As the truck convoy made its way to Ottawa, it planned a pit stop right next to where I live. I decided to check it out. I do not know what I was expecting. But here is what I saw: Canadians streaming down the streets with Canadian flags, in vehicles, and all protesting for their freedoms.
I also saw F Trudeau flags. Later, I found out that some nearby also had upside-down Canadian flag(s). Elsewhere, some protestors used other gross and unacceptable symbols. As Pierre Poillievre said, however, one must avoid guilt by association. That some used unacceptable images and behaviour does not invalidate an entire group.
Despite these negatives, the protest that I saw mostly comprised passionate Canadians. There was a sense of patriotism, excitement. After living in a Canada that has felt beaten and broken, the optimism felt right.
1. Classist Attacks on the Working-Class
Yet the government, media, and others have castigated this convoy as racist, white supremacist, and stupid. I even saw someone make a cartoon calling the truckers fascist. This obvious classist attack against truckers might shock us, after such truckers have provided food and resources for us over the last two years.
But the working class is only useful, it seems, when they toe the line. When they don’t, they are a nuisance. The vapid attacks of racism and stupidity betray a lack of compassion and understanding of the plight of families across Canada who struggle to put food on the table, whose mental health has been harmed, and whose life has lost two years due to endless restrictions.
In a day when vaccines and treatments exist; when most of us have had COVID, it begins to make less and less sense to have restrictions. In 2020, I was okay with it. But by 2021, we knew too much to just lockdown. But instead of solving the problem, we just closed everything down. We are in no better place really than last year.
And throughout the elite medical class and the Twiter legionnaires push again and again to lockdown, to restrict, to destroy working-class families because COVID is the only danger they can see.
And the truck convoy, or rather the sense of exasperation around restrictions that the convoy participates in, is not a small fringe minority. Last night in Wal Mart, I walked by two people talking about it. It has become a sort of topic of conversation—a way for those to lodge support or not for the restoration of Canadian freedoms.
The National Post just reported that about one-third of Canadians have much in common with the trucking protest. That is no fringe minority. Added to this, John Hopkins just released a study that concluded that lockdowns did very little to prevent death. These are the tip of the iceberg. Opinion has and is changing. And the science seems to be at least supportive of opinion.
2. The Science’s Reputation
Even if it is not, “the science” has done irreparable damage to its reputation. By saying do not mask, when they knew we should to protect the chain of supply; to suppressing the lab leak theory; to much more besides. The science shot itself in the foot.
Now, when a more deadly threat comes, who will trust the science? It’s massive problem of credibility. Now, I know that the vast majority of doctors and scientists intend to do right. And why might I dismiss them all by associating the whole field with a few bad apples?
But then you can see why you should not dismiss the Truck Convoy because a few protesters have unaccepabtle messages and symbols.
3. Now What?
The convoy has gathered people of all sorts, with opinions of all sorts, and so I don’t feel compelled to endorse it wholesale (or dismiss it wholesale).
As an individual in a free and democratic society, however, we must support the demos’s (the people’s) opportunity to protest—that is part of what it means to live in such a society. To resist that is to resist what it means to be Canada.
So now what? I say support the demos! Be free to condemn the F Trudeau flags, the upside Canadian flags, and more besides. But do not write off the whole movement.
One-third of Canadians reportedly feel close to it. It is not a fringe movement, and I suspect many more in the two-thirds might support such moves to restore freedoms if we support the demos in non-inflammatory ways, in ways appropriate to living a free and democratic society.