Canadian truckers and their supporters protesting the government’s vaccination order began arriving in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, to join a protest outside Parliament on Saturday.
Calling themselves the “Freedom Rally” or “Liberty Convoy,” truckers are traveling from the western, eastern and southern extremes of the country to Ottawa, with police estimating that 1,000 to 2,000 people will converge there on Saturday.
The loosely organized convoys, one of which departed from British Columbia last Sunday, have raised more than C$7 million for GoFundMe along the way. Of that, C$1 million has been released by GoFundMe to date, after the organizer submitted “a clear allocation plan for the funds to be used to cover the participants’ fuel costs.” ,” the company said in an email.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference on Wednesday most truckers in Canada are vaccinated, citing vaccination rates near 90% of them, and called protesters is the “small marginal minority”.
More than 77 percent of Canadians are fully immunized and nearly 88 percent of those 5 years of age and older have received at least one dose, according to federal public health. data. The country’s Omicron wave appears to have peaked more than two weeks ago, although limited access to PCR tests means the official numbers are far too low. The death toll has risen from a daily average of less than 20 at the end of December to more than 164surpassing last winter’s peak and approaching the record Canada set last summer.
As the convoy crossed the country from western Canada, many supporters and participants included those outside the commercial trucking community who wanted an end to all pandemic restrictions and public health measures, as well as those demanding that Mr. Trudeau leave office.
Regardless of how mandatory Canada is, truckers crossing the southern border are required to show US border officials proof of vaccinations, according to a US Department of Homeland Security Policy effective January 22.
Truck owners have tried to link the logistical delay to Canada’s mandatory vaccination, a claim echoed by the Conservative Party leadership. Erin O’Toole in a video posted on Thursday on his social media accounts.
“You may notice some empty shelves at your grocery store,” says Mr. O’Toole. “That’s because Justin Trudeau made it a requirement that all truckers entering this country, whether Canadian or American, be fully vaccinated.”
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However, most logistics experts say the shortage is limited and caused by other factors, as the majority of truckers only move within the country’s borders. Canada’s food supply chain has been impacted by extreme weather in Western Canada over the past few months, including drought in the Provinces of Prairie, and Forest fires and flood in British Columbia. The government says its statistics show no drop in cross-border truck traffic.
American figures including Elon Musk, Donald Trump Jr. and Joe Rogan have spoken out in support of the Canadian protest on social media and talk shows.
The Ottawa Police Department, along with three other police and security agencies, increased security around Parliament Hill ahead of the protest, and asked the public to stay away from the downtown area.
Patrick McDonell, corporate security officer and sergeant major in the House of Commons of Canada, warned members of Parliament that they could face protesters at their residence or constituency office, during a constituency office. Internal memos obtained by various Canadian media outlets. As the House of Commons is not currently in session and will continue to sit on Monday, many MPs are not in town.
The Canadian Trucking Union said in a statement last Saturday that it is “extremely opposed” to protests on public roads, highways and bridges.
Ian Austen Contribution reports from Ottawa.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/world/vaccine-protest-ottawa-canada.html Canadian truck convoys arrive in Ottawa to protest against the Immunization Commission