The first wave of truckers in the Freedom Convoy arrived in Ottawa on Friday, having traveled across Canada to protest the vaccine mandates and to fight Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tyrannical Covid restrictions. While the rest of the world has begun to admit that we simply need to learn to live with Covid, like any virus, Canada’s Liberal government has clamped down with vaccine passports, lockdowns, and vaccine and mask mandates.
It’s those same measures that the truckers are determined to fight. In a January 26 press release, the organizers of the Freedom Convoy explained:
The supply chain has been in shambles for well over a year due to the various provincial governments in Canada imposing draconian and illiberal restrictions on business activity and the entire Canadian economy. As soon as our list of demands have been met, and the government reopens the country and abandons these digital passports and mandates the way the United Kingdom has just done, we will do our absolute best to ensure the supply chain returns to its normal operations as quickly as possible.
The demands are simple: terminate the vaccine passports and mandates; end “the divisive rhetoric attacking Canadians who disagree with government mandates”; and “cease to limit debate through coercive measures with the goal of censoring those who have varying or incorrect opinions.”
Tens of thousands of Canadians have come out to support the truckers, waving Canadian flags and holding signs saying “Freedom,” “Fuck Trudeau,” “True North strong and free,” and “Segregation is not Canadian.”
After the government announced that Canadian truckers must be vaccinated in order to cross the border from the United States or face a 14-day quarantine, the truckers organized. On January 23, thousands set off across Canada in protest, moving from British Columbia towards Ottawa, where the Canadian Parliament meets.
Despite the fact that this is a working-class movement fighting for rights and freedoms, the left has almost universally condemned the Freedom Convoy, attempting to slander the protesters as “far right,” “white nationalists,” and “fascists.” The media has attempted to paint the protesters as dangerous, violent extremists, despite the fact the truckers and their supporters have only been peaceful.
The left was once focused on class, fighting corporate power and government overreach. Today, they seem to have lost the plot.
A leftist activist named Taylor McNallie, with numerous assault charges to her name, published a widely shared post on Instagram labeling the convoy a “white nationalist movement” and the “Ku Klux Konvoy” (her account has since been deleted). Michael de Adder, a political cartoonist for the Washington Post, published a cartoon referencing the convoy with the word “Fascism” written across the trucks.
It’s almost as though elite progressives are losing control of the narrative and desperately clinging to old tactics. Problem is, anyone with a brain knows that a worker-led protest against tyranny is not fascism.
Meanwhile, Canadian journalist (and mother of the musician Grimes) Sandy Garossino tweeted, “When the truck protesters arrive for their big day, check what percentage are white. Then ask yourself if that looks like most truck drivers you see on the road.” The tweet is stupid on a number of levels, first because who cares what percentage of the truckers protesting are white (is the point that somehow white Canadians’ opinions on their rights and freedoms don’t matter?), and second because a majority of North American truckers are white. Canadians are 70 percent white. The notion that white voices in Canada should somehow be dismissed is the most anti-democratic thing I’ve ever heard. This is, in fact, what fascism looks like.
It is estimated that 50,000 truckers are headed to Ottawa, where they will protest on Parliament Hill on Saturday. Yet at a press conference on Wednesday, Trudeau labeled them a “fringe minority” that “hold unacceptable views.” Despite widespread support across the country, he claimed they “do not represent the views of Canadians.” Without a hint of irony, he added, “[Canadians] who have been there for each other, who know 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.”
Talk about doublespeak. Every one of Trudeau’s mandates and lockdown measures have breached Canadians’ Charter rights, from criminalizing religious gatherings and protests to preventing Canadians from moving about freely and crossing the border. The truckers are fighting for all Canadians’ freedoms and rights.
As many, including myself, have been pointing out for some time, it turns out the urban elite and the mainstream media are the ones with “minority views.” The regular working-class people have never been the ones demanding lockdowns and mandates, living in fear of life, friends, family. This has been a middle- and upper-class project, led by those who are financially secure and can simply move their work online.
Despite their insistence that these mandates and restrictions exist to protect society, progressives in Canada seem not to care that it is the poor who have been hit the hardest by these measures. They claim to care about public health and smear those questioning or challenging the restrictions as “selfish,” yet they are in fact the most selfish of all — destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of people because they want to remain comfortable, because they want to live in fear.
The truckers’ convoy is the most inspiring thing I’ve seen come out of Canada in my life. I am, for once, proud of Canadians, and I hope their numbers force the truth out of Trudeau and the Canadian media, which is that the country’s handling of Covid has been unconstitutional, cruel, destructive, and an economic disaster. Time to get back to reality, whether the powers that be like it or not.
Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer exiled in Mexico. She hosts The Same Drugs on YouTube.