On #elbowgate and Crybullies in the environmental and political spheres

Yesterday Canadians were introduced to a relatively new phenomenon. One that is well known to anyone in the resource extraction industries or with right-of-center views but is much less well known elsewhere: the concept of crybullying and the existence of crybullies. You might not have ever heard the term so let’s start with a definition. A “crybully” has been defined as:

Someone who uses the perceived righteousness of a social justice cause as a pretext to abuse others, and then plays the victim when confronted about that abuse.

We have all seen it but most have not known what to call it. For a classic example of crybullying (or crymobs in this case) watch this video where a reporter simply trying to take pictures of a demonstration in a public space is physically assaulted by protesters. The photographer, who is standing still, is repeatedly bumped by these protesters who then turn around and demand that he be arrested for assaulting them. These activists have a simple approach as Daniel Greenfield (who has written a lot on the topic) points out:

If you don’t fight back, the crybully bullies you. If you fight back, the crybully cries and demands a safe space because you made him feel unsafe.

As for yesterday’s event, the Canadian House of Commons was preparing for an important vote, but prior to the vote the members were milling about on the floor after a break. The House was being called to order and the Honourable Members were moving to their seats. At this point two members of the NDP caucus apparently decided that it would be funny to physically block the path of a senior member of the Conservative party: MP Gord Brown. The best video of the exchange is available here. As MP Brown tries to get to his seat, the NDP member in grey repeatedly moves to block MP Brown and the female MP in grey (MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau) joins him in doing so. MP Brown repeatedly tries to get by and is repeatedly blocked. At one point MP Ellen Brosseau is seen laughing about the activity to a fellow MP in red. Prime Minister Trudeau, clearly tiring of the antics, decides to intervene and in doing so brushes MP Ellen Brosseau.

Now remember here, MP Ellen Brosseau is a former bartender at a campus pub. I’m not sure about today, but in my days as a bartender getting a tray of drinks across a bar often involved a lot of pushing and physical contact. Unfortunately, while MP Ellen Brosseau can apparently handle a room full of drunken revelers she apparently cannot bear the trauma of brief physical contact with the Prime Minister. So instead of shrugging it off, she immediately recoils back like she has been hit by a charging bull. Her reaction is reminiscent of a classic by Christian Renaldo or one of his fellows trying to draw a yellow card in a soccer match. Like Renaldo she couldn’t leave it there and felt the need to take the act to the next level. She later spoke in the House and reported that she was so traumatized that “she had to leave”. Apparently she left the Chamber to sit outside where I’m guessing they probably sprayed her with the magic spray the trainers use on the sidelines of soccer games that allows the “injured” players to heal miraculously in time for the next whistle.

Now any teacher knows exactly what happened there. The two NDP MPs were bullying Mr. Brown. They repeatedly blocked his way and then laughed as they were doing it. MP Brown didn’t know what to do as almost any response would get him in trouble. Should he push them aside and get called out for being violent or should he simply wait it out? Being a good Canadian he simply stands there and takes the abuse from his fellow members. The hall monitor (Mr. Trudeau) finally intervenes and the bullies immediately claim victim-hood and demand that the hall monitor be punished. Happily in schools they know how to handle these sorts of things but apparently not in the House of Commons.

Now if this was a one-time affair it would be nothing to talk about, but in our modern era the crybullies are gradually winning the battles and gaining in strength and the reason is simple. Being a crybully gets results. In the House case MP Ellen Brosseau got an apology out of the Prime Minister. On the street the crybullies are winning as well and they are winning because the government and the media have encouraged their behaviours.

When the protesters broke a court order on Burnaby Mountain were they thrown in jail and sent before a judge? No most were simply escorted down to the bottom of the mountain and were not charged. Only the repeat offenders were actually arrested and even then they acted outraged. I think the funniest thing I read during the protest was this:

Wiping away tears, protester Emily Cook said a friend, whom she did not identify, was arrested outside of the injunction zone just as he was telling an officer he didn’t want to be arrested.

“They did not give him the option. They gave him no warning he would be arrested. They put him in zap straps,” she said.

Here was a person breaking the law and he felt he shouldn’t be arrested because “he didn’t want to be arrested”.

In his book “Uncivil Obedience: The Tactics and Tales of a Democratic Agitator” noted former civil rights activist A. Alan Borovoy made an important point. There are two ways to protest: you can protest within the confines of the law (uncivil obedience) or you can choose to break the law (civil disobedience). If you choose the latter then you must be willing to accept the consequences of your actions. What a lot of the current generation of protesters seem not to recognize is that there is no “right” to commit civil disobedience. I listen with decreasing interest to protesters who argue about their “rights” since most appear to have no clue what a “right” actually means under the law/constitution. Most activists these days appear to believe that they should be allowed to block roads and break the law with impunity.

The real problem with activists these days is that the government has trained them to believe that they can use the tactics of civil disobedience but that will not suffer the consequences of their actions. The government has enabled the protesters. In the case of Burnaby Mountain the police actually were asking the protesters which ones wanted to be arrested instead of simply arresting the lot.

