Two pieces. One from the US. The other from the UK.
It’s amazing to me, as a Canadian, that so many people across the globe are following, closely, what is going on here. This protest has definitely struck a chord with the people, globally.
In reality, the thousands who have formed the ‘Freedom Convoy’ to Canada’s capital city have been peaceful. The scene in Ottawa has been described as carnival-like, with people dancing and sharing food. Videos show demonstrators blasting ‘Life Is a Highway’, by the Canadian musician Tom Cochrane, from loudspeakers set up on the back of an empty trailer. The footage is not exactly terrifying.
Not even close to terrifying. Since this all began I’ve literally consumed in excess of 50 maybe 60 hours of footage? It’s been fun, friendly and not at all like the main stream media claims
Thankfully, there have been some reports on the ground in Canada that are not just repeating Trudeau’s slanders. An excellent one comes from Rupa Subramanya, Ottawa-based columnist for the National Post. ‘I have spoken to close to 100 protesters, truckers and other folks’, says Subramanya, ‘and not one of them sounded like an insurrectionist, white supremacist, racist or misogynist’.
Indeed, from Subramanya’s reporting, or simply from watching some video interviews with truckers you can find online, you can tell right away that these are people with legitimate complaints.
Much like the rest of us
And in today’s context, it is a class-based demand. It is the truckers and other workers who have felt the brunt of Covid restrictions, while the Zooming upper classes have been content to stay indoors and get their supplies delivered to them – by truckers. Until recently, the Canadian government had classified truckers as ‘essential’ workers and therefore exempt from vaccine mandates. Nevertheless, some 90 per cent of them got vaccinated voluntarily. Yet Trudeau picked this moment to order all truckers to be vaccinated if they want to cross back into Canada from the US. It’s not surprising the mandate triggered a backlash
Throughout this crisis, Trudeau has played the role of an aloof elitist to a tee. He has dismissed the protesters as a ‘small fringe minority’ who hold ‘unacceptable’ views. By declaring them Nazis and Confederates, Trudeau has labelled the truckers as a foreign enemy within. Displaying a stunning lack of self-awareness, Trudeau tweeted that truckers ‘don’t have the right to blockade our economy, or our democracy, or our fellow citizens’ daily lives’ – when his restrictions over the past two years have done more harm to the economy and liberty than anything the truckers have done. One fellow Liberal Party MP, Joël Lightbound, rightly criticised Trudeau and Canada’s political class for being out of touch with working Canadians: ‘Those making the decisions seem at times to have been blind to the fact that we’re not all equal [under] lockdowns [and] that not everyone can earn a living on a MacBook at the cottage.’ (The ‘cottage’ is an allusion to the place where Trudeau escaped to when the trucker protests first flared up.)
There’s also been the unmistakable fact the Freedom Convoy has largely been a peaceful gathering. Protesters come from all parts of Canada, and represent all walks of life. They’re tired of restrictions, mandates and lockdowns. They’ve suffered economically and emotionally. They want to regain control of their lives, and want things to return to normal (or whatever the ‘new normal’ entails).
Some protesters have said they won’t leave Ottawa until the Liberals either meet their demands or resign completely, which obviously won’t happen. Truck horns have been banned for ten days in this city, which led to an unfortunate (and avoidable) incident with police arresting and handcuffing a 78-year-old retired janitor who defied this rule. Similar protests have occurred in cities like Toronto, and Coutts. The Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, a crucial international border crossing between Canada and the US, is in the midst of a blockade that’s stalled cross-border trade. Ontario Premier Doug Ford, a Conservative, declared a state of emergency on Friday to help bring the blockades and protests to an end. On Saturday, police officers moved to break up the Ambassador Bridge protest.
Where do things go from here? The next few days could end up being some of the most important in Canadian history. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail once more.
Unfortunately cooler heads did not prevail. Fluffy prevailed