Canada Day, The Flag, and Protests

Canada Day is this coming weekend, and while many are planning parties and BBQ’s the “freedom convoys” are threatening once again to occupy our nation’s capital. As many celebrate the nation, we are also grappling with what it means to be Canadian, and after shocking images of our flag throughout the protests what does our flag mean to us now. Are we as a nation shell shocked, or apprehensive when we see our flag, or is this a time we stop allowing the protesters to define us, and let us come to terms with our history with residential schools. A conversation that needs to be had.

The Great Reset The Force Behind Canadian Ethics Complaints

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have been accused by conspiracists as being “puppets” for Klaus Schwab, and the World Economic Forum to bring forward the “Great Reset.” The conspiracy is based on a short video created by the WEF in 2016, where economists were asked what they envisioned for the future. Once the pandemic and lockdowns began, both Prince Charles and Trudeau spoke the words “The Great Reset” and the conspiracy began to take take hold. The Great Reset was a platform topic for the People’s Party of Canada during the federal election, and now is an aspect of Conservative Party’s leadership campaign. Recently calls for believers to contact the Canadian Ethics Committee to investigate Trudeau and Freeland for their connection to the WEF flooded the offices with complaints.

Freedom of the media

The oft-spoken adage that freedom of the media is only free to those who own the media has been repeated for the last few days, given the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Much speculation and doomsday prophecies for the social media platform have been espoused, and granted this is a precarious situation within the “town square” of Twitter, we truly need to step back from our emotions and engage in a wider, more logical perspective. This takeover is much more than a perceived silencing of the press, a silencing of the public sphere, or an anvil pressing deep into the cleavage between left and right, it is also a business acquisition. The capitalistic nature of this movement is spotlighted with each “I’m leaving Twitter” or “I’m back!” tweet. Keyboard warriors are simply fodder for publicity and finances of the takeover.

Publicity, Fearmongering, and Twitter

The hype around Elon Musk purchasing Twitter is sparking fear from both individual users and organizations such as the ACLU. Right wing pundits and influencers are taking a victory lap on the platform espousing a narrative of the return of free speech, the end of shadow banning, and significant follower increases. What all of this equates to is publicity for Musk. As fears are propagated and expanded upon in the media, Musk is tweeting troll-esque comments keeping the fear and adulation in the media.

Elon Musk and Twitter

It was announced yesterday (April 25th, 2022) that Elon Musk had purchased Twitter, and with that announcement, a new moral panic of sorts erupted. The truth is there are many months ahead before he actually owns Twitter, but the rhetoric of fear and vindication are like tsunami in the media and the social media platform itself. The hype and publicity Musk is creating is creating new fears of conspiracy of censorship by governments, fears of the complete moral downfall of Twitter, and while one side of the political spectrum declares they are leaving the platform or calling for resistance to the Elon Musk incarnation of a folk devil, the other end of the spectrum is relishing in validation and vindication at the horrible censorship they have endured. In the middle Musk is tweeting that people are simply afraid of “free speech” which really is just adding fuel to the flames.

Elon Musk’s Proposed Takeover of Twitter and “Free Speech”

Today Elon Musk announced he had made an offer to Twitter to buy out the social media platform. He had already purchased significant shares in the company, and after declining to be on the Board, which would limit his number of shares, this was not a shocking move. Musk wants to make Twitter a “free speech” platform, much like Gab or Gettr, promoting the notions of censorship and promoting a panic of sorts amongst the users of Twitter. Threats to leave the platform if Musk took over were reminiscent of those proclaiming their move to Canada if Trump became president. Yet an important discussion point focused on the spread of disinformation if the purchase went through.

Christianity, The Convoy, and Donations

The Tyee reporter Christopher Cheung mapped out the donations received by the convoy via GiveSendGo, and found religious communities in BC were one of the largest donors to the movement. Religious language also appeared in the messaging left on the funding app.

Christian nationalism can play a role in such social or protest movements, but the strength of religious language and a belief in being on the side of good in the ultimate battle against evil can be a strong influence. When Christian beliefs overlap with belief in conspiracies, then the battle against a tyrannical evil cabal can take on ultimate meaning.

Russia Propaganda and the Convoy

As pro-Putin material floods the Freedom Convoy’s Telegram channels we have to be aware of our own sharing habits on social media. Although Telegram is a “free speech” or low-moderation platform, the material can be copied and shared on more mainstream sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. The onus is on each of us to ensure we check that the material we find on “bio-weapon” targets or other war information is from valid sources such as experts, scholars, government, or legacy media sources. We are all guilty of pressing share while scrolling through social media on our phones, take a moment before sharing and check the source, look for other sources, or don’t share.

Convoy Protesters, Conspiracy, and Russian Support

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine the Freedom Convoy Telegram channels became inundated with posts supporting Russia’s military actions, and Putin himself. It was a stark change, but one that was not surprising. Some of the convoy participants on Telegram are enmeshed with conspiracy theories, which see Putin as a potential ally to destroy the mechanisms for a New World Order to enslave the world’s population. Ideas of US owned bio-weapon facilities in Ukraine have become the targets for Putin’s missiles. Ultimately the conspiracy rich environment of the Convoy Telegram channels have become a conduit to conspiracy, Russian war propaganda