Editor’s Note: Cornwall Media Services, a business that rents space the building where these signs are located, is not associated with the signs and if given the option would not have them on the building. Cornwall Media Services have stated that they are moving to a new location as of March 1.
It is probably become a sight familiar to many over the past few weeks, those blue flags emblazoned with the words “F— Trudeau.” We even have seen this message blown-up into a billboard sized sign located on a building at the corner of Water St. and Marlborough St. in Cornwall.
For a couple of months now, not a week has gone by where I have not received an email, phone call, or had a conversation from someone who wishes that something could be done to take this sign down.
Let me first say that my opinion on this is that this is ultimately a free speech matter.
Earlier this year, the Ontario municipality of Port Colbourne backed down from its attempts to have one of its residents remove their F— Trudeau flag when it came under threat of legal action for trying to violate the owner’s freedom of expression.
We do live in a democracy and freedom of speech is sacred, as long as it doesn’t incite harm or violence against others.
That being said though, I do think that these flags are a symptom of dire problems that our democracy is facing.
These flags are simply immature expressions of frustration with the Liberal government. I do not support a lot of what the Liberal government does, and I did not vote for them in the last election, however I can think of about a dozen more effective ways to express my views than a simple F— Trudeau flag.
For one, Justin Trudeau has no idea who I am and does not care if I fly one of those flags.
These flags accomplish less than nothing and just expose the people who fly them as being politically impotent.
Is Justin Trudeau going to resign and let Maxime Bernier be sworn in as Prime Minister because his feelings were hurt? I don’t think so. Will your neighbours be impressed or convinced by your subtle and eloquent political discourse? Clearly not.
If anything, I think that these flags do more to help Trudeau than harm him, which is the exact opposite result than what the people flying them want.
As I stated earlier in this column, for weeks I have heard from people who have wanted to see this billboard in Cornwall to come down. I have not heard from one single person who has cited that billboard as something they found positive. That they thought it was something good.
The bottom line is that these expressions are weak, ineffective, and are making our politics and society worse by turning it into something closer to what you would see in the United States these days.
If you want to take down Trudeau, well clearly, a flag, or even an occupation of the capital, won’t accomplish that. What will take down Trudeau is building a political movement with policies that help and garner support from a majority of Canadians. That involves community organizing, going door-to-door having polite political debate with people to win them over. In other words, removing Trudeau, or any entrenched politician takes hard work, something that the F— Trudeau flag people clearly aren’t willing to put in the time for.
Flying those flags is their right though, and we shouldn’t forget that. To paraphrase Voltaire, I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend your right to say it.
It is their right to fly those flags, but the fact that they are flying reveals a weakness in our democracy and a taint in our political discourse which is a problem that we all will need to deal with unless we want to become as divided and polarized as our neighbours to the South.
What do you think readers? Email me your Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org