In Canada, everyone over 13 cannot access certain services without providing proof of vaccination. In addition, Canada has implemented a vaccine mandate for truckers and quarantines for those crossing the border. Beginning in January 2022, truckers in Canada drove from Vancouver to the capital, Ottawa, to protest these vaccine policies. The convoy collected a rough estimate of 250,000 truckers and protestors while driving across the country. On January 29, this “Freedom Convoy” arrived in Ottawa and gridlocked the city with thousands of vehicles.
Upon the arrival of the protest, security services moved Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to an undisclosed location where he tested positive for Covid-19. In late January, Trudeau appeared outside his residence and asserted that Canada was not intimidated by the demonstration. Some truckers have stated they will remain in Ottawa until the government lifts its mandates. The truckers have received support from Canadian and American politicians, including former President Trump. However, as the truck protest continued, the mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency. Left-leaning commentators also argue that the disruptive protest is harming bystanders.
Throughout the protest, the Freedom Convoy received $7.9 million in donations on GoFundMe to continue the protest efforts in Ottawa. However, GoFundMe has frozen those donations, arguing the protest has transformed into an occupation. According to its terms of service, GoFundMe donates frozen assets to charities of their choice. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has opened an investigation into GoFundMe for fraud stating, “It is a fraud for GoFundMe to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing. I will work with AG Ashley Moody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund.” In addition, Facebook has removed the U.S.-based version of the trucker protest from its platform. As the 10th day of protesting began, police in Ottawa issued new measures to stop people from helping the protesters keep up their sit-in. Anyone attempting to bring material support (gas, etc.) to the demonstrators could now be subject to arrest.
Canada boasts one of the highest rates of vaccination of any country. These protestors represent a loud but small sect of the population. Anti-vax donors, egged on by right-wing propagandists, have funneled massive amounts of money to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” through online fundraising platforms. The group is bent on sowing chaos and creating discord. The demonstrations jeopardize public safety, both in their occupation of Ottawa and their advocacy for removing crucial public health policies. The Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective and safe, and protests like this one dangerously undermine confidence in them.
The Freedom Convoy is a workers’ uprising for medical freedom and a return to normal. Tyrannical mandates have been ousting the unvaccinated from society and must be ended. The fact that Facebook and GoFundMe are attempting to prevent these peaceful protests from happening is proof they are working. With the prevalence of the vaccine, the pandemic is over. People can make their risk assessments and take their own precautions against Covid. It is clear that many on the Left hold disdain for the unvaccinated. It is time to leave people alone and return to normal.