Peter Stockland: The Abhorrent Treatment of MP Wagantall and Our Apathy in Not Even Asking ‘Why’

CommentaryOn June 3, Saskatchewan Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall joined some illustrious—or if you prefer notorious—House of Commons company. Wagantall became one of only three MPs in the history of our Parliament to be formally barred from crossing the bar of the House. One such predecessor is Louis Riel, who you may recall led two rebellions against Canada and was bounced out twice as an MP before being hanged (justly or unjustly) for treason. A second, Montreal politician Thomas McGreevy, was jailed for a year in 1891 after being convicted of defrauding the federal government while serving as an MP. The third, the communist MP Fred Rose, was imprisoned from 1947 to 1951 for being the ringleader of a gang of 20 spies stealing atomic weapons secrets for the Soviet Union. Wagantall’s name was added to infamy’s roll call not because she fomented insurrection, nor because she trafficked in criminal greed, nor because she sold out Canada to the architects of the Gulag Archipelago. No. She simply refused to say whether or not she has been vaccinated against COVID-19. But did she knowingly spread infection as part of an underhanded plot to decimate the Liberal-NDP ranks and so bring the current minority government crashing down through the tactical deployment of quarantine? She did not. She simply informed the Commons’ Board of Internal Economy that her medicinal regimes are a private matter between her and her doctor. Did she, then, surreptitiously and maliciously breathe in the Prime Minister’s direction as payback for his handling of the truckers’ protest earlier this year? Au contraire. On May 31, she actually broke bread with the prime minister at the head table of the National Prayer Breakfast where the majority hope was to be breathed on with the breath of God. Lex dura sed lex, said MPs who adjudicate the rules and running of the House, including the rule that any MPs such as Wagantall who refuse to declare their COVID vaccination status will be run out of the House. The law is harsh, but it is the law. In this case, to quote the immortal words of Mr. Bumble in “Oliver Twist,” “the law, sir, is (also) a ass.” As in a flop-eared, braying-voiced, stubborn, irrational beast. To make a COVID disobedience poster child of a hard-working, dedicated, and duly elected Member of Parliament like Cathay Wagantall takes a special kind of mulishness. To put her on the post office wall of shame with the unholy trinity of a violent rebel, a plunderer of the treasury who was supposed to be safeguarding the nation’s wealth, and a traitorous thief delivering atomic bomb data to no less than Joseph Stalin, requires a particular species of jackanape. Except, of course, these days, it doesn’t, which is really the issue. These days, every Tom, Fred, and Louis who brushes up against the power surge of COVID authority seems capable of decisions that are utterly shocking in how little we are shocked by them anymore. The day before Wagantall was being blocked in her ability to do her duty as an MP, CBC News reported the case of a Montreal couple who were ordered into 14-day quarantine last May not because they were infected with COVID, not because they were spreading COVID, not even because they refused COVID vaccination. Perfectly COVID clear, perfectly compliant with federal COVID vaccine requirements, Ron Daymond and Evelyn Herskovitz failed to use a Canada Border Services Agency app after returning to Canada from a one-day—one day!—trip to Plattsburgh, NY, an hour’s drive south of Montreal. Lucky—heavy sarcasm—for them, they weren’t also hit with a possible $5,000 fine for their in-app-propriate crossing of the border. As it was, the quarantine order cost Daymond two weeks of pay for time lost from work. The app in question, ArriveCan, has wreaked so much havoc at border crossings across the country that it should be rechristened ArriveCan’t. A feed store near the border in Calais, Maine, is making five bucks a Canuck teaching befuddled Canadians how to make the wretched thing function. Faced with such a blistering service failure, Border Service bigwigs have graciously—heavier sarcasm—offered to give Canadians a one-time do-over the first time they return to their home country without using the app. Yet they insist it will remain in use, even though users can’t use it, until at least June 30. The obvious question to ask is why. But after what has happened to Cathay Wagantall, the more critical question to ask is what has COVID done to us that we are no longer shocked enough to even ask “why” anymore? Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow Peter Stockland is a former editor-in-chief of the Montreal Gazette and co-founder of Convivium magazine under the auspices of the think tank Cardus. He is also head of strategic communications for Ottawa’s Acacia Law Group.

Peter Stockland: The Abhorrent Treatment of MP Wagantall and Our Apathy in Not Even Asking ‘Why’

Commentary

On June 3, Saskatchewan Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall joined some illustrious—or if you prefer notorious—House of Commons company.

Wagantall became one of only three MPs in the history of our Parliament to be formally barred from crossing the bar of the House. One such predecessor is Louis Riel, who you may recall led two rebellions against Canada and was bounced out twice as an MP before being hanged (justly or unjustly) for treason. A second, Montreal politician Thomas McGreevy, was jailed for a year in 1891 after being convicted of defrauding the federal government while serving as an MP. The third, the communist MP Fred Rose, was imprisoned from 1947 to 1951 for being the ringleader of a gang of 20 spies stealing atomic weapons secrets for the Soviet Union.

Wagantall’s name was added to infamy’s roll call not because she fomented insurrection, nor because she trafficked in criminal greed, nor because she sold out Canada to the architects of the Gulag Archipelago. No. She simply refused to say whether or not she has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

But did she knowingly spread infection as part of an underhanded plot to decimate the Liberal-NDP ranks and so bring the current minority government crashing down through the tactical deployment of quarantine? She did not. She simply informed the Commons’ Board of Internal Economy that her medicinal regimes are a private matter between her and her doctor.

Did she, then, surreptitiously and maliciously breathe in the Prime Minister’s direction as payback for his handling of the truckers’ protest earlier this year? Au contraire. On May 31, she actually broke bread with the prime minister at the head table of the National Prayer Breakfast where the majority hope was to be breathed on with the breath of God.

Lex dura sed lex, said MPs who adjudicate the rules and running of the House, including the rule that any MPs such as Wagantall who refuse to declare their COVID vaccination status will be run out of the House. The law is harsh, but it is the law. In this case, to quote the immortal words of Mr. Bumble in “Oliver Twist,” “the law, sir, is (also) a ass.”

As in a flop-eared, braying-voiced, stubborn, irrational beast. To make a COVID disobedience poster child of a hard-working, dedicated, and duly elected Member of Parliament like Cathay Wagantall takes a special kind of mulishness. To put her on the post office wall of shame with the unholy trinity of a violent rebel, a plunderer of the treasury who was supposed to be safeguarding the nation’s wealth, and a traitorous thief delivering atomic bomb data to no less than Joseph Stalin, requires a particular species of jackanape.

Except, of course, these days, it doesn’t, which is really the issue. These days, every Tom, Fred, and Louis who brushes up against the power surge of COVID authority seems capable of decisions that are utterly shocking in how little we are shocked by them anymore.

The day before Wagantall was being blocked in her ability to do her duty as an MP, CBC News reported the case of a Montreal couple who were ordered into 14-day quarantine last May not because they were infected with COVID, not because they were spreading COVID, not even because they refused COVID vaccination. Perfectly COVID clear, perfectly compliant with federal COVID vaccine requirements, Ron Daymond and Evelyn Herskovitz failed to use a Canada Border Services Agency app after returning to Canada from a one-day—one day!—trip to Plattsburgh, NY, an hour’s drive south of Montreal. Lucky—heavy sarcasm—for them, they weren’t also hit with a possible $5,000 fine for their in-app-propriate crossing of the border. As it was, the quarantine order cost Daymond two weeks of pay for time lost from work.

The app in question, ArriveCan, has wreaked so much havoc at border crossings across the country that it should be rechristened ArriveCan’t. A feed store near the border in Calais, Maine, is making five bucks a Canuck teaching befuddled Canadians how to make the wretched thing function. Faced with such a blistering service failure, Border Service bigwigs have graciously—heavier sarcasm—offered to give Canadians a one-time do-over the first time they return to their home country without using the app. Yet they insist it will remain in use, even though users can’t use it, until at least June 30.

The obvious question to ask is why. But after what has happened to Cathay Wagantall, the more critical question to ask is what has COVID done to us that we are no longer shocked enough to even ask “why” anymore?

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Peter Stockland is a former editor-in-chief of the Montreal Gazette and co-founder of Convivium magazine under the auspices of the think tank Cardus. He is also head of strategic communications for Ottawa’s Acacia Law Group.