Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has decided to put not only Canadian but American truck drivers under his thumb and the truckers are not happy about it. His recent decision to mandate vaccination for people crossing the Canadian-US border enraged the very people who Canadians depend on to keep their country moving.
What better way to get that message through to PM Trudeau than through a “Freedom Convoy” from British Columbia to parliament in Ottawa, Ontario? Organized by Canada Unity, a group that opposes COVID-19 measures, they want medical autonomy for Canadians everywhere. Since its inception in B.C., the convoy has gathered people of all walks of life as it winds across the nation. People in pickups, SUVs, and other usual vehicles have been joining in.
As the convoy winds its way into Ontario starting on Thursday, the Ontario Provincial Police are on standby. With many people suggesting that this could become a day of insurrection, the OPP are on standby to prevent the Canadians from having their own January 6th. Organizers and those in the Freedom Convoy say that their goal is for peaceful protest, not insurrection.
Given the number of trucks that cross daily from Canada into the US and back, their objection to the mandates is strong and deep-rooted. Don Ross is a trucker from Dawson Creek, B.C., and offered this statement to the Canadian press “I personally don’t agree with the RNA vaccination, or what they call the vaccination, but … I’ve had every other shot… I can’t go into restaurants. I can’t go into bathrooms. I’m out on the road, going in the bushes with the bears.”
The vaccine mandate means Ross cannot cross the US border for work, and in areas of Canada that have implemented the vaccine passports, he cannot go in there to eat or as he pointed out to use their restrooms. Given the nature of being a trucker going across the long and desolate stretches of road that go across the Canadian wilderness, this is a dangerous mandate for PM Trudeau to set for Canadians.
They are not alone in their protest though. The son of former President Donald Trump has stated on Facebook that he supports their actions against medical discrimination. Back in Canada Conservative MP Candice Bergen issued a written statement of support. “Now more than ever, our economy needs to be reopened and we need every sector working in order to recover from the pandemic. I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates and our truckers from … across Canada.”
The discrimination and lack of medical autonomy are insulting to many truckers. PM Trudeau considers them to be a small number of fringe truck drivers and stands by his decision as over 83% of Canadians have been fully vaccinated. He is not alone in this belief either. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has denounced these protests in any form or location. They claim only 15% of truckers or approximately 16,000 are not currently inoculated against COVID.
As the convoy winds its way into Ontario many questions remain about the future of this mandate. Is it possible that the PM will change his mind upon seeing the unity of Canadians (and some Americans) to stand up for their right to choose? Or will he stand fast as a progressive with no interest in changing things for the truckers? Whatever way this ends, the Canadians will not quickly forget how little care or compassion he has shown for their rights to choose what is best for their own medical needs. Given the solo nature of being a truck driver, their desire to not vaccinate won’t impact the public; even if the PM thinks it will.