Seeing For Myself

It wasn’t enough to watch the feeds being streamed on Facebook and YouTube, I needed to see for myself. 

I had seen the truckers’ protest a couple of days last week, once in the daytime and another at night, but it was just a matter of walking through the trucks on my way to somewhere else. Sunday, I made it my destination.

On Saturday afternoon I had watched about an hour of various live feeds. What I saw was reminiscent of Canada Day celebrations – lots of people in a good mood. The big difference was that on Canada Day it isn’t -20. People dress a little differently at this time of year.

A friend who lives downtown said video didn’t really give a proper feel for what was going on, so I hopped on public transit and made my way downtown.

Certainly it is a noisy protest. Downtown residents might be a little more sympathetic if truck horns weren’t blaring 16 hours a day (now thankfully silenced by court order).

In some ways what I found was right out of Hollywood. You remember the 1976 movie, Network? In it broadcaster Howard Beale stuck a chord with America as he shouted “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

 This is the cry of all those who feel that no-one is listening to their concerns, of those who feel forgotten and ignored by the elites. It may have taken the truckers who lost their jobs over their resistance to the federal government’s vaccine mandate, but others are finding that they too need to echo the cry.

One sure way to stiffen your opponents’ resolve is to demonize them. The prime minister has labelled those who oppose his vaccine policies as “fringe, ” misogynists” and “racists.”

I wish he would explain his words. Having a minority viewpoint does not automatically make someone a fringe element (which sounds derogatory, doesn’t it?). How being opposed to a vaccine mandate or any other policy automatically make one a woman-hater or a racist?

There are a lot of women who have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines. Do they hate their gender? 

What about those in the BIPOC community who have shown reluctance to get vaccinated? Black, Indigenous and People of Color have had historical issues that make them understandably leery of the white man’s health care system. When the PM says those opposed to the mandate are racist, is he suggesting there is a hatred of Caucasians involved? Of course not.

The people I met on Parliament Hill on Sunday were ordinary Canadians who felt this was the only way to make their voices heard. I talked with people from BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. None struck me as extremists.

None were threatening violence or the overthrow of the government. They want the Prime Minister gone, because he won’t change his policies, but they aren’t storming the Parliament buildings looking to string him up. They want the Senate and Governor General to step in and remove hm.

I got the feeling this protest, now in its 13th day, would have been over long ago if Mr. Trudeau had just met with their leaders and listened. I doubt he would have changed his policies, but at least he would have shown respect for those people who lost their jobs by his executive order.

4 comments

  1. Truckers who work for trucking companies have poor working conditions and unbelievable stress from their employers. Thefts/assaults/murders on the job are very real issues for these guys who are driving solo. Truckers who own their own rigs make far better money and have much more control over their working conditions–we need more independent truckers! We need to encourage Big Business to deal with the independents and not just the trucking companies.

  2. Lorne, I appreciate your attempt to cut through the simplistic view of the protest. Vaccine, it seems, may not even be the big issue.
    An underlying factor may be worsening truckers’ pay and working conditions, which have reached a crisis point south of your border. After decades of struggle, drivers are now quitting in droves, especially those on the long-haul front. Among other things, they want to be home at night with their families and/or they’re feeling too old for the hours.
    Thanks for looking at them and the others as people, individuals coming together.

    1. Canada has a shortage of 26,000 truckers – not everyone wants a job with those conditions.

      The government can make whatever rules it likes. But when the rules cost someone their livelihoods, it would be simple politeness to at least meet with them face to face.

      Part of the problem may be that our Prime Minister, who is constantly encouraging Canadians to “do the right thing” apparently doesn’t understand that some who reject the vaccine do so for reasons of genuine conscience. If they didn’t have deeply held beleif, why would they (and soldiers, nurses, police officers and many more) choose unemployment rarher than just take the shot.

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