This insurrection has been organised by a group calling themselves “Canada Unity”. They say that their goal is to end all vaccine mandates – failing which they will continue the protest in Ottawa until they get their way. The true nature of their protest is far more insidious. Their “Memorandum of Understanding”, easily found on their website, details what they expect Canada’s Governor General and the Senate of Canada to do. They want to overthrow the duly elected Government of Canada and if the Senate and the Governor General won’t help them in this endeavour, Canada Unity demands that they resign immediately.
This so-called “Freedom Rally” is not a rally for freedom – it is more like a hostage situation for the residents of downtown Ottawa. Night and day, horns blast at deafening levels. People wearing masks are harassed, threatened, spat upon and, in some cases, assaulted. People of colour, people who do not identify as heterosexual, people who are simply trying to go about their daily lives are made to feel unsafe and unwelcome in their own city. One person has died because an ambulance was unable to reach them in a timely manner due to roads being blocked. Just last evening, two fellows entered a downtown apartment building where a tenant who had asked truckers to keep the noise down lives. These two people lit fire starter bricks in the lobby of the apartment building (there is security video of this event) and then secured the exit doors from the outside to prevent residents from escaping the fire. It's unfair to speculate that it was set by protesters. But, because all of the police are tied up trying to ensure that things remain as safe and peaceful as possible, troublemakers are free to do things like this! I really believe that arson event was the main impetus for Ottawa's mayor declaring a state of emergency.
Protesters have assaulted and terrorized the citizens of Ottawa, urinated on the National War Memorial, danced upon the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, shat upon the doorstep of someone who displayed a pride flag, thrown rocks at first responders. They have flown Confederate and Nazi flags. And why in heavens name would they also be flying American flags and Trump flags?
Many Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have spoken out in favour of the so-called “Freedom Rally”, with Trump going so far as to call our Prime Minister a “far-left lunatic” and labelled this insurrection a “peaceful protest”.
This is no peaceful protest. This is no “Freedom Rally”. This is an insurrection not dissimilar to what occurred on January 6th, 2021 in Washington, D.C. And, to boot, it is being supported by funding coming from U.S. citizens! To my American friends – do you realize that you are supporting a group that is trying to overthrow our federal government? Or did you think you were supporting hard-working truckers? The Canadian Truckers Association does NOT support this rally. Nor do the vast majority of Canadian citizens from all walks of life. Can you even begin to imagine the uproar if the Canadian maple leaf flag was flown by demonstrators on January 6th in Washington? Or if elected Canadian officials were in a state because donations from Canadian citizens were not going to be given to the January 6th insurrectionists?
The funds raised through GoFundMe by the group Canada Unity are being refunded to donors. Why? Here is GoFundMe’s official statement: "GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created…We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity."
I fully support the right to peaceful protest. I do not agree with the position taken by unvaccinated truckers – especially in light of the fact that over 90% of Canadian truckers are fully vaccinated. However, if they want to protest, that’s fine by me. If they want to protest the fact that it is a real challenge to find washroom facilities – with many warehouses not allowing truckers to use their washrooms – I would fully support that cause! As I would support them in a protest for the right to access shower facilities, places to eat enroute, etc. etc.
Ottawa has seen many, many protests held at Parliament Hill. The Ottawa Police had been in contact with the protestors before they arrived in Ottawa. The understanding was that they would arrive on Friday and leave on Sunday – a 3 day protest. It is now day 10 with no end in sight.
My heart bleeds for Canada. To see the level of hate and violence in our nation’s capital is beyond disturbing. There is a great deal of talk about the emotional and mental toll that vaccine mandates have taken on people. The ugliness of this insurrection has had a far greater effect on my mental and emotional well-being than any vaccine mandate had. Can we as a nation recover? I hope so. But the scars will remain.