Chris Lange, FISM News
A potentially-record-breaking convoy of truck drivers is expected to arrive in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa today to protest a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that went into effect earlier this month. The new law requires drivers crossing the border into Canada to show proof of vaccination, a move that many have said not only hurts blue-collar workers but is exacerbating supply chain woes.
Reports as to the number of protesting truckers vary widely, from 2,000 to 50,000, both easily surpassing an Egyptian convoy of 480 trucks that made the Guinness World Records in 2020.
“It’s 70 km long,” Benjamin Dichter, spokesman for the “Freedom Convoy 2022,” told the Toronto Sun. “I have seen footage from an airplane. It’s impressive.”
The truckers departed from Vancouver toward the capital on Sunday in response to the federal government’s vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers which took effect on Jan. 15. The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that roughly 15% of Canadian truckers, or 16,000, are not fully vaccinated.
“To our fellow Canadians, the time for political overreach is over,” the Freedom Convoy GoFundMe page says. “Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods.” As of Friday, the fundraiser had garnered nearly $7 million in donations and is still growing.
“We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our federal government and demanding that they cease all mandates,” organizers said.
Canadians have endured some of the most stringent COVID-19 mandates in the world since the start of the pandemic. Ontario locked down earlier this month, forcing the closure of restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters. Vaccinations were also made mandatory in federally-regulated workplaces last year. This month, the premier of Quebec announced plans to exact fines on residents of the province who refuse the vaccine.
Protest organizers say “small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive. It’s our duty as Canadians to put an end to these mandates.” Canada is currently experiencing major truck driver shortages and ongoing supply chain issues. Trucking HR Canada recently reported on what they called a staggering shortage of truck drivers that has resulted in nearly 23,000 job vacancies.
A number of Canadian farmers have joined the convoy in tractors and trucks loaded with hay bales. The protest has also attracted crowds along the route cheering and waving homemade signs expressing solidarity with the drivers.
HAPPENING NOW: Canadians are out in London, Ontario supporting The Trucker's Convoy!
Check out https://t.co/DEN7zzSz9G for more.
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) January 27, 2022
Meanwhile, Ottawa’s police force has been placed on alert and are said to be planning for a multitude of possible scenarios, including the potential for violent outbreaks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the protesters a “small fringe minority who are on the way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views.” “What we are hearing from some people associated with this convoy is completely unacceptable,” he added.
Several public figures took to social media to express support for the Freedom Convoy.
Canadian truckers rule
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2022
Donald Trump, Jr. also weighed in, calling the convoy protest “genius” and encouraging support for the group.
Spotify superstar Joe Rogan mentioned the convoy on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast Wednesday, noting that Canada “is in revolt” against mandates.
Canadian author and blogger Dr. Jordan Peterson, a frequent guest of Rogan’s, mocked Trudeau’s “small fringe” comment by tagging the prime minister in a tweeted video of showing truckers driving beneath an overpass crowded with supporters cheering them on and waving flags and signs.
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) January 27, 2022
Another Twitter user mocked the social platform for slapping a “sensitive content” label on a tweet he posted showing crowds of supporters.