Canada: The Revolt Against Pandemic Restrictions

Heavy trucks and other vehicles parked outside of Parliament in Ottawa on Monday Photo Credit: Ian Austen/The New York Times.

You do not expect a large number of Canadians to take to the streets. Canada is a country known for its civility. But a revolt is happening.

It began more than a week ago. Canadian truckers in their trucks massed at the capital in Ottawa. They were protesting the rule that they prove their vaccination when they returned from the United States.

The number of truckers and other people protesting grew bigger. On some days, only a few protesters showed up. But the protest did not end. Now, it is getting bigger. And it is spreading to other cities in Canada.

Thousands turned out to protest in Toronto and Quebec City. Truck convoys assembled in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia to protest.

Vehicles clogged downtown streets in Ottawa on Saturday. Photo Credit: Blair Gable/Reuters.

Downtown Ottawa is the site of Canada’s Parliament. Truckers parked their vehicles in intersections and across busy thoroughfares to block traffic.

The mayor of Ottawa said, “Someone is going to get killed or injured. It will be because of the irresponsible behavior of some of these people.” City officials and the chief of police said Ottawa is under “siege.”

What is it all about? What began as a protest against mandated vaccination rules is becoming something else. There are no real leaders of the protest. But the sentiment seems to end all Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

The provinces in Canada have broad power to set public health rules. The Protesters want the Canadian federal government to overturn the provinces.

Pierre Trudeau is the prime minister. He refuses to meet with the protesters. He calls them a “fringe minority.”

What is going on? Heavy trucks have been rumbling through the streets. Day and night, they are blasting air horns found on train locomotives. Truckers are harassing residents for wearing masks.

Protesters made staff members at a homeless shelter give them meals. They shouted racial slurs at a security guard.

“Our police, our city, the province, and the federal government are allowing this to continue,” said a City Council member for the area. “Once you dissolve into this lawlessness, it is very hard to get the law back. Once people lose faith in their government to protect them at any level, it is very, very difficult to get that back.”

Are these the same types of people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021? The answer seems to be yes. The protesters believe that only direct action will make a change.

The mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency.

Democracies stand for the rule of law, not the rule of the mob. The protesters may be sincere. Their methods cannot become the way governments work.

Source: The New York Times February 7, 2022

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