Truckers remain stalled in Ottawa

Protesters continue to occupy downtown Ottawa and refuse to leave until mandates are lifted

On Jan. 29 a convoy of semi-trucks travelled across the country to the nation’s capital of Ottawa protesting the country’s vaccine mandate. The Freedom Convoy has continued throughout the past week as tensions rise.

Canada has seen a rise in convoys throughout the provinces during this past week. This was a response to a new mandate asking unvaccinated Canadian truckers in the United States to come back to get tested for covid and quarantine. The group is looking for an end to the use of vaccine passports and to bring back employers fired for not following Covid mandates.

The protest was seen in various cities across BC including Kelowna, Calgary and Delta.

While this convoy was a weeklong event, some of the people participating do not plan to stand down until a change is made, much to the public and politicians’ dismay. A post on the Canadian Unity website states that the mandates required for truckers are “unconstitutional, discriminatory and segregating”. They also promise these rallies will be peaceful in nature.

Ottawa has seen the majority of these convoys, and they have not remained completely peaceful as stated before. Some members of this group have defaced monuments and had written violent and hateful messages on signs.

A big portion of those participating in the convoy is part of the conservative political side. While there was an expectation of support for those on the same side, the Conservative MP, Frank Caputo spoke publicly against some of the actions taken by the protesters.

“I watched in horror as a few protesters disrespected and desecrated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I condemn these actions unequivocally, the people who did this missed a clear point,” said Caputo.

“The unknown soldier and all of those who served for this country, served so that we could have the very freedoms we enjoy today like the right to peaceful assembly and the right to free speech,” added Caputo.

A GoFundMe was put together for and by these truckers. While it raised $10m, the freedom convoy campaign was removed from GoFundMe on Saturday after a careful review. All those who donated will get an automatic refund.

“GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created,” GoFundMe said in a statement Feb. 4, “We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not able to meet with the protestors and called the Freedom Convoy an insult to the truth about COVID-19 vaccines. He released a statement saying he wants to focus his attention on workers following pandemic guidelines.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance also released a statement this past Saturday saying that a vast majority of truckers are vaccinated and willingly follow the mandates put in place. The alliance does not support the protest on public roadways, especially those that interfered with the public’s safety.

“Members of the trucking industry who want to publicly express displeasure over government policies can choose to hold an organized, lawful event on Parliament Hill or contact their local MP. What is not acceptable is disrupting the motoring public on highways and commerce at the border,” said the CTA.

While not much was accomplished by these convoys, it has opened many conversation channels around the mandates for the pandemic.