The Freedom Convoy 2022 apparently was a protest against the mandate of all semi-truck drivers requiring to be vaccinated to travel freely between the U.S. and Canadian border.
However, how it was handled no matter your opinion, it was a disaster.
After being relatively silent last weekend, as the steady stream of loudly honking semi trailer trucks made their way to the federal parliament buildings in our nation’s capital, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared on Twitter Jan. 31 that he tested positive for Covid-19. Of course the critics came out with angry memes using unkind language.
It symbolized the truck convoy: no one, not one facet of society has handled the truck convoy well. Everyone has failed.
The organizers: What was the point? What was the mandate of this Freedom Convoy? There is no clear message Reports are that the GoFundMe for the Freedom Convoy 2002 was up to $6 million, but those running the GoFundMe were freezing a bulk of it because until there was an official plan to distribute the money. Once all the trucks got to Ottawa, there wasn’t a lot of direction of what was going to be done once they got there. How about an exit strategy? If they expected a federal cabinet minister or Trudeau to come meet with them, they were mistaken. Could you realistically Trudeau talking with advisors: “Yes I would love to meet with the people who have stickers and signs which are eloquently labelled with a word rhymed with ‘puck’ prefacing my name.”
Organizers might have wanted to have a plan beforehand for those who truly believe in the cause. Some brought their children along and had no food or washroom facilities organized to use.
A far more effective plan would be to have the organizers go to the individual legislatures — where of course the vaccine mandates are orchestrated from- instead of the hundreds of kilometres-trek to southern Ontario. There is no uniform vaccination place or Covid-related regulations across the country. The individual provincial legislature route may have been more welcomed for many truckers who don’t have to go as far, i.e. you would get more participants etc… If you really wanted to cause issues look what happened at Coutts. Imagine that in place like Windsor Ont. or point of entry portals at Washington State and B.C.
The truckers: Those whining about the fact there were just a few bad eggs in what was otherwise a peaceful protest should take a long look in the mirror. If you condone those who were using upside down Canadian flags with swastikas or being abusive or criminal in acts, should be ashamed and embarrassed.
Nothing will raise the ire of Canadians on masse as dancing and desecrating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the statue of Terry Fox. If you wanted attention, you got it. The truckers blocking Alberta’s Highway 4 at Coutts causing delays, yes, while not the best thing for consumers as other truckers were backed up and travellers going into or from Montana couldn’t get through, made more sense than acting like chemically-induced animals. Those who reportedly attacked transit drivers or who disgustingly openly talked about taking food from a homeless shelter and their clients, nothing more needs to be said.
By the way, you also didn’t do yourselves any favours by imitating Indigenous drumming, singing “Yabba Dabba Do.” It was insulting to the Indigenous community and didn’t explain what the issues are. Serious discussions require with clear and informed voices.
Politicians: Get your collective act together. Federal politicians, yes, not pleasant, but you have to address this group. When the numbers turn into hundreds or low thousands, you have to pay attention to protestors. Pretending they don’t exist or matter, makes you look weak and is what is the cause of this mess. And provincially, Jason Kenney, good that you denounced the decoration in Ottawa but you may want to address the issue with on one hand complaining about what you personally called an “illegal protest” at Highway 4 near Coutts but not directly address the fact UCP MLA Grant Hunter participated in the event, and boasted about it on a Facebook post.
Police: See: politicians. Understanding there’s strategy, you don’t want to turn this into a field day for those armchair media members armed with their cell phones just waiting for the police to act overtly aggressive, but not handing out tickets or doing something about the national statues, that’s epic fail.
Media: Yes, media. Very confusing reporting. They had a tough time in Ottawa as they were getting hassled, interrupted, verbally abused and threatened. Some of the extreme threats of violence and ugly verbal rage is a terrible thing no media member should have to endure. The problems began beforehand. Yes, some of the truckers will hate media no matter what.
As a profession, we need to strive to do better. Understand both sides and try to explain both sides of the story instead of stooping to insulting or belittling where anyone’s opinion. Those in the media calling truckers names is not professional.
The convoy has created a fire storm on social media but whether or not it does what it was set out to do remains to be seen. Hopefully, everyone has learned something.
(Ryan Dahlman is managing editor)