More than 200,000 people marched in Warsaw on Sunday for an annual event celebrating Poland’s 100th anniversary of independence.
The annually recurring rally, which has gained publicity for being one of the biggest political demonstrations in Europe, has evolved beyond an event merely commemorating independence to a mass public expression for nationalists, conservatives and patriots in the Central European country.
Demonstrators repeated the slogan of “God, Honor and Fatherland” while carrying patriotic placards, and many repeated chants expressing opposition to the European Union, mass immigration, and Islamization. Although the annual march dates back to at least 1989, when Poland became free of Soviet domination, some demonstrators believed that this year’s turnout was the most the event had ever seen.
Officials from the Law and Justice Party, the national conservative party with a majority in the nation’s parliament, also attended the march, although some within the party expressed a more standoffish attitude towards the rally and its belligerent reputation. The rally has become a point of animosity for European liberals and globalists- the former Belgian Prime Minister and EU Parliamentarian Guy Verhofstadt last year had described the event as “60,000 fascists marching in the streets of Warsaw –- neo-Nazis, white supremacists.” Verhofstadt seemed to miss the irony of referring to a Polish patriotic event as a “neo-Nazi” event, considering that Poland was the first country to be invaded by Germany in World War II, going on to sustain massive casualties throughout the course of the war.
The event’s popularity and massive turnouts had been leading to disputes over its leadership between Law and Justice and various nationalist factions and organizations. A deal through which the party would lead the event fell through when they tried to prohibit marchers from carrying placards.
Canadian Police Report Almost 2,200 Home Visits To Monitor Quarantine Compliance
Canadian police officers reportedly have conducted almost 2,200 home visits to ensure travelers into the country are complying with quarantine rules.
In late March, the Canadian government announced the start of the Quarantine Act, which mandates that anyone entering the country, with the exception of essential workers like truck drivers and those in healthcare, must self-isolate for 14 days.
Failure to comply can incur a fine of up to $750,000 and/or six months in prison. However, so far there have been no arrests, and only one fine of $1,000.
Still, many may find unsettling the degree to which the Canadian police, in coordination with official border and health services, are enforcing a nanny state by paying home visits to incoming travelers deemed at risk of non-compliance. In addition, prime minister Justin Trudeau has hinted that even tougher measures could be coming, even once Canada begins easing cross-border travel.
Also in late March, the Trudeau government announced a halt to all immigration in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, current immigration applications would not be closed or denied due to failure to meet typical requirements.
Still, many pointed out that Canada’s response was actually stronger than the US’, which has continued to import thousands of H-1B workers even while under lockdown due to a global pandemic.
The border between the US and Canada has been closed since the end of March, and this was recently extended, likely into mid-June. Trudeau has stated that the closure and its extension were implemented with full cooperation from the US.
While travel into Canada has not stopped completely, it has fallen drastically since the implementation of restrictive policies. However, critics of the government question whether Trudeau reacted quickly enough, and argue that the policy going forward is too vague and requires more explanation and accountability.
As stated by Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus:
“It was the Trudeau government’s failure to close our borders that allowed the virus to spread in the first place. It is incumbent on the Trudeau government to explain how they plan to ensure that travelers who are coming back to Canada are not spreading COVID-19… Unfortunately, right now the Trudeau government is telling Canadians to ‘wait and see’ without explaining what metrics they are relying on to make decisions.”
While Canada is doing significantly better than the US in terms of the number of cases, one tragically sobering area in which it has exhibited clear failure is the fate of its elderly, particularly those in state and private long-term care institutions.
It is estimated that up to 86% of the Canadian death toll is from facilities such as long-term care, retirement, and corrections, with the first two making up the large majority. In one privately-run nursing home, as much as one third of residents have died from coronavirus.
While the situation is complex and there are few countries that do not seem to have significant problems with their approach, it is clear that something is wrong with Canada’s. Perhaps the government should focus more on taking care of its elderly than intrusively monitoring its citizens.
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