently a transvestite can molest an infant and not even go to jail, so warped have U.S. notions of tolerance and law become.

Better to turn our eyes away from authoritarian institutions of all kinds, in fact, and instead celebrate the things that the private, voluntary, decentralized, and secular portion of the world does, very much including free individual Canadians.

This spring marks the 10th anniversary, for instance, of the exuberant dance video “Hideaway” by Canadian pop singer Kiesza, filmed as a single shot on the streets of Williamsburg in New York City, with nary a trace of rising crime, pandemic fear, or international conflict to be discerned in her latter-day-Sheena Easton-like vocals and dance moves—even though she broke a rib when she got lifted up right near the start of the video and would suffer brain damage in a car accident three years later, causing her, ironically, to spend months immobile in the dark. Talk about times changing.

Yet the joyous video was, in a small way, good practice for her later auto accident recovery, since she told a reporter, “I did the video in two takes and couldn't move for an entire month afterward, but I pulled it off.”

It was filmed about three blocks north of Muchmore’s—now a nice restaurant and then sort of a combo laundromat-bar-concert hall-apartment building and site of the live political debates I once organized each month and should at some point resume—and about four blocks north of the warehouse-like studio where the animated series The Venture Bros. was produced, brilliantly parodying the Jonny Quest and superhero stories that shaped me as a child, though I wrongly blogged at the time that the show was thus too similar to its source material to be amusing. My apologies to show creators Jackson Publick and “Doc” Hammer, who I now see clearly as kindred spirits.

Speaking of comedy superhero material, I suppose the greatest Canadian boon to U.S. culture this week is Ryan Reynolds, a trailer for whose third Deadpool movie debuted during the Super Bowl, giving even those of us who don’t follow sports reason to rejoice—and to hope the superhero genre can be saved yet. (Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was last seen on-screen helping young mutants escape to Canada, come to think of it.)

I don’t know if Deadpool & Wolverine will have a cameo by the X-Men villain Mojo, the alien showbiz mogul, but if so, I only wish the recently deceased country/punk singer Mojo Nixon, who may have influenced the character, were here to see it. To me, either Mojo would be as welcome a sight as Taylor Swift, who is rumored to appear in the film. But if that cameo didn’t fit into her schedule and they decided to cast a Canadian as the mutant singer/dancer Dazzler instead, here’s hoping they at least considered Kiesza, who like Canada itself—and each of us—can at different times be either a shining beacon or a dweller in darkness.

Todd Seavey is the author of Libertarianism for Beginners and is on X at @ToddSeavey


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