Canada’s Trucker Crackdown

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Appealing emergency powers ruling: Earlier this week, Canada’s finance minister said the government will appeal a court ruling that declared unreasonable its use of emergency powers to shut down the Canadian trucker COVID-19 mandate protests in 2022.

“A federal judge earlier on Tuesday said the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to clear the ‘Freedom Convoy’ demonstrations that paralyzed the national capital in 2022 was unreasonable and violated Charter rights,” reports Reuters. The “Freedom Convoy” was a group of truckers who flooded into Canada’s capital, Ottawa, to protest the cross-border vaccine mandate between Canada and the U.S., which threatened their ability to work and infringed on their medical freedom.

It lasted for a month, spanning the end of January 2022 and much of February, and resulted in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau using his emergency powers to arrest protesters and freeze their bank accounts (which they then countered by using bitcoin to buy basic necessities) to attempt to suppress their political speech.

“I conclude that there was no national emergency justifying the invocation of the Emergencies Act and the decision to do so was therefore unreasonable and ultra vires,” wrote Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley in a ruling issued this past Tuesday.

“I was convinced at the time it was the right thing to do, it was the necessary thing to do. I remain and we remain convinced of that,” said Canada’s finance minister in response, announcing the intention to appeal.

For more on the Canadian trucker protests, check out this excellent documentary produced by my Just Asking Questions co-host Zach Weissmueller.

TED fellows pitch a fit over “genocide apologists”: Who are these genocide apologists, you might wonder? Defenders of the state of Israel and its response to Hamas’ October 7 attack, during which innocent civilians were burned alive!

“Five participants in the TED fellows program, which supports and promotes emerging voices in a variety of fields across the globe, resigned Wednesday after the public-speaking organization invited hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman and journalist Bari Weiss to speak at its 2024 flagship conference in Vancouver,” reports National Review. A letter sent to TED’s leadership accused the organization of choosing “not only to align itself with enablers and supporters of genocide, but to amplify their racist propaganda.”

Ackman has purportedly “defended Israel’s genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and has cynically weaponised antisemitism in his programme to purge American universities of Pro-Palestinian freedom of speech” while Weiss has, in their telling, “weaponised antisemitism to defend Israel’s genocide in Gaza and has a track record of transphobic extremism.” No nuance contained within, about how the Israel-Palestine conflict is, uh, fairly complicated. (And detail provided to substantiate the transphobe claim? A truly unhinged laundry list of all the wrongthinkers Weiss has platformed over the years.)

It remains to be seen whether TED will kowtow to the haters. But it’s a very bad sign when people ostensibly affiliated with the organization due to their intellectual rigor and nuance end up showing such profound incuriousness, and want to dissociate from those with whom they disagree.

For more on TED-related craziness, check out this recent Nick Gillespie x Coleman Hughes interview, in which Hughes details how he was treated by the organization.

Scenes from New YorkThe city has a law on the books, called right-to-shelter, that forces it to provide emergency housing for those in need—frequently homeless people, but now also newly-arrived migrants. The only problem, other than the fact that New York City taxpayers are coughing up for it, is that the city is beyond capacity, with no end in sight to the influx. “The Legal Aid Society, which monitors the city’s compliance with the right-to-shelter mandate, said on Monday that it had been told by the city that on any given night, 800 to 1,000 migrants are left on the waiting list, and that the average wait for a bed is more than eight days,” reports The New York Times.


  • California legislators can’t seem to get basic quality of life issues under control but, sure, let’s regulate this:

A bill by State Sen. Scott Wiener would require new cars to have tech that would stop them from going more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

— The San Francisco Standard (@sfstandard) January 24, 2024

  • Xi Jinping is in trouble, reports Bloomberg: “Confidence in the Chinese economy is at its lowest ebb in decades.”
  • Latest Just Asking Questions just dropped, in which Zach Weissmueller and I interview Marcos Falcone and chat about Javier Milei’s Davos speech, Argentina’s shock therapy, and whether the new president’s critique of social justice is correct. PLEASE reach out via DM or email if you like what you see, have suggestions for how to improve the show, or want to see a particular guest or topic covered.
  • “Have you ever wondered why empty storefronts in major cities stay empty for so long?” asks Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution, linking to a new paper on “high-rent blight.”
  • More weird AI applications.
  • “Almost anything that is considered a big deal in Hollywood gets discussed, and treated, as if it is a big deal for America,” writes Jim Geraghty over at National Review, covering Margot Robbie.
  • Stunning media malpractice from The New York Times:

Found something fucked up. THIS is how the New York Times describes Milei’s deregulatory actions?

“Would have consequences” is bizarrely (I might even say DELIBERATELY) vague.

The omnibus bill is *not* consolidating more power in Milei’s hands; it’s returning power to…

— Liz Wolfe (@LizWolfeReason) January 25, 2024

Congressional staff are increasingly challenging their own bosses in a bid to shift the balance of power on Capitol Hill, representing a sea change in the relationship between lawmakers and the legions of workers who ensure the House and Senate function.

— Bloomberg Government (@BGOV) January 24, 2024

  • BRB renaming my New York section Dispatches from Dumbopolis:

The ACLU’s recent settlement with the NYPD requires that when a protest “temporarily blocks vehicular or pedestrian traffic or otherwise obstructs public streets or sidewalks, the NYPD shall whenever possible accommodate the demonstration”

— Sanjana Friedman (@metaversehell) January 25, 2024

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