The whole civil disobedience approach hearkens back to the days of the Clayoquot protests when the protesters blocked the logging roads. As I have written previously, the major difference between the civil disobedience of 1993 and that of 2016 is in the consequences of the protesters’ actions. One feature of the protests in 1993 that has apparently been forgotten by our current generation of activists, was that back then the protesters did not simply get to walk away after being picked up by the police. These protesters were arrested, charged, and had to face the consequences of their actions in a court of law. As described in the Wikipedia article on the subjectof the 932 people arrested, 860 were prosecuted in eight trials with all those prosecuted for criminal intent found guilty”. As recounted, many of protesters ended up spending a reasonable amount of time in jail. Can you imagine a modern environmentalist discovering that their actions would get them sent to jail? Moreover, this was not a Conservative or Liberal government that had them arrested and charged, the government of the day was NDP. Their allies put them in jail. You see the government of the day recognized that their role was to ensure that the law was obeyed.

The media, meanwhile, is also to blame for encouraging this type of behaviour. Credulous reporters breathlessly recount all the horrors rained down on these crybullies. Activists storm a building and demand the right to scream with loudspeakers at the people inside and the online report includes complaints that the security team was being “disproportionately violent”. These activists force their way into a building and then the media reports that “no one was expecting such a rough reception”. I’m guessing that if I forced my way into the Vancouver Observer’s offices and started yelling into a megaphone into the editor’s face her response would be less than cordial.

To conclude this piece I will quote Daniel Greenfield again. Now to be clear here, I normally disagree with almost everything the man has to say but on this topic he is bang on:

Crybullies are everything they claim to abhor. They are narcissists who complain about selfishness. Completely incapable of human empathy, they whine that no one cares about their feelings. They are prone to cowardly acts of violence, but demand safe spaces. They are bullies who say they’re bullied.

As Canadians we have to nip this new form of protest in the bud. Instead of painting MP Ellen Brosseau as the victim we should make it clear that she was the bully and MP Brown was the victim. We have to point out the truth of the matter and call out the crybullies for what they are. Reporters need to report what is actually happening and not simply repeat the crying of the crybullies. We need to hear who was the actual aggressor even if (especially if?) that ruins the easy narrative. Put simply the media and our government need to stop being the crybullies’ patsies and enablers. Canada works because we have one law for everyone, but that is changing because our current governments lack the courage of the NDP governments of the 1990’s to simply enforce the law evenly and fairly for all.

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17 Responses to On #elbowgate and Crybullies in the environmental and political spheres

  1. Awesome… well written and sooooo true !!


    • Sam, please…the evidence is self explanatory…..Junior T childishly and mindlessly rampaged across the floor twice in a fit of petulant rage and physically accosted other members in the HOC….As your ‘hero’s’ knowledge of bars is so accurate, he would also know that had Mr Trudeau’s actions taken place in a public setting he would have spent the weekend in jail and it would be a judge deciding on his bail conditions while the RCMP reviewed the evidence to recommend charges to Crown Counsel….regardless of whose political party he belonged to.


    • Except it is Just in as another Attempt to make the P. (petulent) M. (mini-me) of Canada look less like the adolescent He is:


  2. Climate Otter says:

    Considering treaudeaus’ (I can never spell his name right) policies will do a lot of damage to the middle-class, he still deserved what he got. He should also get recalled.

    As to social justice warriors: I’ve been at war with one of them for the last 4 years. Crybullies don’t like when their victims fight back… long story short, I not only pounded him into the ground (this was over climate change), I got him to give me good press on his home page (an ‘apology’ more or less). ‘We need to hear who was the actual aggressor ‘ – Once I posted a detailed list of his agressions against myself for all to see, he fell apart pretty quick. But like I say it took 4 years to wear him down.


  3. Don Morris says:

    How well I remember the Clayyoquot sound protests. The NDP government,though,DID pander to their constituents at first, even going so far as to provide a school bus so the protesters, most of whom claimed to be self- employed artists, could go to the welfare office in Nanaimo to collect their monthly cheques.

    The Opposition at the time said they should have been cut off welfare as there was (is?) a clause in the welfare agreement that any fit person has to be actively seeking work. This was met by an embarrassed silence from the Dipper government who didn’t want to PO too many of their constituents.

    The upshot of these protests was the logging contractor from Nanaimo died from a heart attack due to the stress caused by these social justice warriors, but of course that story has long been buried by a compliant media.

    The sons of bitches are complicit in a good man’s death, but to these bullying scum,that’s the best result they could hope for.

    Brosseau disappoints me, she used to be a down-to-earth young woman who realized her good fortune and was working hard to do a good job for her constituents.Now she’s been “Ottawashed”, NDP style, and is just another Dipper drama queen.

    Good column.Well said.


