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In Canada, the ‘Liberty Convoy’ Protests the Nears Capital Vaccination Mandate

OTTAWA – After six days of crossing Canada, a convoy began protesting against mandatory vaccinations for truckers heading to the United States scheduled to arrive in Ottawa on Saturday, with members and supporters alike. households have issued many disgruntled comments.

The loosely organized “Freedom Rally” or “Liberty Convoy” of vans and private cars departed from British Columbia and sped along the road to the capital, where police were preparing to an unpredictable weekend rally. In recent days, the convoy has been joined by other smaller groups from south and east Ottawa.

The movement has attracted people who oppose all of the pandemic restrictions, others want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resign, and some simply don’t like the government.

On Friday, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly declined to say how many protesters the force was expected to gather on Parliament Hill. His department said that they arrived in the capital in eight different streams.

“The protests this weekend will be unique, versatile, risky and important,” he said at a news conference.

On Friday afternoon, before the main convoy arrived, a group of just over 100 heavy-duty trucks and about 400 cars, pickup trucks and vans, along with a number of farm tractors – most of them equipped with decorated with anti-vaccination flags or signs – started moving into downtown Ottawa as police began to blockade the area.

Besides the refusal to authorize a vaccine, it is not yet clear what form the protests will take. A group affiliated with the convoy intends to make a second attempt at persuading the Governor General, the head of state (if ceremonial) of Canada as Queen Elizabeth’s representative, and appointed members of the The Senate repeals all laws and rules of the pandemic. imposed by all levels of government – something beyond their constitutional powers.

Others have called for protests outside politicians’ homes. But because the House of Representatives is not currently in session – it will continue to sit on Monday – many lawmakers are not in town.

It is not unusual for trucks and farm equipment to block roads in and around Canada’s Parliament buildings. In 2019, a convoy protesting against oil pipeline restrictions landed in the city and caused traffic jams.

But this objection stands out in two ways. Organizers raised about 7.5 million Canadian dollars, or $5.8 million, on GoFundMe during the convoy’s ride. Of that total, one million Canadian dollars was released on Friday, after the organizer submitted “a clear allocation plan for funds to be used to cover the fuel costs of the participants.” join,” GoFundMe said in an email.

The movement has also attracted extremist rhetoric online. Some, who may not have been part of the convoy itself, have called for an attack on Parliament similar to January 6, 2021, storming the US Capitol. Such calls for violence were denounced by one of the convoy’s main organizers.

Sheriff Sloly, who is affiliated with the organizers, downplayed the possibility of violence from the main group. However, he said, “We don’t know all of the possible parallel rallies, and/or lone wolves could have brought themselves into the mix for a variety of reasons.”

Groups of people, many of them waving Canadian flags, cheered the convoy from the overpass as they reached the capital. Some of the early arrivals planted flags or vulgar signs in front of Mr. Trudeau’s name (with one of the letters replaced by a Canadian maple leaf).

The convoy was originally organized by Tamara Lich, secretary of the relatively new Maverick Party, a far-right center-right group that was started to push for the separation of Canada’s three western Prairie provinces from the rest of the country.

While the campaign to put Ms Lich’s convoy separates from her work in the Maverick Party, Jay Hill, the party’s interim leader, said the convoy tapped into what he believes is widespread sentiment in Canada. .

“This has really been self-perpetuating,” said Mr Hill, a former Conservative member of Parliament from Alberta. “The vast majority of people who boarded the train to join the caravan or who donated to help financially are frustrated and frustrated with these lockdowns and continue to have restrictions they would like someone to speak up about. and say ‘enough’ to the federal government. “

The convoy has attracted the attention of several prominent critics of Covid restrictions in the United States, including Elon Musk, Donald Trump Jr. and Joe Rogan, who have supported the protesters on social media and talk shows.

Mr. Trudeau called the protesters “a small minority on the fringes”. He has repeatedly said that 90 percent of truckers in Canada are vaccinated.

Opinion polls have consistently shown strong support in Canada for public health measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which have been largely imposed by provincial governments , many of them led by the Conservative Party. More than 77 percent of Canadians are fully immunized.

Vaccination duties for train, railway and airline personnel are in effect since October 30. On January 15, they was extended to truckers returning from the United States. This requirement does not apply to the majority of the more than 300,000 truckers who run the country’s domestic routes.

Protesters, and some Conservative members of Parliament, have blamed the new mandate on shortages of goods.

“You may notice some empty shelves at your grocery store,” Erin O’Toole, leader of the Conservative Party, said in an online video posted on Thursday. “That’s because Justin Trudeau made it a requirement that all truckers entering this country, whether Canadian or American, be fully vaccinated.”

David Soberman, a professor of logistics studies at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, says that empty shelves in Canadian stores is largely related to other factors, like a global shortage of technology. shipping containers, disruptions in the production of some products and a lack of staff to replenish store shelves because of the Covid infection.

“There is definitely amplification and fear of people who are not happy about the rule,” he said. “But I don’t really think it’s really going to have a big impact on supermarkets in Canada.”

Mr. Trudeau has made it clear that the protest will not cause his government to reverse its immunization mandate. In any event, doing so would have no practical effect: the United States has Mandatory vaccines for Canadian truckers crossing the border as of January 22.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Friday that there has been no meaningful decline in cross-border truck traffic since both countries’ vaccine regulation. given.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/29/world/canada-trucker-protest.html In Canada, the ‘Liberty Convoy’ Protests the Nears Capital Vaccination Mandate

Fry Electronics Team

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