The world is watching Canada right now. A movement is taking place, which may not only affect the current lockdown measures but our supply of food and goods. Thousands of Canadian truckers are driving to Ottawa, the Capital of Canada. Their goal is to protest a new policy mandating all truckers must be vaccinated.
The plan is straightforward. Gridlock the entire Capitol, leaving some room for business and emergency vehicles. The convoy plans to gridlock Ottawa until the mandates are lifted.
The Federal Government of Canada enacted a controversial policy, mandating all that cross-border truckers be vaccinated. The policy took effect on January 15, 2022, and sparked a movement of truckers across the country, who are now driving to Ottawa.
The “Freedom Convoy” is traveling to Ottawa to protest the vaccine mandate. The sentiment among many of these truckers is that it is unfair to enact such a mandate when their job is largely isolated. Furthermore, truckers were hailed as heroes last year for ensuring a steady supply of food and PPE across Canada. Even Justin Trudeau tweeted out, “#ThankATrucker last year.
Like unvaccinated healthcare workers, unvaccinated truckers feel slighted by the fact that they were “heroes” last year but lepers in 2022. Their sentiment goes hand-in-hand with a growing number of Canadians who view Omicron as mild. In fact, 85 percent of Canadians now feel COVID is no worse than the Flu.
Furthermore, a majority of Canadians do not believe truckers should be mandated to take the vaccine. A national survey conducted by Maru Public Opinion found just 36 percent of Canadians agree with the mandate.
Take this news alongside the fact that many European countries are lifting virtually all restrictions and you have a situation that isn't so black and white. This convoy may be a bellwether for the current Canadian population.
However, some argue that the truckers convoy does not represent Canadians or even the trucking industry. The Canadian Truckers Alliance has denounced the convoy, although it is worth noting its President donated to the Liberal Party in 2018.
It is false to state that this is an anti-vax protest. It is, in fact, anti-mandate. While the media often stipulates how few truckers are unvaccinated, the reality is that many of these truckers are out of a job because of needless border closures.
The National Post interviewed several truckers who outlined their goals. “This is not about the vaccine, by the way. There’s nobody in here that’ll tell you it’s about vaccines on this entire convoy. We’ve got double jabbed, we’ve got single jabbed, we’ve got no jabbed, we’ve got the boosted,” said James Bauder, founder of the Canada Unity Foundation, one of the groups that are organizing the “Freedom Convoy 2022.”
Christ Barber is another Trucker who is heading to Ottawa from Saskatchewan. “The narrative out there is that we’re a bunch of unvaccinated socialists and sort of separatists. I’m actually fully vaccinated. I have a passport with me right now, this allows me to do the things that the government says I can do. And that’s exactly what we’re fed up with. We shouldn’t have to have a vaccine passport,” Barber said.
Jason LaFlace is one of the convoy organizers who noted the schedule to The National Post. “The first day is going to be the 29th. We’re just going to go on a roll. And that will be the starting point, to get ourselves set up. On the 31st, the Monday, that’s the first day of business for Ottawa and for us, us freedom fighters, and Canadians all across the country. And we’re expecting a huge amount.”
From there they intend to gridlock the entire city of Ottawa, leaving room for emergency vehicles, until the mandates are lifted.
Dismissal From The Media
The circumstances of the convoy were initially confusing because legacy media outlets reported that truckers were protesting "poor road conditions" in British Columbia. This is somewhat true. On the same day the Freedom convoy set off for Ottawa, a smaller group of truckers protested in Vancouver over poor road conditions.
The confusion among the public was less around the two events and more around the fact that the media was almost only reporting on road conditions protest.
By Monday, January 24, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was still not worried about the political implications of the convoy, citing over 90 percent of truckers are vaccinated. This statistic is irrelevant given many of the truckers going to protest are fully vaccinated.
The denial of the convoy extends beyond the convoy itself. Liberals have been aggressively dismissing the genuine problem of empty shelves. One Liberal MP said that Conservatives were "fear-mongering for political gain." Liberal MP Ryan Turnbull continued, "I visited four different local grocery stores in my community, and I couldn't find any empty shelves," emphasized Turnbull. "I took many more pics."
However, living in the digital age, Canadians from coast to coast have posted pictures of their local grocery stores on social media, pointing out the bare shelves. "Bare shelf denialism" is evident among many in Canada's Liberal upper-class and gives credence to the deep cultural divide in this country.
The implications of bare shelves were already evident before this convoy set out for Ottawa but will likely become more apparent as thousands of truckers protest.
Legacy media's dismissal of the convoy is nonetheless, not enough to hide the movement. Like so many stories in the modern age, ordinary people and prominent figures online, pushed forward with alternative news sources.
Just today, Comedian and Podcaster Russel Brand released a video on the convoy, specifically inquiring as to why the media is ignoring the movement. "Truckers, who were regarded as heroes when they were delivering vital goods and working during the lockdown, are now villains as they protest vaccine mandates. So why is no one in the mainstream media talking about it?" asked Brand in his video.
Inevitably, it became untenable for legacy media to ignore outright or dismiss the convoy. It may have been the fact that the movement has raised nearly seven million dollars on GoFundMe, or that thousands of Canadians are outwardly cheering on the convoy on the sides of highways. Regardless, legacy media sought an opportunity to turn a worker's rights protest into a fear monger of "Canada's January 6."
Despite long-standing Canadian insecurity of being associated with America, legacy media outlets likened the convoy to the riots on Capitol Hill on January 6th, 2021.
