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?
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!!
Image sources: Canadian Press, Reuters