Focus On

Attention shoppers: Mutiny in aisle seven | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, May 28, 2021 @ 2:26 PM | By Marcel Strigberger


Marcel Strigberger %>
Marcel Strigberger
Mutiny at the Eaton Centre? COVID-19 mutiny that is.  

A Canadian reserve officer, one Ladislas Kenderesi, has been charged with mutiny. His alleged offence was, while in uniform, he addressed a protest crowd in Toronto’s Dundas Square, opposite the Eaton Centre, asking the military not to obey any orders for distributing COVID vaccines, or as he calls them, “killer vaccines.” He said it was his job to protect Canadians from domestic threats.

But is this mutiny? When I hear the word, what comes to mind is the mutiny on the Bounty. Are there any parallels? 

The skipper of the good ship Bounty was Capt. William Bligh. He was not so good. Bligh was not known for his model employer employee relations. He was a slave driver, harshly abusing his crew. Presumably, he kept the cat o’ nine tails busy and purring. Eventually, on April 28, 1789, led by Fletcher Christian, the staff took over and hoisted Captain Bligh and a few loyalists into an open launch out in the middle of the South Seas.  

Bligh actually survived the open-air cruise, after drifting for about six weeks, when his craft pulled into the Dutch settlement of Timor. He allegedly maintained morale aboard by getting the men to sing.  (I don’t know what they sang but I get the feeling it was not “Row Row, Row Your Boat.” If it was, in my opinion, he stood a good chance of having those loyalists toss him overboard. Well deserved.)

But he was not a happy camper. He was driven to bringing the mutineers to justice. He must have really been pissed off as all these weeks he had nobody to do his laundry. This is almost as bad as being adrift for six weeks without Wi-Fi.

Some of the mutineers were ultimately apprehended, returned to England and hung. Nasty. (I do not think these guys sang at their trial as Bligh testified. If they did, I doubt it was, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”)

Now in my view this was a mutiny. Full stop. 

But did officer Kenderesi’s comments denouncing the distribution by the military of the COVID-19 vaccine and expressing his views on the drug cross that line? I think even badass Bligh would not have thought so.

BLIGH: Mr. Christian, Hendricks the cabin boy has come down with the pox. Bleed him.

CHRISTIAN: No way Captain. Bleeding is useless. An anachronistic crock.

BLIGH: No problem Mr. Christian. I always appreciate team feedback. Then maybe we should just whip him a bit. A taste of the cat?

Somehow with the officer I don’t see mutiny yet. Had he gone further of course, as Fletcher Christian did, who knows. After all it’s not as if he lured the minister of defence to the dock in downtown Ottawa next to the Chateau Laurier and then cast him adrift in an open launch on the Rideau Canal. This might have been a different story. Then again given the pandemic stay at homes for the last 15 months, personally I would welcome any opportunity for a boat ride. The most exciting travel I have done during this time is my sporadic trip to Costco. 

Kenderesi is being tried under Canadian military law. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. That’s heavy. Good thing he did not also knock hand sanitizers. Looks like there is a GoFundMe page for his legal defence. I doubt there was one for those apprehended mutineers.

I cannot venture to guess what will happen to Kenderesi. Nor can I say whatever happened to Hendricks the cabin boy.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. Visit www.marcelshumour.com. Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to The Lawyer’s Daily, contact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at peter.carter@lexisnexis.ca or call 647-776-6740.