Updated: Feb 20
I started writing this post yesterday, but I found it hard to put into words the thoughts and feelings surrounding this movement.
I started writing about how the Canadian government keeps adding restrictions every day instead of easing them in so many other countries like the UK. I then wrote about the catalyst of the movement. I wrote about the Canadian truckers that were fed up with vaccine mandates forcing them to either be fully vaccinated (90% of Canadians are already fully vaccinated) or to quarantine in America for 14 days before returning to Canada. I wrote about how this is what pushed them to start a convoy, what they started calling the freedom convoy, on January 23rd from Delta, BC all the way to Ottawa on January 29th. I wrote about another convoy that started in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that are planning to meet the main convoy in Ottawa to protest on Parliament Hill. I wrote about the suspicious intention of the Canadian government to put these mandates into effect in the midst of a global supply chain crisis. I wrote about the cowardice of Justin Trudeau who just so happens to have come into contact with someone covid positive and has to quarantine for five days, conveniently quarantining over January 29th, the day people are expected to protest on Parliament Hill. I even wrote about the gofundme page started that has, as of the time of writing this, garnered $7 405 150 in donations that will go towards their trip to the capital (and leftover money will be donated to various veteran's charities).
I bookmarked pages to all the facts I was going to reference, but the truth is, it didn't feel quite right. This movement has become something so much bigger than protesting vaccine mandates. This convoy symbolizes all the grievances the people of Canada have had against the corrupt federal government that continues to fail in so many regards.
It is wrong to characterize the movement as anti-vax because it's not. Most Canadians are vaccinated, nearly 90% in fact. So in turn, most people in the movement are vaccinated, it is not a movement about unvaccinated vs. vaccinated or vice versa, this movement is about the freedom of choice and the rights of the people. It's about having the right to access clean drinking water on indigenous reserves as well as attending a funeral without having to show a vaccine passport. More than that though, it's about unity. The last two years of Covid have been extremely divisive and people really lost hope, but this convoy has shown that there is still a united Canada out there. This is exemplified in the hundreds of videos online of thousands of people cheering on the convoy in every city they drive past, all while waving Canadian flags. People of every background coming together to support a common cause is the kind of unity we haven't seen in quite a while. The truckers who started this movement with a simple goal in mind, represent every Canadian who wants change in Canada.
There's even global support as American truckers are driving up to the border to support Canadians and even the Australians have started their own freedom convoy to their capital of Canberra to raise issues to their government. The point is, what started out as a protest to vaccine mandates has turned into something so much more unifying than what was ever imagined.
In reference to the movement, Trudeau said it was a "small fringe minority of people.... who are holding unacceptable views... [that] do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other". If that's what Trudeau wants to call the truckers who have been there from the beginning of the pandemic putting food on our tables while we were all stuck at home, then so be it, I think that really shows what kind of leader Trudeau is.
To be honest, this whole pandemic I've felt limited pride in being a Canadian. In a time that we should have rallied all together to support one another, we held on to our divisions and exacerbated them even further by not listening to one another and dismissing differing points of view. But, seeing the hundreds of people in every city, big or small, cheering on the truckers, waving Canadian flags, and seeing the Americans showing their support has made me feel that pride again.
There are so many protests in this age that it's rare for any of them to enact any real change, but this one feels different and I hope it is different. Canada doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be willing to face its own wrongdoings.
Video from: Le Soleil, le quotidien de Québec