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The Freedom Convoy Takes Ottowa:​​ Canadian truckers rally together outside of the Canadian Parliament to protest mask and vaccine mandates.

On Feb. 6th, Ottawa Mayor declared a state of emergency in the capital of Canada. Since the previous weekend, Ottawa’s streets have been jammed with tractor trailers, which is preventing people from entering and exiting the downtown area. They call themselves, “The Freedom Convoy.” 

Not only this, during the previous two weekends, protestors from all over Canada rallied together to protest the newest COVID-19 mandate. The rule requires unvaccinated truck drivers to quarantine after crossing over the U.S/Canada border. 

What started out as a trucker specific protest quickly spiraled into a protest against all COVID-19 policies and mandates in Canada. Many of the protestors claim they will not leave until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. In addition, some of the protest’s organizers claim they have enough funds to extend the protest for over a year. 

Originally, the protest raised over 10 million dollars, before Go Fund Me, the platform they used, halted the campaign, and refunded the donors. During the protests, truckers ran their trucks for most of the day presumably causing substantial amounts of fumes. Every half an hour they would honk their horns for minutes on end.  

    However, what is arguably more concerning for the Canadian, and the American government, is a new blockade, which formed on the Ambassador bridge connecting Detroit and Canada. This blockade was so successful, car manufacturing plants in the U.S. were forced to halt production. 

   The story develops further in Canada as the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, declared a state of emergency for the entire nation. This is only the second time this has happened in Canadian history. Some of the emergency powers Trudeau is wielding include being able to tow any trucks and arrest protesting truckers. The Canadian government now has authority to freeze any bank account associated with the protest.      

      This situation is obviously very concerning for the Canadian government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family moved out of Ottawa to an undisclosed location near the beginning of the protest. Having the capital blockaded was symbolically damaging to the nation, but having an essential bridge blocked is economically damaging. The bridge is now clear, but it may be a while before the capital is cleared of trucks and truckers.

A question this story poses is whether protests like this are effective, and if they pose a threat to a nation? Whether it was effective is yet to be seen. Multiple Canadian provinces have lifted certain COVID-19 restrictions because of the protests. Now, it will be interesting to see if the Canadian government can arrest the remaining truckers. 

The second question is easily answered. They pose a very great threat. With already fractured economies because of COVID-19 restrictions, these trucker convoys can wreak havoc and are perhaps the most effective protest in years. The effectiveness of the Canadian trucker convoy is evident just by the way the Canadian government has responded. There are already additional trucker convoys rallying to protest their nation’s handling of COVID-19. I would not be surprised if American truckers begin staging similar protests. 

I am very sympathetic towards these truckers and anyone who protests vaccine mandates. From my own research, there is not enough evidence to justify them. Many politicians have used COVID-19 to gain more power. I think it is time people come to their senses and speak up against the ridiculously unnecessary, overreaching restrictions. I support the truckers in Canada. 

However, I do not want the protests. They will hurt our economy, and they will cause divisions. But it is time people effectively pushed back. In the end, people must stand for what they see as right. And if we really desire a free society, we must attempt to protect it instead of sitting back and letting it die. 

Sources: BBC, CNN, Fox, Huffpost, National Review, Newsweek

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