The Freedom Convoy Backfires
By Cliff Kincaid
“We Are All Truckers Now” says a writer for the conservative American Thinker. Count me out. This movement is a disgrace.
Using the word “freedom,” as in “Freedom Convoy,” has duped a lot of people, many of them conservatives.
The “Freedom Convoy” of truckers has been blocking public roadways, highways, and bridges. It’s one of the most unproductive -- even counterproductive -- protests I have ever seen. Nothing of substance has been accomplished. It has only made people posing as patriots look bad. It has hurt conservative Canadians through business losses. It has pitted people against police.
I don’t understand why disrupting public access to highways and commerce at the border is a patriotic or conservative cause, in Canada or America.
They are protesting a bilateral mandate introduced by the Governments of Canada and the United States that requires all essential workers, including truck drivers, to be vaccinated. Yet, we are told that 90 percent of the truckers are vaccinated anyway and that their cause is greater freedom of choice.
Sorry, but that’s a loser when you have a China virus that has killed more than 5.75 million people worldwide. We are blessed that we have access to vaccines that work, unlike the Chinese and Russian versions.
It’s true that some mask mandates are being terminated, mostly because liberals realize they don’t work and are political losers, but you still must be vaccinated to lead a “normal life.” This will never change.
These protests make opponents of vaccines and mandates look bad by disrupting the lives of ordinary people.
In political terms, the Freedom Convoy in Canada is hurting, not helping, the conservative cause. That’s evident in the actions and statements of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, a Conservative Party leader who is trying to evict the truckers because they are disrupting the city. “I call it a siege because that's what it is, it’s an illegal occupation,” he says.
The blockades are causing massive economic losses to the workers and others supposedly leading the convoys. One estimate is that financial losses already amount to $1 billion because goods can’t flow across the border.
To me, the convoy looks like the work of those who want to provoke and stoke conflict and controversy. That doesn’t benefit ordinary people.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance says, “While a number of Canadians are in Ottawa to voice their displeasure over this mandate, it also appears that a great number of these protestors have no connection to the trucking industry and have a separate agenda beyond a disagreement over cross border vaccine requirements. As these protests unfold over the weekend, we ask the Canadian public to be aware that many of the people you see and hear in media reports do not have a connection to the trucking industry.”
One sympathetic journalist writes that the Freedom Convoy is a challenge to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and “the liberal-elite establishment.” Instead, these protests play into his hands. Trudeau has reacted in a heavy-handed way, through name-calling and threats, but true conservatives are tired of the protests, too.
First, to repeat, the mandates are going, but the requirements for vaccinations remain. Second, while peaceful protests are legal and defensible, the disruptions of access to public highways and bridges cannot be defended. The blockades are illegal.
Vaccines, the kind developed under former President Trump’s Warp Speed project, not only work but are incredibly popular. These vaccines are even more popular in Canada. One poll found the following:
Consider that, in the most recent Canadian elections, the anti-vax conservative People’s Party of Canada received only about 5 percent of the vote and no seats in government. The campaign by its leader, “Mad Max" Bernier, was a big loser and he divided conservatives, helping to keep Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in power.
Canadian activist Luigi Grimaldi gave an interview to The New American magazine’s Alex Newman in an episode of “Conversations That Matter” and declared that the Canadian people “love the Freedom Convoy truckers and strongly support their efforts to liberate Canada from the totalitarian COVID policies.”
But that’s not what the evidence shows. In fact, the new poll finds that the People’s Party of Canada is still recording a scant 3-4 percent support.
Bernier issued a statement that said, in part: “Over the past years, the Prime Minister [Trudeau] has shown understanding and support for protest by various groups, including indigenous opponents of pipelines, Black Lives Matter, and even farmers in India.”
He went on, “The BLM organization is run by self-described communists, and BLM demonstrations in the summer of 2020 led to rioting, arson, destruction, and physical injuries in many North American cities. And yet, Mr. Trudeau went to kneel at one such demonstration here in Ottawa. And the media covered it as a legitimate protest. In contrast, Mr. Trudeau has been nothing but vicious and vindictive in his attacks against opponents of covid mandates and restrictions in general, and the truckers’ convoy in particular. Even though they have been entirely peaceful and non-violent.”
He's correct about the latter, but disrupting the lives of other peaceful people through blockades of pubic highways and bridges is not legal and is not morally right. That’s why the Freedom Convoy is so unpopular.
The latest news is that the police have cleared most Freedom Convoy protesters from the U.S.-Canada Ambassador Bridge. They will be remembered for disrupting local, national and international businesses, and accomplishing nothing.
In retrospect, the cry of “We Are All Truckers Now” has been silly, even politically suicidal. I am proud to have stood with law and order over anarchy in the streets, whether it has been spawned by BLM or a so-called “Freedom Convoy.”
*Cliff Kincaid is president of America’s Survival, Inc. www.usasurvival.org