At last, Canada has been freed from the menacing threat of bouncy castles. The bouncy castles first appeared in Ottawa earlier this month, brought in by the truckers who were peacefully protesting Covid restrictions and who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later compared to Nazis. And you can understand why. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a McDonald’s PlayPlace and felt the dark night of fascism descending all around me.

That people don’t bring bouncy castles to violent insurrections — that there were no bouncy castles at, for example, the Beer Hall Putsch...

At last, Canada has been freed from the menacing threat of bouncy castles. The bouncy castles first appeared in Ottawa earlier this month, brought in by the truckers who were peacefully protesting Covid restrictions and who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later compared to Nazis. And you can understand why. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a McDonald’s PlayPlace and felt the dark night of fascism descending all around me.

That people don’t bring bouncy castles to violent insurrections — that there were no bouncy castles at, for example, the Beer Hall Putsch — has apparently been lost on Trudeau, that witless king in the north, who last weekend saw in the Ottawa police to flush out the truckers like they were an occupying militia. The result was a stomach-churning crackdown. Protesters were beaten. An elderly indigenous woman was trampled by a police horse. Another woman was attacked while trying to get a cup of coffee. Owners of a cafe that had served food to the demonstrators were bullied and threatened with arrest. Canadians have had their bank accounts frozen; journalists have been barred from doing their jobs.

This is Justin Trudeau’s Canada, a place where liberal democracy is rapidly devolving into progressive authoritarianism. Civil liberties remain suspended after Trudeau invoked a law that’s never before been activated. The Emergencies Act, as it’s called, was not used after 9/11. It was not used in 2014 when a gunman shot a cop and stormed into the Canadian parliament building. It was also not used, curiously enough, just last week when a pipeline in British Columbia was attacked by left-wing ecoterrorists armed with axes.

But bouncy castles? That’s a threat to the very fabric of North America, dammit.

Trudeau is that rare public figure about whom the easiest cliché is also the truest. He is often called the Canadian Barack Obama, and he is. An allegedly magnetic personality, the son of former PM Pierre Trudeau, Trudeau fils ascended to power in 2015, ending nine years of rule by the enigmatic Conservative Stephen Harper. He brought with him the hopes and schemes of an entire West Wing generation of Canadian liberals. Trudeau was cool. He snowboarded. He copped to smoking pot and then legalized it. He cared about the environment, especially if it meant he could use it as a backdrop for his endless selfies.

Even Trudeau’s most slobbering admirers admit that he spends a lot of time obsessing over himself. And that right there is where the Obama persona always goes awry. Both Trudeau and Obama were celebrity politicians. They came to expect adulation, the roar of the crowd, and when they failed to receive it, when dissent inevitably arose, it filled them with a seething sense that Something Must Be Done. This is how the great civil libertarian Obama ended up weaponizing the IRS and spying on journalists. It’s how Trudeau went from grinning with groupies to loosing the hounds on bouncy castles. Scratch a coddled ego and so very often there’s an authoritarian lurking just beneath.

With Trudeau the matter is even more glaring. Because other than his looks and his bloodline, it isn’t clear why he’s the prime minister of a G7 country. Except for a brief stint as a teacher, he’s never had a real job. He grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and talks like it’s still there. His speeches are mostly fumbling affairs, like someone keeps pulling the string on a Cabbage Patch doll. He has no talent for debate and regularly gets thumped by the Conservatives in parliament. He is wildly unpopular.

Trudeau, even more so than Obama, is a progressive confection. There is little substance beneath the sugary surface. And now the consequences of electing this stammering airhead are becoming abundantly clear. If Canada had a leader and not a department store mannequin, the trucker crisis might have been peacefully defused. The government might have recognized the need to bring a disenchanted and powerful political minority back into the fold. It might have talked to them, identified with them, negotiated over the increasingly groundless Covid measures that had aggravated them so.

Instead it accused them of hatred and sent in the gendarmes. Contrary to popular perception, authoritarians are not always robust geniuses. Hitler was a raving lunatic who seized control only because the Weimar norm seemed even more extreme. Putin is a gray and uninspired security bureaucrat whose KGB skills just so happened to be of use in uniting post-Soviet Russia. Now, with Trudeau, we’re witnessing another path to power for the mediocre leader: he inflames a crisis through his own ineptitude, then uses it as an excuse to claim even more authority.

Trudeau is not Hitler (not that he has a problem leveling that comparison himself). Yet it’s easy to see how continued protests across Canada could see him prolong and bolster his new powers, freezing the bank accounts of more and more dissenters by tying them to the convoys, for example. Canadian parliament already voted last night to extend the Emergency Act declaration even though the trucker protests have effectively ended; does anyone really believe Trudeau will ever relinquish his new competencies? Do governments ever?

Trudeau spent much of his time in office as a kind of left-wing nationalist, attempting to promote what he views as Canadian values. Yet after the state-sanctioned thuggery of last weekend, who will ever again look north for politeness, liberality, peace?