Blockade to 'our democracy': Is Trudeau right about Freedom Convoy?
- On January 23, 2022, a Canadian truckers group “Freedom Convoy” protested against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for truckers starting their trek in Vancouver to reach the capital city of Ottawa on January 28, 2022. By February 9, 2022, the group was holding daily demonstrations calling for “all vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions [to be] lifted.”
- On February 7, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “Canadians have the right to protest [...] They don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives.”
- Trudeau called out the “fringe minority” for “holding unacceptable views [...] who know of that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values, as a country.”
- The Freedom Convoy 2022 noted, “We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people” on their Go-FundMe page that has amassed $7 million CAD in donations.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada announced a traveler vaccine mandate on January 13, 2022, asserting several service providers, including truck drivers, “will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated [...] for entry into Canada.”
Since mid-January of 2022, truckers in Canada—calling themselves the 'Freedom Convoy'—have been protesting against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations to cross the US-Canada border. At first, this seemed like just another protest, but it has morphed into a much larger event that has engulfed most cities and the busiest border crossing between the US and Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau has recently urged the tuckers to stop their blockade, saying they are 'destroying our democracy' and harming everyone as they do.
Canada has always permitted peaceful demonstrations for people to voice their grievances, but the truckers have destroyed the economy. They have blocked major city roads preventing passage of all traffic. All this 'protest' has done is bring the Canadian economy to a halt. Businesses that barely made it past the two-year pandemic are again suffering because truckers do not permit any traffic to enter the cities. Further, the continuous blaring of truck horns for two weeks has prevented residents from sleeping. The trucker aggression has also scared many people who are afraid to leave their homes, children cannot get to school, businesses cannot open, and no essential goods are being shipped to and from other cities.
Likewise, there have been sporadic racist abuse and vandalism cases to public properties. And this is just the beginning; there is also collateral damage as the protest continues. The cost of private security has soared into millions of dollars a day, Canada's tourism has stalled, and the cost of paying the police to safeguard the public and properties has become astronomical. Canada is a democratic country that has always done what is best for its citizens. If the truckers have an issue, they should follow the democratic process and avoid hurting their fellow Canadians.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently claimed the protesting truckers of the 'Freedom Convoy' are 'trying to blockade our economy, our democracy. and our fellow citizens' daily lives.' Trudeau's comments regarding the trucker convoy don't escape the undeniable irony of the fact this statement comes from a politician who is guilty of what he accuses. The severe COVID restrictions he has enforced over his citizens since 2020 have done more harm to Canadians and Canada's economy than anything the truckers can do or have done. He has enacted some of the most stringent COVID restrictions in the world, including restricting the movement of Canadians, arresting pastors who were conducting church services, requiring vaccines as a condition for work, and on it goes.
He created the current situation by requiring vaccinations for truckers beginning January 15. Through his reaction to the trucker's rightful outrage over this government overreach, Trudeau tries to blameshift his bad policies onto the trucker's response. The worst has come and gone for the pandemic. European countries are ending restrictions, as are democratic-led states in the United States and even some provinces in Canada.
This is about politics, not safety. As a democratically elected leader, he should consider engaging with the protesters instead of name-calling, as he did with the rail workers in 2018.
Peaceful protests are a fundamental pillar of any democracy. The trucker protest certainly qualifies as peaceful, as it included bounce houses for kids and grills for cookouts. Yet, like many on the political Left, Trudeau enjoys exercising his authoritarian power in the form of anti-science COVID mandates. Trudeau has boxed himself into a corner and left himself no choice but to ultimately end the vaccine mandate for truckers - and everyone else.