Politics

Quebec truckers join protest convoy to Ottawa


Ottawa is preparing for as many as 10,000 protesters to show up in the city’s downtown.

Article content

Quebec truckers on Friday began to form their leg of a protest convoy headed to Ottawa this weekend.

Advertisement

Article content

A Facebook page labelled Convoi pour la liberté 2022 says truckers will gather Friday at border crossings into the United States at St-Théophile in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, Stanstead in the Eastern Townships and St-Bernard-de-Lacolle in the Montérégie, before converging on Highway 40 in Vaudreuil and then heading toward Ottawa.

Another convoy is expected to leave the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and head to Vankleek Hill in eastern Ontario. Other convoys are expected from the Atlantic provinces.

The Sûreté du Québec, responsible for patrolling the province’s highways, said its officers would be “strategically” deployed to avoid any “overflow” from the ongoing protest. The police force invited the public to avoid areas where the convoy would pass.

Advertisement

Article content

Since Jan. 15, truckers travelling between Canada and the U.S. must be fully vaccinated to avoid a two-week quarantine and being tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival.

The protest convoy movement began in British Columbia and has attracted participants from across the country.

Supporters have said they will join the convoy to Ottawa and participate in protests this weekend. Protesters supporting extreme right-wing opinions have also joined the protest.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the convoy as a small, marginal protest. However, in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, he voiced his concern about the potential for violence.

Trudeau said the “freedom convoy” is no longer a protest against the federal vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers, but rather it has morphed into a forum for a small minority of “very angry” people opposed to all public health measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, some of whom espouse violence.

Advertisement

Article content

The prime minister said it doesn’t worry him that much of the anger is directed at him personally; getting an earful from angry critics goes with the territory of being a politician.

But he said threats of violence should not go with the territory for anyone who steps up to serve, including politicians and health-care workers.

While supporters of the convoy are rallying around a cry of freedom, Trudeau said they’re ignoring the freedom of fellow Canadians to protect themselves against COVID-19, get their kids back in school, their businesses back in operation and life back to normal.

For its part, the Quebec government reacted to the protest with caution on Friday. Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, house leader for the Coalition Avenir Québec, said people have the right to express themselves, but it must be done peacefully.

Advertisement

Article content

Jolin-Barrette acknowledged that everyone is eager to move on and end the pandemic, but said everyone knows necessary efforts must be made and the public has adapted to the situation.

A key convoy organizer has urged people to remain peaceful, while Canada Unity, a group behind the protest, falsely believes it can work with the Governor General and Senate of Canada to bypass existing systems of governance and reverse pandemic-related restrictions and penalties.

Trudeau stressed that the protesters do not represent the vast majority of truckers or the vast majority of Canadians who’ve done the right thing by getting fully vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Security authorities in Ottawa are preparing for as many as 10,000 protesters to show up in the city’s downtown. Ottawa police are advising residents to avoid the area and expect major thoroughfares to be blocked by the protest. They also warn that those who commit criminal acts, violence and activities promoting hatred will face consequences.

Advertisement

Article content

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has disassociated itself from the protest, saying more than 85 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers who regularly cross the U.S. border are fully vaccinated, but that as many as 16,000 drivers could be barred from cross-border routes by the new regulation, a loss that would worsen supply chain problems.

All our coronavirus-related news can be found at  montrealgazette.com/tag/coronavirus .

For information on vaccines in Quebec,  tap here .

Sign up for our email newsletter dedicated to local COVID-19 coverage at  montrealgazette.com/coronavirusnews .

Help support our local journalism by  subscribing to the Montreal Gazette here .

Advertisement





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.