Perhaps never in the history of Canadian politics can truckers, horses, Go Fund Me, litigation and Ottawa all be combined in the same political controversy. Yet, here we are.
The Canadian flag and the word patriot are now making some cringe. It is weirdness.This combination of convoy, truckers and pandemic regulations is now a big mess due to the fact neither side understands the other’s actions, motives, nor is there any attempt to do so.
There seems to be a lack of leadership on both sides in completely different ways: one where federal and provincial governments are conspicuous with their absence and silence. This leaves local politicians and law enforcement to deal with the honking horns and blocked traffic routes.
On the other side the truck convoys, there seems to be too many leaders or too few leaders without a single dependable voice, seemingly whoever blows their respective horns the loudest seems to be in charge.
No matter how you look at it, it is getting ugly on every level in regards to this “convoy of truckers” movement which seems to be filling highways, by-ways and roads leading up to legislatures, the sacred halls of the federal parliament buildings and important routes with the most famous being Highway 4 at the U.S./Canada Border near Coutts.
Feb. 5 was the biggest show of support at the Coutts border as truckers were joined with hundreds of people on horseback.
It’s been a while since the country has been so fragmented. Yes, one can argue that the various constitutional battles with Quebec, even the relatively recent Energy Crisis of the 80s but the growth of personal hatred has come to a head the last month.
It is hard to make sense and the strategy of both sides.
On the one hand, you have truckers which initially wanted to fight the mandatory vaccine issue. Many had the vaccine already, some had not. It was a convoy which started from the west coast and headed to Ottawa. Have convoy full of resentment, will travel. There are so many mixed messages coming from these convoy and what they are actually fighting for: yes, they hate Justin ‘Thrudeau’, middle finger stickers and all.
It has now grown into a mishmash of high fuel prices, talk of forced vaccine/breaking of freedom of choice; ignoring of the West. There are a lot of grievances. What was once an anti-vaccine convoy is now turning into an anti-government, anti-privileged, anti-establishment caravan which has branched out with protests in many cities across Canada and on the prairies including Swift Current, Medicine Hat, a large one in Edmonton and even one with farm implements last Tuesday in Dunmore.
There’s no denying the passion, anger and the wanting to see change. They are citizens. Isn’t the government made for the people, not just some? They have the right to protest.
While there might be some hints of separatism, contrary to popular believe of anti-convoy people, many of the protestors seem like they want their country improved, not broken.
Here’s the problem? What do they want exactly? At a press conference in Ottawa earlier this week, the truckers’ convoy’s spokesperson (is there an official name yet?) Tom Marazzo said “I’m willing to sit at a table with the Conservatives and the NDP and the Bloc, as a coalition. I’ll sit with the Governor General.”
Okay who is Tom Marazzo? He seemingly popped up from nowhere? Is this the new stance? Are they speaking on behalf of all truckers or just the baker’s dozen sitting with him when they held a news conference Monday night. There are a lot of things they don’t like, but it points to wanting the Liberal government gone. Period.
Now before those who aren’t supporting the truckers convoys resort to the lowest and the least intelligent form of criticism, calling them immature names, maybe stop and think about why they are so upset in the first place? All that has been done so far by many is the criticizing of their intelligence, pointing out the fact they aren’t working full time etc. Remember privileged establishment, many of these people you refer to as cretins are the ones who deliver the food which magically shows up in your favourite big box grocery store or (gasp) your Amazon package which is delivered to your front step.
That being said, the truckers also need to stop and rethink a lot of their strategy. I get it, being patient hasn’t been working for those in the #FreedomConvoy in the past. However, the Ottawa mayor has declared a state of emergency and now a court in Ottawa, the CTV affiliate reported a court in Ottawa “heard the motion for an injunction to stop protest truck noise in a lawsuit filed against protest organizers and truck drivers by a downtown resident and, potentially, a class of 6,000 others.”
Blocking others’ freedom to improve your own freedom seems a little counterproductive.
Yes, honking horns and causing trouble for innocent people (they live in Ottawa, not govern the country) isn’t going to help. In fact all that has happened is that there is an enflamed resentment. Those convoy members planting themselves there will accomplish nothing. There is no public support there.
Those at Coutts were wise enough to let some traffic through. Causing truckers who weren’t part of the convoy to not be able to do their jobs wasn’t a good idea either but at least they got through. But like the innocent people in Ottawa, the innocent people in Coutts and Milk River and the poor politicians who are caught between supporting the citizens who have nothing to do with this and supporting those who keep the economy going… horrible position.
The governments’ strategies are simple… wait it out. Hope they go away, go home, run out of money, not listen to the people; don’t try to understand the grievances. Maybe there is some understanding by the governing provincial and federal politicians but they don’t care. Not a good idea either.
Both sides have now painted themselves in a corner. As each day passes, non-convoy supporters get angrier, more frightened and tension-filled as the confusion and lack of progress grows. The convoy-ers look and sound more desperate and have growing resentment against them and some are on the edge of their seats. Politicians in their ivory towers look weak as they sit purposely and gleefully ignorant.
As the song goes, Life is a Highway, but right now it is a full of road rage pandemic, on and off road.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor