Canada’s vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers became effective on January 15; something that didn’t seem acceptable for many drivers. The mandate states that the Canadian truckers, if unvaccinated, are to stay quarantined while crossing borders into Canada. The truckers initiated a protest rally to challenge the government’s plans to regulate the mandate. Thousands of protestors with their giant trucks gathered before the parliamentary hill at the national capital, Ottawa. The police, reportedly, stated that they were prepared for the worst and ready for what would come next.
Canada’s Vaccine Mandates Causes Truckers’ Protest in Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government implemented Canada’s vaccine mandate that requires truck drivers in the US to get quarantined when they return home. The very implementation urged many to ally with massive groups of drivers, and organize a cross-country drive. The situation became somewhat chaotic due to the loud honking of air horns of trucks, road blockages, and unwanted disruption too, reportedly, however, the police stated that no incidents were reported. The protestors plan to stay on roads until the recently announced mandate as well as all other relevant mandates are denounced. A trucking company owner and a driver, Harold Jonker told the media that all of them want to have hope and a choice to make decisions on their own. He mentioned that the government had left them deprived of the will to decide for themselves what they want. Jonker also said that he drove 72 miles from Ottawa to Brockville.
Outsiders Become Supportive of the Protest
The protest has taken a new political form since the internationally known individuals supporting the truck drivers raise voices against Canada’s vaccine mandate. Many known personalities outside the Canadian borders have started to show support towards the truckers. These people include the son of the former US President – Donald Trump Jr, British comedian -Russell Brand, and the podcaster – Joe Rogan. Reportedly, the spectators witnessing the truckers rolling their vehicles on the roads started to cheer them and waved the Canadian flag along with the signs disparaging Justin Trudeau.
Extremists Joining the Protest
According to the police, the protest has been peaceful so far. Though the number of people is massive but cooperative. However, the fumes of the freedom convoy have reached some far-right groups who will probably join the truckers’ movement. The police are concerned about the extremists who will only inflict violence and hate, and turn the protest into criminal activity. Thus, they are prepared to deal with the potential threat. Harold Jonker stated that the protest against Canada’s vaccine mandate is about freedom and rights and they won’t be welcoming any extremists to jeopardize their purpose. Apparently, Canada has a history of bad protests like any other country in the world. For instance, last year in July, protestors destroyed Statues of Queen Elizabeth and Victoria and chanted Cancel Canada Day. Thus, officials are ready to avoid uncalled-for conflict and chaos.
Many business owners have raised concerns that the mandate’s regulation will result in compromising the supply chain. The reason is that everything including food, electronics, clothes, etc. is imported and exported on trucks, an associate professor at the Rotman School of Management, Ambarish Chandra talked on the current matter.
Prices of goods are already high in-country and the protest against Canada’s vaccine mandate will only bring consequences in terms of food and goods shortage. The reason is that the Canadian economy also depends on the workers who deliver items across borders.