A fringe group of Canadian truckers have been traveling across the country to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates for drivers, and it seems the stunt has attracted some extremists who are claiming to want all health mandates dropped, along with the federal government. You know, just a few modest demands.
The protest convoy started driving from Vancouver on Jan. 23 and is expected to arrive in Ottawa this Saturday, according to the Guardian. It all began over Canadian policy for international trucking, which went into effect Jan. 15. Canadian truckers looking to cross the border into the U.S. and back again must have proof of COVID-19 vaccine in order to avoid a COVID test as well as a 14-day quarantine. Nearly 90 percent of truckers got the shot ahead of the deadline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference Wednesday night.
The small percentage of truckers protesting the mandate seems to have attracted more extremist views into their midst. One of the organizing groups thinks it will be able to compel the government to sign a gibberish-filled document ending COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Others are enthusiastically comparing their arrival in Canada’s capitol on Saturday to the failed insurrection on Jan. 6, according to the Global News:
One of the groups associated with the event, Canada Unity, has produced a pseudo-legalistic “memorandum of understanding” they plan to present to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and the Senate, which they mistakenly believe would force the government to rescind COVID-19 public health measures, or force the government to resign en masse.
On the protesters’ Zello chat, which is a walkie-talkie app, many supporters expressed their hope that their protest would result in an end to vaccine mandates and other public health measures. But despite organizers’ promises of peaceful protest, moderators would sometimes have to rein in more violent comments.“If anything we should grab Trudeau by the g—mn neck and kick the s–t out of him for what he’s done,” said one user, who was immediately reminded by several others to keep things “peaceful.”One supporter, described by anti-hate activists as a far-right vlogger, said in a recent YouTube clip that he’d “like to see our own January 6 event…. See some of those truckers plough right through that 16-foot wall.”
Patrick McDonell, the sergeant-at-arms in charge of House of Commons security, warned politicians that some protestors were seeking MPs Ottawa home addresses. McDonell advised MPs not to engage should protestors confront them at home or at their offices. Extra security is being put in place for officials. While organizers have tried to keep rhetoric on the road peaceful, the Ottawa police told Global News they’re ready for anything. Many government offices will be in lockdown, and streets are being closed off around important parliamentary buildings.
This protest is all a pretty moot point, as the U.S. has a rule that straight-up bars unvaccinated Canadian truckers from entering the country anyway, and the office of Homeland Security on this side of the border isn’t going to have its mind changed by a truck convoy in Ottawa. Canada also bars unvaccinated American truck drivers from entering. About 12,000 truckers are affected by the new rules, CNBC reported, while Canada has over 300,000 truckers working its roads.