Protests against vaccine mandates create havoc at the Canadian border


Photo courtesy of Desmond Fischer

Truckers protest vaccine mandates on the US-Canada border in Ottawa.

On Jan. 22, Canadian protesters blocked Canadian-US border crossings in Ottawa. They called themselves the freedom convoy. They were protesting a recent COVID-19 vaccination mandate that was passed prohibiting unvaccinated semi-truck drivers from Canada to deliver across the US border.

“We believe a vaccine mandate would fuel a surge in driver turnover and attrition, with fleets losing as much as 37% of their current driver workforce… even a fraction of that number would severely cripple our supply chain… with our industry already short 80,000 drivers of what’s needed to meet current freight demand,” The American Trucking Associations claimed on their website.

Truck drivers who protested were upset by the vaccine ultimatum.

“Telling people you either get this or you lose your jobs or you can’t go to places – it’s segregation,” Micheal Johnson, driver in the protest.

On Feb. 14, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history, allowing police to imprison protesters, hand out fines, and tow away trucks blocking the roads. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police froze corporate accounts that were supporting the protests. Two leaders of the protest, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, have been arrested and are facing criminal charges.

Canada broke up the protest by Feb. 23, but these Canadians have inspired people across the nation to stand up for their freedom as well. The People’s Convoy left from California to Washington D.C. on Feb. 23 and planned to arrive on Mar. 5. There are various other convoys headed for D.C. as well.

“This is not a left issue. This is not a right issue. This is an American Issue,” Brian Brase, People’s Convoy co-organizer said.

This is what students have to say about the protests:

“I think being cautious when it comes to people’s safety is always a good thing, even if sometimes as a leader you have to put some people first instead of others. It’s definitely a hard call for sure. With the protesting, I think it’s ridiculous that they were being put in jail for peacefully protesting something that they believe in. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and should be able to express them how they see fit with exceptions like violence, aggression, etc without being reprimanded for it,” junior Monica Allred said.

“I think it’s a fundamental right that people are able to protest the government whether or not I agree with what is being protested,” senior Brayden Wight said.