Canadian Truckers Alliance Protest Is Gaining Traction
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn’t have imagined the pushback when he imposed a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers on Jan. 15. The Canadian Trucking Alliance had estimated that 85% of Canada’s 120,000 truckers were vaccinated, and a recent poll found two-thirds of Canadians favor mandatory Covid shots for everyone, including children. Truck drivers and other “essential” workers had been exempt from Canada’s two-week quarantine for unvaccinated travelers crossing by land from the U.S. So why all the fuss?
The protest was originally organized to object to mandatory vaccines for the trucking industry. The first small convoy was spotted in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, on Jan. 22. This was followed by convoys in Delta, British Columbia; Regina, Saskatchewan; Kenora, Ontario, and elsewhere. The smaller convoys traveled on the Trans-Canada Highway, which stretches across all 10 Canadian provinces, and formed a massive one headed last week toward Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Before long the protests began to pick up steam and the originally disjointed protests morphed into what we are seeing today.
Estimates of the convoy’s size ranged from 551 to 1,155 vehicles, most of them cars and not trucks. A significant amount of money was raised, too. A GoFundMe campaign, relying particularly on small donations, raked in more than five million Canadian dollars (around U.S. $4 million) by Jan. 25. Three days later, it was at C$7.5 million. The goal was increased to C$9 million, which was surpassed on Jan. 30—and has now been pushed to C$10 million. GoFundMe ended up taking down the support page and refunding all donations sparking international outrage against the platform. After the GoFundMe cutoff, organizers launched a donation drive on GiveSendGo, which describes itself as the "leader in Christian fundraising." More than $4.7 million has been raised on GiveSendGo as of this week. This raises an interesting question. Truckers are not particularly wealthy individuals. They’re in their 3rd week of protests without work. Where has the funding been coming from? Organizers of the demonstration protesting vaccine mandates outside Canada's Parliament have reportedly said they have enough money to keep trucks there for up to four years.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, a group that opposes the protest, has said the protesters do not represent the views of most truckers. "While a number of Canadians are in Ottawa to voice their displeasure over this mandate, it also appears that a great number of these protesters have no connection to the trucking industry and have a separate agenda beyond a disagreement over cross border vaccine requirements," the group said in a statement on Saturday. I could find no specific funding source, other than crowd funding, for what must have become an expensive endeavor for these truckers and their supporters. On multiple crowdfunding platforms, people from around the globe, often directed to the cause by American far-right influencers like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro, have collectively donated millions of dollars in support of the Canadian movement and started similar crowdfunding campaigns for like-minded protests in U.S. states and European countries.
While the Canadian standoff against Covid-19 restrictions paralyzes Ottawa, it’s becoming viral online as a rallying cry for leading U.S. Republican politicians, far-right influencers and white supremacist groups who have transposed the criticism of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to an international audience for their own political gain.
Politicians from former President Donald Trump to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have championed the nationwide protests in Canada. A convoy-style demonstration starting in California and ending in Washington appears to be gathering supporters online.
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