Last Thursday, Ontario Court Justice David Carr acquitted Royce Van Every, 61, for threatening to target Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with an assault rifle. The acquittal took one hour and Canadians had cause to wonder why the case ever came to trial.
As Doug Schmidt of the Windsor Star explained, in 2018, a few days before Trudeau arrived at Canada Day ceremonies in nearby Leamington, police arrested Van Every for “purportedly saying he was going after the Liberal leader with an assault rifle.”
Police jailed Van Every for “five or six days,” including the July 1 Canada Day, a national holiday. Van Every denied making the threat, which was “purportedly heard,” by one staffer at the office of a provincial politician. A second staffer heard nothing, but Canadian federal authorities, “the Crown,” still brought charges against Van Every.
As it emerged in the trial, Van Every had invited Trudeau to the war memorial in Leamington, and in his message said “God bless our prime minister.” Ontario Court Justice David Carr told the court “it just doesn’t add up,” and after one hour duly acquitted the defendant.
According to the Windsor Star account, Van Every was known as an “eccentric” with a “long ponytail, drooping earrings and numerous necklaces, as well as sporting a vest and FDNY ball cap.” The article include four photos of Van Every and two photos of Justin Trudeau. Locals could compare that outcome with a violent crime that was not “purported” in any way.
On Sunday October 8, 2017, Anne Widholm took a morning stroll on Windsor’s Ganatchio Trail. The 75-year-old grandmother and Sunday school teacher was picking up litter when, as police charge, Habibullah Ahmadi, 21, attacked the woman and left her unconscious and near death.
“In my 12 years in Windsor, this is the most severe beating I’ve seen,” neurosurgeon Dr. Balraj Jhawar told the Windsor Star. Dr. Jhawar detailed multiple brain hemorrhages, fractured vertebrae and “the worst skull fractures” he had seen in more than a decade. “This is among the most brutal things I’ve seen in my career,” Dr. Jhawar explained.
Habibullah Ahmadi, 21, made no statement and any information about his motive failed to emerge. In a departure from standard practice with violent criminals, police did not release the suspect’s booking photo. In similar style, no photo of victim Anne Widholm accompanied the Star reports.
Habibullah Ahmadi was described as a “Windsor man” who also calls himself “Daniel” but locals did not learn how long he had lived in Windsor and what family members, if any, had to say about him. Not a single news story detailed where Habibullah Ahmadi went to school or where he worked. No fellow students or work colleagues went on record about the accused.
In a coma since the savage attack, Ann Widholm passed away on December 15, 2018. The charges against Habibullah Ahmadi, originally assault, were then upgraded to second-degree murder. Contrary to news reports, no trial took place in January of 2019 and no new information emerged about Habibullah Ahmadi. Two reports in 2019 said a preliminary hearing had taken place, but no details emerged from the proceedings.
As the second anniversary of the attack approached, the office of Habibullah’s attorney Patricia Brown told this writer they had no trial date and could not comment. Police and local reporters are likewise silent. Habibullah Ahmadi has made no statement and no photo of the “Windsor man” has appeared.
Accused of murder, Habibullah Ahmadi has yet to reach trial. By contrast, Royce Van Every was arrested for something he “purportedly” said, and his case came to trial within 17 months. News reports provided multiple photos of the accused and his purported victim.
By all indications Canada deploys one standard of justice for people named Habibullah and another for people with names like Royce Van Every. Canadians who find that strange might note some other back stories.
Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau championed an 11-year-old Toronto girl who claimed a man twice cut her hijab, which turned out to be a hoax. Trudeau had nothing to say about the murder of Anne Widholm, which was not a hoax and not a random act. Dr. Jhawar told reporters the murder represented “a new, dark side of Windsor that we can’t let propagate.”
Royce Van Every’s uncle George, a World War II veteran, is named on the Leamington war memorial. Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre, a former Prime Minister, is not named on any war memorial. Though of age and able bodied during World War II, he never served in the conflict. Pierre Trudeau was a “Zombie” as those who served called those who could have but didn’t.
Meanwhile, Royce Van Every may be eccentric but there are no reports of him wearing blackface for a performance of “The Banana Boat Song.” Justin Trudeau did that, and was rather fond of putting on blackface. Even so, the American president formerly known as Barry Soetoro said Justin was not racist, and Justin duly gained reelection.
In Canada, to paraphrase Louise in Being There, all you have to be is the son of a former Prime Minister to get anything you want.