The international reputation of Canada as the politically laid-back, unpretentious neighbor state to the polarized United States has become laughably anachronistic over the past few years. From passing bills to regulate the internet, freezing bank accounts of those who donated to the trucker convoy, to barring unvaccinated citizens from boarding an airplane (or otherwise leaving the country) — Canada has descended into a spiraling authoritarian state that has caught many by surprise.
In 2023, this shift took a sharp turn towards even more free speech attacks and legislative disasters.
Just before the end of the year, Canada hit a new low for freedom of political expression as an Ottawa judge ruled that the conservative commentator Ezra Levant’s anti-Trudeau book promotion during a previous federal election was illegal. “I am the only person in history they are targeting for writing an election book during an election,” Levant writes. Levant is now fined $13,000 and threatened with potential criminal prosecution should he write and promote another political book in the next election.
Yes, this is Canada — not Cambodia (where the police arrest reporters for quoting politicians).