Canadian truckers sound horns of revolt against vaccine dictatorship

Although it is not the largest, so far it’s the most conspicuous and loudest of the protests against compulsory vaccination: it is the Freedom Convoy, the travelling protest of Canadian (and supportive US) truck drivers that peacefully invaded Canada and then "besieged" Ottawa, the capital, last weekend. The protest has already been imitated abroad, first of all in Holland and France.

World 02_02_2022 Italiano
Freedom convoy arrives in Ottawa

Even if it is not the biggest, it is so far the most conspicuous and loudest of the protests against compulsory vaccination: it is the Freedom Convoy, the travelling protest of Canadian (and supportive US) truckers, that peacefully invaded Canada and laid siege to the capital Ottawa last weekend. The protest has already been imitated abroad, first of all in Holland and France.

The truckers' strike against the obligations and restrictions of pandemic policies is not the first of its kind. In Italy too, at the end of September, they attempted to block the main motorway arteries to demonstrate against the introduction of the Green Pass. In Canada, the dynamic of the Freedom Convoy was similar to that of the Trieste dockers: 85% of the operators in the sector, according to data from the Canadian Trucking Alliance, are vaccinated, but a large and fierce minority, which included vaccinated people, protested in favour of a discriminated minority. The discrimination, in this case, is the ban on non-vaccinated drivers entering Canada. At least 12,000 workers (according to the most generous estimates) have been cut off from their own country.

Compulsory vaccination, in a Commonwealth nation with a British legal tradition, came as a novelty and did not fail to raise an intense debate. The first set of compulsory rules was introduced by Justin Trudeau's Labour government at the end of October for all public workers and those over 12 years old travelling on long-distance public transport. The extension came on 15 January, with the imposition of compulsory vaccination also for cross-border travellers. As can be seen, in Italy the Green Pass measures are already much stricter, including all private sector workers and the entire range of public places, in addition to the introduction (yesterday) of a universal obligation for those aged 50 and over.

But in Canada, the obligation for cross-border workers has sparked an outcry from truckers. These independent travellers, especially in North America, are the symbol of the new pioneers and are now being held up as a point of reference for those fighting for freedom against the abuses of health statism. Among them is the entrepreneur  Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), who with his tweet "Canadian Truckers Rule!" (which could also be expressed as: Canadian Truckers on the Shields!) is so far the most famous supporter of the protest. Using the online platform GoFundMe, the Freedom Convoy has raised the considerable sum of $6.3 million (€5.6 million) in just a few days.

On 29 January, the caravan stopped in Ottawa and was joined by a large procession of protesters against compulsory vaccination. There were 50,000 people in all, according to the organisers, "hundreds" according to the police. However, aerial images reveal an impressive demonstration, with thousands of people and a long line of trucks crossing the central streets of the city. Final destination: Parliament. In addition to the withdrawal requirements for the cross-border workers, the protesters are demanding an end to all other impositions and to the public health emergency declared in March 2020.

Labour Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately condemned the protest, describing it as "anti-scientific, harmful to public peace and health". On Saturday, for security reasons, he was moved to a secret location, as if a military attack was underway, giving the impression of wanting to flee in the face of the first serious demonstration of dissent. Contrary to expectations, violence did not break out. In the Canadian capital, the protest and the road blockade took place without clashes with the police. Using methods that are now commonplace, even in Italy, the media amplified the most questionable episodes: an anonymous demonstrator who started shouting 'Freedom!’ on the steps at the foot of the monument to the Unknown Soldier, for example, provoked the government's protest and a scandal is brewing. The accusation of desecration was immediately raised (in a country that witnessed the cancel culture demonstrations in which monuments were knowingly defaced and removed) for an episode that involved neither damage nor actual vilification. Or the swastikas drawn on the Canadian flag: they are provocations to accuse the government of 'Nazi' repression, but they are shown as is and seem like an incitement to Nazism. Immediately, the notion that the spontaneous Freedom Convoy association was an extreme right-wing, white supremacist organisation on racial grounds and ‘a supporter of Donald Trump' was floated.

"Anti-scientific", "disrespectful of national symbols", "right-wing", "Trump", all key words that automatically set off alarm bells in left-wing public opinion, in a country that has just re-elected a Labour government. But how well-founded are they? It's hard to call far-right those who, first of all, call for greater freedom. "Trump" is now the bogeyman, evoked to demonise any movement that does not fit into the canons of political correctness, even though he has not been in office for a year, in a country that is not the one in question. "Anti-scientific": it is difficult to accuse a category of being against vaccines, therefore against "science", if 85% of that category is vaccinated. Symbolically, two demonstrators, walking side by side, one carrying the sign: "She is vaccinated, together we march against mandates" and the other, specularly: "She is not vaccinated, together we march against mandates”. This is the spirit, then: not a protest against the vaccine, but against an imposition that is intolerable and discriminatory.