Protest

What are the limits to peaceful protest in a democratic society? As the truckers’ convoy keeps downtown Ottawa snarled for a seventh day today, that is the question residents are asking.

It is clear the truckers won’t accomplish their goal – the removal of the vaccine mandate on their industry. It is also apparent that the Prime Minister, who has labeled them as crackpots (was well as using stronger epithets) won’t meet with their leaders to discuss their grievances.

So what’s next? Do the police move in? The city police say they don’t have the manpower, that it would take the army to move the truckers and their rigs. And it seems possible that some would not be easily removed, given that they feel the government has made no effort to listen to them.

Do we just let them sit there until they get bored and leave on their own? What does that say about the rights of downtown residents to live in peace? Or the downtown businesses whose customers are staying away in droves.

If it was your call to make, what would you do?

10 comments

  1. There is no legal right to impede traffic, block streets, interfere with other people’s right to use the streets and sidewalks , disturb the peace,, or impede commerce. People that do should be arrested.

    1. I agree. Therre are limits to civil disobedience. That no action has taken place is a failure not just of political leadership but of policing.

  2. Apparently “freedom” means that the disabled and elderly who live in downtown–and need daily care provided by non-family members–can be left to starve! Apparently the homeless need to share their meals with these anarchists, not by choice, but by being intimidated and assaulted. Apparently “freedom” means people can be harassed because they choose to wear a mask and dare to try to leave their homes. Apparently “freedom” means the freedom to urinate all over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and defecate on people’s property. It also means downtown churches have their Sunday services disrupted by all the noise. Too bad Christian voices aren’t united in condemning these so-called “freedom” seekers–instead they are picking up where GoFundMe left off–to support these anarchists. Not to mention the members of The Conservative Party of Canada championing the destruction of downtown Ottawa. My nephew is a trucker–fully vaccinated and well-employed these days. He doesn’t want to die of Covid, nor bring it home to his family and risk their lives. Too bad everyone wasn’t as considerate and level-headed.

    1. Please post the details on the people who have starved,. Somehow I missed that in the news. Strange.

      I have seen a lot of media mentions of intimidation and harassment, but did not observe anything like that when I was downtown. Therre have been apparently been isolated incidents, which happens whenever there is a crowd.

      I’m not sure I would classify the protesters as anarchists – they have called for the Governor General and Senste to remove the Prime Minister. That means they belive in the system, they aren’t trying to overthrow it.

      I was very pleased to see Christian groups downtown sharing the proverbial cup of water and the Gospel with the protesters. (and my understanding from the newspaper is that horns were silent this past Sunday during the morning to allow local churches to worship in peace.)

      I’m not sure where the destruction is. Not even any littering where I was.

  3. Protests aren’t likely to have an effect on policy…but court challenges could. Why don’t they take the government to court regarding the mandated vaccination policy? Other groups are, at least at a provincial level. This group seems well funded, which is usually the main barrier for going to court.

    1. Protests might sway public opinion, though the truck’s cause is already unpopular.

      There are court challenges, but those take time. Meanwhile, unvaccinated truckers are unemployed and denied employment insurance (which they paid into) because of their vaccination status.

      I don’t think this is a cohesive group with a lot of funding (despite the amount that has been crowdfunded, which may never be received). They are not an organized group as much as a spontaneous uprising.

      I suspect they will stay camped in downtown Ottawa for the foreseeable future. A police response would be problematic (and probably increase their numbers). Calling in the military would look bad politically.

      I think the situation is easily diffused. These are people who feel no-one is listening and no-one cares if the PM would just meet with them it would go a long way to solving the problem

      Certainly as a former drama teacher he knows how to act like he is listening.

      1. I’m not sure Justin can pull that off, especially after his un-wise comments…but sending in a Minister would be a good idea. As it stands, this is both a protest and a blockade, and at some point the blockade will have to end. Some of these folks may find themselves in court one way or another.

      2. At some point charges have to be laid. The problem is that, by waiting instead of acting immediately, police and politicians have sanctioned the protest. Changing directions now risks a peaceful solution. And I doubt the city has the towing capacity, despite what the mayor says. There are hundreds of trucks in the protest. I doubt there are more than a couple of dozen tow trucks. As soon as they tow one, another will replace it.

        Like it or not, the government needs to meet with protesters to end this. Which is problematic when you have already labeled them as racists and misogynist.

  4. Let them stay. Our freedom is more important. If not now, when? They have been raised up for such a time as this.
    I guess we can’t call JT a leader either.

    1. It is rough on those who live downtown. And for the downtown businesses. No doubt they will all receive federal aid. The unemployed truckers don’t get Employment Insurance becasue they are unvaccinated – even though they paid into the program.

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