[ Part of The Canadian Far Right in the Time of COVID ]
Anti-mask protests began in Canada on July 18th, 2020. The slogans and symbols of THE LINE were there, in major cities from Halifax to Vancouver.
THE LINE CANADA documented its presence at these protests in the first video on its YouTube channel, posted August 12, 2020.
The first image in the video is this solidarity fist clenching the logo of THE LINE. The fist is an old symbol connected to left-wing movements. Throughout America’s Days of Rage in 2020 the symbol was seen everywhere in connection with Black Lives Matter. Here the famously revolutionary fist is grasping a new symbol which revives the British Blackshirts of the 1930s.
An anti-mask protest held in Red Deer, AB featured hand-made examples of slogans promoted by THE LINE and its ally, Hugs Not Masks.
This image from the Hamilton, ON protest shows the ubiquitous LINE stickers which are plastered everywhere they go. Here it is used on a white armband, with that one hand lifted up at a 45° angle. When in Rome…
Merch booths are a recurring feature of THE LINE protests. They always have ample stock of branded shirts, stickers, banners, and flags for sale.
Another common feature of THE LINE protests is the branded flag flying alongside a national flag, at the same scale and often on the same pole. Here, the flag of Canada is deliberately flown upside down as a distress signal.
An easily overlooked detail: their protest was held at the foot of John A. MacDonald’s statue, which is a well-known site of indigenous and anti-colonial protests. In contrast to the destruction of colonial and Confederate statues in America, THE LINE has taken care to leave no permanent mark on this Father of Confederation.
“So, the line… The government, the wonderful police that we love so much, they crossed the line and we’re the ones drawing the line. Are you with me, people? FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM! [etc., Crowd chants]”
THE LINE doesn’t present any direct political message to people, but their protests are loaded with indirect politics. They present as Patriotic Canadians who see the country endangered by a tyrannical government and its fake virus. Despite the leftist facade, THE LINE is cultivating right wing radicalism.