Outrage from a Canadian: a rant

I try pretty hard not to rant on this blog.  I understand that not everyone feels the same way about everything, and that’s a reality we all live with.  I try to show respect for some level of differences of opinions.  I’ve always felt proud and privileged to live in a country that prides itself on civility towards each other and respect for civil discourse.  The last several days in Ottawa have shown me just how fine the veneer of civility is, no matter where you live.

I understand the frustration people feel at the never-ending restrictions on our ability to do everything we want to do.  Even though these restrictions are in place for only one reason: TO PROTECT OUR LIVES AND OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS.  I really do understand the frustration.  And I am very aware that some people don’t want to be vaccinated no matter what, for reasons I don’t understand, but that is most definitely their right.  Even though it is not their right to interact with vaccinated people without their permission and without masks.  Happily, as of today 83.2% of eligible Canadians (age 5+) have chosen the fully-vaccinated route.

I agree that people in our country have the right of peaceful protest.  This particular protest started out as a peaceful though perhaps misguided truckers protest, but has morphed into something quite frightening, and perhaps mostly funded and fueled by agitators from outside Canada.

There is not a single person in Canada who is not grateful to truckers for what they’ve done throughout the pandemic and continue to do to keep our society functioning.  We should find ways to show our gratitude, just as we should keep showing gratitude for all our healthcare workers, who are exhausted beyond belief.  And our teachers.  And others.  But the federal vaccination mandate for crossing the Canada-U.S. border, which was the original focus of this protest, is hardly a deal-breaker, since the U.S. requires them to be vaccinated in order to enter the U.S. anyway.

Protesting to end all the COVID restrictions in front of Parliament, totally disrupting citizens and businesses in Ottawa for 10 days and counting, is protesting into the wind.  The federal government has no authority over those restrictions, none whatsoever; they are all implemented by individual provinces.  So this collection of angry people who are taking such delight in screwing up countless lives by blocking their streets, running large diesel engines 24/7 under their windows, honking 24/7, and threatening innocent people and business owners, are pretty well doing this for no constructive purpose whatsoever.  But destructive, for sure.

One of the organizers has stated that he has empathy for the residents whose lives they are shattering, all basically held hostage in their homes and apartments, but that they’re staying until the government ends the restrictions.  First of all, don’t lie.  You clearly have no empathy for the people whose lives you’re messing with, you don’t give a s**t.  Secondly, the government you’re going after is not the one that brought in these measures.  They can’t end them!

What is most concerning to me – what truly outrages me and gives me moments of fear – is the clear support of fringe extremists groups from the U.S.  This should concern us all, including the peaceful protestors.

How did the GoFundMe campaign for this so-called Freedom Convoy raise $10M???  In days?!! Nothing in Canada raises $10M, except maybe Terry Fox, and that’s counted in months or even years, not days.  Politicians don’t raise $10M.  Our entire election process might not raise $10M.  Watch out, folks, this money is coming from extremist agitators in the U.S.  Fortunately, the GoFundMe organization has now stopped distributing that money to the protestors, although it seems like other s are taking up the slack.

Why are people carrying U.S. flags and Trump 2024 flags in amongst the Canadian flags?  And why did one of the flags being carried (in a CBC news clip last night) have a QAnon ‘Q’ on a Canadian flag?  This is not what most of these protestors are about, not at all.  And considering that no-one is allowed into Canada unless they’ve been vaccinated, how did these U.S. flag-carrying, Trump flag waving, Q-Anon flag displaying people get here?  Did anyone ask them if they’re vaccinated?  If they are, then what are they really protesting?  Why are they here?  Is nobody suspicious of their motives?

OttawaProtest1

As we know, the worst elements of these protestors have parked their trucks on the National War Memorial, urinated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, defaced the statue of our national hero Terry Fox, and generally shown their true colours.  They have forced the staff at the homeless shelter to give them free food and harassed the women in the women’s shelter.  They have forced the closures of downtown businesses due to their aggressive actions.  Their symbols are of hatred, including swastikas and confederate flags. Their approach is of anger, harassment, and intimidation.