    • John Chittick says:

      I agree with most of your comment, but if you are referring to Frank Beban as the contractor who died, arguably as a result of logging protests, it was actually the Lyell Island (Queen Charlotte Islands) protests of 1985 which resulted in the formation of South Moresby Island Park.

      The NDP was quite conflicted over the Clayoquot protests because the “victims” who ultimately lost their jobs were for the most part loyal NDP supporters. The protesters ultimately won virtually every conflict thanks to moral cowardice of the corporate (partially) and political class (primarily) but mostly due to the unaccountable and faux stewardship of public ownership of resources. The results were public wealth destruction on an industrial scale.

      I can recall only once where the protesters were meted with justice and that was in the Walbran where the RCMP were late arriving at the scene preventing them from guarding the protesters. The contractors (Company crews were neutered by their corporate spin doctors), arrived to find the blockade unprotected by the RCMP and they cleared the road by giving the protesters flying lessons over the embankment.


  4. Ofay Cat says:

    To help put an end to crybullies, considering it’s a no win, as mentioned in the article, take the best option and beat the living shit out of the CB and you will at least have struck a blow for freedom and you WILL feel much better for it. Once a bully has been properly dealt with they usually quit being bullies.


  5. lou ann watson says:

    “If you don’t fight back, the crybully bullies you. If you fight back, the crybully cries and demands a safe space because you made him feel unsafe.”
    but if you pull your pistol and cancel their tickets for physically threatening you, it’s self defense. sorry, canada, i live in florida where that is actually possible…no snark or derision intended


  6. prudent Scot says:

    Hi — touching a woman’s breath without permission in never acceptable — hence the apology.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eyes wide open says:

    The other aisle 6 ft to the left was wide open…poor MP Brown “didn’t know what to do”


    • bluetech says:

      Has anyone considered that Gord Brown was choosing to ‘engage’ in the little game that the NDP were playing? Stalling is, after all, a known tactic in the HoC. But they all bore the wrath of the Little Prince. As for Ms. Brousseau, her the accidental encounter that she had is a result of the arrogance of Trudeau, and unfortunately all focus on her takes the focus of the PM’s temper tantrum


      • Russ Mack says:

        Bluetech, you hit the nail on the head. Mr. Trudeau should not have crossed the floor. Unfortunately, the Brousseau incident has diverted attention away from the actual issue.


  8. juniorannex says:

    I have been reading your blog with much interest since I first discovered it in its prior iteration about a year or so ago. With respect, I think you and everyone else focusing on elbowgate have missed the much larger point. We’re there shenanigans going on in the Commons that day? Absolutely. Did our OM embarrass himself, his party and the country? Absolutely. Were the NDP and quite probably the Tories engaging in the ‘dark arts’s of parliamentary behaviour in attempting to delay the vote? Yes. Did the NDP, and member for Quebec northern wasteland seize an opportunity borne out of incidental contact? Why, surely not; justifiably outraged I’m sure.

    All of this simply highlights the sheer ineptitude, the crass pandering for headlines, that characterises our media, and I am afraid you bought into it.

    The muted, or nearly non existent coverage of the actual issue that preceded this event should concern Canadians. The opposition was quite upset at the changes to parliamentary procedure contained in Motion 6, being ramrodded down their throats, and employed every stalling tactic they could imagine. What a godsend that our impetuous, PETulant prime minister chose that moment to physically intervene, thus revealing himself to Canadians and confirming the conservative charge that he just wasn’t ready. Are the Tories and NDP making that from this? Absolutely. Was it oversold as an incident, definitely.

    Cheers, Ted


  9. One minor correction I would like to make in your post: Brown wasn’t going to his seat. He was performing a ceremonial march to the speaker.

    From your link:
    “Now normally, once MPs are assembled and ready to vote, the whips for the government and the official opposition take up a position at the south end of the House of Commons — the end farthest away from the Speaker — and then, in unison, walk the aisle of the House and present themselves in front of the Speaker and, with a bow, signify they are ready to vote. A vote can happen without this ceremony but this is the usual way.”

    That also answers the question some have posed about why he didn’t just go around the NDP, his ceremonial path wouldn’t let him.

    This minor correction aside, I very much enjoyed your post.


  10. wert says:

    Oh geez if MPs behave like 15 year old children what hope does a country have?

    Last met a crybully a long time ago, but really the meanest crybully is the one who is physically stronger than you. To stop it, you need a lot of character. Sometimes a good sudden hit with a blunt object from backwards helps, at least then the crybully needs to cry for life instead of being jocular.


  11. Bob Durtschi says:

    “Put simply the media and our government need to stop being the crybullies’ patsies and enablers. Canada works because we have one law for everyone, but that is changing because our current governments lack the courage of the NDP governments of the 1990’s to simply enforce the law evenly and fairly for all.”

    The way I see it, the difference is that the current governments and media are now run by the protesters of the 1990’s. Not only is the government not enforcing the law it is actively encouraging the protestors as is the media. Witness “Occupy Wall Street”.


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