The COVID pandemic has created a lot of interesting surprising and challenging political dynamics in countries all over the world. In the United States, we have a clear divide between those who declare themselves Democrats and Republicans in whether they support mandates and vaccine passports. The treatment of children remains a subject of a tremendous amount of strife. However, our neighbors to the North in Canada are having the same political tension growing as exhibited by the Freedom Convoy.
What is the Fredom Convoy?
The Freedom Convoy began January 22nd as a decentralized protest movement in Canada led by truck drivers entering the nation’s capitol, Ottawa. According to my guest today, Warren Speyers, the convoy is seeking to end the vaccine mandates for traveling and generally moving into businesses. Speyers says the truckers are not looking to fight vaccination, rather, just the mandates and edicts which they feel are restricting their freedoms and businesses.
The convoy consists of not just truckers but also many other Canadians who share those same goals and values. Speyers says that there are all sorts of trucks, tractors, and even personal vehicles which line the streets around Canada’s Parliament. From Speyers’ description, the convoy has been met with lots of support from citizens in Ottawa. The protests have been largely festive celebrations with people packing saunas, hot tubs, and even their hockey skates along with their families. The truckers have been showered with food, meals, valentines, money, hot showers, and offers of diesel gas from well wishers.
The Canadian Government’s Response
Although the protests have been peaceful, the Canadian government has sought to end the movement without pulling its restrictions and mandates. On the day we recorded, February 14th, Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act which is essentially grants the federal government extraordinary powers to prevent massive violence, threats to Canadian sovereignty or a threat to public safety and health. In practice, the government has threatened to freeze and seize the financial accounts of anyone who financially supports or participates in the protest since most of those involved are owner-operators and not actually parts of large corporations.