The worst elements of the so-called Freedom Convoy have taken away the freedom of fellow citizens to live –including being able to sleep or go get groceries – in their own homes, on their own streets, without fear.  They have taken away the freedom of fellow citizens to open their businesses each day so they can provide their service to others, keep their employees working, and keep a roof over their heads.  An inadequate police presence is costing the citizens of Ottawa staggering sums of money each and every day.  They have denigrated the very message they had intended to convey.

Their continuing actions, knowingly impacting innocent fellow citizens, are contemptible … and totally un-Canadian!!

OttawaProtest3

Image sources: Canadian Press, Reuters

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55 Responses to Outrage from a Canadian: a rant

  1. ShiraDest says:

    As one of your neighbors to the south, I offer apologies. We’re trying, down here, to do something to make things more reasonable, but we’re being drowned out by the aggressive types. I’m really not sure what more we can do, here in the US: we vote, we contact our lawmakers, we try to reason with our neighbors, but these days, I don’t even feel safe having contact with many of my neighbors, and that’s here in southern California. 😦
    Shira

  2. debscarey says:

    Like you Jane, I try very hard to avoid any form of rant, but I totally understand you giving way to this one. It sounds truly awful and I share your concern about where the funding is coming from. I do hope it gets resolved – and quick. Deeply disturbing.

  3. iidorun says:

    I’ve been following this “protest” and it does feel very right wing extremist terrorist ideology. All the elements are there – trump, confederate flag, qanon and I’m sure most of the protestors are white males from non-urban areas who are feeling victimized. It’s a cult that we need to dismantle quickly and thoroughly – except Gov’ts don’t seem to be able to handle it because there are people in Gov’t (at least in the USA) who enable this cult. It is quite a scary time. You’ve assessed the situation well and spoken clearly and respectfully if the issues at hand. But those other people don’t play like that and that’s the piece that concerns me.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Irma, I think the outside (American) agitators and astounding amount of American contributions are undoubtedly far-right extremists. Those symbols have nothing to do with Canada. There’s nothing to suggest that any of the outside agitators who have somehow made their way here are terrorists. I do believe that the majority of the protesters (as opposed to the outside agitators and bad seeds) sincerely want to have their message heard: they’re sick and tired of 2 years of personal restrictions and don’t want to be socially and economically ostracized for their views on vaccination. Those are fair things to protest against. (And no, it’s not just white men from rural areas!) It’s the people who don’t mind destroying fellow citizens’ daily lives and livelihoods instead of having a peaceful protest who are the issue. And even worse imho, those Americans who fund and muscle their way into bringing their views to another country. If they want to fund something in Canada, they can donate to keeping our healthcare system running during COVID. 😥

  4. BernieLynne says:

    I decided yesterday that I felt I couldn’t remain silent any longer either. You’ve said what is in my mind and heart. So many of the comments that I would have made are already well articulated. I feel like we must speak up and not let this fringe element feel like they are “winning” because they are louder. I read an interesting blog post — “So now I’m a Karen” at https://wp.me/p8PnqY-cJ

    This is a first hand report of an encounter on an Ottawa street a couple of days ago. It really does speak to the mentality of those that are there. Perhaps it started out as something else but now it’s something that we as Canadians all need to be very concerned about.

  5. Linda Sprague says:

    Exactly Jane! What can we do to support the truckers who are picking up the slack caused by these protesters? I wish Gofundme could distribute $ to THEM!

  6. Jean says:

    The GoFund money situation PLUS the 2nd alternate online funding on a different platform that’s growing is disturbing since we don’t know about these anonymous donors from outside of Canada. Canadians continue to monitor the home country situation. There are a number of disturbing trends and sentiments in Canada that are emboldening people in the wrong direction, who otherwise, are ok folks.

  7. Wonderer says:

    Thank you for posting this, Jane, not many do, majority is silent unfortunately. It is painful and surprising to watch, a stable democracy should have means to protect itself from aggressive fringe elements and foreign players, hope we do that.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thank you for commenting, Wonderer. I can’t help but think that the Ottawa police had hoped that by staying low key themselves the protesters would have remained peaceful and low key themselves. The Canadian way, right?! Whatever their reason, their initial low key approach didn’t work so well. The true colours of the fringe agitators has come through loud and clear. I hope we’ve now at least learned that lesson, as heartbreaking a reality as it is. Let’s hope this gets resolved very quickly.

