What are the symptoms of state overreach? Of information gatekeeping by news media? As citizens, how do we keep public servants and political stakeholders in check? According to George Roche, these are the questions that catalyzed the inception of The Line Canada and continue to be the driving force behind the organization.
“The world will not return to normal until these oligarchs are brought to justice,” said Roche in an exclusive INNterview.
“That, to me, is where the remedy is,” he said. “You want a well society? Keep the elite away from your grandmother because they’re the ones causing this.”
Roche is the executive director and media liaison for The Line Canada, a self-described civil liberties non-profit organization operating in several Canadian provinces, including Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. With a red brushstroke bisecting a black circle, The Line’s insignia represents “the people drawing the line to end oppression and control.”1
On a local scale, The Line is primarily concerned with ending the COVID-19 restrictions in the province. However, in other locations, such as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, they are campaigning to end the Indian Act and impel the government to investigate the missing Indigenous women.
In bold defiance against the provincial gathering limits, The Line’s Toronto division holds anti-lockdown demonstrations at Yonge-Dundas Square every Saturday to protest against the “new normal,” even as the COVID-19 cases climb in the thousands. According to Roche, the crowds have likewise enlarged exponentially in the last 28 weeks of assembly.
“The inspiration for The Line came solely from the understanding that this is not about a virus,” Roche said.
Roche, like most of his anti-lockdown compatriots, is doubtful of the facts and figures about the virus presented by official health bodies and governmental institutions. He believes key players of the state and media are pushing a fallacious agenda about COVID-19, and they should be held accountable. To Roche, politicians and journalists are insidious bedfellows enacting an ulterior motive to deceive and divide the populace.
“There is an information war going on, a technocratic war,” he said. “They’re destroying the world economy in the name of health.”
He attributes the psychological hardships experienced at the individual level to the province’s pandemic crisis response, citing an increase in domestic violence and substance abuse in the wake of lockdown.
According to Roche, it is imperative to be skeptical of the information regarding public health policy and COVID-19 figures we receive from media outlets, which, according to him, are not divulging the full story of what is happening behind the closed government doors.
“When you start eliminating the comments or opinions of scientists and doctors that the entire world has been led to believe are reliable,” he said, “it’s time to start asking some very hard questions.”
To Roche, The Line’s demonstrations bridge the information gap between the citizen and those with access to scientific data about the virus and dictate its dissemination. He also believes that The Line’s insistence on in-person gatherings is their way of circumventing gatekeeping by social media moderators and community guidelines.
“You can’t speak to each other on social media because so many posts are being removed,” said Roche, who had to manage the removal of The Line’s Facebook page in October. “So, what is left? Grassroots publicly held initiatives where the voices of awareness are heard loudly and proudly.”
Disaffected with mainstream news sources and media pluralism at large, Roche urges citizens to think for themselves and conduct independent research.
“People are educated enough to repeat what they’ve learned but they’re not educated enough to question what they’ve been told.”
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