Global News first reported this alleged controversy. According to the piece by Alex Boutilier and Rachel Gilmore, far-right extremists hope to turn the protest into Canada's "January 6th."
"I want to see one of those truckers … None of our guys (involved), obviously. But I'd like to see our own January 6th event. … See some of those truckers plough right through that 16-foot wall," one trucker allegedly said over a Walkie-Talkie.
Other alleged evidence of extremism points to comments on Facebook from random individuals. None of this evidence is actually posted in the piece.
Despite the alleged presence of extremists, Brigitte Belton, an organizer for the convoy, told Global News that protesters looking to "cause havoc" should "stay home."
"Go play your video games, smoke pot, whatever it is you do and let the big boys and girls fight for your freedom to do that," Belton said.
Furthermore, Global has spoken with Stephanie Carvin, a former CSIS analyst who says it is unlikely the convoy will be anything near Washington's January 6th riot. This is Carvin's position despite what random radical YouTube comments say.
The National Post also spoke to the Chief of Police in Ottawa, who said they weren't worried. "We don't have any risk information to suggest that people or business owners need to barricade themselves into their homes or businesses or that they need to close," said Chief Peter Sloly.
Following the publication of Global News' piece, other legacy outlets began reporting the same story. The convoy ceased to be ignored and was labelled an extremist movement. #FluTrucksKlan began trending on social media, insinuating that truckers are both vectors for disease and akin to the KuKluxKlan.
As a result, the authors of the original Global piece faced a backlash of hate and harassment, which is absolutely unacceptable and a darker side of some populist movements.
Global News may be making a mountain of a molehill in their piece, but that remains to be seen on Saturday.
Alongside the countless Canadian flags, many truckers have been proudly waving their "F*ck Trudeau" flags. It's conventionally understood that truckers tend to be more conservative, meaning this convoy is travelling to Ottawa for reasons more than just the vaccine mandate. It's about Justin Trudeau's leadership as well.
To this end, the convoy has elicited intrigue from some political leaders and less so from others. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lambasted the convoy, calling them a "small fringe minority of people." Trudeau continued saying they have "unacceptable views" and "do not represent the views of Canadians." Luckily for Trudeau, he won't be privy to any of the protestors as he has allegedly been exposed to COVID and will remain at home for a week.
Jagmeet Singh, the leader of a party that supposedly champions unions and workers' rights, also criticized the convoy. Singh also disavowed his brother-in-law for donating $13,000 to the convoy, citing that he did so accidentally. He has since asked for his donation back.
Most Conservative Party MP's have warmly welcomed the convoy, such as the former leader Andrew Scheer. "Thank you truckers! Trudeau is attacking personal liberty and threatening everyone's ability to get groceries because of his overreach on vaccine mandates," Scheer said. "He is the biggest threat to freedom in Canada."
In a tweet, Pierre Polievre also vocally supports the convoy and points out Trudeau's hypocrisy.
Furthermore, Poilievre rejected the narrative that the convoy contains extremist components.
"I think is interesting is that when there's a left-wing protest on Parliament Hill, we don't see the liberal media going through every single name of the people who attends to try and find one person that they can disparage the whole group with," Poilievre told the media Thursday.
"CBC, for example, has been accused by its own employees of systemic racism. And yet, we don't see the media here generalize that everyone who works at the CBC is a racist. Whenever you have five or 10,000, people who are part of any group, you're bound to have a number who have or say unacceptable things," Poilievre continued.
"They should be individually responsible for the things they say and do. But that doesn't mean we disparage the thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, and peaceful truckers, who quite frankly, have kept all of you alive the last two years by filling your grocery shelves with the food that you eat and filling your homes with the products that you rely upon" Poilievre told reporters.
"So I think that it is possible to hold individually responsible anyone who says or does anything unacceptable while showing support for the hard-working, law-abiding, peace-loving truckers who are fighting for their freedom and their livelihoods, and on whom we have depended for our very existence over the last two years."
In contrast to his caucus, when Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was asked whether he supports the convoy, he dodged the question four times. Following this incident, O’Toole published an Op-Ed in the Toronto Sun, titled “It’s time for solutions, and it’s time for Canadians to come together.” This was not particularly well received.
“Truckers are our neighbours, our family, and most importantly, they are our fellow Canadians,” O’Toole says in the Op-Ed and offers a vague stance on the vaccine mandate. “Now a new federal government policy threatens the jobs and livelihoods of some of the same truckers who we were thanking a year ago.”
Despite being ignored, dismissed and then besmirched by Canadian legacy media, the truckers have now extended beyond their reach. Elon Musk, the richest man on Earth, has said that "Canadian truckers rule." To quote Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, "The world's foremost capitalist expressing his support for the working class." This is not insignificant. "Freedom is being stripped away one piece at a time until it is gone," Musk continued.
Joe Rogan, who has the biggest show in human history, also spoke out, saying Canada is in "revolt."
Beyond the attention of prominent figures, the Canadian trucker convoy has been legitimized by the thousands of Canadians across the country who have waved flags over highways and shown gratitude to those who put food on our tables.
Were we living in a less politically divisive time, the Canadian trucker convoy would likely be added as a notable chapter in Canadian social studies textbooks. Instead, it would seem that Canada’s elite will continue scoffing at the working class while never having to encounter the gut-wrenching anxiety of an empty grocery shelf.
Time will tell whether the Canadian trucker convoy is, as Trudeau puts it, “a fringe minority” or the canary in the coal mine for the end of the lockdowns and the restoration of individual freedoms.
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