  8. heimdalco says:

    My heart aches that the US fringes, QAnon, Trumpers & agitators have invaded your lovely country. My heart has BEEN aching that they are a part of ours. And all anyone has to do is open their eyes to easily see that funding the agitators is not coming from reputable organizations & areas. The worst elements, as you said, make it impossible for those that wish to exercise their rights to peacefully protest be heard. And I can’t understand how any one of these individuals can justify the real harm they are doing to neighborhoods, businesses & individuals in the areas they disrupt.

    I feel like apologizing for these folks because so many of them come from the US but I have been constantly dismayed for several years now at their brazen interruption of US cities & our very own government on Jan. 6, 2021. A few good & decent politicians have apologized to US citizens for the actions of these crazy factions even though they, also, are not responsible.

    At this point I can only pray that good & caring people in the US can rid our country of the crazies & return it to a land of decency, honesty & honor through going to the polls & voting for representatives that stand for & uphold those ideals. I also pray that this happens in our lifetime while democracy still has a chance at survival.

    May things soon return to normal in Canada … & in the US. We, as bloggers hopefully can make some small difference by pointing out what is happening, its dangers & harm to the future.

    . May God have mercy on us all.

  9. Great post, Jane, and I totally agree. Foreigners of any kind funding this protest is simply wrong. Surely, the US citizens have enough problems without bringing them here. Trump flags? Confederate flags? Really? Do they even know where they are? My brother-in-law lives 4 blocks from Parliament Hill. His neighbour was harrassed for wearing a mask while walking her dog. Seriously?? This morning, someone taped up someone’s apartment door and set it on fire. When he was confronted, he said he was protesting. How the hell does that help anything? What was a legitimate protest has descended into an occupation by thugs and extremistswho have no hope of getting what they want. And you know people have really gone off the rail when protesters set up a bouncy council for their kids to play while they shout and scream at others.

  10. boblorentson says:

    A worthwhile rant indeed. Ignorance and selfishness are having their day, and it wouldn’t be the first time in history they made people uncomfortable before they brought down the countries.

  11. margiran says:

    Jane, thank you for this information.
    I had no idea it was so bad for you in Canada – sounds scary!
    It concerns me greatly when I read about these extremist groups and on the scale you describe it’s a real eye opener.
    I feel for you and all Canadian citizens.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thank you, Margiran. This is an unprecedented situation in Canada. We will have to figure out how to deal with protests that are knowingly or unwittingly fueled by people, especially outsiders, who have no respect for the words “peaceful” and “law-abiding”.

      • margiran says:

        Just been watching updates on our late evening BBC News. This along with our PM making fake remarks which have encouraged anti-vaxx protesters to surround and verbally abuse Keir Starmer so he had to be surrounded by police to escort him to nearest car!
        It’s all very sad and scary.

        • Jane Fritz says:

          Oh dear. Boris is obviously getting more and more desperate, with good reason. He hasn’t caught on that insulting Starmer hasn’t been working so well for him, even with his own people. We’re about to watch Ros Atkins on Outside Source; hopefully he’ll tell us all about it!

  12. Rose says:

    Jane, like you, I agree with peaceful protest – especially when it brings facts to light. We seem to live in a world where people don’t care about facts. Thankfully people like you speak up so others who believe in a similar way know they aren’t alone.
    And 10M!! Most of us can’t even pay for all the funeral expenses that have occurred lately, or cover other life-threatening medical expenses, but someone has 10Million to throw at this ridiculous mess!?! They should be ashamed! I’d like the covid deniers to put their money where their mouth is and help pay for the funerals of those who lost their lives to “a cold”.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks so much for your supporting comments, Rose. Aside from your good point about where some of this astounding amount of money could be put to use, I think you make an important point about people not caring about facts. It’s more likely that they have access to so many conflicting sources of “facts” that it’s possible to choose the “facts” that support their fears and suspicions rather than the ones that are really going to help them … and their community. Thanks to the power of social media, I don’t know how we change that.

