• By: OLM Staff

PM goes into hiding as convoy protest arrives in Ottawa

The Freedom Convoy is one of the more interesting political protests in the last 20 years. The anti-vax attitudes of some of the participants have been a central theme of the media coverage but it is not the only reason the protest is picking up steam: the convoy of trucks rolling across the country is garnering support from everyday Canadians. Countless photos show overpasses filled with supporters.

With such high vaccination rates in Canada, it is unlikely that the frustration of such a large number of citizens is the result of only vaccine mandates.

It is more likely that Canadians have had enough of lockdowns, are frustrated with inflation and with the rising cost of food. Then there are the shortages being noticed—even though the federal Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, deny that they exist.

You only have to step into your local Loblaws to see that fresh produce is not abundant. Whether it be potatoes, oranges or bananas, some produce can be hard to find.

Canada might not be the Venezuelan of the north, but when gas prices are $1.50 a litre, and inflation is the worst it has been in a generation, a little irritation is warranted.

The Liberal government has dropped the ball. Canadians constantly hear about ‘new normals’ and 50 per cent capacity limits, but health officials have admitted that everybody is likely to get Covid.

Canadians want to feel like things are returning to normal. There is bitterness that we cannot grab lunch, a beer at our local pub, or work out at an indoor facility. We have done everything right, have received our triple jabs and yet some of us are still getting ill. It is time for life to get back to normal, as it has across the pond in the UK and Ireland.

The government must learn to live with an epidemic. Those enacting the lockdowns and optimistic “50 per cent” capacity reopening plans —who don’t have to worry about their next paycheck— have to think of the workers and small businesses who do.

The ‘freedom convoy’ is no longer a single-issue protest. It has become an outlet for Canadians who don’t live in government towns like Ottawa. It’s a manifestation of national fatigue with the status quo. Warren Kinsella rightly points out in the Sun that this is more of an “anger” convoy than an anti-vaccine convoy.

Despite this, the prime minister has called the protest a “fringe minority with unacceptable views”,  saying that 90 per cent of truckers are vaccinated. That’s precisely the point, and he can’t see it.

The truckers are frustrated about more than just vaccine mandates. It is more than just a fringe 10 per cent on its way to Ottawa; it’s an entire industry that is discontent with a government that makes the cost of doing business more expensive with carbon taxes and rising costs.

And, even if it is a ‘fringe 10 per cent’, are they not citizens with charters rights and protections who cannot be denied their opinion?

It is not the job of the prime minister or the leader of a political party to determine what views are “unacceptable.”

Justin Trudeau is a partisan like all politicians and holds his views and policy opinions that others disagree with, but they are not “unacceptable;” they are his views. Everybody is entitled to an outlook no matter how different it may be from your own.

If a conservative government said that the views of a group of demonstrators were “unacceptable” there would be screams from most of the established media in this country and allegations of fascism would be tossed around.

We are not a one-party state and the prime minister does not decide what is and isn’t acceptable in the ideological realm, we have courts for determining what is hateful. Canada is not a dictatorship, and there is no such thing as ‘wrong think’.

We as citizens cannot let the office of the prime minister proclaim what is okay to think or protest. This is an attack on the most basic of freedoms.

That so many Canadians are heading to the capital to voice their frustrations in of themselves deserves some level of redress as is expected in a democratic society. Even if the governing party does not agree, we are a representative democracy. In the past, Justin Trudeau has gone out to meet racial justice protests and climate protests of similar sizes. The people must have their grievances addressed, even if it’s not what officials want to hear.

Instead, Justin Trudeau is isolating for Covid-19 exposure for the next five days despite having a negative rapid test. The timing seems a little more than a practical coincidence.

The prime minister should get his shoes and mask on and talk to people who’ve decided to make the trip.

If nurses and doctors can work with endemic Covid, so can the PM.

Header Photo: via @jdm273