  13. No country deserves these extremist, U. S. or Canada but they are everywhere and I wonder daily if the former U.S. president and more deep pockets started and continue to fund these idiots!!! They are vile!! The police and normal government have their hands full. My prayers go out to all of our frontline heroes and especially the doctors and nurses that can’t seem to get a break. There are days that I am almost afraid and ashamed to post anything that says I’m an American because the good ones get grouped with the bad ones. My biggest fear is the bad ones will at some point outweigh the good ones and Trump will be back in office. I also wonder if Russia is sending funds to these groups. I also fear for all of our children and the world they are growing up in!!!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Well said, Rita. And don’t worry, everyone knows how nice most Americans are – warm and welcoming – and wonder how all this hatred and divisiveness took hold in a country that offers a much to the world. Power for power’s sake instead of for the betterment of all seems to be winning out in altogether too many places. And I think you are onto something with your suspicions about Russia having its hand in some of the discord, funding and otherwise. Destabilizing the U.S. and its allies is one of its prime goals. Now if we could just figure out how to put all this right! It’s a pleasure to know you, my American friend!!

  14. “Even though these restrictions are in place for only one reason: TO PROTECT OUR LIVES AND OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS.”

    Yell louder, we can’t hear you.

    You’ll sell your liberty to be protected from what for most people is a cold? With restrictions that don’t even stop covid??? Where I live we have had none of the oppressive restrictions in Canada and covid is a non-issue. We are elderly and had covid and treated early and it lasted 72 hours with no long hauler. But we were prepared to treat before we got covid.

    All of the Scandinavian countries and most US states have lifted their covid restrictions, but Canada is still stuck in 2020. Move on.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I’m glad to know that you are dealing so well with COVID. But perhaps the families of the 900,000 Americans and millions of others whose loved ones have died of COVID might be more tempered in their assessment. And perhaps the beyond-exhausted healthcare workers of stretched-to-the-limits hospitals might disagree about it only being a cold. But I’m not outraged by people disagreeing with restrictions or protesting. I’m outraged by the subset of protesters who aren’t protesting, they’re blatantly infringing on the rights of others to go about their daily lives and damaging public and private property in the process. For 10 days and counting. Well supported by outside influences. That’s what I’m outraged about.

    • I don’t know who you are but will pray that you do no get the Covid in any form and wind up in the hospital and near death because of your belief!!! I know of three men and one woman in our area that have died because they thought it was just a cold even after testing positive for Covid.

  15. Oh, my! What this illustrates is that the far-right movement is not unique to the United States, even though much of the focus has been on my country. (After January 6 and Trump’s continued influence and popularity, it’s easy to see why.) All countries need to be aware and beware. Sad and scary. Best of luck to Canada, home of my ancestors.

  16. A good rant occasionally is, I think, good for the psyche and in this case maybe a little overdue. I have been ranting internally and once to verbally to my wife about this “freedom convoy” and once or twice wondered out loud why the police haven’t simply moved in and towed trucks for illegal parking and breaking of the noise bylaw, assuming Ottawa has one. I am fully aware that would increase the potential for violence but that would just expose the non-peaceful side of this. Surely the RCMP and OPP should be able to reinforce the Ottawa contingent to reestablish control of the city?

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Wayne. I can imagine that at the outset the decision was to maintain a moderate presence so as not to needlessly inflame tensions. Sadly, that approach didn’t work well at all. The only positive is that the bad apples have turned most Canadians against the movement.

  17. “What is most concerning to me – what truly outrages me and gives me moments of fear – is the clear support of fringe extremists groups from the U.S.  This should concern us all, including the peaceful protestors.” Amen! Like you, I wholeheartedly support the right to peaceful protest, regardless of the viewpoint of the protesters. But we just have to look at the domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6 last year — and the way one political party is now pretending it was no big deal — to see that far-right “extremists” are more mainstream and more protected than ever. Terrifying.

  18. So sorry. As you expressed your respect for civil discourse and empathy, I wish so much there were more people like you.

  19. barryh says:

    Oh dear, Jane. Canada does not deserve this.

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